Ok, well it’s been a week, so here comes my second attempt at GW writing. If this doesn’t work then I’ll try again, although I’ll wait a while, and give it some space and then come back to it.
It has been a real education writing to such a tight brief. I’m not sure if I’ve managed it – the realistic part of me thinks that I’ve probably not. But then I always think I’ve failed. Mostly because I’ve never liked myself. I mean, I’m a prick right.
Anyway; Test one and Test two.
The Test Brief Part 1 – Maximum 250 words
A Space Marine fighting an Ork – Write a fight scene that depicts a Space Marine engaged in battle with a vicious greenskin. It should feel brutal and violent, but not gratuitous. You may include dialogue, but first and foremost we want to see and experience earth shattering action as they trade blows. The Space Marine must be from a First Founding Chapter mentioned in Codex: Space Marines (2013) and the Ork must be from a Tribe or Clan mentioned in Codex: Orks (2014). The location can be of your choosing, as can the victor, although one must be defeated.
The Hesiod Gate burned for nine days.
The air shattered as ork flyers poured a monsoon of fire on the Salamanders below. Guns yammered in spiteful anger. Chainblades spat gobbets of meat with every rev. Piles of the dead heaved with the living as ork invaders swarmed barricades of their own slain to slaughter the defenders.
His power armour cracked and his breathing laboured, Codicier Ri’On backed through the gate. Swaggering after him came the master of the horde. The glyph of the Evil Suns hanging from its staff, the ork Weirdboy pulsed with power.
Bolter fire from the burning ramparts clattered against its psychic shield briefly before it raised a hand and tore the Space Marines from the wall.
Ri’On spat. He shamed his brothers for allowing their death. He shamed his Chapter by retreating. He shamed himself by being weak.
There would be no more shame. He raised his sword.
Psychic force kicked him into the rubble of the gate! Green energy danced across the Weirdboy’s muscles, flowing along its scrap metal staff and making its eyes spin. It raised its junkyard weapon and, for Ri’On, the noise of war was lost amidst the ear shattering sound of his own screams as lightning burst from the weapon.
The neural links in the Codicier’s psychic hood became maggots of white flame burrowing into his brain as the hood overloaded with power.
His last sight was of the ork’s face, inches away, before it vomited fire into his screaming mouth!
The rules – below are the bits I didn’t get last time.
- Make it epic
Warhammer is epic, mythic, poetic – always. Amp up the heroism and tragedy.
Remember that you’re telling epic tales about epic battles, with the miniatures
always at the heart of it – bring them to life in the coolest possible ways, but
remember to ground everything within the reality and internal logic of the universe.
Conflict should always be the focus – this doesn’t always need to be a fight; it
includes character conflicts and internal conflict, as long as they revolve around and
feed into warfare and battle, which should always be at the core.
- Plotting and Pacing
Maintain a good pace – something needs to happen in every scene to move the plot
forward and/or develop characters. Set things up and pay them off in the right way at
the right time. Focus on complications and consequences, not surprise reveals out of
left-field or random twists of fate. Adhere to an internal logic that fits the story.
Your characters should feel like living and breathing people with their own values,
beliefs and drivers. They should be flawed, but awesome. Always consider why
they do what do they do, in the way that do it, and make the reader care about
them. Avoid passive characters and ‘Mary Sues’ who can do everything better than
everyone else. Ensure that your characters are all rooted within the Warhammer
universe and are appropriate to their faction and place in it.
- Write about the miniatures…
Everything should be seen through the eyes of the characters, all of whom should
be easily identifiable as models. Be careful to stay within their frame of reference –
if your viewpoint character doesn’t know something, they can’t say or think it! Never
lapse into ‘word of god’ prose.
- …and the world they inhabit
Use the characters as the fulcrum for building a believable world. Give the
information that’s relevant and always strive for verisimilitude. The iconography and heraldry of the miniatures is vital as well, and should be celebrated in text as much
as in artwork and photographs. Describe what the characters see and feel of the
forces they fight with and against, in all their majesty and/or horror.
- Make it Fantastical
The writing and the stories should never be prosaic, pedestrian or boring. Avoid
history lessons or ‘infodumps’ of exposition and background information – make it
exciting, vivid and evocative and get the essential information across through the
lens of the characters. And always, always show, don’t tell.
Let me know If I need to improve on any of their aspects.