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9 replies to this topic  – Started by greg3 , Jul 03 2011 11:10 PM

#1 greg3

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Posted 03 July 2011 - 11:10 PM

Here's my entry for the story writing contest. To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of the POTC films but I love the POTC sets and they've have rekindled my love of things Lego and pirate... and given my only remaining Redcoat a new lease of life!!

Posted Image

The young marine gazed into the mist, knowing that out there somewhere pirates lurked.

Blackbeard, Barbossa, Sparrow, the very names caused him to shiver, despite the warmth of the Caribbean night. Then, hearing approaching footsteps he turned, fumbling for his musket, but as a figure appeared from the gloom, his challenge died on his lips... it was Him.

The Last of the Originals stepped forward, the flickering firelight revealing a sergeant's redcoat, worn and faded, breeches yellowed with age. He spoke, his voice hoarse after years of silence.
“All quiet?”  
“Aye sarge,” replied the private, adding nervously, “They’re... coming though aren’t they?”
The sergeant looked at the young marine’s perfect uniform and pale skin, yet to experience the horror and glory of combat, and thought back to his first battle...

That vicious fight to drive the bluecoats from Eldorado had been followed by years of skirmishing against pirates, smugglers and cannibals. He remembered the prisons he’d escaped from, the women he’d rescued and the taverns he’d celebrated in... before the dark times. Abandoned, forgotten, comrades disappearing one by one until he was the only one left. No more adventures, only darkness.

Until finally, a ruthless new breed of pirate saw him recalled to duty. Now with fresh enemies to fight, monsters to face and men to lead, his life has a purpose again. Starting here.

Looking back at the young marine, his yellowed, weathered face split into a grin, “Aye lad, they’re coming but we’ll face them together, side by side and teach ‘em to fear us Redcoats.”

Hearing these words, the private’s fears seemed to evaporate and he stood taller and prouder.

Saluting, the sergeant turned to continue his rounds. As he walked off, a moonbeam pierced the mist and something glistened on his cheek. He wiped it away.

Edited by greg3, 09 July 2011 - 10:12 PM.


#2 Bricks4Fun

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Posted 04 July 2011 - 02:12 AM

Hello Greg

Excellent story! This was very, very well written both in narrative and dialogue. You did such a good job of characterizing the relationship between soldier and commanding officer. I love the tone that this entry takes, the calm before the storm of the redcoat's inevitable demise. Much like JulieBlue's entry, it reads very much like an excerpt from a war journal.

I also admire the fact that you made the redcoats the focus of this entry, which makes it stand out against some of the other entries. I also wanted to add that I love how you summed up the history of the LEGOLAND Pirates in the third paragraph, how the redcoats drove off the bluecoats and then subsequently fought the other groups. This is so difficult to do sometimes and you gave it to the reader on a sliver platter. Finally, The sergeant's back story of grizzled war veteran is perfect, and I think you did a great job of describing his wear and tear to reflect all the wars he had fought.

Very minor suggestions:

Looking back at the young marine, his yellowed, weathered face split into a grin

-I think there should be a period after "grin" or a comma if you plan on joining this sentence with the quote that comes next.



For this sentence:
Then hearing approaching footsteps he turned,

Maybe a comma after 'then' sounds better.



I also feel the picture could use some work, mainly because of the light that is used. Not sure if its just my computer but the top half of the pic looks a faded white. I believe you are trying to capture the moonbeam casting a light on the Officer's face as in the end of the story no? Maybe try a different shade or photoshop it. Other than the lighting though, I think the setup is very good.

As I tell everyone, they're just suggestions, take 'em or leave 'em :) I loved your story and I think it is a winner.

Edited by Bricks4Fun, 04 July 2011 - 02:31 AM.


#3 greg3

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Posted 04 July 2011 - 06:31 AM

Thanks for the comments... you're right about the missing commas - they've now been added. I'll work on the pic later (the white was an attempt at mist in PS but it's not really worked!!)
Cheers
Greg

#4 MstrOfPppts

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Posted 04 July 2011 - 12:41 PM

Hey greg3. I must say that this is currently one of my favorite entries! It's really well written and unique in more ways! First it's the already mentioned focus of the story on the redcoats, which is a very smart move. Second (my favorite) is the fact that on the contrary to all other entries which try to describe as much as possible in the limit of 300 words, this entry describes actually a total of 3 dialogue lines which probably happen in less than a minute, but in such a detailed way that it really makes the reader satisfied!

I really don't think there is much to add to the story. But as I've mentioned before not being satisfied with the usage of parenthesis, I must mention that I'm not too fond of using the ellipsis either (...). I think that this is rarely used in literature and can easily be replaced by dot, comma or simply left out in some places. I think though ellipsis does have its meaning, the story is read more fluently without them. At least not with so many.

Another thing I'd like to note here is that I really like the picture. Of course the edit could be done better, but it gave me straight the foggy feel. I'd only use a darker blue filter over the whole picture - before the mist - to make it look more like it's lit by the moonlight at night. Current picture looks like there's a sunset light coming from the right - the yellowish tone on the leg of the private (bottom right).

Nice entry and good luck in the competition!

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#5 Bricks4Fun

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 01:21 AM

Hi Greg


And as for the ellipsis, I have heard similar opinions on their usage in literature, and Mastrofppts brings up a great point that improper usage of the ellipsis can cripple a story. Here however, we see brilliant utilization of the ellipsis both in dialogue and in narrative. The rookie soldier's fear is palpable in his line of "They're... coming aren't they"  There is similar dramatic flair added in the story thanks to the other two uses of the ellipsis when you make a separation between the Sergeant's glory days and his darker years.

I'm glad you found my comments useful! Like I said I wouldn't change much; if it ain't broken, don't fix it!

#6 SilvaShado

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 07:08 PM

Very strong entry. I definitely felt the emotions of the characters and had quite a feeling of anticipation throughout the whole story.

Only a few minor suggestions.

Quote

Then, hearing approaching footsteps he turned, fumbling for his musket, but as a figure appeared from the gloom, his challenge died on his lips... it was Him.
The commas are still a little off. I also agree that ellipses are not usually used. A double dash is another alternative. Here's how I'd rewrite the sentence:
Then, hearing approaching footsteps, he turned, fumbling for his musket, but as a figure appeared from the gloom, his challenge died on his lips--it was Him.


Quote

The Last of the Originals stepped forward, the flickering firelight revealing a sergeant's redcoat, worn and faded, breeches yellowed with age. He spoke, his voice hoarse after years of silence.
“All quiet?”
“Aye sarge,” replied the private, adding nervously “They’re... coming though aren’t they?”
The sergeant looked at the young marine’s perfect uniform and pale skin, yet to experience the horror and glory of combat, and thought back to his first battle...
These sentences should all be separated by a line of empty space. The ellipses in the dialogue is actually a good use of it, but I'd suggest changing the end one to a period as it's really not necessary. Oh, and there should be a comma after nervously.


Quote

He remembered the prisons he’d escaped from, the women he’d rescued and the taverns he’d celebrated in... before the dark times.
I also suggest changing the ellipses here to the double dash.


Quote

Looking back at the young marine, his yellowed, weathered face split into a grin,
“Aye lad, they’re coming but we’ll face them together, side by side and teach ‘em to fear us Redcoats.'
The dialogue should be on the same line as the speaker's action.


Quote

Hearing these words, the private’s fears seemed to evaporate and he stood taller and prouder. Saluting, the sergeant turned to continue his rounds. As he walked off, a moonbeam pierced the mist and something glistened on his cheek. He wiped it away.
It's usually not a good idea to have two different people's actions in one paragraph. You can do it, but to avoid confusion, I suggest separating it like this, which also punctuations the very end by separating it:
Hearing these words, the private’s fears seemed to evaporate and he stood taller and prouder.

Saluting, the sergeant turned to continue his rounds. As he walked off, a moonbeam pierced the mist and something glistened on his cheek. He wiped it away.

Hope my suggestions help you. As always, feel free to take what you like and toss the rest.

Good luck in the contest!

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#7 greg3

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 10:06 AM

I've had another attempt at the pic.... think it's slightly better this time but comments are more than welcome (I wanted the effect of the sarge emerging from the mist towards the firelit sentry post) I've also tweaked the layout/punctuation here and there
Cheers

#8 Comrade Commander

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 05:53 PM

I really like this entry so far! I think it is one of my favorites.

Much like other people have said before, the writing is simple yet effective.

My only suggestions are towards the picture you posted.

Looking at the two minifigures featured, I can't help but think the classic redcoat is the new recruit, and the new style redcoat is the sergeant.

The reasons I believe this is are as follows:

First, the new recruit is wearing a tricorner hat. Typically the higher ranks of the Imperials have been known to wear the tricorner. My suggestion is to switch hats.

Currently the recruit has the tough face while the sergeant has a boyish looking one. I would recommend looking to recreate some of the redcoat leadership from the classic sets. This will add another dimension to the entry, as well as clarify the roles!

Finally, the sergeant looks small compared to the new recruit. I understand that the image is to look as if he had come upon the new soldier, but when you factor in the above information, it looks as if the sergeant is just a little boy looking up at a tough guard. Try bringing him forward some more, or putting both on the same base plate.

While I don't think the pictures play a huge role in this particular contest, these changes may help in getting more attention!

Best of luck, and you certainly have some votes from me!

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#9 greg3

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 10:18 PM

Thanks to everyone for the comments/suggestions... I've definitely struggled more with the pic than the story!! But had another go at the photo, taking on board some of CC's suggestions... a definite improvement I think!!
Cheers

#10 Comrade Commander

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 04:18 AM

View Postgreg3, on 09 July 2011 - 10:18 PM, said:

definite improvement I think!!

I agree!! Just what I had in mind.

Best of luck!

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