Scene & Chapter Openers

The Bloated One

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#1
Hi Everyone,

not been on here for a looong time!

I am well into the 'Book Two Blues', and doubting everything I write, so I thought I'd get some inspiration/advice from the best place around, Chrons!

Two short passages; I have two questions - Are they interesting? Would you want to read more?

I should add, that book one (Tarquin Jenkins & the book of Dreams) explains fully what the Putriryosomatidarectem race is; Human like crocodiles, that walk upright.

Putriryosomatidarectem Presidential Palace, Putrios.

“Admiral Gruilash Vandergaard, you have been weighed. You have been measured. And you have absolutely been found wanting. Your dereliction of duty and abject failure to stop the earthlings and their cabal has caused severe embarrassment to the Putriryosomatidarectem nation and cannot go unpunished.”

Gruilash stood before the President and Senate spitting bile. Stripped of his body armour and ceremonial robes, he railed against the two guards holding him.

“Only your unblemished war record stands between you, dishonour and death. It is a unanimous decision that you be banished from Putrios and live the rest of your life as Governor of a small enclave of prisoners on the Magdellana Moon colony. Take him away.”

The snarl on President’s face disappeared as Gruilash was led away, and his eyes glinted. He looked around at the several thousand senators sitting in their boxes stretching high above him and surrounding his dais.

“Fresh from his many, many victories in the Thorn Galaxy, I welcome to our gathering, Commander of the Black Guard, Admiral Kreien Vythrax III.

The doors to the chamber opened, and a tall, hooded figure walked into the room. Steam erupted from within the hood covering his head, and green bile dropped and fizzed on the floor. Eyes, one green, the other blue, shone like precious stones from within the mantle. Maundering voices spread through the gathering, until with a wave of the hooded man’s hand they stopped.

“Today is a good day. Today, we start to take what is rightfully ours…” He pulled back his hood and the senators gasped. His ears, or what were left of them, were shredded leaves of scarred flesh. Running from one side of his jaw to just under his right eye was a deep, purple scar, highlighted against the green of his scaly skin. Two crescent shaped, titanium capped teeth curved down from his upper jaw, extending a full 8 inches either side of his jawline. He wore the battle uniform of an Admiral, First Class.

“No more shall yellow hair and her pathetic rabble laugh at us,” he continued, his deep voice resonating around the hall, slowly getting louder. “And, no more will we allow the human race to cower behind the pathetic protection afforded to it by the Galaxies President! We will find the amulet, and use it to destroy them and their planet!”

The gathering rose as one, stamped their feet and ululated the only way Griddlebacks can.

---------------------------------------

3 AM. Whitehall, London. Elizabethan England.


“I am come amongst you at this time, not as for my recreation or sport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay down, for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honour and my blood, even the dust. I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart of a prince, and of a prince of England, too.” The woman looked up from the parchment and smiled. “Then I’ll make reference to whoever we are fighting at the time. I rather like it, don’t you?”

Dudley sat up in bed. “Your words are beautiful my Queen, but may I suggest you have the heart of a King, not a mere Prince?” Before anyone spoke again, a loud whooshing noise rent the air and the centre of the room was filled by a vortex of steam and rain that swirled violently around the bed-chamber soaking everything within.

“Coads-nigs!” cried Dudley, struggling to get free from the water soaked sheets entangling them. Inside the vortex a sedan chair spun to a stop in front of the bed. Escaping the sheets, Dudley grabbed his sword and dagger from the table beside the bed, and moved warily toward the stationary chair.

Seeing two shadowy figures inside, he pointed his sword at the door and yelled, “Come out! Come out!” as he pulled a sheet around his waist. The woman in bed pulled her clothing from the floor, scrambled to the headboard and covered herself.

The sedan chair’s door opened and two men, naked but for long multicoloured beards, and tricornered hats, emerged with their hands held high.

“Please, please, we are lost…”

“What language is this?” spluttered Dudley, waving his sword wildly in the air. “It is the devil’s language!” he yelled, his eyes the size of duck eggs.

“No, no, it’s Italian!” said the woman.

“Raise the alarm my Queen,” said Dudley, standing guard before the bed. Pulling a gown over her shoulders she joined Dudley in front of the chair and gently eased him to one side.

“Please,” she said, pointing to Dudley’s clothes strewn about the floor. “I am Elizabeth, Queen of England. We mean you no harm. Please, put these clothes on.” She signalled Dudley to gather up his clothes and hand them over. Dudley complied, albeit reluctantly. “Sit by the fire and warm yourselves,” she continued.

The two strangers dressed quickly and went to the fire and sat down. One wore Dudley’s doublet, barely covering his stomach, the other man wore Dudley’s breeches and his undershirt. Dudley shook his head and, without lowering his sword found his codpiece, and passed it to the stranger wearing the doublet. “You need to cover your modesty in front of my Queen,” he growled.

“Now,” said Elizabeth, “who are you, and how on God’s good earth did you get into my bed chamber!”
 
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#2
Hi Bloated one!

I am new to Chrons and the critiquing side of things so I don't have much in the way of technical critique but I particularly liked the first entry

the Race name of the Crocodiles stopped me while reading and pulled me out for awhile as I attempted to make sense of the word.

I assume the disgraced Admiral Gruilash will come into it later? or was he a place holder to introduce us to the scene? I enjoyed the imagery and declaration of the Black Guard Admiral and I would definitely have continued reading from there. Let me know when you have more as i want to know more about this universe!

for the second piece overall I liked it and the only things that pulled me was a minor confusion when the strangers spoke as there were no indications during the line that it wasn't also English until Dudley didn't comprehend. definitely could be just me but it made me stop and go back to read it.

Loved both and am very curious to see what happens
 

The Bloated One

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#3
Hi Shuffle093,

These are my musings, trying to kick start book 2.

Thanks for the comments, I'll rework the language with Dudley so the reader understands better.

If you would like to know about Gruilash, and the other characters, I'd be more than happy to send you a copy; epub pdf mobi whatever works for you. It was published in 2016 and on Amazon. You can read the reviews to get a feel for what it's about. Just need an email.

Tarquin Jenkins and the Book of Dreams.

Thanks again.
 

CTRandall

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#4
I'm left a little uncertain as to the overall tone you're trying to achieve. There's an absurdity (not a bad absurdity, rather a potentially good absurdity!) to the crocodilians and to the bedroom scene that suggests a lightly-comic, farcical adventure. If this is what you're aiming for, I think you could push the putriryosomatidarectems a bit more over the top (not the name--that's great!).

For example, at the moment Gruilash stands stripped of all honour, is threatened with death and then "sentenced" to become governor of a colony. It may be a demotion but it's a long way from a death sentence. If this is intended as comic, make the dissonance between crime and punishment clearer. Focus on the grievous nature of Gruilash's failings, the horrible means of execution he might face and then give us Gruilash's abject horror at becoming governor of the colony.

And if it is intended as a more serious adventure, do the same! Make us wonder about what could be so nasty about the colony. Or make it clear to us that, in crocodilian society, death is far preferable a fate than dishonour.

The bedroom scene has plenty af absurdity as is but I agree with shuffle093 that it got a little confusing in the middle.

With a little more clarity of tone and clarity of action, this could turn out nicely.
 

The Bloated One

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#5
CTRandall,

Absurdity is good; Douglas Adams meets JK Rowling and the cast Monty Python over a pot of tea.

It's a YA romp through time, space and history with life lessons thrown in...Which means I'll be re-locating the 'bedroom scene' to Dudley's private rooms to avoid an 'R' rating!

I like the 'Death before Dishonour' vibe you suggest, and the President not allowing it - I'll rewrite both scenes and pop them up.

Thanks!

The Bloated One
 

The Bloated One

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#6
I've re-written the scenes to make them more understandable, and hopefully taken various suggestions into consideration.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Putriryosomatidarectem Presidential Palace, Putrios.

“Admiral Gruilash Vandergaard, you have been weighed. You have been measured. And you have absolutely been found wanting. Your dereliction of duty and abject failure to stop the earthlings and their cabal has caused severe embarrassment to the Putriryosomatidarectem nation and cannot go unpunished.”

Gruilash stood before the President and Senate spitting bile. Stripped of his body armour and ceremonial robes, he railed against the two guards holding him.

“You crave what every war hero craves, an honourable death. But, you brought shame and dishonour to our great nation. Death would be too easy a release. It is the unanimous decision of this Council that you be banished from Putrios and live the rest of your life as Governor of a small enclave of prisoners on the Magdellana Moon colony. Take him away.”

“Noooooo,” cried Gruilash, thrashing from side to side and thrusting out his chest, but his guards quickly silenced him.

As Gruilash was dragged unconscious toward the exit, the snarl on President’s face disappeared. He looked around at the several thousand senators sitting in a semi circle bank around him.

“Fresh from his many, many victories in the Thorn Galaxy, I welcome to our gathering, Commander of the Black Guard, Admiral Kreien Vythrax III.

The doors to the chamber opened, and a tall, hooded figure walked into the room. Steam erupted from within the hood covering his head, and green bile dropped and fizzed on the floor. Eyes, one green, the other blue, shone like precious stones from within the mantle. Maundering voices spread through the gathering, until with a wave of the hooded man’s hand they stopped.

“Today is a good day. Today, we start to take what is rightfully ours…” He pulled back his hood and the senators gasped. His ears, or what were left of them, were shredded leaves of scarred flesh. Running from one side of his jaw to just under his right eye was a deep, purple scar, highlighted against the green of his scaly skin. Two crescent shaped, titanium capped teeth curved down from his upper jaw, extending a full 8 inches either side of his jawline. He wore the battle uniform of an Admiral, First Class.

“No more shall yellow hair and her pathetic rabble laugh at us,” he continued, his deep voice resonating around the hall, slowly getting louder. “And, no more will we allow the human race to cower behind the pathetic protection afforded to it by the Galaxies President! We will find the amulet, and use it to destroy them and their planet!”

The gathering rose as one, stamped their feet and ululated the only way Griddlebacks can.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------



9th July 1575 15:00. Kenilworth Castle, Home of Lord Dudley. Elizabethan England.


“I am come amongst you at this time, not as for my recreation or sport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay down, for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honour and my blood, even the dust. I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart of a prince, and of a prince of England, too.” The woman looked up from the parchment and smiled. “Then I’ll make reference to whoever we are fighting at the time. I rather like it, don’t you?”

Dudley, sitting in a chair by the fire, looked up and nodded.

“Your words are beautiful my Queen, but may I suggest you have the heart of a King, not a mere Prince?” Before anyone spoke, a loud whooshing noise rent the air and the centre of the room was filled by a vortex of steam and rain that swirled violently around the room soaking everything within.

“Coads-nigs!” cried Dudley, struggling to get free from the water forcing him against the back of his chair. Inside the vortex a sedan chair spun to a stop in the centre of the room. Escaping his seat when the vortex slowed, Dudley grabbed his sword and dagger from the table beside the fire, and moved warily toward the stationary chair.

Seeing two shadowy figures inside, he pointed his sword at the door and yelled, “Come out! Come out!”

The sedan chair’s door opened and two men, naked but for long multicoloured beards, and tricornered hats, emerged with their hands held high.

“Per favore, per favore, siamo persi…”

“What language is this?” spluttered Dudley, waving his sword wildly in the air. “It is the devil’s language!” he yelled, his eyes the size of duck eggs.

“No, no, it’s Italian!” said the woman, sitting against the far wall where she’d been thrown by the vortex.

“Raise the alarm my Queen,” said Dudley, standing guard.

Getting up form the floor, the woman wiped water from her face and joined Dudley in front of the chair before easing him to one side.

“Now,” she said, taking off her wig. “I am Elizabeth, Queen of England. We mean you no harm.” Looking them up and down she smiled. “Please, you need clothes.” She signalled Dudley to help. Dudley complied, albeit reluctantly, taking cloaks from the wall he passed them to the men. “Please sit down,” continued Elizabeth. The two strangers wrapped themselves in the cloaks, and sat down by the waterlogged fireplace.

Elizabeth, with hands on hips, looked down at the shivering men. “Who are you, and how on God’s good earth did you get in here!”
 

Penny

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#7
You tend to lose me after about 3 paragraphs in, the big words stilted language and occasional use of uncommonly used words makes it difficult to follow.
I tend to not want to break out a dictionary when I am trying to read.
Now I am not saying that it is bad, I have dyslexia which makes reading certain things and stilted language, uncommon words and complicated names tend to do that to me.

Just letting you know that for me it was difficult to follow. If this was the beginning of your story it would not be enough to draw me in.
I powered through anyway :p


Constructive part:
That being said Ill try to help a bit with the second scene. -no idea who dudley is I am calling him a servant here because that seems like his role... or somthing.

I would introduce the characters with more... suspense, in the scene its bam, bam, bam, bam. one event after the other after the other. because of this you lose all impact of their nakedness. the language for some reason is addressed before the mens apparent lack of clothing.

I would probably add a bit with the servant trying to preserve decency like a worried mother protecting an innocent child from something rude. \
and have the servant be more threatening which is why the men might start begging and put their hands up. possibly dropping hats covering naughty bits for comedic effect.

Trying to help, don't take the top bit personal just being honest as I can to help.
 
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Appello

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#8
To be honest, my main sticking point was why on earth Lord Dudley would 1 - not recognise spoken Italian and 2 - subsequently call it the 'devil's language.'

I presume this character is based around Lord Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester and Elizabeth I's close confidante. In that case, it should be noted that "Robert Dudley possessed a rare talent for languages and writing." Considering the importance of Rome at this time, and the Italian city-states for trading purposes, I find it very hard to believe an important member of the English aristocracy would react in such a manner.

Then again, in a story about sentient crocodiles, perhaps I'm just taking it all a little too seriously? :whistle::p
 

The Bloated One

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#9
Penny, Apello,

Thank you both for your insights.

Penny, absolutely right, the first thing that Dudley should be noticing is their nakedness. I'll do a rewrite to bring that out.

Apello, oh my goodness, I missed it! It is Lord Dudley, and though I've researched QE1 and her love of languages (Italian being one), I didn't do enough on Dudley. I'll rewrite this. Thanks!

Context -

In my first book, it ends with Nostradamus and Leonardo Da Vinci stealing a time travelling sedan chair and taking off with an amulet that has incredible powers. They have no idea of its power (though the good and bad guys do, and want it), nor where the sedan chair will travel and land. In the first book I play around with history, and this continues in book two, hence their landing is in Elizabethan England during a 19 day period when Lord Dudley tried to convince Queen Elizabeth to marry him. The setting and festivities during these 19 days lends themselves to all manner of nonsense, and has the possibility for every Tom, Dick and alien to take a part.

The Bloated One
 

ctg

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#10
Then again, in a story about sentient crocodiles, perhaps I'm just taking it all a little too seriously? :whistle::p
Yes you are. BTO style is fill his prose with humour and beautiful but weird details. He's much like late Douglas Adams.
 

The Bloated One

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#11
Thanks CTG, really appreciate the comments!

This isn't a sales pitch as my first book has been out for two years on Amazon, but if any Chron reader's interested, I am happy to give them an electronic copy (epdf, epub, mobi etc), just message me.

The Bloated One
 

ctg

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#12
If this second book is standalone, then the beginning is different to your previous work. Well done. My concern is that Queen Elisabeth doesn't come as Royal. So please consider tightening characters and allow the side-ones to shine, because you bring out a great cast and you could make the MC more intriguing by using everything, the mannerism, the speeches, dresses and et cetera to buff your prose even more.
 

The Bloated One

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#13
CTG,

No, not standalone, it follows on from Book One. My protagonist has left 2016 to go and live in 2340 as a member of the British Intergalactic Foreign Service. His new colleagues found a way for him to leave 2016 by staging his death.....So, for a bit of fun, I started Book Two back in the Steeple Snoring Post Office where it all began...


----------------------------------------

Book Two - Opening Chapter Scenes

The Steeple Snoring Post Office door flew open and Mrs Roundtree bustled in.

“They’ve found that Jenkins boy in the woods! He’s been eaten!”

The post office fell silent. A dozen, ordinarily grey faces turned white; a baby cried.

“How, why?” asked the Post Master. “It’s been three weeks since he went missing.”

“That joyous day,” muttered Mrs Hoploosely, but luckily nobody heard her.

All eyes were turned to the new arrival who, having run—well, waddled—all the way down the High Street, was now being comforted by husband Kenneth from his mobility scooter.

Mrs Roundtree gripped the edge of the counter tightly, her face the colour of rhubarb. Wheezing histrionically, she sucked in a deep breath.

“Sergeant Sloth says …” She sniffed and looked skyward before continuing. “He says … a sounder of wild boars ate him! The best bits, anyway. They left just enough to recognize him by. The Jenkins boy, that is.”

She burst into a flood of tears and collapsed backwards to sit on her husband who emitted a mournful cry.

Mrs Hoploosely nodded shrewdly. “Sounder, it’s a technical term. She means a pack.”

“Are we safe?” Asked a very small man in a trilby hat who was stretching up on tiptoes to look out of the casement window. Several customers moved to join him. As they did, so the little man inconspicuously eased himself away and made for the door.

“Excuse me, but you look strangely familiar.” Standing in the doorway, staring down at him with a visage reminiscent of a pit bull terrier who’d just been spayed, was Mrs Hoploosley. “You’re Vladimir Pu—”

“Oi don’t t’ink so. O’im jist passin’ through ta village.” The little man pulled his trilby down over his face, ducked under Mrs Hoploosley’s closed umbrella and darted out of the post office.

Walking away along the High Street, he occasionally glanced behind to see if anyone was following him. Reaching the doorway of the burned-out Enchanted Teapot Tea Rooms, he paused for one last look up and down the High Street.

No one was interested in him.

Smiling, he continued on his way out of town until he reached the double lock and, beside it, the lock-keeper’s cottage. In the cottage’s front garden was a battered Willerby Vogue caravan, mounted precariously on bricks.

The little man opened the door to the caravan and hopped in. It was so much bigger on the inside. By the door was Jeremiah Cavendish, once a heavyweight wrestler who’d been talked of in terms of a world championship, now retired and for many years the Steeple Snoring lock-keeper.

“Calbhach! How did it go?” Jeremiah asked.

“Pretty boar-ing really,” he said, removing his hat and chuckling.

“You’ve been working on that born mott all morning, ’aven’t you?” said Jeremiah with a grin. “Not sure about the disguise, though. Anyone recognize you?”

“Nah, me Putin wus grand,” said Calbhach, pressing the ring around his neck. The semblance of Vladimir Putin vanished and a wart-encrusted, bunion-nosed red-haired leprechaun appeared in its place. “You got dat pack of boars back ta medieval France?”

“All good,” said Jeremiah. “Though one of them took a shining to Rhiordan, which was a bit messy.”

Calbhach raised his bushy eyebrows. “For Rhiordan or the boar?”

“Both. We pulled them apart, eventually. Rhiordan’s still sulking.”

The leprechaun shrugged off his coat. “Lunch ready?”

“Yes. The brothers Grimm have made something special.”

“Chops?”

Jeremiah nodded, looking guilty. “Rhiordan says I can have his.”



The Bloated One
 
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The Judge

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#14
TBO, I've edited your last post. As you know the limit here in Critiques is 1500 words. The opening of Book 2 added to the original post you made here just comes within that limit. Adding the beginning of Book 1 takes you well over. I appreciate Book 1 is out in the world and you didn't put it here for critiquing purposes, but (a) someone else might try to argue it forms a precedent for allowing more than 1500 and (b) we don't allow already published stuff to be put here anyway. If anyone who doesn't know your work wants to have the two side by side for comparison, doubtless you can arrange that privately.
 

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