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The Refugee

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#1 Offline Zarayna

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Posted Nov 18 2012 - 09:07 PM

     This is another story I wrote in the style of stories such as Within Temptation and An Assassin’s Reflection: basically going with an image of either scenery or action, and writing a story based on that, usually only encompassing a single scene. So if you want to know the backstory for this… Good luck, because I don’t know it. Same thing goes for the country or time period (okay, time period is easy to guess technology-wise).     Great credit for inspiration goes to the song Concrete Angel. It is a seriously epic song, and I suggest it to everyone reading this.

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Beneath the glory of every war there is the drudgery of evil; beneath the glories of the decorated soldier is the terror-etched face of the civilians of sacked cities and razed village: the underdwellers and victims of all wars.

     The night sky was brilliantly clear in the country, like the inside of a globe, dotted with stars. It was warm in the early autumn, the air filled with that smell that marked the brilliant picture of yellow-gold surroundings so well.     The road was old and narrow, a single car could hardly travel along it, and the surface was pockmarked and rutted with age. Hardly a few feet of clear ground—grass covered in a light layer of leaves—separated the way from the thick forest surrounding it.      On both sides were high embankments, and above them the dark boles of the silent trees looked down upon the boy as he half ran, half stumbled along. To him, the dreamy atmosphere of the lovely night was utterly lost, his eyes bearing the hunted look of an animal. His ragged sneakers padded softly on the pavement, but he heard it not. At every footfall the heavy tramping of boots replaced his steps in his mind. His breath became the terse shouted orders, the sound of jingling equipment. His uncut dark hair fell across his eyes partly, shrouding the world from him, leaving his memories better entrance as his senses were blocked.     The world around him was burning, the world about what filled with screaming. The boy scrambled about disoriented, trying to grab the nearest possessions in his ragged tent. Smoke filled the air, and the sound of guns rang out constantly. Spurred by blind terror he fled the tent, rushing into the main grounds of the sprawling camp built into the beautiful countryside. In the war torn land, refugee camps like these were all too common, as was the practice of burning them. He began running towards the edge of the forest, so temptingly close. Behind him he could hear screams and shouts, while in front of him there was only silence, deceptive silence. He twisted around to look back, and could see others running in the same direction. And behind them… He paled more—if that was possible—and pushed himself more, even as shots rang out closer, the more ordered forms of soldiers shooting down the stragglers without mercy; ahead the calming dark of the forest yawned larger, in sharp contrast to the horror behind. The boy was gasping for breath as he stumbled about the first tree-boles, a carpet of leaves replacing the grass and dirt of before. His headlong rush ceased at length almost ten minutes when he collapsed, utterly spent, but free.     His running cleared the hair partly, and the boy snapped back to the present, reaching with a hand to wipe tears and hair alike out of his face. It was then that he paused like a rabbit realizing a human was watching it: the small road he was on was behind him, but where he stood was on a main road it had joined to. He looked ways, and at the right started back, eyes wide with terror. Voices he heard coming from the dim shape of a check point. Running feet he heard, their booted clump drowning out his as he turned and fled, stumbling even more as exhaustion overcame the spurt of terror. Gun shots rang out, a bullet hit the pavement next to him, and he cried out silently as the next entered his leg: his stumbling became a fall, preserving his life as another bullet flew over his prone form.     But even as he dragged himself off the ground into a crouch, he saw the black figures of his hunters in front of him, and his eyes closed in surrender as another shot rang out.

Another body enters a faceless grave, a fragment of rock caustically stuck above. Another corpse rots beneath the splendor of the Autumn night, blighting invisibly the beauty of nature.

Edited by Zarayna, Nov 19 2012 - 06:03 PM.

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#2 Offline Jean Valjean

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Posted Nov 22 2012 - 05:21 PM

:kaukau: While the concept is neat, I think that you have to focus a lot less on description. As I read through this, there were times where description made it difficult to understand action and skewed my sense of time. It would have also made more sense to start off with the running and escaping instead of the descriptions of the forest, which were of only nominal importance to telling the story, even if they did set up an atmosphere. Given the space limitations, I would have spent more time focusing on events and actions so at to set up a narrative, but what I saw here was more of a glimpse at a scene, and not even a complete scene. Basically, I can summarize this as "A boy runs out of a concentrations camp, realizes that they're still chasing him, and gets shot in spite of his efforts."It can be really difficult. Really, really difficult, in fact, but it is possible to tell ten times this amount of story in just 1,000 words, and I suppose that's why we practice as we learn how to write as powerfully as we can. Descriptions only hold nominal power, but story has the strength to move mountains. And unfortunately, what little I see of this story has a very negative theme. Unhappy stories have their necessity, although they aren't always easy to praise. I'm having trouble applying it to anything relevant to myself. However, I'll get to application later. What I basically have to say here is that your pacing has to go up, and something I would certainly consider would be to decrease your paragraph style (which, by the way, I am very happy to see you indented instead of settling for block formatting).Now for the positives: At least you're not like other writers on this site. You didn't waste as much time as you could have on description. If this was a novel, the amount you put in here would have been more acceptable with a little editing (because there are a few times where it's a little strained). You gave the description, but didn't try too hard to find a metaphor through it all, unlike Stephanie Meyer and other writers who have to personify everything ("The trees staired accusingly at me, as if disappointed at my failure to escape into their loving bosom." That's not quoting anything particular, but I''m just saying that you should never write like this.).Your atmosphere is certainly good, and I get a sense for where this place is. While I questioned the way you used your space, I didn't mind the clear image it created. The sky, the forest, and to some extent the camp. Do I wish that there was more time spent in the camp? Yes. Did I get it? No. However, what all this does is to successfully set up an emotional tone. Now of course, if more words were available to you, you could do this much better and it could always help to know the full backstory of an individual in order to humanize them and emphasize the tragedy of the loss of human life. Since that's what you're trying to get at here, I applaud you. It may be a sad story, but this is when stories ought to be sad, rather than emo wrist-cutting stories about how life sucks and we ought to be miserable "just because". While that's a hyperbole, you know what I'm talking about. If you're planning on continuing with stories with unhappy endings, I recommend that you keep with what you're doing and continue to write war stories. While they don't directly apply to me, these cautionary tales still have their purpose. I only hope that you continue to improve on your ability to write short war stories by packing as much narrative into them as you can, and after that, you're golden.


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