Re: Contest!

Okay.  I'm delayed in it; I just Kindle-read the time-travel story celebrated in Sol's link and I did a long review for Jube and have now to reply to his reply.

52 (edited by njc 2015-04-08 21:43:41)

Re: Contest!

amy s wrote:

What other think of as a 'power moment'. I'm coming up with a rubric so that I can give a point value for each point that defines a great action/ power scene.

I would REALLY like help with this part. Here's what I have in my head so far. ...
Any other thoughts? What do you guys think

Does the character have to choose the moment (Katerin's display) or can the moment choose the character (an unexpected assailant in battle)?

For me, a use of power gains strength by its immediate connection to action, plot, and character.  It loses strength if it is scene-setting or milieu

Re: Contest!

I like that last line. 

OK, a connection to action, plot, and character is another point on the rubric.


54 (edited by njc 2015-04-09 08:15:43)

Re: Contest!

Okay, let me give this a try.

amy s wrote:

Bristling spears tangled and vied for position. Tazar lunged to the side, avoiding a point that jabbed for his right eye.

'jabbed for' suggests that the point itself had intent.  'jabbed towards' or 'jabbed at' woud avoid this.

The line of combat was chaos incarnate, looking more like a jumble of knitting needles than an organized front.

Good image, though 'jumble' is a mild word.  'tangle' might be better, but I suggest a session with Mister Thesaurus.

You could drop 'looking' and 'like', speeding the flow a bit.

Two shield walls held fast,

'opposed each other, holding fast'?

So they are using linear tactics, never having had Roman Legions whose movements within their line would break the opposing line?  (We still don't know just how they did it.)

leaving soldiers on either side to reach over their protective barriers, trying to score a hit. Spears thrust through any opening as the opposing side tried to grab the weapons and pull them out enemy hands.

This is in the past tense, but 'thrust' is present tense.

Both men and women shoved, grunted and howled insults or encouragement to each other.

You don't need 'both'.

On the side of the good guys, the shields interlocked, protecting the braced priests from the stabbing melee above and in front of them.

Instead of specifying 'good guys', why not just name that side and let the reader make the usual assumption: that until further notice, the protagonist(s) are the good guys?

The first comma suggests a parenthetical-effect match with the second comma.  Since that's not the structure, I suggest dropping the first comma.  The second is the more necessary, and provides a more balanced break of the sentence.  Everything after the comma modifies not the immediately preceeding predicate but the more remote subect of the sentence, 'the shields'.

Instead of 'in front of', 'before'.  Its length matches 'above', creating symmetrical brevity around the conjunction.

The bad guys had a distinct advantage. Two layers deep, their shield wall wore so much armor they looked like iron-clad barrels. All the spears behind them had to do was flail until they scored.

'bad guys'=>'Their opponents, {name},'

An enemy weapon scored a hit on the priest next to Tazar, denting the man's leather armor and taking him off his feet. The gold bracelet on the other fighter’s wrist popped like breaking glass.

'other fighter' == 'fallen fighter'?  Otherwise I might thing that the other fighter is the enemy who struck the blow.

Without the magical bracer keeping him protected from the shield,

'keeping him protected'=>'protecting'.

What shield?

The fallen priest's magical bracer?  Charmed bracer?  The magic of the fallen priest's bracer?

Tazar could see the strain in the other man's eyes.

In the priest's eyes?  Why is Tazar looking away from the threat?  Doesn't he know better?  I suggest leaving Tazar's PoV for a couple of paragraphs to cover this, and letting him concentrate on the battle.

Shaking his head like a dog, the downed fighter let his brothers pick him up by the armpits and made a shaky path away from the front line. The chosen weapon of their Order lay in the dirt, abandoned like a piece of firewood.

These Games were anything but.

This asserts a negative with an oblique expression.  'The City called this a game.  It was battle, staking Tos G'Swa's future on wooden weapons wielded.'  Okay, that last bit is frumpery.

The weapons might be made out of wood, but the stakes were real.

The long-armed fighter aiming for Tazar’s face used the distraction to tap his helmet. The curved skullcap deflected the blow. Tazar’s bracelet didn’t break.

The spear goaded him, jabbing closer to his face.

He grabbed the spear’s tip and gave it a heave, yanking it out of the enemy’s hands. Swinging the weapon through the tangle of knitting needles, Tazar pulled his arm back, grateful that the soldier-priests behind him were short.

Drawing his arm back, he aimed, using the spear as a javelin.

Tazar grunted and lunged, releasing the weapon into a low arc.

The oversized lance flew into the air.

The weapon made contact with head of the man who enjoyed taunting Tazar.

'struck the head of the enemy soldier taunting Tazar.  The man's head flew back and his body followed, to the ground.' ?

'The oversized lance flew across the fighting lines and struck ... .  His head flew back ...' ?

The enemy soldier’s head flew back, taking the rest of the body to the ground. Two or three others fell alongside their comrade in a healthy pile.

The sound of shattering glass followed.

Satisfied, Tazar was willing to go back to keeping the shield wall from being shoved off their feet, but someone pressed another wooden spear into his hand. The tip of this spear had a blunt tip, but the point wore barbs and was carved in a wide base to prevent the point from accidentally piercing through someone’s armor. The other team didn’t use any similar caution.

'was willing'=>'was ready'?

'keeping the shield wall from being shoved off their feet' => 'holding the shield wall together on its feet'?

The tip had a blunt tip, or the spear's tip was blunt and wide, with hooks?  In which case it's not really a spear.  Not exactly a halberd either, but hooked weapons were used to pull down mounted fighters.  A paging tour of Wikipedia, starting perhaps with 'halberd', should turn up some suitable words.

Yet another reason they were the bad guys.

That is what made {x} the bad guys.

Tazar aimed at the shouting leader of the barrel-armored shield wall.

The javelin hit with full force, but the well-armored soldier stayed standing. Tazar heard a muffled but mocking laugh that made him want to grind his teeth.

'A muffled, mocking laugh made Tazar ...'

This was going nowhere.

They were getting nowhere?

He tapped the helmet of the soldier behind him. Eyes turned toward Tazar, darting back to the fray soon after.

Exchange 'He' and 'Tazar'.

“What?” demanded a woman’s voice.

There was a lady in there? Tazar made sure to include her in his bubble of things-to-be-protected.

Can you remove the question, and adjust the second sentence to match?

“Change the rules. We’re going low!” he ordered. Letting out a piercing whistle that would have made Airen proud, Tazar caught the attention of another over-sized fighter a few places down. “You! Over here!”

In this press, it was going to take time before anyone could join up. Tazar looked to his other side.

A spear nearly caught him in the nose.

Grabbing it on the thrust, Tazar jammed the weapon back at the user and heard a satisfying yelp of pain. He used a brief respite to whistle at another couple soldiers making shade for the little people around them.

Three more started maneuvering his way at the signal. Another was too focused, failing to see anything but the melee in front of him. No matter. Five was a lucky number.

Tazar waited until all five of them were together. “Grab a shield and give a shove!” He tapped the helmet of the woman with her hooked spear.

Try without 'of them'.  Instead of 'Tazar waited ...', try 'When all five ... Tazar ...'

“Now!” he roared.

Behira’s priests pulled their spears back, stabbing under the pointed edge of the heater shields. The weapons darted forward, using the flat edge of the blade to hook the ankles of the over-armored fighters.

Have you defined 'heater shield'?  You use it more than once, so I assume it's not a typo.

“Heave!” he shouted to his Lucky Five. Grabbing one of the shield-wall fighters by the waist, he used the man as a ram on the bad-guy’s torso.

'The' bad guy?  Which one?  There are a lot of them.  You mean the taunter, the loudmouth?

Why hyphenate 'bad-guy'?

Catching the hint, the other tall men followed suit, knocking down a row of armored soldiers like players on a board.

You don't need the first phrase.

'other tall men followed suit'=>'four tall fighters pushed/pressed forward/ with Tazar'?

'knocking down ... armored soldiers'=>toppling ((seven or eight)) armored enemies out of their line', and you can drop the simile.

There was no sound of glass breaking but Tazar didn’t care. These overdone suits were too heavy for the wearers to sit up. Just to make sure, Tazar stepped on the enemy’s helmet to keep him down.

'Tazar didn't care'=>'it didn't matter'.

Try 'be' instead of 'make'.  It's a little shorter, but also a little less vivid.

Taking short stomps to keep his footing, Tazar advanced, using the good-guy and his shield as protection. He punched the heater shield into the next layer of metal-barrel armor.

The shield wall began to fall.

'The enemy shield wall was falling'?

Overall, the description, flow, and logic are good and feel true to linear tactics as I understand them.

Re: Contest!

A heater shield is the shoulder-to-knee (or ankle) shield that is shaped like the bottom of a flat iron so that it covers most of the body.  This is in contrast to the kite shield (eventually evolved to a flat top to look over and a point at the bottom)  Both can be lifted over the shoulder so that they covers the head of the person bracing the shield.  Your arm is through straps (also called enarmes) along the midsection of the shield, allowing two points of contact so it is harder to knock the shield to the side and hit the person who is wielding the shield. 


As to the rest, I'll integrate the suggestions wholesale.  Thanks!


Re: Contest!

One thousand words by 22 April? In fantasy and/or magic. Okay, I'm in. If it works, the piece (modified) will be incorporated into my next chapter.
Do I post here? Ceridwen

57 (edited by njc 2015-04-09 10:37:46)

Re: Contest!

I found this on Roman tactical doctrine against the phalanx and Alexandrian echelon formations.

58 (edited by njc 2015-04-09 10:46:40)

Re: Contest!

njc wrote:

Two shield walls held fast,

'opposed each other, holding fast'?

'each pressed hard, holding fast against the enemy'?

Three more started maneuvering his way at the signal. Another was too focused, failing to see anything but the melee in front of him. No matter. Five was a lucky number.

Okay, I missed this.  Techincally, a melee is what you have after the line of battle (or other proper order) has broken down.

Sorry about that.

59 (edited by njc 2015-04-09 10:51:02)

Re: Contest!

Ceridwen wrote:

One thousand words by 22 April? In fantasy and/or magic. Okay, I'm in. If it works, the piece (modified) will be incorporated into my next chapter.
Do I post here? Ceridwen

One thousand max.

No, you go through the normal publish-as-short-story sequence.  In the last of the {button} --arrow--> {button} operations (... content, publish ...) you have the chance to enter contests.

Yes, it violates the Principle of Least Surprise.  No, I wasn't consulted in its design.  This website design is heavily task-sequence oriented; it takes you there but makes it hard to see where you are going.

Re: Contest!

So I posted my story "Rosebud Lives" for the contest. I created it just for this contest.

I'll be reviewing the other entries soon. Good luck everyone.

Re: Contest!

Techincally, a melee is what you have after the line of battle (or other proper order) has broken down.

You're correct on this.  There is a golden five or ten minutes before one or the other side will dominate a medieval-style combat and break through the wall.  When my friends use this term though, I just use 'chaos' as a synonym, but a more proper word would be 'free-for-all.'

Adrian joins the fray!  Welcome to our home!  Put up your feet!  Stay a while!  Join us in throwing popcorn at the computer screen!


Re: Contest!

Well, when your battle starts, you still have the line.

Re: Contest!

Point taken. I changed the word to scrimmage.


Re: Contest!

'Skirmish' maybe?  Though I suspect they are cognates.

On the heater shield: the Wikipedia article asserts that the term is a neologism and properly refers to a small shield, not a full-body shield.  I can see that Tazar would not want to carry a scutum himself, but those holding the line probably need larger shields to hold the line.

If, on the other had, we view Tazar as two-legged cavalry, a concentration-shock element, the smaller shield makes sense.


Re: Contest!

I just made a small edit in Battle with Cott and the Beaast.  It's in the final approach to the climax.  It took one of my two remaining words, but I think it adds a little more Zing.

Re: Contest!

And the competition rallies and runs toward the finish line!

Re: Contest!

I entered the poem contest just for chuckles. I figured I'd see how much beer $50 will buy.

Enter something, ya weenie. Quit thinking of statistics and lets see some wordage!

Re: Contest!

Down to the wire folks. A board who's getting aboard!

Who is the lucky fool who gets to live the dream and see how much beer $50 will buy? The contest closes tonight! Good luck to all!

Re: Contest!

I can get a great bottle of tequila for $50.

Re: Contest!

Not beer. Guinness, drink of the gods.

Re: Contest!

You like to chew your beer?


Re: Contest!

I've heard of something called something like MacKinson Triple Stout.  The fellow who described it said it was a bit thicker than motor oil.

Re: Contest!

Absolutely I like chewing Guinness, it's a separate food group. I'm married to an Irishman.

Re: Contest!

Hey folks, the contest is officially closed. I've got my trusty rubric and all I need is a bit of time. I work tonight and then I have the weekend off. I'll be snuggling up with your characters and a glass of Guinness (in a nod
to certain Irish wives). And should complete the judging by Monday at the latest. I always guess long so that I look like a miracle worker.

Re: Contest!

Amy, you are a miracle worker!