When I close my eyes and daydream, I can see, feel, hear, and sometimes even taste the story as it unfolds. But when I write it down, it is flat and boring. Why? Because when I write, I am sometimes so caught up in the narrow view of the action and the dialogue that I forget to write down the other sensations.
I am in the process of revising my third fantasy novel, “The Dragon and the Lion: Book Three of the Dukarian Legacy”. Before I send it off to be edited, the revision requires that I add more meaningful and vivid scenes. As soon as I finish my fall semester, I plan on engrossing myself in working on my book. In the meantime, read the unrevised version of the prologue of “The Dragon and the Lion”. As you read it, feel free to provide me with tips on where the story could use more depth. I could also use some writing tips on creating better scenes in general. When I finish the fall semester and begin working on this, I will take your feedback into consideration and hopefully transform this one small passage as well as the rest of the story.
Death lingered over the land. Black withered leaves clung precariously to the twisted limbs of old trees. The ground, littered with decay, struggled to hold on to what little was left of the fading plant life. But it was a fight which would soon be lost. The war of man was over for a season, but the coming winter brought its own battle of death.
Prince Tristan Belanus of Trusca headed home with a feeling of uncertainty. He thought he was on the path to peace, but everything around him looked ugly and violent. A vast army of battle-worn and tired men followed in his wake. Blood and dirt stained their armor and weapons. Gloominess was borne on their faces. Although the soldiers were heading home, war would begin anew in the spring. It seemed the cycle of death would never end. When, Tristan wondered, would the promised peace come?
The cold gray sky brought a bitter wind and a biting chill to his bones. Tristan knew King Haban Dukar would not stop until all of Ungal was under his control. This ruler of Lower Ungal rode beside Tristan on a black Hunarian stallion. A look of dangerous fervor burned in his eyes. The King’s sharp nose and furious scowl reminded Tristan of a bird of prey on a lethal hunt. But he was no bird. He was a beast, descendant of the ancient Duridian clan of the Dragon.
King Haban was a man to be feared and Tristan greatly feared him. The man was a tyrant with a cruel hand and an infinite greed for power. But fear was not the reason why Tristan had sworn allegiance to him. It was the King’s two sons he was truly interested in.
Prince Kamil and Lord Jofan not only had their father’s blood of the Dragon; but through their mother, they also carried the blood of the legendary King Mitas Renlo of the Lion clan. These two young men were the sons spoken of in the Prophecy of Peace.
The ancient land will heal
When the blood of Dragon and blood of Lion freely combine.
Two sons will be born to continue the family line.
Their legacy will live on,
As these descendants of the Duridians grow into power.
The new blood will rule in peace and their kingdom will flower.
Useni, Tristan’s trusted companion, said the Prophecy of Peace had been invoked by the red moon and eclipse of the sun several years ago. Even though Tristan believed Useni at the time, he was now finding it difficult to keep his faith in this Prophecy. It was hard to believe Prince Kamil and Lord Jofan were the ones it spoke of.
The brutality and bloodshed of the past several moons lingered in Tristan’s thoughts. He reluctantly recalled how he watched with horror as the two sons ruthlessly slaughtered helpless peasants and even innocent children. Out of simple anger, the brawny Prince Kamil once beat one of his own men to death with his bare hands. The terrible grin he wore on his face at the time made Tristan’s skin crawl.
Lord Jofan was worse. Although much smaller and physically weaker than his brother, Lord Jofan was truly the stronger of the two. Men did not fear him for his brutality, they feared him for his absolute wickedness. Tristan felt a wave of nausea whenever he looked at him. The young man had the sharp facial features of his father, but his eyes were full of cunning and they held a deathly darkness even deeper than those of the King’s. Lord Jofan killed just as mercilessly as his elder brother, but he seemed to particularly enjoy torturing his victims before allowing them to die. Even now, he was licking the dried blood of his last victim from his fingertips.
Tristan broke from his thoughts as a group of soldiers rode up from the rear. Nothing about their dusty traveling clothes identified them as warriors or even men of the house of Dukar. But they had the hard, fierce faces of men who knew how to kill.
“My King!” one of the soldiers called.
Tristan gritted his teeth in revulsion towards this man who spoke. It was Gavin, the King’s most sadistic tool of war; the same man who had tortured and killed Tristan’s father, Prince Nolan Belanus. Scars from fire warped Gavin’s face. One particular scar above his right eyebrow turned a deep red whenever the man was filled with blood-lust, which was much too often. No one deserved to die as much as this man did.
“Gavin,” the King replied. “Did you find him?”
“No, my King,” Gavin responded with reluctance. “I even went into the city of Nagad, but I heard no news of him.”
King Haban’s face turned red with rage but it was Prince Kamil who spoke. “Perhaps if you hadn’t spent all my father’s money carousing at local taverns, you would’ve found out something useful,” he said contemptuously. Tristan was pleased with the Prince’s tone. When King Haban was gone, perhaps Prince Kamil would rid himself of this dangerous man.
“You are supposed to be a great hunter, Gavin,” King Haban said bitterly. “Surely, if you were as good as you say you are, you would have found some trace or heard some word of him. I don’t pay you to fulfill your own selfish pleasures.”
“I swear, my King. I have spent the entire time looking,” Gavin replied defensively.
“Then why haven’t you found him?” King Haban yelled. “Do you have any idea how important it is that you find him? He must be stopped.”
“I am quite aware of how crucial my task is, my King,” Gavin said with a deadly calm tone. “I will find him. I swear it by my own blood; I will find the boy and I will kill him.”
Even though Tristan did not know who Gavin and the King spoke of, he heard the conviction in Gavin’s words and it frightened him.
I realize there are a few spelling and grammatical errors. I also already know what some of those errors are. But feel free to point those out too for in case I missed something. Thanks!