Chapter 1: Blanto

Chapter 1: Blanto

A Chapter by Jcortz3

Jayce laid a bundle of flowers on the grave of his mother. It had been about a year since she was killed by Pyranical. This mysterious figure had destroyed many cities and killed many people in the country. He then created monsters to do further damage. Nobody knows why he is doing this or where he came from. "I miss you mom," said Jayce after kissing the top of the tombstone. He got up and walked back to his father's rusty shoemaking shack down the hill. His father was already setting up shop. "Good morning son, where did you go?" "I went to visit mom, today marks a year since she passed" replied Jayce. His dad looked down in sorrow. "Yes, yes it has, I'll visit her in the evening." Suddenly a piece of wood fell from the ceiling. "This is the fourth time this week that something broke," said Jayce's dad. He went to get his hammer and nails to fix the ceiling. Jayce sighed as he went to help his dad finish setting up the shop. As his dad was fixing the hole in the ceiling, Jayce asked "I don't understand why mom didn't accept the gifts she got from her deeds, I mean we could've been living in Zanta City instead of here in this old shack in Blanto." His dad looked up "Now son, I already told you, she did those heroic things to help humanity, not for money, and when she was alive it was good for business since everyone in the country and beyond wanted to see her and get autographs." "Yeah, and people were surprised she lived here and not somewhere like Zanta City, we've been struggling since she died. His dad didn't say anything as he went to put his tools back into storage. Jayce looked outside, it was unusually cold and a bit foggy for this dry town. He trotted back to his room to do some cleaning. 

"Zato! where are you?" I'm here to place an order" a voice called from outside. "Ah, Mr. Millweaver, what would you like today?" Jayce's dad asked as he walked towards the counter. Mr. Millweaver sold yarn at his shack and for an extra fee, he could knit clothes for the customer as well. He looked nervous and weary but Jayce's dad didn't notice. "Uh, I would like a size ten boot pair." Jayce's dad nodded and went to check the inventory. Mr. Millweaver kept looking over his shoulder anxiously. He turned back towards Zato and noticed he was walking towards the other side of the shack. Once he was close enough, he lunged towards him and took him down to the ground. Zato looked stunned. "Zato, I'm sorry, I don't have money or resources for him, he may come any second now!" He pulled out his gun and pointed it towards him. "Give me a hundred dollars and maybe I'll live until he comes back again!" he cried out. Zato still laid there shocked. Jayce stepped out of his room to see what was going on. Mr. Millweaver looked up and pointed the gun towards Jayce. "Now, be a good man and give me some money out of your safe!" His dad tried to get up but Mr. Millweaver stomped his knee on his chest and whacked his gun across his forehead. He let out a groan. "The safe boy, hurry up!" Mr. Millweaver yelled. Jayce walked slowly to the safe. As he was putting in the combination, a figure tiptoed slowly behind Mr. Millweaver. When it waited for the right moment, she dug her knife into his chest, and with her other arm flipped and threw him outside. He landed with a hard thud on the gravel. Jayce turned around and saw that it was Hiva, his only friend. Her mom and his mom were best friends. Every day she patrols the town to stop crime and keep the town peaceful. She quickly disarmed Mr. Millweaver as Jayce was helping his dad up. "Are you okay Mr. C?" asked Hiva. He nodded. "This is the tenth incident this week" she added. She looked at Jayce, "And where were you, I already taught you how to avoid bullets and disarm someone." Along with selling arts and crafts, Hiva and her mom ran a self-defense center but nowadays Hiva is the only teacher, and Jayce is the only student. Along with self-defense, she also taught him swordsmanship and a few more things as well. "I don't know, I just froze." Hiva sighed and patted him on the head. Jayce blushed but Hiva didn't see. "How's your mother?" asked Zato. "She's feeling better today but not sure about tomorrow." Hiva's mom aided Jayce's mom in the fight against Pyranical. Somehow she and a few others survived but she sustained a broken leg and a damaged lower back. Hiva took care of her and became in charge of the store, teaches Jayce how to battle, and patrolled the town. She is a busy nineteen-year-old. 

While they were talking, Mr. Millweaver finally stood up and cried out "you are going to kill me, he's coming today and he's going to ask for my money and resources but I don't have neither!" He ran back to his shack down the street. The town's monster collects money and randomly asks each person for a resource which could be metal, wood, food, jewelry, or any other material. If they don't have both, their house will be destroyed and they will be murdered. There were thirty shacks in this town's prime now there were only nine. Hiva proceeded to leave but before she entered the street she turned back to Jayce "come by in the evening so I can teach you another lesson" she said. Jayce nodded. Jayce and Hiva were the only young adults here everyone that used to live here were older adults with younger kids or by themselves. So it was hard for them to make friends. "Take care Mr. C" she called out. "Will do, tell your mother I said hi" he responded. Jayce then went to help his dad make shoes and clean up the mess. 

It was about one in the afternoon. Jayce and his dad had sold five pairs of shoes so far to wandering travelers. That's pretty much their customers right now these days. Jayce was cleaning the counter when suddenly a white cloud of smoke appeared at the entrance of the town. Jayce looked outside and gulped. "It's him," he said. Out from the smoke floated a ghostly figure with rags that were the color of bowling pins and a bowling ball for a head. His arms were cannons that shoot out bowling balls. He was known as GhostStrike. He looked around the small town. "It's time to pay up" he exclaimed with a ghostly voice. Zato got the money and whatever resource he may ask for. Their house was first on the west side of the street but there used to be two shacks more closer to the entrance but they were no more. "Alright, you're first Zato," he said. He went outside to confront him while Jayce stayed inside. "I demand one hundred dollars and a plank of wood." Zato opened the safe and gave him a one hundred dollar bill and grabbed the plank of wood that was inside his shack. GhostStrike held them in his bowling ball hands and they disappeared from sight. "You and your son can live another day," he said. He moved on to the hunting store next door. They both let out a sigh of relief. They went back to making shoes but Jayce was worried if Hiva would have the money and resources for GhostStrike. All the shacks faced uncertainties during this time. 

A few minutes later, Jayce heard a scream. It came from Millweaver's shack. "Please spare me, I don't have money or resources this time!" he cried out. GhostStrike grabbed him with his two bowling ball hands and threw him violently across the dirt road. "Say goodbye to your hard work." He aimed his canons towards the shack and shot a barrage of bowling balls towards it and in no time it was destroyed. Mr. Millweaver cried out for him to stop. The bowling balls disappeared without a trace. "Now say goodbye to your life." He forced Mr. Millweaver onto his knees. GhostStrike then slammed both of his bowling ball hands together like a clap on Mr. Millweaver with such force that his head exploded. His body was left motionless on the dirt road. GhostStrike continued to the rest of the houses as if nothing had happened. 

© 2021 Jcortz3

Author's Note

What do you think?

My Review

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Well, you did ask, so you have yourself to blame for this. 😆

I can appreciate and applaud what you’re trying to do, but you need more than your current school-day writing skills for fiction. Why? Because in school they were giving us skills useful to employers. In the case of writing, that means reports and essays, which have the goal of informing the reader. And using those skills, you’re reporting and explaining. No one else is on stage, and there’s no emotional content for the reader, because nonfiction is fact-based and author-centric, as it must be.

Fiction’s goal, on the other hand is more: “Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader. Not the fact that it’s raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.” And to do that takes a different approach and skill set. Remember, they offer four-year degree programs in Commercial Fiction Writing, so at least some of what’s taught is necessary.

The library’s fiction-writing section is a great place to begin. And in fact, the best book I’ve found to date on the basics is Dwight Swain’s, Techniques of the Selling Writer, which, because it’s out of copyright, can be downloaded, free, at an archive site like the one listed below. Copy/paste the address to the URL window at the top of any Internet page and hit return to read or download a copy.

That aside…a few things to look out for:

• Jayce laid a bundle of flowers on the grave of his mother.

“The grave of his mother” is passive voice, and indirect. “His mother’s grave” is active. Avoid passive voice other when done for effect.

• It had been about a year since she was killed by Pyranical.

Phrased this way it tells the reader nothing of value of the that someone unknown is telling is that an unknown person called Jayce lost his or her mother in an unknown way because of a person, country, or thing called Pyranical.

You know the protagonist's gender. You know where we are, who we are as a person, and what’s going on. So when you read this, it makes perfect sense. The reader? They have words but no context to make them meaningful.

• This mysterious figure had destroyed many cities and killed many people in the country.

In the entire world, only you know what you’re talking about, and why it matters to the story. And of more importance, you’re opening the story with a history lesson that the reader has no reason to want to know. Do we know the year this takes place? The place? The planet? No.

So…how can this mean anything to the reader? In short: Get off stage and let your actors do their job. Every time you appear on stage with the performers you kill any sense of realism.

First, you need to make the reader care about Jayce. You need to make them WANT to know. Your reader doesn’t want fact and reports. They want raw meat. They want you to make them feel as if they are on the scene, living the story AS Jayce, and in real-time. And to do that, they have to know the scene as Jayce perceives it in the moment that character calls “now.” And how much time did your teachers spend on how to do that?

They spent zero time on it because they weren’t training fiction writers. They were providing a set of generally useful skills that the average self-sufficient adult require day-to-day.

So it’s not a matter of your talent or how well you write. It’s that like everyone else, and because no one mentioned it, you forgot that Fiction writing is a profession, and has it’s own set of skills and specialized knowledge.

In this case, if you deleted everything between sentence 1 and this one, the action is real, whole, and makes sense. He kisses his mom's grave and then speaks. Will the reader need to know the things that were cut? Sure, eventually, but not till it’s meaningful to-the-protagonist in their moment of now, as part of their decision-making.

The short version: Grab a copy of the book I linked to, or another good book on the nuts-and-bolts issues of the profession and dig in. I think you’ll find it a lot like going backstage at the theater, and filled with, “So THAT’S how they do it.”

And while you do, hang in there, and keep on writing,

Jay Greenstein

Posted 1 Year Ago

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Added on June 24, 2021
Last Updated on June 24, 2021
Tags: adventure, fantasy, novel, book, fun, dread, quest, journey, cool



San Pablo, CA

I have returned and this time I am writing a novel. It's still in progress but I hope you enjoy it! more..