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Life or Death ~Book one It Begins Chapter 1

by Shikora


                                    Chapter 1

Torches lit the underground tunnel, giving it an eerie lighting. A young solider of eighteen walked along its corridors. His scorpion shaped tail curved into a hock shape as he scanned his surroundings. His talons made light foot marks as he walks along the sandy hallways. His pitch black eyes held a stern look to them as he did his patrol.

Loud footsteps could be heard from behind him. He spun around his fangs bared and his tail ready to lash out at whoever was coming toward him. Heavy breathing could be heard as the intruder came closer. The solider looked for a dark place to hide. He looked behind him and saw a bit of the wall dip into a boll shape. He slowly walked over to it and pressed his back against it and wrapped his wings around himself so he could not be seen.

Heavy breathing could be heard better now as the invader got closer and closer. The solider got ready to attack when he was sure it was the right time. He felt someone running past him and he pounced. Wrapping his wings around the dragon’s body, sending both of them tumbling to the floor. The dragon he had attacked let out a yelp. He bared his teeth down at the other dragon getting ready to bight and inject his venom. With his tail he wrapped it around a torch that was near them bringing it down to reveal who he had attacked.

The other dragon smiled up at him as the torched lit up the area he had pounced. The young soldier got to his feet and sighed.

“You do realize I could have killed you?” he asked the stoic look still upon his face as he shook his body to remove all the sand.

The other young soldier none as Zectra shrugged. “Yeah I know, but I kind of had to catch up to you.”

The male Sand Wyvern looked over at Zectra. “Why?” Viper looked down at Zectra a little annoyed. 'Out of all dragons why did she have to come and get me? She's a good friend but she really can get on my nerves.' Viper thought. 

Zectra looked up at him her dark black eyes full of hope. Her wings tucked neatly at her sides. “It’s the chief. He wants to see you!” Zectra patted him on the back. “Good luck!”

“Why are you so cheery all the time?” he asked her, snorting with disgust.

Zectra huffed. “Says Mr. Stoic face. It’s how I cope with my life. Maybe you should try it sometime Viper. You may find out it helps. Now go see the chief.” She said waving her talon at him.

Viper rolled his eyes and walked down the long hallway to the center of the underground tunnels. With years of walking along these halls he knew them like the back of his talon.

As he got closer to the center of the underground tunnels it got brighter as more torches began to line the walls. Viper stepped quietly as he walked knowing if the chief new he was stomping around he would get in trouble. When he arrived in the main hall he stood by the door.

“You wanted to see me sir,” Viper said in an emotionless voice.

The dragon at the head of the room turned around to look at Viper. His dark eyes so dark that when his looking at you it feels like his looking right into your soul. His large, golden wings were folded at his sides in a majestic manner.

“Yes I did. There is something we need to discus,” The chief said in an all too calm manner. He stepped down the steps to the plat form he was standing on. His tail slowly trailed behind him. “My Kingdom has been a peaceful place for a long time.” said Venom. He came from a long line of rulers. He had yellow scales like all the other Sand Wyverns, and a milky under belly.

Viper stepped farther into the room knowing this wasn’t going to be good news.

Venom smiled at him as he came closer. “And as my best flyer and soldier I do believe you deserve to no first.”

Viper sighed remembering the day he was pronounced best flyer. It was because he had large wings for his size. But why was he bringing these things up? Viper eyed Venom as he walked around the room as he spoke.

Viper raised an eyebrow. “What should I know about Sir? Are we getting new recruits?”

Venom cackled. “All in good time boy all in good time. But there is something you need to know,” Venom turned to look at Viper. “My kingdom has been under threat for quite a while now and I don’t have any intentions of living in fear!”

Viper frowned. “What are you saying Sir?”

Venom smiled in an unsettling way. “We need to get ready for battle,” Venom turned back around and walked over to his throne. Larch black spikes came out of the back of the chair. “I do trust you will tell the others!”

Viper looked down at the floor. “But Sir I don’t think the dragonets are ready. They haven’t even finished their training!”

Venom nodded. “Yes that is true. BUT! We don’t have that amount of time.” Venom hissed wile scanning his claws.

“Then you’ll lose half you army!” Viper said back to him.

Venom rubbed the sides if his head. “Viper I don’t have time for this. You will do as I command and that is final!” Venom yelled standing up out of his chair. He slowly sat back down and in haled. “Now go do something useful.”

Viper nodded his head. “Yes Sir!” he turned around and walked out the room. He walked back down the hallway he came from and hissed to himself. “His completely out of his mind does he know how many lives his putting at risk if we go out to battle?”

“Hey Viper! How did it go?” Zectra asked. While she walked next to him.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Viper grumbled, as he walks a little faster.

“That bad hu?” Zectra asked. “Oh come on just tell me I won’t tell anyone else.”

Viper groaned. “You’ll find out soon enough!”

Zectra looked up at him in confusion. “Oh you need to patrol the village. Don’t ask me why you just do. And try to put a smile on your face?”

Viper nodded his head as he turned down a long hallway that leads up and out of the underground tunnels wanting to get away from Zectra as fast as possible.

'She is so weird.' Viper thought as he walked up the tunnel. 


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Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:49 pm
Noelle wrote a review...



Hi there!

I'm doing this review on my phone so I apologize I'm advance for any formatting issues or autocorrect fails.

Loud footsteps could be heard from behind him.

Saying footsteps could be heard makes it sound like they're already there. I suggest making it sudden footsteps or footsteps breaking through the silence. That way it has that immediate factor.

I know it says later that the soldier is hiding so he can attack, but at first it was a bit confusing. He was all ready to attack and then suddenly he was hiding. You might want to clarify that part a bit.

I was confused when you mentioned Viper. At first I thought there were 2 intruders, but then I read closer and realized Viper is the soldier. It's always good to have the names of the characters at the beginning of chapters. Pronouns are all fine and dandy, but I want to know this soldier's name. Especially if he's going to be an important character later on, which it seems like he will be.

The same thing can be said later when we meet the chief. He's the chief and then all of the sudden he's being called Venom. Try to work on fitting names into your narration. For the chief a good example is "Venom the chief said in a calm manner." Something likethat so we know that Venom is the chief.

I like your dialogue. It flows well and feels like a normal conversation. Dialogue is always tricky because it takes place in this world you created which makes it special, but it also has to be realistic and relatable. You've done a great job keeping it just that. Even though we're dealing with dragons here, it's believable.

I'm a little confused when Venom is speaking of his kingdom. Is it not the same kingdom that Viper is in? Why does Venom not say our kingdom? Maybe formalities and all that, but it's odd.

Overall I think this is a good chapter. The pace is already fast with this war coming up, but to each it's own. Fast pace isn't necessarily a bad thing. I feel like novels have to be at least a little on the fast paced side on here because people's attention spans are only so long. On the other hand, we haven't had the time to really meet viper and see who he is. The same with Zectra. Don't be afraid to explore your characters and dive into their backstory.

Another thing I felt lacking a bit were descriptions. I know that Viper was in a tunnel, but I have no idea what that tunnel looked like. They always say let the reader come up with their own scenery. I only slightly agree. A writer still has to guide their readers to the image they want. I want to know what you say the tunnels look like.

I can't wait to read more! Sorry for the length of time between reviews being a grownup is hard xD

Keep writing!
**Noelle**




Shikora says...


Thanks for the review! :D I'll tag you when I post another chapter if you like.



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Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:50 am
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Zoom wrote a review...



Hey ^_^

Loud footsteps could be heard from behind him. He spun around his fangs bared and his tail ready to lash out at whoever was coming toward him. Heavy breathing could be heard as the intruder came closer. The solider looked for a dark place to hide. He looked behind him and saw a bit of the wall dip into a boll shape. He slowly walked over to it and pressed his back against it and wrapped his wings around himself so he could not be seen.


Something I’ve noticed is that you use filter phrases/words quite a lot. This is when you filter your story through your protagonist, so it’s like the story can’t reach the reader directly. I’ve bolded some examples.

The thing is, you don’t often have to say things like “they heard” or “they saw”. If you just mention a sound or an object, then automatically we know that your protagonist can perceive it, because if they couldn’t, it wouldn’t be mentioned. So if you remove the filters, the reader can connect directly with the story. I’ve reworded your paragraph slightly so that you can see exactly what I mean.

Loud footsteps echoed behind him. He spun around, fangs bared and tail ready to lash out. Heavy breathing announced the intruder as they came closer. The solider looked for a dark place to hide and saw a bit of the wall dip into a bowl shape. He pressed his back against it and wrapped his wings around himself so he could not be seen.


That’s just a quick example I threw together, but hopefully you can see how that has removed a lot of unnecessary words but kept the same effect of this scene. I really like this scene btw, imagining a dragon hide in a wall like this is super cool.

Viper looked down at Zectra a little annoyed.


Maybe you should state earlier that the solider is Viper? It’s like you were keeping it a secret only to reveal it at an odd moment.

Zectra huffed. “Says Mr. Stoic face. It’s how I cope with my life. Maybe you should try it sometime Viper. You may find out it helps. Now go see the chief.” She said waving her talon at him.


If Viper just snorted with disgust then I don’t think we can call him “stoic” since this refers to someone who is actually good at hiding their emotions through tough times.

With years of walking along these halls he knew them like the back of his talon.


Haha this was clever.

***

Overall comments:

There were a lot less errors in this chapter so that made it a little easier to read. I enjoyed it overall, especially the moment Viper hid in the wall.

Plot

So I guess I’m a bit thrown by how much time has passed here? It seems that Viper has now matured somewhat, but I don’t know for sure. I’m assuming he passed his father’s training and has now settled into some kind of dragon army? Hopefully we will have flashbacks later on so that this makes more sense, because I was expecting to read the part where he says goodbye to his parents.

Also in the prologue, Quake mentioned an impending danger, but if we’re continuing the story with this advancement of time, it feels like we're forced to forget about the reason that triggered Viper’s training in the first place. Unless the reason is related to the war that Venom is also now worried about? If they are the same thing then this isn’t really clear. Hopefully the answers start to unravel as we go along. :) It's good that there's a bit of mystery, as long as we do get answers eventually.

Setting:

Again I think you’re neglecting the setting. You always start off with a strong image and then forget to mention the surroundings later in the chapter. The world should feel like it’s alive, as I mentioned before. Not only can you include the senses, but mention things like the weather, creatures, plant life, things that don’t necessarily have much to do with the story, but remind us that the plot is taking place in a vibrant, real world.

Tone:

You’re drumming up a sense of impending war here, which I could feel when Viper was on guard when he sensed Zectra approaching. He switched into attack mode pretty quickly! That’s good that you set this tone early on. Even when he knew it was her, he still seemed a bit agitated, as if it annoyed him that she was so carefree during the brink of war. I really feel like something big is around the corner, so great job creating that atmosphere.

Character Development:

This is probably what I liked the least, because of the jump in time, we have skipped all of Viper’s training and this feels a bit convenient to the plot, and unsatisfying for the reader. He’s already the best flier, and it’s because of something that isn’t even in his control, his large wings. This feels a bit unfulfilling. At the start of the story, readers want to see how your protagonist needs to grow, what their flaws are. If they are already the best too soon, then this will cause our excitement to waver.

Something you did well, though, was create the illusion of time passing using Viper’s dialogue. He seems more mature now, so that’s great that you clearly thought about this and made sure he sounded older when speaking. Nicely done.

Hook

Again I’m hooked by the fact that there is a war around the corner and we don’t know what the problem is yet. You’re doing a good job keeping this mystery alive for us, but also not telling us too much too soon

On to the next!

-Zoom




Shikora says...


Thanks Zoom for all the wise input! I will have a look at the problems very soon i hope.

Now about the flash backs. That is going to come into the story at some point that is for sure, so don't think I have forgotten about how i started the story. I wanted to skip that part of the book out because you will find out more in flash backs and it will make it a lot more interesting.

Again thank you for the review.



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Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:13 am
SpiritedWolfe wrote a review...



Hi, Shikora!

I'm a pretty big dragon fan myself, so I was excited when I stumbled upon your story still in the green room!

Before I start on this section, I just want to point out that I didn't read the prologue before this. If you ever publish, this is a very common occurrence. In fact, many readers don't read the prologue and will just skip to the first chapter. Thus, you need to ask yourself if the prologue is absolutely necessary or not. If it is, then you should try to find a way to work that information into the story itself. This article also has some very good tips for some do's and don't's for a prologue ^^

Just a quick quote before I go into some more broad points:

Rapping his wings around the dragon’s body, sending both of them tumbling to the floor.


First of all, did you mean wrapping instead of rapping? You used the correct form earlier. Second, this section was a little confusing because you did not introduce to the reader that there were any dragons. From the description of the main character, I thought he was a scorpion hybrid and not a dragon. Also, I was confused how he knew it was a dragon before he pounced on it. I would recommend that you try to introduce this concept earlier like, "The footsteps of the intruder sounded like a dragon's" or something along those lines.

Similarly, later on, names are just dropped into the text and I have no idea who they are referring to. Maybe start off the story by introducing us to Viper's name first in the narration, then when we encounter other names, such as through dialogue, we can assume it's not Viper talking. This makes it much smoother and easier for the reader to understand the story. Finally, make use of names! Using pronouns all the time can get confusing because we don't know what pronoun is referring to who. For instance, in the rest of the section after the quote above, I didn't know who was doing what movements because I didn't know if he meant the first he (as in Viper) or the intruder. It was unclear.

I have two writing suggestions that will really help improve the feel and flow of your writing:

1) Try to vary your sentence structure! This means instead of writing along the lines of, "He did this. He did that. He went to finish that." try to have a little bit of variety to the structure of the sentences. In general, it may look something like, "He did this. Upon finishing it, he went to do that. That was too difficult for him, however, and he went to finish that." (The content wasn't supposed to make sense xD But the idea was just to show how changing the syntax of the sentence can give more movement and rhythm to the piece and make it more engaging for the reader!)

2) Avoid passive voice. Passive voice is when the verb of a subject is conjugated to its "to be" form. An example from this piece is, "Heavy footsteps could be heard..." This is a pretty weak statement and doesn't add a lot to a scene. Whenever you see weaker phrases like this, or things such as, "The ball was resting under the tree." ("was resting" is the passive verb in this case), try to add a more active voice. For instance, you could have written, "Heavy footsteps echoed..." or "The ball lay discarded under the tree." This makes it more engaging and exciting for the reader!

Storywise, I think you have a good idea and I'm interested to know more, but polishing your writing will go a long way in keeping readers engaged and wanting to read your story more ~

Best wishes to you! And if you have any questions at all, feel free to PM me ^^
- Wolfe




Shikora says...


Thanks for the review! I'll take what you said in mind.

In the prologue you find out there dragons and you get to no who Viper is. So when Zectra calls him Viper it's supposed to be a shock to the reader because he was such a sweet little thing when he was younger, and now his all moody...at least that is what I hoped it would be when I wrote it! XD

And I don't give away the names right away because I want the reader to wonder who they are! But if it seems a little wearied then I'll try and fix it up.

I'll will also keep in mind what you said about the he thing and the short not very interesting sentences.
Anyway you review was very helpful. I'll take what you said to mind, and I hope you like my other chapters.

Hope to see you soon. :D And again thanks for the review.





Hey, I can get behind not introducing the names right off the bat, but when you do introduce them, maybe try to do it through the dialogue instead of simply adding it in the narration at some point. That would clear up the confusion and help with the wonder you wanted ^^ Maybe before you introduce Zectra, you can having something like, "The intruder called out, 'Viper, wait!'" That way we know that Viper isn't the intruder, so when the new name is introduced, we can easily assume Zectra is the intruder ^^



Shikora says...


Okay thanks! I'll keep that in mind and go through the chapter and fix some things up! :D



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Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:17 am
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dogsrule5 wrote a review...



Hey, Dogs here for a review!

Overall I really liked this chapter and can't wait to see what happens next, but there are a few errors and mistakes, I found in your writing that I'd like to point out for the future! I hope I don't sound harsh or mean, I'm just trying to help!

1) In this sentence you wrote

The other young soldier none as Zectra shrugged. “Yeah I no, but I kind of had to catch up to you.”


For future references the word no should be know with a k-n-o-w not n-o. Saying no is like answering questions such as

"Would you like more dessert" then you could say yes, or no.

But saying something like, "I know that I have homework tonight" uses know implying that you know that's going on.

No is saying no to a question, or responded with no, I don't want to, or no I don't like that, where as know is more like I know this is a fact, or I know this is a lie, etc.

(If you don't understand what I mean, send me a P.M. or reply to this and I'll hook you up with some useful links, and try to explain it in a better way)

I noticed you make this mistake more than once, and readers do know what you're trying to say (at least I did), but maybe to some readers mixing up know, and no can be quite confusing, so let me know if you need anymore help learning this!

2) In this sentence you wrote

As he got closer to the center of the underground tuneless it got brighter as more torches began to line the walls.


Tunnels is spelling wrong is should be spelled t-u-n-n-l-e-s

3) In this sentence you wrote

You will do as I command and that is finale!”


Finale should be f-i-n-a-l (just without the e)

4)
“Hay Viper! How did it go?” Zectra asked. While she walked next to him.

Hay should be hey with a e in the middle not an a.

Those are all the errors I noticed, but I have a few suggestions.

1) I think in the beginning of the chapter you should explain who Zectra is to Viper, is she a friend, or what. You can just easily add that into a sentence, then readers can get some more background on who she is (unless that's coming in a later chapter).

Now here are the things I really liked about the chapter, and that you should continue to do!

1) I love the length, it's not too long, but not too short, I think for this story your chapters are a good length! I always try to make my chapters 1000-2000 words (most of the time they are over 2000 words haha)

2) I loved the more detail you added in this chapter unlike the last, there are so many more emotions expressed by the characters, which is something I really liked. I could imagine the characters conversation easily, for example, like how the chief talked to Viper, and how he yelled, that was very well done!

Anyway's I really enjoyed the chapter, and can't wait to read the next one! Let me know when the next chapter comes out because I can't wait to read it!

Anyway, I love where this story is going, and I think there's just a few things that need fixing (such as the things mentioned above) but the plot is super good, and there are so many great things about this story, and I can't wait to see what happens next!

Keep up the great writing,
Love,
Dogs




Shikora says...


Thank you , thank you, thank you for the review. I have been waiting so long for one, and yours was great. I know the no issue is something i do a lot and i'm sorry about that. I'll go though my other chapters and see if i'v made the same mistake and I'll fix that.

Thank you again for the great review, and let me no when you want the next chapter because I'm very eager to post it.

And if you need me to review anything of yours just let me no and i will so what i can do.



dogsrule5 says...


Thanks, and yeah, I can totally help you fix the "no" issue if you want me to help out! Also I'll let you know when I have another chapter out! And you can post your next chapter whenever you want, but I can't wait to read it!



Shikora says...


Okay thank you so much. I'm going to post it soon... I hope.



dogsrule5 says...


Alright awesome! And anytime!



Shikora says...


;) I'll let you no when the next chapter is out.



dogsrule5 says...


Great, thanks!



Shikora says...


Your welcome!%uD83D%uDE09



Shikora says...


I ment to do a wink! ;)



dogsrule5 says...


Ok XD! ;D



Shikora says...


I'm glad it amuses you! :D



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Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:04 am
EagleFly says...



Nise work I like this very much, keep up on the good work. :D




Shikora says...


Thanks E! :D I'll keep writing, I don't think anything can keep me from writing.



EagleFly says...


grate. :D



Shikora says...


:)




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