View Full Version : O hai! Read mai words? Kthx!

2011-01-03, 04:37 PM
Hi! I wanted to get some feedback on some writing I've done. The first one is a short story I did for school and the second one is a work-in-progress for a campaign world I'm making. Tell me what you think!

Rain pattered on the dead leaves that covered the ground as the boy walked down the road. What little light there was reflected off the asphalt, leaving a long line of radiance in front of him. He followed this, treating it like it was a neon sign, pointing to his destination. What this place he was going to, he didn’t know; all he knew is that he must keep going. His legs ached, but he ignored this. It didn’t seem to matter right now. Just keep walking.
The sound of wheels behind him slowly met his ears, and he turned off, waiting for it to pass. For a split second he saw a woman, eyes forward, concentrating; then she was gone. He waited until the rear lights were like two dots, then walked back up onto the road.
He noticed a paper coffee cup, lid on, steam coming from the opening. He ran over and snatched it up, not believing his luck. With a small salute to the nameless woman, he slowly sipped. Enjoying the heat warming his fingers, he turned back, feeling his belly grow warm once more. It thanked him quietly, with small sounds of content. It would keep him going for awhile yet.
He continued down the road, feeling slightly more alert. Thankfully, the rain had lightened up a bit, but it was still pretty bad. He tried taking off his hoodie to see if the cold could get any worse.

Apparently, yes.

He hurriedly pulled it back on, but not before a chill had set into his spine. His hair was completely plastered to his head, with random clumps sticking up from his experiment. He had a dirty face, streaked where the filth had been washed away by lucky drops of rain. His eyes shined out through a dirty mop of brown hair, above a nose tipped red from the cold. Even at his young age, his appearance was of someone aged, and it was drawn, showing lines where they had no right to be. He had the elements of a handsome face, but no filler for it. For now, it showed a mischievous charm.
The night didn’t contain much to look at, so as he walked, his mind began to wander. First he thought of dogs. Then cats. Then a dog and a cat fighting. He laughed.
Then, he decided to go over his day. Woke up, went to the soup kitchen, ate breakfast, went to the junkyard… all the same as usual. He did find a cool piece of metal today; he pulled it out of his pocket to check. Yep, still cool.
It had really started to get interesting when he had heard that rumor at the local hangout. The other boys had all been talking in a group when he walked in; when Tom had seen him, he had urgently waved him over. He walked next to them and listened.
“So is it true?”
“From what I’ve heard, yeah! It’s all true!”
“Naw, that’s stupid. There’s no way.”
“I’m telling you dude! It’s real! We can get out of here!”
“I really hope so.”
“It sounds way too good to be real.”
“I heard this all from Jamie! And you guys know he wouldn’t lie about this.”
“Hrmm.. I dunno.. maybe.”
“Well, who told him? That’s what I want to know.”
The boy rolled his eyes. “How would I know? I can’t read minds, dumbass. Besides, it couldn’t really be worse than it is.”
“What are you talking about? This is pretty good. We have food, we can do what we want-“
“I’m not a dumbass!”
“…As I was saying, it’s really not that bad here.”
“Well, I heard that you get to play all you want, a real bed, and 3 meals a day!”
“Really? 3 meals??”
“I just don’t believe it. There is no way anything can be that good.”
“Fine, I don’t care. I still think it’s true.”
He interrupted the boy who was telling the story. “Where is this place?”
He looked surprised. “Oh, apparently if you follow June Avenue you get to it eventually.”

He had decided that sounded like fun. So he had gone back to his house, grabbed all his little treasures, and set off! It was pretty fun so far, but he was looking forward to getting there. Hopefully, he would find it soon. For now, keep walking…

The world my adventure is set in is called Maelthor, pronounced MAIL-thor. In the land’s native tongue, this means thunderstorm. Naturally, the climate of Maelthor is tumultuous at best. Expect any descriptions of outdoors to almost constantly include rain and wind, unless stated otherwise, and any indoor settings to have a constant background noise of pounding rain, unless deep in a structure, mountain, or if the group is underground. As a result, the inhabitants of Maelthor, or Mael as it’s referred to by its inhabitants, have developed a very sophisticated and efficient heating system. What would be miserable conditions for us is just the norm for them.
The people of Mael are human in most every aspect, but in their mythology they refer to themselves as the children of the storm. They are reminiscent of the Scottish in the early 1700’s. They vary in size, from small wizened men and woman to the huge descendents of the Originals. Hair ranges from red to black. Blondes are extremely rare, and are surrounded by superstition. One constant factor is the surprising amount of strength and constitution all these people have. No matter what their place in society, or occupation, each man and woman could be said to have double the strength of a normal human.
The creation legend of Maelthor is that a huge lightning bolt struck the ground, and blasted the surface for three whole days, before the first children of the storm walked forth from the light, and spread out to create the many clans of Maelthor. There is actually some credit for this tale: way off in the wastes lies a huge crater, too blackened and charred to support any life. Strangely, no clouds were ever observed to be directly over this spot; it has been speculated that this spot is reserved for the new creation, if the people of Mael ever fall. Another section of peoples think that on the final day, a lightning bolt even bigger than the Bolt of Creation will one day strike and split the earth. It is not agreed which of these theories is true.
Naturally, the storm kin are suspicious of the sun, seeing as it almost always not visible. There are small sects that worship the sun as the creator, but these unfortunately insane people are completely shunned. The more mainstream religious belief of the people lay in the many storm temples that dot the land. These serve a double purpose: people can come in to pray to the miniature storm cloud that is contained in every temple, by magical means. Temples also serve as ‘divine channelers’, or, as we would call them, lightning rods. No village with a temple is ever struck with lightning. Instead, any bolts strike the top of the metal temples, and are channeled downward into a kind of holding tank. Incidentally, these tanks of lightning are what power the magical field that holds the prayer clouds in place. All temple priests have some kind of sorcererous ability, which allows them to ‘talk’ to the prayer cloud, receive its answers and relay them to the askers.
Maelthor is a fantasy land, with magic, creatures, and gods. The countryside is filled with faeries, giants, pictsies, and even leprechauns from other lands. At night, moans of the spirits fill the air, often mistaken as ‘just the wind’. Fell beasts from nightmares roam the dark, ready to kill anyone or anything they find. Travel by day, and especially night, can be dangerous, so travelers always bring bodyguards, or might just train and arm themselves.

There are wizards and sorcerers in Maelthor, with their own separate guilds and positions of power. They sit on city councils, advise clan leaders, and in some cases, even rule clans themselves. They vary in power from apprentices to people of such power that they could be compared to Elminster himself. These others, these elite, are rarely heard of, and rarer seen. Most people view magic in a practical light, and accept it as part of nature. But of course, there are people who are horrified by magic, and fight to eliminate it. Although fight is a generous term. These people, who call themselves the ‘Purifiers’, slander, frame, and murder honest magic users throughout Mael.
There is a fate even worse than these already horrible crimes. An act, referred to as Cleansing, performed on the ‘lucky’ victims of these brutes, creates revulsion in any sane person. The ‘Pure’ have half of each finger chopped off, robbing them of the ability that was their life. Most of those ‘spared’ commit suicide, as soon as they are recovered enough to do so. The Purifiers view this as an act of mercy, but these acts have made them even more hated than sun-worshippers. Any person who is seen as a Purifier, whether true or not, is in immediate danger of being beaten to death. This is viewed as a necessary evil, to eliminate the hateful bigots that plague every city. Be careful when talking about magic in any negative light.
The diet of most people consists of mostly fish, meat, and dairy, with various vegetables that are grown in indoor nurseries. Ironically, the ridiculous amounts of rain has made it impossible to grow anything outside, so any fruit or vegetable that someone would want has to be grown inside. Interestingly, most all plants have been bred to grow without the benefit of sunlight, meaning that the only thing plants need to grow is water and soil. This also means that ‘farm animals’ are kept and graze indoors.
The different peoples of Mael are governed by separate clans, each with a clan head. The position of clan head is passed on by family. The lands each clan holds varies, depending on the power and size of the clan. No clan is truly poor, and no clan is truly rich. All clans provide for their peoples, and at most, have a small surplus of food each year, which can be sold to other lands. Clan relations are peaceful, with nothing more than some cattle rustling and small land skirmishes. There hasn’t been a large, multi-clan war in more than 40 years. Mael is pretty much peaceful, with small levels of crime, no risks of any fires, and surprisingly low amounts of disease. The colossal amount of rainfall means that any grime or filth is washed away, reducing the risk of germs breeding and spreading. The end result is a very large amount of well fed, clean, healthy, and mainly happy people!

2011-01-04, 10:20 AM
I would suggest posting in the writers workshop thread.

quick thoughts, the scene you're setting is done fairly well. The coffee cup is confusing. Did the woman stop? Nothing says she stopped. Did she toss the cup out the window and it miraculously stayed upright?

Some of the prose could use some tightening. You are doing tell not show, (you are telling the story like talking to friends, rather than SHOWING the story through more detailed action) but you are doing it fairly well, so no real complaints there. I would turn the final couple of lines into a paragraph, though, space it a little better.

2011-01-04, 06:33 PM
Good idea, I think I'll go do that. And yeah, that coffee cup thing was a bit odd, but I couldn't think of any other way he could get something warm.

And could you maybe explain that last bit a bit more?

2011-01-05, 10:47 AM
He had decided that sounded like fun. So he had gone back to his house, grabbed all his little treasures, and set off! It was pretty fun so far, but he was looking forward to getting there. Hopefully, he would find it soon. For now, keep walking…

Its very, I'm telling you what he is doing. Don't tell me. We aren't standing together on a bus while you describe something that happened on tv last night. You are giving me a written story, so you need to SHOW me. (also, tense. I know this is a flashback IN the story, but its what's happening now, so treat it that way)

Listening into their conversations, he decided this sounded like fun. He walked back to his house, stopping just long enough to grab all his little treasures. He then set off. The journey was pretty fun so far, but now he was simply looking forward to getting there. "Hopefully", He thought, I'll find it soon. For now, keep walking..."