A World Where No One Weeps Critiques Please!
|Thu, Mar 16 2017 10:08am GMT 1|
We were only children when were given swords instead of toys and ordered to smite our enemies as if they were dolls and not human. We were forced into the civil war between the rebels and patriots over who was going to be the next successor to the throne. There we witnessed the cruel brutality of what idle grown ups committed all in the name of peace. Rivers of blood tainted the land due to the grown ups who told us we were fighting for a just cause, but the rapacious adults were blinded by the promise of vast wealth and power. They forced the young and able, us, to sacrifice our lives in the bloody war. The foolish grownups were brainwashed into thinking the senseless killing was justice and it would grant peace in the near future. However, little did they know, it'd cause more violence until the stupid grownups realized their foolish thinking that killing others would bring peace was all a fabricated lie.
Shiro's Point Of View
The clashing of swords, the smell of gunpowder, the cries of the wounded men who waited for the Reaper's kiss, the bloodied corpse long forgotten under the soldier's feet, and the metallic smell of blood were the usual sounds, sights, and scents of blood-drenched battle. I held my bloodied sword in front of me, carelessly swinging my sword towards the enemy before me. The enemy before me was a regular footman, he would be easy prey. I charged blindly at my enemy which he tried to block, but his blocking skill was that of an amateur. I felt the sound of metal piercing skin and seeing the blood splatter like a spilled cup of wine. The enemy fell before me, but I heard a comrade who was around my age shout my name. "Shiro! Watch your back!" He yelled and his spear-like sword pierced the enemy who had tried to surprise attack me. The enemy cried out in pain and he landed on the floor, lifeless. His mouth was agape and his eyes were filled with horror as if he saw a ghost. "Tadashi! You stole my kill, you idiot. Quit treating me like a kid! I could've killed him myself!" I told Tadashi and I quietly scanned the battlefield before me. We were on the side of the patriots since we were hired by the emperor himself. Our goal we were given at the young age of eleven was to bring supposedly justice on those who dared to rebel against the empire. Although none of us wanted to accept the grown up's absurd reasoning of this stupid fight, we had no way of refusing their false thinking.
The war had started over the nefarious adults who believed they were gods and thought they could control the whole universe. Many people opposed Tatsuya as the crowned emperor. Many were tired of being oppressed and treated like dirt by emperors who cared little about them. They wanted freedom and wished for it like a caged bird. When Tatsuya's father, Nagisa, was assassinated by a spy from the neighboring kingdom, Osagai, Tatsuya rose to power. There, the citizens began to rebel against the crowning of Tatsuya. They were tired of constraining their rebellious emotions and being walked over by dictators. Therefore a revolution began and it began to stain the nation to a crimson color.
"Don't you find this war a waste of lives?" Tadashi questioned me. His light brown eyes watched the small battle go on. The clashing of swords and the blood-drenched screams of the innocent whose lives were too short was the sounds and sights I lived for. All my life I had been drenching my hands with blood and sin due to the nefarious adults whose eyes were filled with their blinded hatred and lust for great power. If adults had never existed, the world would have been a better place. No adults whose every word was dripping with lies or no pain inflicted on the young. They should all just die! It's the adults who are ruining this world! It's all of their fault! Rotten people like them should just die!
I clenched my sword until my knuckles turned a ghostly white and I charged towards my enemies. I felt the sound of metal piercing through bone and a blood-curdling scream from the soldier. It was their fault they had started the war. I wouldn't have witnessed the brutality of war at a young age of fourteen. The soldier dropped to the ground, his blood formed a small pool around his corpse. "Goodbye young soldier. Let your next life be peaceful and filled with joy." I told the corpse. His eyes held a dull expression as if the life in his eyes flickered away like a candle in the storm.
Tadashi bowed at the corpse before him, we paid our respect to the dead because that was the right thing to do. Their lives were too short. They didn't deserve to die no matter what kind of terrible things they did in their past. They were the ones who were tricked and brainwashed to fight in this blood-drenched war which would only disrupt the tranquility in the accursed world. It seemed like violence was the only thing that existed in the fragile world.
Soon the small battle ended, but there was no point in celebrating when lives were lost all because of the adult's foolish ways. "Abe-san! Are we making camp here?" Tadashi shouted to our platoon commander. Our small platoon had about fifty soldiers, however, we had lost a lot on our side too. Their corpses would rot and be long forgotten once Mother Nature took its course. It was a sad fate for all, but life was fleeting. Once you die, you're dead for life unless you could be reincarnated to another being.
If I were to be reincarnated, I want to be a butterfly. I want to fly away from all of the pain, sadness, and cruelty that humans cause! I want a place where my childlike innocence isn't stolen away from me! Where I can laugh and do as I please without adults tricking me. Away from this endless bloody war!
"Shiro? You okay?" Tadashi asked me, but I ignored him. I had to remain strong no matter what even if it was cheap pride that kept me going. Deep inside my heart, I was dripping with shame and I pitied myself. I felt weak, but I have to be strong for Tadashi and my comrades. I needed to protect our precious world even if it might mean forsaking my friends or staining my hands with more blood. I had already stained my hands a crimson color and I could never clean the blood off my hands no matter how holy or godly I acted. My past sins would never be erased even if it was the adults' faults. But a small hope lit my heart, would my sins ever be justified?
"Shiro, don't bear all of the weight by yourself. Don't hide what you're truly feeling deep inside your heart. If you're sad; cry! If you're happy; laugh! If you're angry; yell! So just stop hiding what you're truly feeling!" Tadashi shouted at me, but I didn't deserve to laugh, cry, or yell because I had sinned far greater where I did not deserve to live my life. I didn't deserve to live my life when I had stolen people's lives away with my own hands. Even if I was ordered at a young age to smite those who stood before me, I should've voiced my opinions against the unjust, but my cowardly voice couldn't deny the nefarious adults' orders. I didn't deserve peace nor happiness for speaking out against the unjust.
"Tadashi, I can never live peacefully when I have stolen precious lives. I don't deserve happiness when I have sinned far greater than an ordinary man." I spoke, but Tadashi had given me a hard punch in my stomach. I felt pain in my lower abdomen and I glared up at him, but Tadashi's eyes looked furious. "Quit wallowing in self-pity! Don't think that way, you can still live happily even if you have committed grave wrongs. It's not your fault, it's the dirty-minded adults. So don't think you can't live your life without happiness or peace." Tadashi spoke. His voice strong, but his words gave me hope. Maybe I could get away from all the pain, sadness, and the ugliness of humans and live a peaceful life. Maybe I could forget all of the wrongs I committed and get away from the cruel humans who disrupted the equilibrium of the world.
"Shiro and Tadashi. We're making camp near here." Abe told us and he began to round up our survivors. There was no celebrating, but only despair in each soldiers' eyes. Each soldier worried about dying without making their mark on this painful world. Pain and sorrow were evident on their faces and the worry that they could be next. I stayed behind as I watched my only friend and one who would I would sacrifice my life for if it came to that, run after Abe with a cheerful smile. As if he forgot he committed a grave sin of killing.
I walked ahead of Shiro and walked by Abe's side, he was solemn over the deaths of our comrades. But there was no time to mourn nor celebrate with the living. This was war, there was no time to grieve nor laugh with our comrades because you or your comrades might be next on the pile of corpses. I saw no point in making bonds with my comrades because they could be next, I didn't want to make myself sad again. I didn't want to feel like I couldn't protect a single life...I just wanted to obtain a peaceful world for everyone even if it meant I would never receive happiness or peace. It was fine by me if everyone was allowed to live in a peaceful state of mind with no violence, hatred, grief, or see the ugliness of people's hearts.
I glanced at Shiro who sluggishly walked a bit far from us, his head was down. I glanced at Abe, picking my pace up a bit. "Abe-san...do you think I might have been a bit too harsh on Shiro? I just want him to be happy. He's my friend...I want him to forgive himself for all of the sins he committed. It's not his fault, it's the terrible grown-ups' fault." I spoke with bitter hatred to those who forced us as young children to stain our hands for them. "I just want to protect all of my precious friends and make them happy," I told Abe, glancing at the oblivious blue sky. How I wished I could cast my sadness and pain away to the sky and forget every painful thing in my past. When I was forced to kill at the young age of seven and how I was forced to throw away all the humanity inside of me.
Let everyone be safe and happy even if it means I have to forsake my own happiness and peace. Just let us change this cruel world to a happy place where no feudal lords rule, where children don't have to lose their innocence from the dirty-minded adults, no wars even if it is a just cause, and pain. I'll forsake my own happiness and peace to make others happy! Just hear my wish!
"Tadashi, how about we form our own group to stop this war? We can protect everyone even if it means we might become like the dirty-minded adults in this twisted world." Abe spoke as if he read my thoughts. "Yes, let's do that," I spoke and I stopped walking. I stared up at Abe with a strong expression in my eyes. "Let us regain the humanity in this world. Let's protect this world we hold dear in our hearts." I spoke. I wanted to protect the precious things I held dear in my heart even if it might mean my ultimate death or becoming a tyrant. As long as I could protect all of my friends, family, and other humans needed protection from the ugliness of human's souls that caused all of the misery in the world. I just wanted to stop all the violence in this world that made the world a dark and cold place to live in.
"We'll make a group that'll protect everyone from the terrible humans! We can become heroes of justice! We'll protect the old and the young with our lives!" Abe spoke with a smile plastered on our face. Even if our goal was a far-fetched idea, at least we could protect a few precious lives. Even if our goal might not the right choice, at least we could die trying.
"Abe-san, if we do form our own group, we're going against Tatsuya, the emperor himself. We'll be called traitors and we'll have a bounty on our head. It's going to be hard, but at least we can protect all of our cherished friends. So are with me till the end? Even if we might not even come close to achieving our goal?" I asked Abe. "So are we with each other?" I asked and Abe nodded his head. "Yes. We'll protect humanity together even if we may be scorn and cast away by others." Abe spoke.
We didn't know if our men would agree to join us, some may be afraid of being labeled as traitors or they wanted to protect their family. We wouldn't make them fight for us, that would be unjust and the worst thing we could do to them and their families. I just wanted to protect them. We kept walking, trying to find a town to take us in, but many hated us. They blamed us for this war and they often went to violent measures to drive us out. They blamed us for everyone's death even though it wasn't their fault their brothers, sons, husbands, or uncles were the ones who died.
After a few hours of walking, we reached a small village, but none welcomed us. A few street children who had lost their family in the war sat in the dark alleyways as we passed through. The children wore tattered clothing, their eyes filled with despair, and many were so malnourished. But there was nothing we could do, but I wanted to help everyone. I knew I couldn't always protect everyone, though. I was only human.
I stared up at the tattered homes in the village and the homeless children who had lost their loved ones. My soldiers' haunting eyes were filled with despair, they thought this terrible war would never be over. I saw a large rock be thrown at my feet and I glanced up, seeing a teary-eyed young woman and a sobbing child. "G-Get out of here! You're not wanted here! If you never started the war, my husband would have been alive! He's dead because of you! You're the ones who are causing misery! You're monsters! We don't want you here, monsters! You're ruining the world!" The woman shouted through her tears and she picked up another rock and threw it towards me. "Bring back daddy! You killed him!" The child wailed, hanging onto his mother's leg. I felt a sharp pain on my left cheek from the rock and soon a few townspeople came and began to follow the woman's actions. It wasn't out fault...we were trying the best we could do.
The soldiers yelled and a few began to retaliate against the townspeople with weapons, I tried to shout for them to stop. However, it became a bloodbath in an instant. I watched the blood of the innocent splatter onto the floor and the screams of pain and fear filled the air. I saw the sobbing child crying at the corpse of his mother, a soldier had struck down on her for throwing stones at us in anger. "Please! Stop all of this! Just stop! No more killing!" I screamed, but it fell on deaf ears. None would listen to my words no matter how much I begged or cried out to them. I saw Tadashi trying to seek cover from the bloodshed and saw I Shiro trying to prevent the fighting, but he was pushed away by his comrades and the villagers. There, I witnessed the brutality of the human race and what ugliness it could bring when they were blinded by hate and fear.
|Fri, Mar 17 2017 11:02am GMT 2|
An interesting premis Aigerim of violence feeding on violence.
I would suggest reading this out loud to yourself. There is a lot of word repetition - grown-ups and enemies in particular - and a repetition of idea. Reading it out loud may help you notice these. You can then rework and streamline the piece.
You also have 3 POV's but the voices sound very similar. You may want to concentrate on making each individual unique.
Hope these ideas are helpful.
|Fri, Mar 17 2017 11:27am GMT 3|
There were several things that threw me as I read. You talk about thrones (which I, probably quite wrongly associate with Kings), emperors, dictators and feudal Lords. Personally having the same refernce point every time would have helped me. Very much agreeing with Kate I found a lot of repetition, often even within the same close section - you tell us that he has sinned and doesn't deserve happiness and then he says almost exactly the same. There are also a lot of nefarious adults out there!
For the children versus adults situation I was attracted to the angle, but in this writing I haven't yet caught the thread - are the adults mixed wit the children, are the adults just the footsoldiers and the children more trained and better armed, are their child platoons and adult platoons?
On the battle scenes my own reading tastes often take me into this territory and so it is something that I am familiar with. I almost felt like all of the descriptions that I have read elsewhere were all included in this passage, which would could make any future battle scenes quite difficult to fill.
I think that for me the concept of child vs adult could be very interesting (if it goes further than simply the use of child soldiers). From these first chapters I am not yet feeling how this angle will develop though and so I am not sure if I would want to read on.
Wishing you luck with the project and hoping that you succeed.
|Fri, Mar 17 2017 07:31pm GMT 4|
I read the first bits. There's lots of repetition of words and images and lots of adjectives and description. Why not write down now what happened...A then B then C, simple, like a mans skeleton, and put the description flesh back on him,but not too much in case he gets fat.
|Sat, Mar 18 2017 12:29pm GMT 5|
I wondered if the grown-ups were once kids themselves, and if they felt like the kids then and if the kids would grow up to think like the adults? Or, if they were OK in the kid stage of their lives, what made the adults suddenly turn into mosters?
|Sat, Mar 18 2017 02:32pm GMT 6|
I think, to add to what everyone else has said, that you need to consider who is telling this story. If it's one of the child soldiers, then the 'voice' needs to be that of a child grown old before their time. Somehow, the choice of vocab makes me think it's an older person relating the story. Hope you don't mind, but I've taken a short section to address some specific points, because if I remember rightly, English isn't your first language (though it's very good compared to any other languages I try to speak!):
The clashing of swords, the smell of gunpowder, the cries of the wounded men who waited for the Reaper's kiss, the bloodied corpse long forgotten under the soldier's feet, and the metallic smell of blood were the usual sounds, sights, and scents of blood-drenched battle.
By listing everything and then noting they were the usual sights and sounds, you are telling the reader - much better that they experience it directly, by showing. Something like 'acrid gunpowder burnt my nostrils, intensifying the metallic smell of blood.' So similar senses are grouped together... I note swords and gunpowder, so wasn't sure which was the weapon of choice?
I held my bloodied sword in front of me, carelessly swinging my sword towards the enemy before me.
In battle, I'm not convinced you'd have time to wait or be careless...?
The enemy before me was a regular footman, he would be easy prey. I charged blindly at my enemy which he tried to block, but his blocking skill was that of an amateur.
Footman means something different - do you mean foot soldier? This needs more immediacy to get the action moving, as describing each movement can slow things down. Something like... I charged at the foot soldier. His attempt to block my blow failed.
I felt the sound of metal piercing skin and seeing the blood splatter like a spilled cup of wine.
You can't feel a sound...but I like the blood spattering image. What you might feel is a judder as you hit bone...or feel warm blood on your skin...or something else equally horrid!
The enemy fell before me, but I heard a comrade who was around my age shout my name.
By telling us what you heard, you've introduced a distance with the reader. Try something simple, like "Shiro! Watch your back!", then show your character spinning to face the soldier who'd crept up on him and seeing a spear burst through his chest. THEN you can introduce the dialogue and name of the comrade which follows. Or, you could dive straight in with "Shiro! Watch your back!" Tadashi yelled. Then follow with what Shiro sees Tadashi do. We don't need to know his age up front - that kind of information puls us out of the action when we're invested in the fight on his behalf.
"Shiro! Watch your back!" He yelled and his spear-like sword pierced the enemy who had tried to surprise attack me. The enemy cried out in pain and he landed on the floor, lifeless. His mouth was agape and his eyes were filled with horror as if he saw a ghost. "Tadashi! You stole my kill, you idiot. Quit treating me like a kid! I could've killed him myself!" I told Tadashi and I quietly scanned the battlefield before me.
This feels a little unrealistic here because I can't believe there'd be enough time to quietly scan the battlefield...
We were on the side of the patriots since we were hired by the emperor himself. Our goal we were given at the young age of eleven was to bring supposedly justice on those who dared to rebel against the empire. Although none of us wanted to accept the grown up's absurd reasoning of this stupid fight, we had no way of refusing their false thinking.
This last bit is backstory - you could introduce the same information a slightly different way to let the reader know what's going on. Not sure how old your character is at this point in the story, but you could - if there is a pause in the fighting - briefly mention that this had been a way of life since he'd been eleven. And move on to something like 'Hired by the emperor himself, we were fighting as patriots, to bring justice on those who rebelled against the empire.'
Hope some of that's helpful - I think it's a good premise, to have a story told from a child soldier's point of view, and sounds interesting. Just needs some 'tightening' and it'll be corking.
|Wed, Apr 26 2017 10:53pm IST 7|
I made a big list of things I enjoyed or thought could be improved with this. Sorry if I got a little too into it, heh.
Straight away - if there is a new person speaking, a new line is started. I'm sorry to start with a negative, but I needed to address it. I do get nicer as it goes on - I hope.
I think Squidge made a lot of brilliant points about the battle scene, so I may leave out my notes, as they mostly match there's. Props for that c:
Though I will mention the language used is a tad off - they speak of 'kills' and 'prey' but from what I know, people don't talk about other people as prey. They still see them as people, even in war.
I did like the part when they bow to the dead body, but I think saying 'out of respect because it was the right thing to do' is a little odd, because it's more telling rather than showing. I can gather from the bowing that they're being respectful, I don't think you need to say so. Also, earlier on, they kill two other people but don't bow to them. You may want to adjust that.
Tadashi shouting this advice doesn't seem realistic, and the fact he's even saying it is a little out-of-the-blue. Shiro could possibly indicate the feelings he's having - a sniff, or wiping eyes, or hard blinking, but as far as we know, he doesn't do anything. Also, Tadashi telling him to have feelings, then punching him for them seems confusing too - I understand it's a war setting, but surely complaining about Shiro 'wallowing in self-pity' is going against his previous advice?
For chapter two...
I like how you had Tadashi refer to most of the people in his platoon as 'comrades' - you've stated he doesn't want to make friends, so by calling them that rather than people, or by name, makes him more detached from them.
People have already mentioned the repetition of ideas in different characters, but I did like the phrasing 'stain our hands for them'. It's very symbolic and thought-provoking for me c:
The fact that Abe and Tadashi plan this rebellion openly in front of people who they don't know very well is a tad off - they would at least try to keep it quiet, right?
With the 'Abe-san' - if Tadashi calls Abe that, surely he'd call Shiro the same? Shiro-san? And the emperor, Tatsuya, would be Tatsuya-sensei, right? Even if they don't like him, it's a word of respect for someone of higher authority than you. I think. Don't quote me on that.
I do like the bit when the platoon gets to the street - the 'eyes filled with despair' although being common, is always a great line for me, and the shift in focus shows us how common people are affected by war. A nice touch c:
For chapter three...
Abe's reaction to this scene is wonderfully put - the townspeople's reactions are appropriate if a little skewed. Surely, it'd be public news that these children only the soldiers, the messengers, if you will? But it's a very emotive scene, and very well done. The description is perfect in my opinion.
Although having said that, I'm less fond of the second paragraph. As far as I'm aware, the soldiers in this platoon are all children, and these children have been walking for hours after a bloody battle. They are exhausted emotionally and physically, and would probably try to shrug off this incident of stone-throwing.
Overall, it was interesting and (as others have said) I like the idea of children vs adults. I'm eager to read more. Apologies if I'm misinformed about anything, and feel free to take my advice with a pinch of salt!
I hope this goes well for you. Until next time ~
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