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The Plan (intro)

by vetas

Intro or possibly chapter 1. Please leave me some feedback. Thank You!

The iron doors swung open as two guards quickly walked in. The guards wore dark green leather armor with a red sword painted on the left side of their chest. The emblem marked them as prison guards. They were holding up a man by his arms. His bare feet were dragging on the ground and his long black hair covered his bloody face. The ragged plain clothes he was wearing were the clothes of a peasant.

All the prisoners stood and watched the newcomer from their cells. The cells were seven feet wide, seven feet long, and seven feet high. Dividing one cell from another was a stone wall and the front of a cell were iron bars. There was only one window in the entire prison and it was on the back wall. The only light that came into the prison was either from that window or when the doors are open.

The man was dragged to the cell closest to the back wall. The guards opened it and dropped the man on the stone floor. One of the guards immediately left as the other locked the cell. After locking the cell he stood and looked at the man and before walking away said “You’re lucky the king didn’t take your head off! That’s the first time he let someone live for saying nasty things about him.”

The man was laying face down in his cell. With groans of pain he managed to get up in a seated position. He leaned his back up against the cold stone wall. He heard the second guard leave and the iron doors close. Slowly, a grin appeared on the mans face. It turned into a slight chuckle. He then quietly whispered to himself “It’s all part of the plan.”

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User avatar
58 Reviews

Points: 36
Reviews: 58

Mon Oct 10, 2016 10:44 pm
SofieR wrote a review...

Hey! Sofie here with another review :)

First off, great job! You have a really strong voice and I like your writing style. I think it's simple and to the point. You're also really good at descriptions. You paint a vivid picture with words, and that's not easy to do, so good job on that!

I agree that sometimes the story went a little over on the telling rather than showing. Also, it might help to re-read the piece out loud a couple times. That will help get a sense of intonation and help you get the rhythm down.

Don't really have any other suggestions. I think a couple read-throughs and quick edits can get this nearly perfect. Again, great job on this! Looking forward to what you write next!


User avatar
13 Reviews

Points: 7
Reviews: 13

Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:54 am
Haiimthomas wrote a review...

Hello! Thomas here.

I don't think i should make any criticisms about the story because I would only be repeating those below me, so i will just tell you what I liked about it!

The story overall was good. It was well written and intriguing and I want to read more!

I hope you continue on with this story and if so I look forward to reading more!

Hope you have a great night/day!


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517 Reviews

Points: 18311
Reviews: 517

Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:40 pm
Lavvie wrote a review...

Hello vetas!

It seems Ellstar has left you with a very good review, so that will be certainly hard to follow!

Since this is so short, it's difficult to get a sense of what is going on. Because of the length (although, I do recommend you write some more), it's almost better as prologue. However, when writing prologues, you need to be able to write something that really captures the attention of the reader since it is the first thing they are exposed to. Prologues also maintain some essence of mystery, which is partly why someone might choose to read on into the first chapter.

Currently, the structure of your prologue/chapter 1 does not quite yet have the perfect qualities to make it one hundred percent appealing. Going off of what Ellstar talked about, I think that the show vs. tell is a little heavy on the telling. Your descriptions are very obvious and seem to break up the flow of the story a little bit. I encourage you to work on making the act of describing less explicit. Must the reader really know the exact measurements of the prison cell, for example?

I would be curious to know more about what's going on the minds of some of these characters, as well. Right now, as a reader, I feel very separate from the story in a voyeuristic sort of way. Perhaps share some of what the man is feeling and thinking.

Overall, this is intriguing, although it's hard to get a good grasp of what is going on and it's proper potential since it is so short and it's rather objectively narrated (at this point). Keep writing!


vetas says...

Hey thank you so much for your help!

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383 Reviews

Points: 19607
Reviews: 383

Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:20 pm
Sujana wrote a review...

This is pretty short, so hopefully I can keep myself from going overboard with this. However, I keep no promises at this point since I've surprised myself more than once.

The Beginning

I feel like the beginning of a book should always be special, because it's the thing that convinces the reader to continue reading. Therefore, it needs to be captivating enough to hook the reader. A description of guards, at least in my opinion, isn't as captivating as I'd like it to be. The rest of the intro doesn't fare any better, as we still don't know anything about the main character, we haven't seen any semblance of his character, etc.. Usually, I either use the intro to a) Make some fancy statement that defines the book, or b) Introduce the character that will define the book. Or occasionally both, in the case of first person POV. You could go eitherway at this point, but I suggest the second one, since the character you have has a lot of explaining to do and the conflict that he's in will allow a lot of establishing moments.

Main Criticisms

Besides the beginning:

-You do a lot of telling rather than showing, which is somewhat detrimental to your story. You can't show your hand in poker, and you can't just tell the readers the main story. If you did, they might as well just read the Wikipedia summary. Try being detailed--I explain further. *

-Your voice is too distant from the story to be effective. While plainess is applaudable in a world where poetry is God, plainess must also have meaning. A flat tone can emphasize the horror of a certain situation without saying anything about it (see: "Animal Farm", which has a flat tone and vocabulary a child could understand, but can back it up because its an allegory for communism under Stalin), but that's only if the reader is allowed enough time to assemble pieces of information in order to create a certain effect. For example, instead of saying "The ragged plain clothes he was wearing were the clothes of a peasant," instead just say "His clothes were ragged and yellowed by age." Let the readers decipher what that means (he's poor). Nothing fancy, nothing weird, just a face to face conversation with the audience. Make it intimately suggestive.

-That last part felt a little iffy to me. I think it should've been left as a thought bubble, ie italics It's all a part of the plan. It just doesn't seem natural to me that he would speak to himself like that.

Main Praises

-I am quite a fan of plain language myself, even though I don't often utilize it. Plain language sort of forces a straight conversation with the reader, no hiding behind poetic words and quotes, no barriers behind some metaphor--straight and simple. I like your style, for the most part.

-You describe some things well. The repetition involved in "he cells were seven feet wide, seven feet long, and seven feet high." gave the text a flavor without being too distracting, which I actually quite like. And your descriptions of the guards, right up until the highlight, was pretty good overall. At least, from the style perspective. Good job on that.


So far, I don't know what the story will be. My guess? It's about a peasant whose tired of the corrupt king taking all the tax coins, and decides to start a revolution--but only by recruiting similarly disillusioned men in prisons. I don't think I'm right, and even if I am, that doesn't really mean anything. The only thing that matters now is the execution. As I said before, the beginning leaves something to be desired, so I hope in the next chapter you're capable of building more of your character and the plot.

The Highlights

-"The emblem marked them as prison guards." *

This is more Telling than Showing, a big no-no in the literary world. You already show them dragging a man into a prison cell, and the fact that they're guards in prison already suggests that they're prison guards. Perhaps if the emblem showed an interesting picture, it would be notable enough to be excused. But as it is, it's not necessary to include this line.

-"“You’re lucky the king didn’t take your head off! That’s the first time he let someone live for saying nasty things about him.”"

I'm guessing this is sometime during the Medieval periode, which means the dialogue should be--how I say--a little bit more colorful. As far as the fantasy I've read go, there are characters who speak in heavy accents, characters who speak in incredibly eloquent English, and characters who speak in a playful mix of both. Therefore, it would be a good idea to include more difficult/interesting vocabulary. ie "Yer fortunate His Highness didn't cut ye head off!" Also, that last part? I'm not a big fan. Again, it's a bit more telling than showing. It would sound more natural if you said something along the lines of "He isn't known for tolerating mockery." Not as dramatic, but this is the beginning. You can't punish the reader before the reader decides whether or not they like you.

And that's all I have for you. Good day, hope it helped.


vetas says...

Thank you for the review. I will need to work really hard.

Sujana says...

Don't worry--we all do, it's not just you. These are actually pretty common mistakes, I think you're capable of unlearning them after a bit more practice. Good luck!

Of those who say nothing, few are silent.
— Thomas Neill