Saturday, August 7, 2010

High Drama Blogfest

This blogfest is brought to you by DL Hammons. The link to his blogfest page and participants is provided.

The excerpt for this fest, like all of my other fest entries, are excerpts from my manuscript. This scene falls on the discovery of a journey-changing item, and two of the characters have it about their motives. It's a short clip to stay under the 500 word mark.

Please do not butter up the comments. If there is something you do not like, please say so. Thanks and enjoy!

* * *

Who Do You Think You Are?

The center of the table, once streaking with the colors of the torch light, became mottled with ink spots of different shades. The spots spread as if on paper and bled into each other until a rectangular form was visible. Valence removed his hand from the medallion slot when a soft rumble emanated from the table. The four stood close together and watched as the ink spots solidified into a sliding window. The window slid open in both directions and from the center of the table rose a leather bound manuscript, reverse side up. Situated on turning racks, the manuscript flipped over to the front sleeve and revealed an embossed leather jacket with an ornate bone dagger penetrating the center.

Valence reached for the dagger, his fingers within inches, and the ancientness returned. The dagger? No, the book, or both, he thought. Wavelike swells spiraled around the handle of the dagger, and the closer he came to touching it, he only slightly saw it shake. It responded to proximity.

“Valence, your aura,” Melana pointed out, “mine as well.”

Valence looked away from the silver wisps smoking off his hand, and slid a glance over his shoulder. Melana’s emerald green was also dancing, less vibrant, but nevertheless reacting.

“What are you doing?” Melana stepped forward and pulled his hand back from the dagger. “You can’t touch that.”

“Why not?” Their auras intertwined for a moment, silver and emerald, swirling as their hands remained touching. “Our auras are reacting to the dagger, and likely the book, too. I want to see what’s in it.”

“I’m not feeling right about this book here.” Gerad moved a step back. “I’d prefer them leave it be, that’s all I’ll say,” he said, yielding his hands open.

Valence raised his head, but needn’t look back to the King to hear his thoughts clear. He probed and peeled through the rumble of a mess in the king’s head. Much of what he had been contemplating regarded Falistar. Who had been able to access the catacombs, best him in talent, and then to leave the body as if it had no value? But, a response to Gerad’s berated words lingered forward. His silver flared up a bit and caused Melana’s emerald to heighten as well.

“Let him open it,” King Pallanza said. “We need some sort of reassurance that Falistar died with cause.”

“You’re placing your hope on this book?” Disapproval crept into Gerad’s voice. “A strange chamber connected to Falistar’s quarters and deep secrets of the First Generation? Sounds like fun, yes it does, but some things need to be left alone, my Lord. There’s a great deal of evil left in this world and this book being here is just another absurdity that’ll lead to something we won’t like.”

“Much is absurd to you, isn’t it, Gerad?” Valence wheeled around and disconnected his silver from the emerald. His aura ignited into frenzied, uncontrolled spikes. Melana drew close to him and his silver lashed out at the emerald, holding off her intervention. “I would think now that you know what I’m capable of, you would be more inclined to let a few things slip by your reasoning, or lack there of, I should say.”

“Watch your tone, Valence,” Gerad said, his face flushing. “What you’re doing now doesn’t amend for your past!”

“Like you know about my past! Don’t bring up things you barely understand!” He pushed forward, hands clenched to fists and knuckles near as white as his hair.

“I don’t need to know anything,” the general answered, teeth gritted and fuming. “The Lunata have a reputation, remember?”


  1. Well you certainly found a high drama scene. :)
    I especially enjoyed the colorful wisps of auras.

    Well done.

  2. There's a lot going on here, personalities and ideologies clashing. I liked the descriptions of the auras as they reacted and interacted to the emotions of the characters. Well done!

    You have a great blog, btw!

  3. I'm enjoying "tasting" selections from the various genre's as I make my rounds today, validating my claim that high drama is universal, and this is no exception. Very nice piece!

    Thank you for letting us sample it today!

  4. This piece is vivid and dramatic. There are so many elements I would love to know more about. Well done.

  5. This was a good read. I enjoyed the aura's and the dialogue seemed very real. This line: "Who had been able to access the catacombs, best him in talent, and then to leave the body as if it had no value?" was a bit hard on the first read through- i read it a couple times before i was able to capture its intention. Thanks for posting!

  6. Hi,

    Really enjoyed this as I did the last piece (previous blogfest), but can see: if you split the first paragraph at line 6 "Sliding window" (break)

    "The Window" as second para.

    Although the two sentences are closely related it not only becomes a less daunting paragraph as a whole it enhances the lead up to book's appearance.


  7. I think this piece is very intriguing - I want to keep reading. Like everyone else, I loved the descriptions of the interacting auras. :-)

  8. Great, intense piece. Francine has a good suggestion. If at all possible to be easier on the attention and eye of the reader, try to make your paragraphs limited to 3 sentences.

    And if you find a sentence has flowed past one line, see if you can make it two sentences.

    An aid for me is to read my work out loud. If I have to take a breath before I finish the sentence, I know I've made it too long.

    All these are just suggestions, of course. You must go with what feels right to you. You did a great job, Roland

  9. This is inspired, Justin- the description at the opening was absolutely gorgeous. Vivid, beautiful.

    You asked for it (lol) so here (again as before and I'm sorry I just realized I didn't look back to see follow up on that comment last time- will look now!) the only thing I have to offer is that the use and reuse of the word 'aura' starts to stand out to me personally but again as before I'm not sure if there's other things you could substitute to break it up.

    There was one word that stuck out at me besides that- the word 'fun' just felt little too modern for this piece but that is the tiniest nit-picky thing ever.

    That's all I got to say that won't be shameless praise. I really enjoyed this.

    thanks too for your comments on my entry this is such an awesome blogfest because of entries like this.


  10. Nicely done. That first paragraph in particular really intrigued me.

    However, I agree that the "sounds like fun" line does not fit such a piece. Perhaps you could say, "Sounds enjoyable"?

    And finally, "he probed and peeled through the rumble of a mess in the king's head" felt awkward. I understand and like where you were going with it; just tweak it some.

    Keep up the great work!

  11. Just be careful with paragraph and sentence length (like I should talk).

    The aura descriptions worked well and I do wish to know more.

    I love this fest. So many writing styles and genres.

    Keep up the good work.

  12. Definitely a tense scene with a lot of depth. I loved your description here: "His aura ignited into frenzied, uncontrolled spikes."


  13. So is it the dagger or the book? I wasn't done reading! You've had some great feedback in the other comments, all on spot.

    I'd just add to Amanda's comment about the para. with "...probed and peeled..." The imagery is good, but the paragraph seemed out of order. First, Gerad is saying to leave the book. Next, Valence reads the King's mind, and finally his aura reacts to Gerad's words. Seems like the reaction to Gerad should come first in the paragraph.

    I have to say I really want to read more about Valence. The guy's got an attitude, and I like that. And he seems to have a shady past--add another 100 points!

  14. A lot of story going on here. The drama came through effectively. I'm sorry I'm so late reading and commenting. I agree that shorter paragraphs would ease the flow, and some of the language pulled me out of the era. The concepts themselves are intriguing.

    I know this is an excerpt from an ongoing novel, but it is a bit crowded with action, backstory, internal thoughts, dialogue. Its a bit overwhelming to follow so many things going on.

    Excellent dramatic scene. I'm curious about the dagger and book. And you're right; our scenes are similar. Great minds and all that :)


  15. Well done Justin. Loved that Valance. You use some very good descriptions: The spots spread as if on paper and bled into each other until a rectangular form was visible. Excellent entry for the blogfest..:)

  16. This is a very well-realized scene. The others have pointed out the stuff that could use work, so I wouldn't repeat it....I would suggest, however that you read the first para aloud so you can check for flow issues.
    Would love to read this book.


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