Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > Themes in History > History Book Reviews > Historical Fiction
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

Historical Fiction Historical Fiction Forum - Original historical fiction by the Historum community


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old April 26th, 2014, 06:17 AM   #1
Historian
 
Joined: Apr 2013
From: Home of Ringing Rocks
Posts: 3,778
An Assassin's Attempt


I rewrote this this morning and am looking for criticism on my fight scenes. Any thoughts? If it's in parenthesis, it either needs confirmation or it's "classified" . Sorry, forum formatting throws stuff off a bit.

I've already been told the throwing knives are a stretch (for a soldier), but they work here, imo. Small ones can be concealed easily, and her mission is undercover.

She crossed the room and opened the door to her walk-in closet.

A man stood there, hatred blazing in his eyes.Frozen momentarily, the stranger’s blade slashed her shoulder before training took over.Ignoring the burn from her weeping wound she moved in close, grabbing his wrist and twisting, attempting to dislodge the knife from his hand.

Stronger than she, he pulled away managing to slice her again in the process.Stephanie stifled a curse, reaching beneath her evening gown to the set of throwing knives she kept strapped to her thigh. If only she had her (M11), but with nowhere to conceal it, the thin blades were her only recourse.

He tackled her, overwhelming her with his greater weight, but forgetting to protect himself she brought her knee up with all her might, catching him off guard, he dropped his knife and clutched himself rolling off of her, swearing roughly in Arabic.

Tripping on the hem of her gown, Stephanie scrambled to get up before he had a chance to grab her again.This time, with her knives in hand, she managed to send one flying. It missed him and embedded itself in the floor.

Most men underestimated her abilities.This assassin knew who he faced.She did not have the advantage of surprise.Stephanie gulped back a sob. Crying was for girls, not soldiers.He came rushing at her again.She dropped her knives in the ensuing struggle.She’d never overcome her aggressor using his tactics.Finally, using her stiletto shoes to advantage, she brought her heel up and managed to stab his calf right above his combat boots.

With a muffled roar, he grabbed her neck and squeezed.Stephanie tried gouging his eyes and scratching his face with her long, manicured nails.But adrenalin had made him invincible, her tactics had no effect.He just. Kept. Squeezing.Seeing black spots, losing touch with consciousness, she reached into her bra for her last remaining weapon, a nail file.

With her last bit of strength she jammed it back, hoping against hope it would hit an artery.She heard a gurgle and was suddenly released.

Collapsing to the floor, gasping for breath, she turned to see if her opponent lived.He was dead, his blood spreading out on the carpet beneath him.But beyond him, stood (name), frozen in shock.Nothing left in her, she broke down, crying uncontrollably before blacking out in a puddle of her assassin’s blood.

NLR

Last edited by R5 plus; April 26th, 2014 at 06:23 AM.
R5 plus is offline  
Remove Ads
Old April 26th, 2014, 10:31 AM   #2

Naomasa298's Avatar
Modpool
 
Joined: Apr 2010
From: T'Republic of Yorkshire
Posts: 30,806

Are you looking for criticism of the fight scene itself or the writing?

Do women often keep nail files in their bras, or does she have one in there as a weapon of last resort? If the latter, why not something more practical as a weapon?
Naomasa298 is offline  
Old April 26th, 2014, 11:07 AM   #3

Tercios Espanoles's Avatar
Gonfaloniere
 
Joined: Mar 2014
From: Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
Posts: 6,509
Blog Entries: 1

I do hate criticizing people's writing. But...

Why throw away the knife? They are just as effective defensively as offensively. And more elbows. I'm 130 lb with my workboots on, so I know how to fight like a girl. Kick, elbow, twist, writhe, use the hilt of the knife like brass knuckles when you can't get the point in...

And nobody dies that fast unless you sever the subclavian artery, which no nail file is going to do.

Fairbairn - USE OF THE KNIFE
Tercios Espanoles is offline  
Old April 26th, 2014, 12:51 PM   #4

Vkent's Avatar
Academician
 
Joined: Nov 2013
From: At my college
Posts: 83

Instead of a nail file is should be a small knife or an actual stiletto knife.
1)The throwing knives are nice but why did she throw only one and discard the others?
2)The assassin would have never gone for a slice but a stab and never for the shoulder. 3)She could have stabbed him when he was rushing her.
4)Why doesn't the assassin have backup weapons?
5)I am sure that a kick with stilettos on is possible.
Vkent is offline  
Old April 26th, 2014, 02:02 PM   #5

Naomasa298's Avatar
Modpool
 
Joined: Apr 2010
From: T'Republic of Yorkshire
Posts: 30,806

A couple of other things. This part:

"Tripping on the hem of her gown, Stephanie scrambled to get up before he had a chance to grab her again.This time, with her knives in hand, she managed to send one flying. It missed him and embedded itself in the floor."

I'm confused - is she standing up, or still on the floor? The knife will only embed itself if she is throwing downwards.

And then:
"Finally, using her stiletto shoes to advantage, she brought her heel up and managed to stab his calf right above his combat boots."

I don't wear stilettos, except on special occasions, but it strikes me as being extremely difficult to kick someone in stilettos without losing your balance, unless she has fallen to the ground and is kicking upwards. But there's no indication of that in the narrative.

And your heroine seems remarkably fragile given what she appears to be from this short passage. Having said "crying was for girls", she proceeds to do exactly that at the end of the scene. Now, I grant that she seems to have other reasons for it but even so, she seems to go from a theoretically tough soldier to wilting flower in 30 seconds. Obviously, I'm judging from a short passage so there's no context to it.
Naomasa298 is offline  
Old April 26th, 2014, 03:33 PM   #6
Historian
 
Joined: Apr 2013
From: Home of Ringing Rocks
Posts: 3,778

Quote:
Originally Posted by Naomasa298 View Post
Are you looking for criticism of the fight scene itself or the writing?

Do women often keep nail files in their bras, or does she have one in there as a weapon of last resort? If the latter, why not something more practical as a weapon?
Right now I'm looking most for the feeling. Does it feel right? Does it put you there? Or is it totally unrealistic and jarring?

But any criticism is welcome.

I scrapped the original completely and rewrote it this morning, I wouldn't expect perfection. The original was much worse in every way .

Generally, when reading a book, I read the fight scene once and move on.
When there is a fight scene, it's incidental to the book. This may explain my problem writing them.

Some women keep stuff in their bras. I've personally seen women stuff these items in them: cell phones, money, and tissues (not just for teens ). My character is in an evening gown with a tiny clutch purse - so yeah, I can see her trying to stuff something weaponish wherever she can find a spot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Naomasa298 View Post
A couple of other things. This part:

"Tripping on the hem of her gown, Stephanie scrambled to get up before he had a chance to grab her again.This time, with her knives in hand, she managed to send one flying. It missed him and embedded itself in the floor."

I'm confused - is she standing up, or still on the floor? The knife will only embed itself if she is throwing downwards.

And then:
"Finally, using her stiletto shoes to advantage, she brought her heel up and managed to stab his calf right above his combat boots."

I don't wear stilettos, except on special occasions, but it strikes me as being extremely difficult to kick someone in stilettos without losing your balance, unless she has fallen to the ground and is kicking upwards. But there's no indication of that in the narrative.

And your heroine seems remarkably fragile given what she appears to be from this short passage. Having said "crying was for girls", she proceeds to do exactly that at the end of the scene. Now, I grant that she seems to have other reasons for it but even so, she seems to go from a theoretically tough soldier to wilting flower in 30 seconds. Obviously, I'm judging from a short passage so there's no context to it.
I'll take what you've said under consideration . As for the last part, have you ever experienced a moment when you steel yourself to deal with the reality and "fall apart" at the end? She's really trying to convince herself, but the reality is, she's broken. It probably is context, as you've said.

Thank you, Naomasa.
R5 plus is offline  
Old April 26th, 2014, 04:24 PM   #7

Naomasa298's Avatar
Modpool
 
Joined: Apr 2010
From: T'Republic of Yorkshire
Posts: 30,806

Quote:
Originally Posted by R5 plus View Post
Right now I'm looking most for the feeling. Does it feel right? Does it put you there? Or is it totally unrealistic and jarring?

But any criticism is welcome.

I scrapped the original completely and rewrote it this morning, I wouldn't expect perfection. The original was much worse in every way .

Generally, when reading a book, I read the fight scene once and move on.
When there is a fight scene, it's incidental to the book. This may explain my problem writing them.

Some women keep stuff in their bras. I've personally seen women stuff these items in them: cell phones, money, and tissues (not just for teens ). My character is in an evening gown with a tiny clutch purse - so yeah, I can see her trying to stuff something weaponish wherever she can find a spot.



I'll take what you've said under consideration . As for the last part, have you ever experienced a moment when you steel yourself to deal with the reality and "fall apart" at the end? She's really trying to convince herself, but the reality is, she's broken. It probably is context, as you've said.

Thank you, Naomasa.
OK, now I know where you're coming from. Please take this criticism in the manner that it's intended, as constructive and not me trying to belittle your writing style.

The scene doesn't put me there at all. It's flat and lifeless. I have no trouble with what happens in it, but the text just tells the reader what has happened, with no real descriptive feeling behind it.

Stephanie trips over her gown. She pulls a knife out. She throws it. I have no idea what Stephanie is feeling, thinking, what's going through her opponent's head. For all I can tell, he might just be standing there completely expressionless while she does these things. Apart from the bit with her trying not to cry, that's the only time in the passage where we get some idea of what she's feeling, and there is no leadup to it.

For example, "Stronger than she, he pulled away managing to slice her again in the process." That's just a statement of fact. She almost curses, but other than that, she just doesn't react.

I'm not trying to teach you how to write by any means, but I might have put (following on from the "attempting to dislodge the knife from his hand." sentence:

"He had anticipated her. This was no amateur. He moved with her attempt to disarm him and in a moment, his hand was free. The blade flashed down and she stifled an involuntary curse at the pain as it seared through her flesh. Desperately, she reached for the weapon she kept strapped to her thigh. Her M11 - where was it? She hadn't worn it today, it would have been too obvious in the gown. All she had was the throwing knives."

Obviously, my writing style is different from yours, and I'm not saying it's any better, I'm just trying to illustrate what I mean. You'll need to find a style for these scenes that suits you and blends in with the rest of your writing.
Naomasa298 is offline  
Old April 26th, 2014, 04:37 PM   #8
Historian
 
Joined: Apr 2013
From: Home of Ringing Rocks
Posts: 3,778

Quote:
Originally Posted by Naomasa298 View Post
...The scene doesn't put me there at all. It's flat and lifeless. I have no trouble with what happens in it, but the text just tells the reader what has happened, with no real descriptive feeling behind it...
I'm glad I didn't post the first attempt .

Don't worry about offending me. I put it on a thread because it feels wrong to me, too, but I just couldn't see why.

This thread gives me some idea. Thanks again.
R5 plus is offline  
Old April 26th, 2014, 04:47 PM   #9
Historian
 
Joined: Apr 2013
From: Home of Ringing Rocks
Posts: 3,778

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tercios Espanoles View Post
I do hate criticizing people's writing. But...

Why throw away the knife? They are just as effective defensively as offensively. And more elbows. I'm 130 lb with my workboots on, so I know how to fight like a girl. Kick, elbow, twist, writhe, use the hilt of the knife like brass knuckles when you can't get the point in...

And nobody dies that fast unless you sever the subclavian artery, which no nail file is going to do.

Fairbairn - USE OF THE KNIFE
I sincerely do not mind the critique. If it bothers you to do it on a thread, PMs are welcome. I generally do not offend easily.

Your insight is appreciated. I'll incorporate some of what you've mentioned.

And I'll be visiting the library .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vkent View Post
Instead of a nail file is should be a small knife or an actual stiletto knife.
1)The throwing knives are nice but why did she throw only one and discard the others?
2)The assassin would have never gone for a slice but a stab and never for the shoulder. 3)She could have stabbed him when he was rushing her.
4)Why doesn't the assassin have backup weapons?
5)I am sure that a kick with stilettos on is possible.
Good points all. Thanks.

She didn't actually "discard" the knives, she dropped them. Obviously, your questions make it clear that I've got more rewriting to do .
R5 plus is offline  
Old April 26th, 2014, 05:03 PM   #10

Tercios Espanoles's Avatar
Gonfaloniere
 
Joined: Mar 2014
From: Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
Posts: 6,509
Blog Entries: 1

The only MAJOR thing I'd actually criticize is something Vkent alluded to: He's prepared, she's not. There needs to be a reason she survives his initial attack, either by something she does or some kind of deus ex machina (him tripping over her speckled pink bowling ball in the closet for instance).

Act out the scene. If it seems believable, stick with it.
Tercios Espanoles is offline  
Reply

  Historum > Themes in History > History Book Reviews > Historical Fiction

Tags
assassin, attempt



Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
'Churchill's Official Assassin' JohnnyH History Book Reviews 0 October 25th, 2009 10:28 PM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.