The Test Brief Part 2 Maximum 250 words
A Space Marine Sergeant briefing a squad of scouts before they embark on their first mission -–Write a scene where an Ultramarine Sergeant is giving a rally speech to a squad of scouts or discussing tactics/training before they set out on their first mission. The emphasis here must be on dialogue and character. The location and specifics of the mission are up to you.
“When the Knight grabs it, we start climbing.” Sergeant Gallio rasped over the vox. Junio could feel his muscles cramp as the Knight Warden Incandescence lurched beneath them. He could hear the machine spirit’s indignation in every horn blast and protest of gears as it moved. It wanted this kill for itself, not to serve as the Ultramarine’s steed. He clung on grimly to the curved shoulder armour.
Ahead of them the dark haze of the Hierophant moved, lit from beneath by the muzzle flashes of tanks and small arms fire. It filled Junio’s vision like a thunderhead.
“Remember, scouts,” Gallio had to shout over the roar of the Incandescence’s reactor churning more power into its stride, “Once we’re on it, use your pistols and chain blades to get under the carapace. Plant your bombs and then join me at the head.”
“Which end’s the head, sir,” Brecka shouted down the vox.
“The ugly end, scout.”
“That’s all of it, sir!”
They laughed at that, all of them, laughing like children.
The Incandescence picked up speed, charging towards the Tyranid Bio-Titan. Wind thrashed the scouts as they clung to the Knight’s armour, the juddering rush threatening to shake them loose. The Hierophant turned, its mouth opening in an answering challenge to the Knight’s rage.
Junio could hear his brothers shouting into the vox, howling like feral world savages, raising their voices with the Knight, challenging the xenos.
Above his brothers he heard Gallio.
“Courgae and honour! For Ultrimar!”
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.