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Feed back Please. Fantasy story. What do you think, interesting read?

Chapter 1

The single mast cargo ship plowed through the warm water of the Rauhallinen Sea. The blue-green water sweeping up the bow and then off to either side as her hull rose and plunged with the waves. The lavender sail rippled in the wind. High above them was the pale blue sky with streaks of wispy white clouds that on any other day would have been a delight. The sun, shining hot and bright, looked down from its mid-day perch. Today, however, no one noticed. The SS Kraken Bay was running for her life.

“They are closing Captain! Four hundred yards!” The call came from the crow’s nest above.

“Keep her steady Mr. Borning. Keep her steady.” The captain said to the helmsman beside him.

Briskly, the captain walked forward to the railing of the aftcastle, where he looked down at the men below. They were assembled and waited for the inevitable. “Look lively boys. The Kraken Bay is the finest ship in the fleet! She is manned by the finest crew in the fleet! She yields to no one. Especially not to this rabble of pirates. An extra copper crown to all when we drive these cowards off!”

The men cheered in unison. Looking to one another they made ready to repulse the expected boarding party. Each sailor gripped and re-gripped their swords in anticipation. Sweat beaded on their foreheads. Five of the sailors checked their crossbows. They were set back from the starboard side, the side the pirates would scramble over in just a few more minutes, to allow them one or two additional shots before they would have to join in the close quarter fighting.

 “Mr. Quint!” The captain turned his gaze to his first mate.

A broad man stepped forward from below, looking up he yelled back. “Aye Captain?”

“On my command Mr. Quint. I want...” He never finished the statement. A wall of water shot up thirty feet directly in front of the ship. The Kraken Bay crashed bow first into the wall, and all its momentum stopped abruptly. The sudden stop caused everyone and everything not batten down to lurch forward. Men closest to the bow and sides flew overboard. Boxes and ropes skidded along the deck violently hitting anything and anyone in its path. Sailors lost their grip on their weapons, and they clattered across the deck or slid overboard. The captain standing next to the rail of the aftcastle went head first over the railing, falling to the deck below. The wind, as if on command, suddenly stopped and left the sails to collapse against the mast. With no air movement, it became hot and stuffy. The Kraken Bay lay listless, dead in the water.

“Mr. Borning?” The captain growled as he regained his footing.

“It was not me Captain!”

The pirate ship, its sails still powered by the ocean wind, swiftly made up the distance to the crippled vessel. The crew on the black ship scrambled along the deck in preparation for the call to board their prey. Its captain looked smugly across to his prize. “This will be a fine catch and a welcome addition to the pascha’s fleet.” Out of the mob of pirates, an elven figure strode to the front. His black robes contrasted with his bone-white flowing hair and equally white skin. So deathly white was his appearance that most of the crew avoided him, put off from his unnatural look. His eyes, even more disturbing than his skin, were a deep scarlet red. Clearly visible around his neck was an elaborate necklace, with a sizeable jeweled pendant. Planting his feet in a wide stance against the motion of the ship, he crossed his arms and looked out across the waves at the Kraken Bay and smiled.

Back on the Kranken  Bay, the sailors were just getting to their feet as the black pirate ship came alongside the stricken cog. Most were now weaponless, panic started to swell up in their ranks. Then, the call came out, and all hopes were gone.

“An Elemental!” The figure in black was spotted for what he was. Elemental mages were scarce, especially out at sea. They usually inhabited castles in the mountains, but in truth, they were at home anywhere in the world. Generally, they preferred to be reclusive, it was said that using the energy of the elements corrupted the mind and made alliances short lived. Paranoia was rampant in their ranks as was a quick, deadly temper. Even those working with an elemental mage would be in constant worry of angering them. To employ one would be near impossible except for the most powerful. Controlling an elemental mage was a continuous struggle that few felt worth the effort.

Grappling hooks arched across the decks of the ships and pulled the two hulls together. The wall of water had returned to the sea, and now the wind blew naturally. The two boats, tied together, rode the waves in unison. A horde of screaming cutthroats jumped the railings.  Their blood-curdling screams and crazed facial expressions terrified even the stoutest of the Kraken Bay’s crew. It was over before it had begun. The sailors of the Kraken Bay lost their nerve, and with that, all chance for a unified resistance. Those not initially shot overboard by the abrupt stop scrambled to find either a weapon or a hiding place. Some, in such a panic about the elemental mage, chose to jump overboard and take their chances in the sea. There was no fight left in the crew. Initially, the pirates showed no mercy and struck down the ones unlucky enough to be closest to the first wave of boarders, but, then, the pirate captain put a halt to the violence and strode across to his new ship.

The captain of the Kraken Bay, Harding Robles was in his forties. He grew up on the sea, working first as a cabin boy at the age of eight. A mate at sixteen and a first mate by twenty-one. Made captain at twenty-four, success followed wherever he went.






Comments

  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    edited November 29
    MMortimer said:

    Chapter 1

    The single mast[ed] cargo ship plowed through the warm water of the Rauhallinen Sea. [you refer to this ship as a "cog" later on. I would use, and define, this term here] The blue-green water [swept] up the bow and then off to either side as her hull rose and plunged with the waves.  The lavender sail rippled in the wind. High above them was the pale blue sky with streaks of wispy white clouds that on any other day would have been a delight. The sun, shining hot and bright, looked down from its mid-day perch. Today, however, no one noticed. The SS Kraken Bay was running for her life.

    “They are closing Captain! Four hundred yards!” [came a call] from the crow’s nest above.

    “Keep her steady Mr. Borning. Keep her steady[," t]he captain said to the helmsman beside him.

    Briskly, the captain walked forward to the railing of the aftcastle, where he looked down at the men below. They were assembled[, waiting] for the inevitable. “Look lively boys. The Kraken Bay is the finest ship in the fleet! She is manned by the finest crew in the fleet! She yields to no one. Especially not to this rabble of pirates. An extra copper crown to all when we drive these cowards off!”

    [I think that by this time you should actually have mentioned the existence of a pursuing pirate ship---especially if it close enough to intercept the Kraken Bay within minutes---and said something about it]

    The men cheered in unison. Looking to one another they made ready to repulse the expected boarding party. Each sailor gripped and re-gripped their swords in anticipation. Sweat beaded on their foreheads. Five of the sailors checked their crossbows. They were set back from the starboard side, the side the pirates would scramble over in just a few more minutes, to allow them one or two additional shots before they would have to join in the close quarter fighting.

     “Mr. Quint!” The captain turned his gaze to his first mate.

    A broad man stepped forward from below, looking up he yelled back[,] “Aye[,] Captain?”

    “On my command Mr. Quint. I want...” He never finished the statement. A wall of water shot up thirty feet directly in front of the ship. The Kraken Bay crashed bow first into the wall, and all its momentum stopped abruptly. [I'm not sure if you can actually "stop" momentum. A better phrase might be "as it suddenly lost its momentum"] The sudden stop caused everyone and everything not batten[ed] down to lurch forward. Men closest to the bow and sides flew overboard. Boxes and ropes skidded along the deck violently hitting anything and anyone in its path. Sailors lost their grip on their weapons, [which] clattered across the deck or slid overboard. The captain standing next to the rail of the aftcastle went head first over the railing, falling to the deck below. The wind, as if on command, suddenly stopped and left the sails to collapse against the mast. With no air movement, it became hot and stuffy. The Kraken Bay lay listless, dead in the water.

    “Mr. Borning?” [t]he captain growled as he regained his footing.

    “It was not me Captain!”

    The pirate ship, its sails still powered by the ocean wind, [what wind?] swiftly made up the distance to the crippled vessel. The crew on the black ship scrambled along [its] deck in preparation for the call to board their prey. [Their] captain looked smugly across to his prize. “This will be a fine catch and a welcome addition to the pascha’s fleet.” Out of the mob of pirates, an elven [elfin?] figure strode to the front. His black robes contrasted with his bone-white flowing hair and equally white skin. So deathly white was his appearance that most of the crew avoided him, put off [by] his unnatural look. His eyes, even more disturbing than his skin, were a deep scarlet red. Clearly visible around his neck was an elaborate necklace, with a [sizable---but just plain "large" might be better] jeweled pendant. Planting his feet in a wide stance against the motion of the ship, he crossed his arms and looked out across the waves at the Kraken Bay and smiled.

    Back on the Kranken  Bay, the sailors were just getting to their feet as the black pirate ship came alongside the stricken cog [see comment above]. Most were now weaponless [and] panic started to swell up in their ranks. Then, the call came out, and all hopes were gone.

    “An Elemental!” [paragraph]The figure in black was spotted for what he was. Elemental mages were scarce, especially out at sea. They usually inhabited castles in the mountains, but in truth, they were at home anywhere in the world. Generally, they preferred to be reclusive[. I]t was said that [their use of] the energy of the elements corrupted [their minds] and made alliances short lived. [I presume the former is what you meant. It was not clear] Paranoia was rampant in their ranks as was a quick, deadly temper. Even those working with an elemental mage would be in constant worry of angering them. To employ one would be near impossible except for the most powerful. Controlling an elemental mage was a continuous struggle that few felt worth the effort.

    Grappling hooks arched across the decks of the ships and pulled the two hulls together. The wall of water had returned to the sea, and now the wind blew naturally. The two boats, tied together, rode the waves in unison. A horde of screaming cutthroats jumped the railings [onto the Kraken Bay].  Their blood-curdling screams and crazed [delete "facial'} expressions terrified even the stoutest of the Kraken Bay’s crew. It was over before it had begun. The sailors of the Kraken Bay lost their nerve, and with that, all chance for a unified resistance. Those not initially shot overboard by the abrupt stop scrambled to find either a weapon or a hiding place. Some, in such a panic about the elemental mage, chose to jump overboard and take their chances in the sea. There was no fight left in the crew. Initially, the pirates showed no mercy and struck down the ones unlucky enough to be closest to the first wave of boarders, but then the pirate captain put a halt to the violence and strode across to his new ship.

    The captain of the Kraken Bay, Harding Robles[,] was in his forties. He [had grown] up on the sea, working first as a cabin boy at the age of eight[, then a] mate at sixteen and a first mate by twenty-one. [He m]ade captain at twenty-four [and] success followed wherever he went. [this last paragraph seems a little out of place following what appeared to be the end of a chapter]]







    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • I appreciate you going over the chapter and adding your edits. That is very helpful for me. Any thoughts on the story itself that could help me in the future or change things? The story is complete, that is about 3/4 or maybe a little more of the first chapter. I tried to keep it to the 1000 words limit.
  • I really can’t comment on the story itself since I don’t know what that is.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • too many colors in the first paragraph, but I liked the story, good fast action. And I don't know if Quint can be a first mate. He's already a pretty iconic Captain. 
    Tim Reinholt Author of Pow, a ski bum heist adventure
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Ron has edited quite a bit, and some of what he had to correct is just lack of attention, but I think there's still some things to mention.

    The single mast cargo ship plowed through the warm water of the Rauhallinen Sea. The blue-green water sweeping up the bow and then off to either side as her hull rose and plunged with the waves. The lavender sail rippled in the wind.

    If it is ploughing, which usually means speeding, wouldn't the sails be rigid?

    High above them was the pale blue sky with streaks of wispy white clouds that on any other day would have been a delight. The sun, shining hot and bright, looked down from its mid-day perch. Today, however, no one noticed.

    It may be a good idea not to mention it then, if the sailors do not, they are too busy.

     The SS Kraken Bay was running for her life.

    SS means Steam Ship.

    I have no objection to the mention of all the colours.

    “They are closing Captain! Four hundred yards!” The call came from the crow’s nest above.

    That's a very precise distance!

    “Keep her steady Mr. Borning. Keep her steady.” The captain said to the helmsman beside him.

    Briskly, the captain walked forward to the railing of the aftcastle, where he looked down at the men below. They were assembled and waited for the inevitable. “Look lively boys. The Kraken Bay is the finest ship in the fleet! She is manned by the finest crew in the fleet! She yields to no one.

    Why would he need to say that? Are all the crew new?

     Especially not to this rabble of pirates.

    Should they not have been mentioned earlier?

     An extra copper crown to all when we drive these cowards off!”

    Not a great incentive for risking one's life. But why would he offer it anyway?

    The men cheered in unison. Looking to one another they made ready to repulse the expected boarding party. Each sailor gripped and re-gripped their swords in anticipation.

    Are many not busy sailing the ship?

     Sweat beaded on their foreheads. Five of the sailors checked their crossbows.

    No flintlocks? When is this set?

     They were set back from the starboard side, the side the pirates would scramble over in just a few more minutes,

    Five bolts are not going to have much of an effect. But where's the cannons and cannon fire to cripple the ship. No one is going to try to board a speeding ship. No return fire?

     to allow them one or two additional shots before they would have to join in the close quarter fighting.

    Would make no difference at all.

     “Mr. Quint!” The captain turned his gaze to his first mate.

    A broad man stepped forward from below,

    The mate was below deck while this is going on?!

     looking up he yelled back. “Aye Captain?”

    “On my command Mr. Quint. I want...” He never finished the statement. A wall of water shot up thirty feet directly in front of the ship. The Kraken Bay crashed bow first into the wall, and all its momentum stopped abruptly.

    Very unlikely, considering the weight of even a small ship.

     The sudden stop caused everyone and everything not batten down to lurch forward.

    It's a sailing ship, why is everything not batten(ed) down?

     Men closest to the bow and sides flew overboard. Boxes and ropes skidded along the deck violently hitting anything and anyone in its path. Sailors lost their grip on their weapons, and they clattered across the deck or slid overboard.

    Most ships have very sturdy 'walls'. The only holes in them are slots for water to drain out through.

     The captain standing next to the rail of the aftcastle went head first over the railing, falling to the deck below. The wind, as if on command, suddenly stopped and left the sails to collapse against the mast.

    If the ship stopped instantly the mast would probably snap.

     With no air movement, it became hot and stuffy. The Kraken Bay lay listless, dead in the water.

    That's a rather rapid change, and why is there no air movement? what was driving the ships?

    “Mr. Borning?” The captain growled as he regained his footing.

    Did he not break his neck?!

    “It was not me Captain!”

    There's no way he would say that!

    The pirate ship, its sails still powered by the ocean wind,

    Which is air movement ...

     swiftly made up the distance to the crippled vessel. The crew on the black

    The pirate ship is black?

     ship scrambled along the deck in preparation for the call to board their prey.

    And yet the crew on the other ship had already done that, even though the pirate ship was not even near to being along side?

     Its captain looked smugly across to his prize. “This will be a fine catch and a welcome addition to the pascha’s fleet.”

    What? a ship that should by rights have been wrecked?

     Out of the mob of pirates, an elven figure strode to the front. His black robes contrasted with his bone-white flowing hair and equally white skin. So deathly white was his appearance that most of the crew avoided him, put off from his unnatural look.

    Is it not natural to him then?

     His eyes, even more disturbing than his skin, were a deep scarlet red. Clearly visible around his neck was an elaborate necklace, with a sizeable jeweled pendant. Planting his feet in a wide stance against the motion of the ship, he crossed his arms and looked out across the waves at the Kraken Bay and smiled.

    Back on the Kra n ken  Bay

    Careful with the typing.

     the sailors were just getting to their feet as the black pirate ship came alongside the stricken cog.

    Didn't most of them fall overboard?

     Most were now weaponless,

    Not all?

     panic started to swell up in their ranks.

    Only just started to?!

     Then, the call came out, and all hopes were gone.

    “An Elemental!” The figure in black was spotted for what he was. Elemental mages were scarce, especially out at sea. They usually inhabited castles in the mountains, but in truth, they were at home anywhere in the world. Generally, they preferred to be reclusive,

    "there are four elemental categories: gnomes, undines, sylphs, and salamanders"

     it was said that using the energy of the elements corrupted the mind and made alliances short lived.

    Not for an elemental. Are you confusing them with magicians who can control the elements? They are not the same thing.

    Paranoia was rampant in their ranks as was a quick, deadly temper. Even those working with an elemental mage would be in constant worry of angering them. To employ one would be near impossible except for the most powerful. Controlling an elemental mage was a continuous struggle that few felt worth the effort.

    It does seem pointless, just to capture a ship. (And why did he not just stop the wind?)

    Grappling hooks arched across the decks of the ships and pulled the two hulls together. The wall of water had returned to the sea, and now the wind blew naturally. The two boats, tied together, rode the waves in unison. A horde of screaming cutthroats jumped the railings.  Their blood-curdling screams and crazed facial expressions terrified even the stoutest of the Kraken Bay’s crew. It was over before it had begun. The sailors of the Kraken Bay lost their nerve, and with that, all chance for a unified resistance. Those not initially shot overboard by the abrupt stop scrambled to find either a weapon or a hiding place. Some, in such a panic about the elemental mage, chose to jump overboard and take their chances in the sea. There was no fight left in the crew. Initially, the pirates showed no mercy and struck down the ones unlucky enough to be closest to the first wave of boarders, but, then, the pirate captain put a halt to the violence and strode across to his new ship.

    He tightrope walked?

    The captain of the Kraken Bay, Harding Robles was in his forties. He grew up on the sea, working first as a cabin boy at the age of eight. A mate at sixteen and a first mate by twenty-one. Made captain at twenty-four, success followed wherever he went.

    That would be better in the leading paragraph.

    Even in fiction one needs to do research. You need to avoid contradictions and you need to remember all you have typed (or take notes like I do!) it also has to make logical sense.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    I appreciate you going over the chapter and adding your edits. That is very helpful for me. Any thoughts on the story itself that could help me in the future or change things? The story is complete, that is about 3/4 or maybe a little more of the first chapter.

    No offence, but it is far from complete, that's really just the rough draft, the bones to add meat to. There's far more that can be added to it. And as Ron said, there's no clue to what it is about so that cannot be judged.

     I tried to keep it to the 1000 words limit.

    What limit?

  • Seamus - Excellent point! That will be changed
  • Just Kevin - No offense taken. I appreciate all points of view and criticism, constructive or otherwise, and try and learn from it. The forum "rules" stated to keep postings to about 1000 words. That was the limit I was talking about.
  • MMortimer said:
    Just Kevin - No offense taken. I appreciate all points of view and criticism, constructive or otherwise, and try and learn from it. The forum "rules" stated to keep postings to about 1000 words. That was the limit I was talking about.
    I should add an addendum to that. In the Workshop there's no problem going beyond that word count limit for purposes like posting a chapter or section looking for feedback.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    The forum "rules" stated to keep postings to about 1000 words.

    Ah, right. I would say up to 500 is more than enough.

  • So, you've got a start here that could go very well. You've started "in media res" that is, in the middle of the action, and thank you for that. You're giving us distinct characters with a strong conflict, good motivations, and realistic actions, down to the subtle gripping and releasing of their weapons in anticipation of a fearsome fight.

    But:

    "Today, however, no one noticed. The SS Kraken Bay was running for her life.

    “They are closing Captain! Four hundred yards!” The call came from the crow’s nest above.

    “Keep her steady Mr. Borning. Keep her steady.” The captain said to the helmsman beside him.

    Briskly, the captain walked forward to the railing of the aftcastle, where he looked down at the men below. "

    Others have discussed the grammar and spelling, so I'd like to make a couple of points: First, a vessel under sail would not be an "SS" anything, as SS stands for Steam Ship. Today, MV is commonly used (Motor Vessel) to indicate that diesel engines are driving a ship.

    USS means United States' Ship; HMS means Her/His Majesty's Ship; otherwise it would be best simply to call the ship Kraken Bay and be done with titles.

    I was going to also point out Aftcastle as a misnomer, but I see that it is apparently used sometimes, so it can stand. Typically, one refers to the after part of a ship as the fantail, stern, or informally as the "poop deck." However, to my surprise, aftcastle or aftercastle appear to be acceptable alternatives.

    I would say that he stepped forward and looked down to the helmsman, who would be on the quarterdeck, below the fantail/poupe/aftercastle. The ship would be steered from the quarterdeck, and not the raised fantail. I would avoid the word "rail" as this is usually the edge of the freeboard (the gunwales, in other words) around the vessel's weather decks.

    This may seem, at first blush, to be unnecessary nautical nerdiness, but it will catch the attention of readers who know this sort of thing. You never want to jar your readers out of the story while they ask how he stepped from the fantail forward to the rail (on the stern?) and looked down at the quarterdeck and mizzenmast; or why the helmsman was beside him on the poop deck instead of amidships at the helm.

    For a nautical story, nautical knowledge is necessary.

    With that said, in terms of the story and its flow, I see a certain amount of talent and a good bit of skill. You've written something workable. It's rough, but it has potential. Good job.

    There are other things besides the nautical knowledge to address as well, such as our first sighting of the elfin character with the bone-white hair and skin. We then hear what his own ship's crew thinks of him. That's interesting, but this is not the place for it. 

    Then once the ship has hit the wall of water -- remember that it hits with the bowsprit, the pointy end of the bow, so what does the back (stern) of the ship do? Stay straight? Slew sideways and turn across the wind? Does the bow take damage from the impact? Is she taking on water?

    Then someone declares, "Ah, an Elemental." Who said that? Better that the captain should say it, or the helmsman who's suddenly had the ship yawed crossways, exposing the pirate to his sight. But the discussion (nearly a paragraph) of what an elemental is and their habits with respect to privacy -- that's out of place.

    To give us that information, you need to either demonstrate it, refer to it as subtle here-and-there clues, or else have someone ask questions about it so that an older hand can answer them.   

  • Two other quick questions:

    1. Will this story involve a robot pirate armadillo?

    2. You do not perchance have six fingers on your right hand?

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    I was going to also point out Aftcastle as a misnomer, but I see that it is apparently used sometimes, so it can stand. Typically, one refers to the after part of a ship as the fantail, stern, or informally as the "poop deck." However, to my surprise, aftcastle or aftercastle appear to be acceptable alternatives.

    It's not an alternative, that's what it used to be called in times of yore, and still is if one is lucky enough to own such a ship.

    It describes exactly what it is.

    See the source image

    A castle at the back.  :)

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    For a nautical story, nautical knowledge is necessary.

    Indeed it is.

  • You've fallen for one of the classic blunders, talking naval terms with an old Navy man
    Tim Reinholt Author of Pow, a ski bum heist adventure
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    You've fallen for one of the classic blunders, talking naval terms with an old Navy man

    Who has?

    From the slight description of the ship it's possibly one like this >>

    See the source image

    Hence the term aftcastle.

    Old enough to have sailed in those times?  :)

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