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Block, Parry, Strike! - How to use a lightsaber

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by lightsaber_index, Jun 9, 2006.

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  1. lightsaber_index

    lightsaber_index Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Jun 9, 2006
    [hl=seagreen]The lightsaber.[/hl]

    Weapon of choice for Jedi the galaxy over. They?re pretty, they make really wicked noises, but how the heck do you write about them?

    I ran into just this question recently and began my usual research process. I found quite a bit of information, some on writing, some on combat styles, some on how character?s personalities are intensified during a duel.

    With such a vast amount of thoughtful insight and information out there for the taking, it begs the question, why don?t most lightsaber duels and battles go beyond ?he blocked, she parried??

    So here we are. A place to ask those questions and hopefully find some answers!

    This thread will function as a comprehensive index and discussion on lightsabers in general and in detail. This will include their use, construction, fighting styles, training methods, etc. with the obvious caveat that it pertains to how to write about them. Here you?ll find a place to discuss how to transfer those marvelous fights to paper (or in this case pixel) and find the balance between the technical analysis of each move and the powerful emotion and Force control that occurs simultaneously throughout each duel.

    Usual thread rules apply here, no spamming, trolling, or advertising. Quoting your own work is acceptable only when using it as an example or explanation.

    *J_L thanks the mods for their blessing and bows in a traditional show of respect before the assembled crowd*

    The training salle is now open!


    PM me links and the usual info for the index, please.

    I'll take anything where the lightsaber plays a major role. A duel, a big combat scene (saber vs. blaster), a training focused fic or where the saber is constructed or utilized as a major plot device. I'll take just about anything where the construction of a lightsaber is the focus of the tale and gimme anything where a non-Jedi uses a lightsaber!

    If you're not sure if your fic makes the cut, pm me a description and I'll let ya know.

    Author: (with profile link pasted--not hyperlinked)
    Co-author: (with profile link pasted--hyperlink optional)
    Title: (with link pasted--not hyperlinked)
    Era:
    Keywords:
    Genre:
    Summary:
    Status:
    Notes:

    [hr]

    [hl=seagreen][color=white]To start us off, here are some links for your research:[/color][/hl]

    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=10860874&replies=18]The original The Amazing Lightsaber thread[/link]

    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/Fan_Fiction_Resource/b10304/16165506/?26]Writing a Compelling Lightsaber Duel[/link]

    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/The_Star_Wars_Saga/b10456/12655678/p1] The huge ?Personality characteristics in lightsaber styles? thread on the Saga forum[/link]

    [link=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightsabers]The wikipedia entry on lightsabers[/link]

    [link=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightsaber_combat]The wikipedia entry on combat forms[/link]

    [link=http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Lightsaber]The wookiepedia entry on lightsabers[/link]

    [link=http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Lightsaber_combat]The wookiepedia entry on combat forms[/link]

    [link=http://www.thelightsaber.com/IndexFolder/index2.htm]Great looking site dedicated to this elegant weapon[/link]

    [link=http://blogs.starwars.com/taiald/6]Our own DarthIshtar's article on saber duels[/link]

    [link=http://www.howstuffworks.com/lightsaber.htm]A fun little article on how lightsabers work[/link]

    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/fan_fiction_resource/b10304/21814436/p1/?52]the original index/discussion thread[/link]

    [hr]

    [hl=seagreen][color=white]Current topic:[/color][/hl]
    The center of gravity on a lightsaber can really effect the way one wields it. It is essentially a hilt with a shaft of light coming from it. Granted, that's plasma-heated, ouchy-burny light, but weightless nonetheless.

    Let's go over the more traditional, but often less thought of, techniques one could use in a duel. Wielding a plasma weapon with an 'off' switch requires one to rethink the rules so throw out most of what>
     
  2. lightsaber_index

    lightsaber_index Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Jun 9, 2006
    [hl=darkblue]Duel and Combat Stories:[/hl]

    Author: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/user.asp?usr=911592]RK_Striker_JK_5 [/link]
    Title: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/Beyond_the_Saga/b10477/17300335/?1]Tenel Ka vs. Darth Maul[/link]
    Era: Not applicable
    Keywords: Tenel Ka, lightsaber duel. Action.
    Genre: Action.
    Summary: Tenel Ka finds herself in some arena and must fight Darth Maul-or die trying.
    Status: Complete
    Notes: Just a bunny I got at the YJK Fan Club.

    *****

    Author: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/user.asp?usr=911592]RK_Striker_JK_5 [/link]
    Title: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/Beyond_the_Saga/b10477/18595459/?0]Tsavong Lah vs. Darth Vader [/link]
    Era: NJO
    Keywords: Vader, Vong, action.
    Genre: Action
    Summary: Tsavong Lah confronts the Chosen One-and pays the price for his lack of vision.
    Status: Complete.
    Notes: Actually the climax for a larger fic I wrote a while back. I edited it and rewrote it a bit.

    *****

    Author: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/user.asp?usr=911592]RK_Striker_JK_5 [/link]
    Title: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=13736038&page=1]Three New Sailor Senshi[/link]
    Era: 25,500 years before Yavin to 1,000 years after.
    Keywords: Crossover, Sailor Moon, Young Jedi Knights.
    Genre: Crossover, action, adventure, romance, drama, comedy.
    Summary: The Rock Dragon lands in Tokyo.
    Status: Complete.
    Notes: Has a lot of lightsaber fights, actually. And a lightsaber contruction scene.

    *****

    Author: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/user.asp?usr=1197348]Souderwan[/link]
    Title: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/The_Saga/b10476/20073250/p1]Fall of the Sith[/link]
    Era: Saga
    Keywords: AU, Mace Windu, A/P, and more...
    Genre: Action/Drama
    Summary: Mace Windu makes a critical decision that changes the outcome of the entire SW saga.
    Status: Complete
    Notes: The action is interspersed throughout but the major lightsaber battles happen towards the end. You have a major fight between Yoda and Mace followed by Mace and Anakin. The fights are long and complicated and cover lots of phyiscal territory.

    *****

    Title: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/The_Saga/b10476/21751329]When The Hunter Becomes The Hunted[/link]
    Author(s): Jennifer_Lyn
    Timeframe: Interology
    Characters: Obi-Wan, Asajj Ventress and evil OCs
    Genre: Drama
    Summary: Asajj Ventress appears on Tatooine looking for Obi-Wan's help.
    Notes: A training senario and a couple of duels. The personal significance of the lightsaber is hightlighted throughout this story.
     
  3. lightsaber_index

    lightsaber_index Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Jun 9, 2006
    [hl=indigo]Saber Construction, Alternate Uses for a Lightsaber and *gasp* Non-Jedi User Stories:[/hl]

    Author: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/user.asp?usr=1199020]Jennifer_Lyn[/link]
    Title: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/Before_the_Saga/b10475/20916855]Becoming As One[/link]
    Era: Before TPM
    Keywords: Qui-Gon, Padawan
    Genre: Introspective Drama
    Summary: Qui-Gon has constructed his new lightsaber.
    Status: Completed
    Notes: A lightsaber construction and "bonding" vignette

    *****

    Title: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/The_Saga/b10476/21040431/p5] Burn! Burn! Burn! Chapter Twenty Five [/link]
    Author: oqidaun
    Era: 5 Years before AOTC
    Genre: Horror
    Characters: Obi-Wan, Anakin, Yoda, Master Poof, Mace Windu, OCs
    Summary (General): A harbinger of the dark times ahead, in the form of a nine year old girl, appears in the AgriCorps and blazes a murderous path straight to the Sith Lord's door.
    Summary (Chapter Specific): Badour spars with Amil the Zabrek.
    Status: WIP
     
  4. lightsaber_index

    lightsaber_index Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Jun 9, 2006
    [hl=sienna]Training sequences: [/hl]

    Title: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/the_saga/b10476/22963663/p1/?2]This Weapon Is Your Life: The Lightsaber Meditations[/link]
    Author(s): Jennifer_Lyn
    Timeframe: spanning the eras
    Characters: Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Leia Organa Solo, etc.
    Genre: introspection
    Summary: This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or as random as a blaster, but an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.
    Notes: The writing of these pieces is as a meditation in itself for me. I've started with Qui-Gon Jinn and plan to keep adding to this thread, even beyond the listed characters, as I explore the connection between the Jedi and their blades.
     
  5. lightsaber_index

    lightsaber_index Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Jun 9, 2006
    [hl=darkred]Reserved for Challenges, starting September 1st![/hl]
     
  6. MsLanna

    MsLanna Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Oooh, redunadnt repetiton. One of my big enemies.:mad:
    The easiest is just to shorten 'lightsaber' to 'saber'.
    weapon
    blade
    and already it gets difficult.[face_thinking]


    Oh, bugger.
     
  7. lightsaber_index

    lightsaber_index Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Jun 9, 2006
    :oops:

    sorry MsLanna! i forgot to take the current topic out!

    that's an old topic, you can find all the responses [link=http://boards.theforce.net/fan_fiction_resource/b10304/21814436/p1/?52]here[/link].

    thanks for checking in though! i'm hoping to have a new topic up very soon!
     
  8. MsLanna

    MsLanna Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 2005
    *creeps out backwards*
    *waves her hand*
    You have never seen me....

    ;)
     
  9. lightsaber_index

    lightsaber_index Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Jun 9, 2006
    No worries! [:D]


    Okay, we're back up and running!
    PM me your fics! I know there's lots of saber stuff out there, so let's see it!

    There is a new topic in the works that I'm hoping will help everyone learn to craft a more accurate and exciting duel.

    I know there are a lot of challenge threads going around these days and we don't have to do them, so I'd love some input. If there is enough show of interest, I'll put some challenges together as well and we'll get them rolling!
     
  10. Star_Angel

    Star_Angel Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Oh, love this, so yeah, I?ll defiantly stick around.

    Hmm, okay so I have one fic were they are using a lightsaber a lot but I don?t think that this is the right place for it.
    I love writing lightsaber combat so of course I have some of those in all of my fics.

    Well, great job so far and I?m looking forward to some very interesting topics and discussion.
     
  11. MirandaFair

    MirandaFair Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 13, 2005
    Love this thread. Can't wait to read and participate in future topics. [face_dancing]
     
  12. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    Great to see this resurrected. Now, where's our topic? :)
     
  13. lightsaber_index

    lightsaber_index Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Jun 9, 2006
    [hl=darkred]New Topic/Challenge![/hl]

    The lovely ophelia, with help from DarthIshtar, has concocted an amzingly awful lightsaber duel! This is NOT something she wrote with any sincerity and is meant to be terrible.

    Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to rewrite this duel so that it is engaging, accurate and, hopefully, readable.

    You can change anything and everything that you want to, names, characters, descriptions, leave people out, etc.

    Let's give it a 1,000 word limit and a two week deadline. (That'd be the 26th) Post your results here in this thread or on the boards, remembering to give us a link and put lightsaber index challenge in your thread title!

    And since this is a discussion thread, let's break down the nasty version here as well. Post your questions and suggestions, tell us what the author did wrong. (and no, ophelia won't be offended in the least. :D)

    On your marks, get set, go!

    ~.~

    Aldan walked past lots of tall spiky rocks. He didn?t know what they were. He didn?t know anything about Erado IV, and he wished that he had equipment from the Jedi Temple to find out about it.

    Suddenly, eight dark Jedi jumped out from behind a rock. ?You fool,? said the leader, who wore a red headband over his completely-dark clothes, ?you have entered our domain. I am Nowor Rayl, and these are my followers, Vaend Laren, Kinata Loorm, Ranyr Baneny, Vynoro Ruk, who was trained by Count Dooku, Ard'iae Draor, Vacymo Nokril, and Niemran Veid.? They all wore completely-dark clothes and held red lightsaber blades in their hands. ?Our powers are much greater than yours. Now you will die.?

    Then Rayl ignited his red lightsaber blade over his head and attacked. Aldan blocked him using Ceuntrisa, the special lightsaber style he created himself, which was especially good against the dark side. They fought until Aldan kicked Rayl into a ditch, and then Ruk said, ?Foolish Jedi! Maybe you defeated him, but you won?t defeat me so easily!? Then he charged in with his lightsaber blade pointed right at Aldan.

    ?I don?t think so,? Aldan said, as he sidestepped Ruk at the last second. They fought for a long time, since Ruk had been trained by Count Dooku and his lightsaber skills were superior to Rayl?s. Finally, though, Aldan hit Ruk in the head with the handle end of his lightsaber and knocked him out.

    ?I thought you were such great dark Jedi,? he taunted them. ?You should be able to do better than that.?

    ?You will never defeat me and my twin sister!? shouted Ard?iae as she ran in beside Kinata. They were both exactly alike and you couldn?t tell them apart, except that Ard?iae?s lightsaber was purple and Kinata?s was yellow. Kinata also had a vicious vornskyr on her shoulder that jumped at Aldan. He immediately cut it in half.

    ?You killed my pet!? screamed Kinata, and attacked wildly. So did Ard?iae, and for a second Aldan had a hard time keeping up with them. Soon they were both dead, however.

    Then Vaend Laren, Ranyr Baneny, and Vacymo Nokril all attacked. It turned out that they were still students, and that?s why they attacked last. Using his special form of Ceuntrisa, Aldan killed them quickly.

    Then only Niemran Veid was left hiding behind a rock. ?Your friends weren?t as powerful as they thought,? Aldan told him. ?If you come out, then I?ll kill you too.?

    Niemran Veid was a new student who had just fallen to the dark side, so he ran away. ?And don?t come back, either!? Aldan shouted at the dark-clothed dark Jedi, as he ran. Then he stepped over all the corpses and kept walking on, after making a report to the Jedi Council that there were dark Jedi on Erado IV, and that they should send somebody to come and get the red lightsabers, before someone else found them and tried to be a dark Jedi too.
     
  14. Jarrak_Hallon

    Jarrak_Hallon Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Walking down a rocky path, Aldan noticed the glowing spires throughout the valley, each illuminated with green Force-energy. Knowing little about Erado IV, he wished he had brought a substance analyzer with him. Then again, he wasn't a scientist and his mission was of a different nature. He was sent by the Council to seek out the disturbance in Force.

    Following the trail of dark energy, it led to the end of the valley, marked by the mouth of a cave. Searching through the Force, the area was lit up like the Bright Lands of Ryloth. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, except for several 'shadows' he felt in the cave. The Dark Side. So why are you trying to hide? he thought to himself. They know I am here, and likewise, so let's get this over with. Calling the lightsabers to his palms, he brought the bronze blades to life, formally announcing his arrival.

    ?Jedi never lack for bravery. They never lack for stupidity either.? announced a voice from the cave. "Why don't we show our guest the hospitality of Erado?" Clad in black from head to toe, minus a red swatch across his forehead, the origin of the voice revealed itself, lightsaber activated. Seven others appeared from the cave and surrounded the Jedi. "I am Nowor Rayl, and these are-?

    "Names don't matter." Aldan replied. "I'd ask for your surrender, but it would be a waste of time."

    "Very well spoken. Shall we end this then?" Nodding to his subordinates, Rayl joined them as they assaulted Alden every side.

    Created for just a threat, Alden entered the Ceuntrisa stance. Ceuntrisa countered the aggressive tendencies of the Dark Side and, unknown to opponents, put them at an immediate disadvantage. With the use of two lightsabers, the aim of the technique was to quickly dismember or decapitate by linking a parry to an attack against the next foe.

    Stepping into the attacking mass, he removed the arm of his closest attacker and backflipped. Twisting quickly in mid-turn, he removed the heads of two more and landed on one knee outside of their cirle. Behind two more surprised vitims, he swung his blades in a scissors motion, cutting them down at the waist. Motioning his weapons back out again, Alden removed the hands of the remaining foes at the wrist and in a circular motion removed their legs at the knees.

    With a singed beard from a narrow miss, Rayl couldn't believe the lightsaber skill and Force-mastery he had witnessed. Realizing his disadvantage, he ignited the other end of his saber-staff. Raising it over his head, he spun it furiously and rushed the Jedi, preferring brute strength to subtlety and finesse. Unfortunately for Rayl, that is what Alden wanted.

    Rayl lunged forward, taking a swipe at Alden's neck. Stepping inside of the ill-advised charge, Alden swung both of his lightsabers downward. One fell onto Rayl's blade, stopping its progress. The other ran through the handle of Rayl's weapon and continued on, tracing a line from Rayl's skull to his loins.

    Alden retracted his lightsabers and watched the charred halves of Rayl's carcass fall away from each other. He regretted his lack of regret. Some are too dangerous to be left alive.

    Making his way to the ship, he commed his utility droid. "Tell the Council we are on our way back and that the mission was successful." He went about gathering up lightsabers, as his former adversaries no longer needed them. It is too easy to join the Dark Side. No need to help them along.
     
  15. Jarrak_Hallon

    Jarrak_Hallon Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Was I to post it here or send it in somewhere?

    shaun
     
  16. poor yorick

    poor yorick Ex-Mod star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Jun 25, 2002
    You had the option of either. :)

    First, before I make any comments, I wanted to say that just because I wrote the horrid thing doesn't mean I know how to "fix" it. You can leave things in and make it better, you can take things out and make it better. In fact, doing *anything* to it would probably make it better. (At one point Ish tried to make it worse, but I swear, her changes actually improved it.) So just because I say, "Wow, it was great how you did X" doesn't mean that everyone else is automatically locked into doing X because that's the "right" answer. If I mention something, it's just because you identified a possible area of concern, and I wanted to highlight it for other users. What you do with an area of concern once you know it's there is up to you and your best judgment.

    1) Thank you for doing something with that setting. Having an entire planet consist of a handful of nondescript rocks is one of the egregious sins in science fiction. "Spiky" is also not a great adjective for rocks as we know them, unless they're crystals of some kind, in which case why not call them crystals? "Tall spiky rocks" just sound bizarre. There could be something fascinating about this planet that causes such unusual rock formations, but in the original we never find out what that could be. All we get is these stupid rocks there for no reason, and they apparently look kind of like giant shrubberies. Why not just use shrubberies? Who knows. Maybe rocks just seem more alien or something.

    2) Thank you for getting rid of that demented introductory speech, in which characters who are not differentiated in any important way are nonetheless very carefully nametagged for no apparent reason. Too many names all jumbled together at once, and I thought the names were too similar, as well. There were too many R's and V's in them, so it was even harder to tell characters apart. It is also insane to "go around the table and give your name and where you're from" when you're about to duel to the death. And why do they all seem to know who Aldan is, when they have to introduce themselves to him?

    3) Thank you for moving out of a POV I'll call "third person useless." There's "third person objective," in which the "narrator voice" doesn't enter anyone's head and tell us what they're thinking--I believe the end of "Neuromancer" is written this way--but successful third person objective is like watching characters in a film. You can't hear their thoughts, but you can see key actions, gestures, reactions, and expressions that let you put together the pieces of what's going on in their heads. In "third person useless" we don't know what a person is thinking. We only get the sketchiest outline of what he's doing. We kind of squint at him through a fog of the author's lack of creativity. By adding some color (literally), detail, and internalization, you've made Aldan more a real person, written in third person limited, rather than third person useless.

    I also really liked this part:[ul]He regretted his lack of regret.

    Some are too dangerous to be left alive. [/ul]I absolutely believe those are the thoughts of a basically good Jedi who is being driven toward the ethical boundary between light and dark by dreadful circumstances.

    4) "Tell the Council we are on our way back and that the mission was successful." Thank you for giving this fight a point! :_| In the original, Aldan was apparently there for no. reason. at all. His entire purpose was to look at spiky rocks and kill off dark Jedi whose names all started with R and V.

    *Much better!* =D=


     
  17. 1Yodimus_Prime

    1Yodimus_Prime Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 13, 2004

    Hey, I like breaking things!


    ...down. Breaking things down. That's what I meant. Swear.
    I'd hate to do something creative and positive with this before ruining my chance to make fun of it.
    Weee!
    Aldan walked past lots of tall spiky rocks. He didn?t know what they were.
    Uh, heh...wha? He didn't know they were rocks? I'd recommend keeping this only if the author went to the next sentence, "He didn't know anything about Erado IV" and took off the 'about Erado IV'. Cuz this protagonist's a moron. We need to smart him up a bit. Also, what 'equipment' would the Jedi Temple have to help him learn about a planet?? Yeah, they have maps, and maybe some survival gear for just this sort of thing...but they're not friggin' NASA.

    But questions about his IQ and the scientific accessability of the Jedi Temple will have to wait. This is a fight, dag nabbit. A pathetic, painful, trainwreck of a fight, but a fight none-the-less..

    Suddenly, eight dark Jedi jumped out from behind a rock. ?You fool,? said the leader, who wore a red headband over his completely-dark clothes, ?you have entered our domain. I am Nowor Rayl, and these are my followers, blah, blah, blah, and whatshisname Okay, first of all, let me get this straight...they all jumped out? From behind...A...rock? Good god, I'm imagining a big huddle of idiots squeezed behind a small boulder, giggling to themselves, arms and legs sticking out..the only thing keeping them alive is the fact that their target has the intelligence of a retarded squirrel.

    That's just gonna have to go. No self respecting group of Force Sensitive individuals, no matter their siding preference, is going to be caught hiding. They'll be standing out in the open, shoulder-to-shoulder. And they'll shut up too, if they know what's good for them. Like we need to know why they're here. Pah! We don't even know why our protagonist is here!!

    Then Rayl ignited his red lightsaber blade over his head and attacked. Aldan blocked him using Ceuntrisa, the special lightsaber style he created himself, which was especially good against the dark side. They fought until Aldan kicked Rayl into a ditch, and then Ruk said, ?Foolish Jedi! Maybe you defeated him, but you won?t defeat me so easily!? Then he charged in with his lightsaber blade pointed right at Aldan.
    Gwarsh, Mr. Story, I forgot again - what color are the badguys' blades? Holy crap, if this tale uses the word 'red' one more time my walls will start bleeding. Anyway, so it looks like the action's started. Luckily, our hero knows a totally made-up fighting style, which he's going to hide all his description behind. It'll be like reading half the hand-to-hand fighting in "Wheel of Time" all over again. If it's going to steal all the creativity, it should at least have a easier to read name. Centrasta, maybe? Sure, why not. And while we're at it, Rayl? Your name sucks. I hate looking at it. You're Ray, or you're Ral. Make a decision.
    And why does Ruk charge our hero with his blade pointed straight ahead? I thought he was taught by Dooku? When did Dooku ever do something like that? Ruk should be the last person to attempt a charge. That's not proper at all. He should at least make an attempt at haughtiness. Jeez.

    ?I don?t think so,? Aldan said, as he sidestepped Ruk at the last second. They fought for a long time, since Ruk had been trained by Count Dooku and his lightsaber skills were superior to Rayl?s. Finally, though, Aldan hit Ruk in the head with the handle end of his lightsaber and knocked him out.
    We'll pretend those first few sentences never happen, because Ruk would never charge someone. That said...okay, so Ruk's skills are apparently superior to Ray's. Woopdeedoo. I don't see Ray here anymore. Tell me if they're superior to our Hero's! And anyway, if he's stronger than his leader, and he's a Sith...then what the hell's he doin' in second s
     
  18. poor yorick

    poor yorick Ex-Mod star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Jun 25, 2002
    [face_laugh] Yodimus, right now you're really making me regret that we have to be nice around here. Okay, okay . . . no one should make fun of the writing of new users, but there are fics . . . oh, Lord have mercy, there are fics! At the archive I can't even really justify hitting the "back" button--sometimes it's like a literary D-Day . . . charging desperately ahead while modifiers dangle and violent subject-verb disagreements rage all around.

    Appalling things you picked up on:

    1) And they'll shut up too, if they know what's good for them. Like we need to know why they're here. Pah! We don't even know why our protagonist is here!!
    True. Why introduce yourself to someone you're planning to kill anyway? For that matter, unless you're screaming maniacal insults or issuing "I'll kill you unless you _______" demands, why say *anything?*

    2) Gwarsh, Mr. Story, I forgot again - what color are the badguys' blades? Holy crap, if this tale uses the word 'red' one more time my walls will start bleeding
    What about "dark?" Can it talk some more about how things are "dark?"

    Other than the two startling lightsaber colors, this is a purely dichromatic fic. :p

    3) Luckily, our hero knows a totally made-up fighting style, which he's going to hide all his description behind.
    Oh, *good* call! Somebody get this guy tickets out of the ski-ball machine. You may notice that there is almost no actual lightsaber fighting in this scene--just a lot of "he killed him" and "he killed her." Inventing a new lightsaber style and claiming it's super-special is supposed to be a stand in for actual combat, about which one would expect this story's author to know nothing. Apparently the author's not even willing to *guess* what lightsaber combat might be like. (Actually, I do too know about sword combat, but that's as may be.) :p

    4) it's going to steal all the creativity, it should at least have a easier to read name. Centrasta, maybe? Sure, why not. And while we're at it, Rayl? Your name sucks. I hate looking at it. You're Ray, or you're Ral. Make a decision.

    Another good call! The super-special lightsaber style is not only useless, its got an appalling, unpronounceable, unrememberable name. Even I can't remember it off the top of my head. I got it off the Fantasy Name Generator, and I think I copied and pasted it after that. All the names in this fic range from tepid to dreadful.

    5) And why does Ruk charge our hero with his blade pointed straight ahead? I thought he was taught by Dooku? When did Dooku ever do something like that? Ruk should be the last person to attempt a charge. That's not proper at all. He should at least make an attempt at haughtiness. Jeez.

    This, also, is stupid and useless. A forward-guard position is more natural for defense and close fighting, although I won't say it's *impossible* to use it in a charge (which is a purely-agressive move made from a distance). However, attacking that way's not intuitive, especially with a two-handed weapon. However, this passage doesn't say "forward guard," it says the blade was pointed *straight at* Our Hero. Unless you are on a horse and plan on using a saber essentially as a bayonet to skewer somone standing on the ground, it is immensely stupid to charge this way. You've absolutely minimized your blade's defensive coverage, and the guy you're trying to stab probably won't just stand there and let you do it. All he has to do is sidestep and cut off your arm, and then your head.

    It's not actually necessary to know that to realize this is dumb, however. Acting out your "choreography" with a friend will reveal the flaw--or you can just watch three sword movies and realize that no one ever, ever does this. Then you have to ponder about whether there might be a reason.

    6) And anyway, if he's stronger than his leader, and he's a Sith...then what the hell's he doin' in second string
     
  19. Kidan

    Kidan TFN EU Staff star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2003
    I'll re-write this later, for now, I'll deconstruct this little fight in my best Imperial Ewok imitation...:p


    [i]Aldan walked past lots of tall spiky rocks. He didn?t know what they were. He didn?t know anything about Erado IV, and he wished that he had equipment from the Jedi Temple to find out about it.[/i]
    [color=blue]That has to be the worst discription of a planet I have ever read. And why oh why, would the Jedi Council send Aldan out to Erado IV without any knowledge about the planet. You would think they would at least tell him what of the native fauna he could eat....oh, wait, all the fauna is tall spiky rocks....(and why do I have this picture of Dragonball Z hairstyles set in stone?)[/color]

    [i]Suddenly, eight dark Jedi jumped out from behind a rock. ?You fool,? said the leader, who wore a red headband over his completely-dark clothes [/i][color=blue]How exactly does one wear a headband over clothes? Don't headbands usually go over the forehead and hair?[/color]

    [i], ?you have entered our domain. I am Nowor Rayl, and these are my followers, Vaend Laren, Kinata Loorm, Ranyr Baneny, Vynoro Ruk, who was trained by Count Dooku, Ard'iae Draor, Vacymo Nokril, and Niemran Veid.? They all wore completely-dark clothes and held red lightsaber blades in their hands. ?Our powers are much greater than yours. Now you will die.?[/i]
    [color=blue]Oh wow, now we know who everyone is...we have names for them....but the only one we know what looks like is the leader, with the red headband wrapped around the dark clothes...hmm......would those be forest green by the way? And why are they holding the lightsaber BLADES in thier hands??[/color]

    [i]Then Rayl ignited his red lightsaber blade over his head and attacked. Aldan blocked him using Ceuntrisa, the special lightsaber style he created himself, which was especially good against the dark side. They fought until Aldan kicked Rayl into a ditch, and then Ruk said, ?Foolish Jedi! Maybe you defeated him, but you won?t defeat me so easily!? Then he charged in with his lightsaber blade pointed right at Aldan.[/i]
    [color=blue]hmm...so Aldan blocked Rayl's blow, using not his sword, but his knowledge of Ceuntrisa the 'special' lightsaber style he created....*cough*sueism*cough*....and uhm Rayl, you're in a ditch, just stand up, he couldn't have kicked you THAT Hard....and did Rayl turn off his saber from when he was giving his megalomanical speach to this paragraph, just so he could reignite it at the start of his portion of the fight? Others have pointed out the charging thing, so I'll leave that alone...[/color]

    [i]?I don?t think so,? Aldan said, as he sidestepped Ruk at the last second. They fought for a long time, since Ruk had been trained by Count Dooku and his lightsaber skills were superior to Rayl?s. Finally, though, Aldan hit Ruk in the head with the handle end of his lightsaber and knocked him out.[/i]
    [color=blue]okay, does the writer have something about killing Ruk? (Isn't that a Noghri name?) I mean, they fight for a 'long time' (though how the reader knows this beyond the writer saying so is beyond me) and Aldan stops him by hitting him in the head with the pommel of the saber? Why not skewer him, or decapitate...but the truth is, to hit him with the pommel, Aldan has to be in close to Ruk, with his saber turned around, so that the emitter is facing him (because you want to knock someone out with the heavy end with the power supply in it)....while Aldan is getting that all set up, Ruk should have stabbed him, sliced him, and in general turned him into julian fries[/color]

    [i]?I thought you were such great dark Jedi,? he taunted them. ?You should be able to do better than that.?[/i]
    [color=blue]Who did he taunt? the guy he just managed to knock out without getting food proceessed?[/color]

    [i]?You will never defeat me and my twin sister!? shouted Ard?iae as she ran in beside Kinata. They were both exactly alike and you couldn?t tell them apart, except that Ard?iae?s lightsaber was purple and Kinata?s was yellow. Kinata also had >
     
  20. poor yorick

    poor yorick Ex-Mod star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Jun 25, 2002
    This is actually a sick amount of fun. :p

    Kidan wrote: That has to be the worst discription of a planet I have ever read.

    Thank you! :D I *did* try. It takes me back to my writing student days, when our guest profic author severely lectured us that there was more to worldbuilding than one tree, one rock, and rabbits called "smeerps." (Apparently, there had once been a student who was unaware of this rule.)

    1) How exactly does one wear a headband over clothes? Don't headbands usually go over the forehead and hair?

    Yep--another inanity that shows the writer either hasn't taken care in visualizing this world, or else s/he is very imprecise with language, which is not a good thing. (Odd how I'm depersonalizing the writing of this passage . . .) 8-}

    2) the dark clothes...hmm......would those be forest green by the way?

    LOL! You know, I hadn't thought about that. I knew that "dark" was wretchedly repetitious and imprecise, but it didn't occur to me that all the "dark Jedi" could be wearing deep shades of, say, fuchsia, or orange, or avocado . . .

    This shows why it's so important to "say what you mean and mean what you say." If you mean that your villain is wearing a close-fitting black bodysuit with a red headband tied around his forehead, than say so. If he's just wearing "dark clothing," it could mean he's traipsing about in a midnight-blue Shirley Temple babydoll dress with matching socks and black patent leather shoes.

    (Just FWIW, on-the-fly descriptions are okay if your viewpoint character has only gotten the briefest glimpse of something, or if the person/thing's appearance is far less important than what it is or what it's doing: "She walked in on an axe murderer hacking up the last of his victims," not, "She walked in on an axe murderer--who was nattily dressed in a powder-blue suit and matching shoes, both of which were accented with a moonlight/cream necktie and identically-colored straw fedora." However, if the viewpoint character is directly confronted with someone who commands his attention, and he has at least a second to react, *some* kind of quick-but-precise description is required.)

    3) And why are they holding the lightsaber BLADES in thier hands??

    Thank you for catching that. [link=http://img469.imageshack.us/img469/8163/kimball0ze.jpg]Darth Kimball[/link], watch out!

    4) hmm...so Aldan blocked Rayl's blow, using not his sword, but his knowledge of Ceuntrisa the 'special' lightsaber style he created....*cough*sueism*cough*....

    Yeah, that is bad, isn't it? Sometimes Sueism doesn't come from an author's delusions of grandeur, but from his/her lack of creativity. Want to create a master swordsman? Just copy something from an established character, say, Mace Windu's personal lightsaber style, and then *tell* the readers how good the character is with a lightsaber. Over and over. Never actually show the style in question, or how and why it works.

    5) and uhm Rayl, you're in a ditch, just stand up

    [face_laugh] Thank you for catching that, too! Nothing actually happens to the "leader" of the dark Jedi--at least nothing the average fourth grader couldn't get up from and be ready to fight some more after. The author just ticked one character off the list and kept going.

    6) and did Rayl turn off his saber from when he was giving his megalomanical speach to this paragraph, just so he could reignite it at the start of his portion of the fight?

    Yeah, another stupid continuity error. :p I'm not sure, but I think these come from people memorizing favorite film moments and then mentally stringing them together and copying them, even if the order makes no sense. (It's really cool when the bad guys ignite their weapons, so I'll have them do it here . . . *and* here . . .) Sketching out a "storyboard" of a duel (I use ugly stick figures on Post-It notes) and using a good beta will catch these things.

    7) Aldan stops him by hitting him in the head with the pommel of the saber? Why not
     
  21. poor yorick

    poor yorick Ex-Mod star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Aid For Visualizing Mass Attacks

    Nobody has to respond to or rewrite this (because it's even more hopeless than the other thing), :p but this is meant to take some of the intimidating exoticness out of lightsaber dueling. Much ink has been spilled on the subject of how best to go about fighting other people, which makes it seem as if it's like rocket science, and beyond the understanding of most of us. However, even small kids somehow manage to fight people every day.

    Try removing your characters from their alien setting and imagine coordinating a "mass attack" on something mundane. I chose leaf-raking, because I know what that's like. You may want to visualize something else--being the captain of your basketball team, managing your department at work, etc. The goal is to get the villains to behave in a logical, intelligent fashion, instead of totally randomly. If the villains behave logically, then the hero will too, if he wants to respond in a way that will keep him alive.

    Mentally borrowing everyday scenarios can help you add believable details to situations that you don't really know much about. (And who *does* know about lightsaber dueling? Lightsabers are imaginary.)

    [u][b]An Analogy For The Bad Guys' "Attack Strategy" In The Original Scene[/b][/u]

    Suddenly, eight dark Jedi leaped out of the garage, all brandishing rakes.

    After a few scornful words about leaves, their leader attacked the leaf-littered lawn, and raked furiously until he got tired, and fell over.

    Then, the greatest leaf-raker (who had been trained by a guy on the Home and Garden channel) charged the leaves with his rake pointed straight at them, and he raked and raked for a long time, but a hidden stick inside the pile tripped him. He fell on his head and was knocked out.

    Next, a female leaf-raker of unknown qualities (except for the facts that she had been a sibling in a lower-order multiple birth and wore a leaf-blower on her shoulder) shouted, ?Those leaves will never stand up to me and my twin sister!!?

    The twins ran at the leaf pile, but one soon tripped and fell, thus breaking her leaf-blower. ?You broke my home improvement tool!? she shouted at the leaves. Then they went after the leaves with gusto, and for a second it looked like they were getting somewhere, but then they both got tired and passed out.

    After that, three student leaf-rakers who weren?t very good ran out and began trying to rake leaves, but they passed out almost immediately.

    Then there was only one leaf-raker left, a kid who had only just moved from a place where they don?t even have autumn, and he took one look at the leaf pile and ran away.

    The end.[hr]

    [i][b]If you were the ?leader of the leaf-rakers? and you had eight people of varying abilities, plus basic tools for everyone and one specialized tool belonging to one person, how would you organize your ?attack? on the leaves? What is the most efficient way to get the job done? Your only goal here is to get the leaves off the lawn and into a pile. No silly histrionics are required.

    Once you know how you'd accomplish this mundane chore, consider what parts of your strategy are importable into your mass-attack scene.[/b] [/i] >
     
  22. Kidan

    Kidan TFN EU Staff star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2003
    I can see what you mean, there is no organization, no coordination by the leader...of course it probably doesn't help that he's lying in a ditch somewhere...[face_laugh]


    Anyways, here's my re-write...unfortunately, it's 1135 words (if that's to long for in here, I'll remove it). Also, Do not hesitate to rip it apart in any way...my opinion is that concrit is fun. If you want to mock it, do so, basically, any form of replies are acceptable


    Aldan stood on the edge of the precipice, staring down into the dark depths below. All around him, standing sentinel-like are numerous rock spires. They are twisted and warped, and each has a broad flat area on top. Aldan looks around, noticing the small brush and cacti, and begins walking towards the nearest spire.

    Towards the disturbance he can feel in the Force, the disturbance that called him here.

    As he rounds the spire, he reaches down and grasps his saber, comforted by the solid weight in his hand. Before him is a depression in the hard-packed sand, and in the middle of it, a small temple which sends shivers up his spine. His eyes roaming the arcane symbols etched on the exterior, he can feel the Dark Side beckoning, urging him to come closer.

    He does.

    He mounts the first step, when the four step out of the darkened entrance way. The one in lead is a human, dressed all in black, with a red headband holding his long brown hair out of his face. Aldan?s heart drops, as he sees the man. For what he feared, has come true; his brother has turned to the Dark Side. Sadness in his eyes; Aldan looks over the others standing with Nowor. The one behind Nowor is a duros, his grey skin a few shades lighter than the jumpsuit he is wearing. Behind them are two female humans, by their physical appearance Aldan assumes they are sisters. One of the sisters is holding the leash to a bristling vornskyr. It lets out a low, deep growl, its feral eyes watching Aldan?s every move.

    Nowor looks down at him. ?Why have you come??

    ?To stop you.?

    A cold harsh laugh greets that. ?You are welcome to try.?

    Nowor steps aside, allowing the duros to come forward. Without speaking, the duros ignites his saber, and rushes ahead a few steps; Aldan retreats back down the steps, igniting his own blade in the process.

    The duros follows, and soon they are both on the sand, their sabers held ready over their heads, each waiting for the other to attack.

    Then Aldan strikes.

    Enhancing his speed, he covers the ground between him and the duros in seconds, and swings his blade diagonally across the duros? body, only to be checked by his opponents orange blade. Aldan lets up the pressure of his attack, and with a flick of his wrist, leaves a long shallow cut across his opponent?s stomach.

    The duros hisses something in his native language, and Aldan feints a swing from left to right, and as the duros falls for the feint, kicks him in the stomach right across the wound, doubling him over.

    With the duros bent over, Aldan slams his blade through the duro?s back. Aldan smiles and turns back towards the three remaining Dark Jedi.

    Nowor flicks his finger, and the sister holding the vonskryr?s leash drops it.

    The vonskryr bounds towards Aldan, a keening howl coming from the creature?s throat.

    Aldan prepares himself to receive the attack, and as the animal closes, swings in an attempt to decapitate it. The vonskryr is faster than Aldan had expected, and jumps over the attack, landing atop of him forcing him to the ground. As he slams into the hardened sand, Aldan can feel his saber skitter away and he throws his arm up, pressing the forearm against the vonskryr?s throat. He glances to the side, looking for his saber, and has to twist his face away as the vonskryr?s tail slams into the dirt beside him.

    Aldan turns his head again and sees his saber about two meters away. Reaching out with his free arm, he calls the blade to his hand, and presses the emitter to the vonskryr?s head. With a grimace, he then turns it on.

    Heaving the dead animal off himself, he sees the cold>
     
  23. poor yorick

    poor yorick Ex-Mod star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Jun 25, 2002
    I don't know what Jennifer_Lyn's policy is toward stories that are just over the length limit, but since the story's here right now, I'll reply here. You've got some nice work in there, Kidan, and it really deserves a full beta, but I'll limit myself to responding to things related to the thread topic.

    He mounts the first step, when the four step out of the darkened entrance way.

    Good call on cutting the number of assailants. Just speaking personally, since you said concrit was okay, I'd go further and either cut out everyone but the two brothers, or else have the others become a kind of "nameless, faceless horde" a la the interchangeable stormtroopers in the OT. If you keep the "horde," it needs to act as a big arrow pointing right back at the conflict between the brothers. That's where the story's emotional "center of gravity" is, and with only 1,000 words to work with, you can't afford anything that distracts the reader from the central conflict.

    That said, your "fight choreography" was much better than the original--I especially liked the realistic little detail of Aldan choking the vornskyr with his forearm, and him putting a blade through its head. Eeeew. That is the act of a desperate man, and desperation is good in fiction. (I don't recommend it in real life.) If you were to do another draft, you might want to clip and save that little vornskyr bit for use later--unless you can somehow force it into the main conflict between the brothers here.

    Although the early fight choreography was better, *this* is where you had me:[ul]Nowor struts down the steps of the temple, closing with Aldan, his eyes an eerie yellow. He holds out his arm, and lightning writhes down it, shooting across the distance towards Aldan. At the suddenness of the strike Aldan?s eyes widen, and he tries to get his blade up to block the lightning.

    He fails.[/ul]I was thinking, hell, yeah! One brother torturing another for (presumably?) selfish and personal reasons is so unnatural it screams for attention, and triggers an instinctive need to see justice done. Murdering first-order relatives through gratuitously cruel means is a pretty good by-word for evil, and the confrontation and exorcism of evil is really what SW is all about. (All Aldan and Nowor are missing is a basic motive for their confrontation, although given relations between the Jedi and the Sith, that wouldn't be too hard to come up with.) It was great that Nowor got Aldan down, too. I wouldn't have felt bad for the guy if he just stood there and took it in stride. Allowing the character to actually struggle and suffer humanizes him, and his weakened attempts to keep fighting paradoxically make him look braver and stronger.

    This was great, too:[ul]With a soft sob, Aldan deactivates the blade and lets it drop from his fingers.

    Nowor sinks to his knees, his hands covering the hole in his chest, as he stares at his little brother. ?B-but I was the stronger.?

    Aldan can feel the tears start their travel down his cheeks as he shakes his head sadly. ?No, just the more powerful.?[/ul]Terrific final line. :cool: The battle between the brothers wasn't as fancy as the one with identical twins and vornskyrs and things, but the second battle flowed naturally out of emotional conflicts that were human and real and urgent. When that happens, the battle will seem real and urgent too--whether there's a vornskyr in it or not.

    Brief stuff:

    The duros follows, and soon they are both on the sand, their sabers held ready over their heads, each waiting for the other to attack.

    That pause-and-scope-each-other-out moment happens in sparring matches; I can only imagine it would be intensified in a real fight to the death. One thing though--if your opponent's guard is high, consider going low. Holding your blade overhead is a good offensive position, since it leaves your whole opponent's body is beneath the "slicer," and you've got gravity working with you. (Let us not ask whether lightsabers have weight or mass
     
  24. Kidan

    Kidan TFN EU Staff star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2003
    a full beta :) is that an offer ;) :D

    Well I wanted to keep the group feel, but knew that 8 characters would put me in at around 2500 words, so I tried to use the other three as minions to the Evil!Brother....

    Thanks! and I actually enjoyed writing that Jedi v. Animal fight, and left it in, just because out of the minions, the vornskyr is the only thing that actually offers Aldan a challenge....[face_thinking]hhmm....an we can do multiple drafts???

    Well it goes back into that need for WHY they are having that conflict. I wondered what on earth would they be doing there, and thought of the Temple...then I tried to think of the most emotionally damaging thing for our Hero, and made the villian his brother....

     
  25. Jennifer_Lyn

    Jennifer_Lyn Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 8, 2005
    :eek:

    you all are amazing! it's going to take me a bit to work through all this and reply, but wow!
    the breakdowns look awesome and yippe for rewrites!

    the length is fine, Kidan, i'm not going to shoot anybody for going a tiny bit over. i just want to make sure we doint have 5,000 word stories in here. besides, if it were that long it deserves to be posted on the story boards!

    i'll try to put together something coherent this afternoon. :D
     
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