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Looking for feedback on this idea for a scruffy old Halfling rogue-like character.

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by C_OReilly, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. C_OReilly

    C_OReilly Scribe

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    Hey guys, (2nd post!)
    So I was recently inspired to start writing down ideas for a Halfling character in my short story. The way Halflings place themselves in this world is similar to The Lord of The Rings. Except they don't necessarily reside in one particular section of the world
    Instead, they all live in 'steads' which are just villages scattered around parts of the world close to towns. Halflings are recognised as non-fighter types, so there is a global understanding where humans post guards and such around their villages and the Humans protect them and in return they offer their own hospitality with songs and food and drink and the binding of wounds.
    This character however is a scruffy old rogue-assassin type with a sinister smile but a good heart. I've been writing up a piece of introductory dialogue for him and I'd love to hear what you all think of it.

    Note: Exander is the protagonist of the story, which follows a fairly common plot where a new evil threat rises and disturbs the peace and it must ultimately be stopped.

    “Steel flashed from under the queer stranger’s cloak. And before you could count to one, there was a flash from a dark corner of the Inn and a blade had lodged itself in the man’s neck. All went silent, eyes turning their gazes from the fell blade to the dark corner of the Inn where the light seemed to avert itself. Exander was astonished, for an instant he forgot the dying man and stumbled over when he fell at his feet, a crimson pool forming around him.

    There was not a man without widened eye or dropped jaw in a frozen stare at the dark corner as a shape no taller than a boy of nine moved out of the shadow and hopped up on a table and stood there facing the crowd.
    "Well I'll be the Witch 'er Deadbarrow." A voice spoke up from the other end of the room. "If it aint the fabled assassin of legend, old Underfoot". The halfling drew a sinister smile across his hard and wrinkled face, and made a chewing gesture as he took out his pipe, and popped it in his mouth hiding under those broad whiskers that grew out across either side of his face.
    "Aye, Stacks Underfoot’s the name, Son of Darry of Oldsted, master of the blade and the shadows. Just as well I showed up when I did,” he wave a hand at the body spread across the floor.
    “though I'm not here for Old Mag's brew and a chat about bugger's old lady. There's bloody scum roamin' these lands, and queer words too. Been hearin’ of this Exander fellow, I’m sure words reached you lot too. Might be that I'll help this fellow.” he glanced at Exander and then glanced back and stared thoughtfully for a moment. He turned to face him with knowing eyes. The crowd’s eyes turned to Exander and they inched away from him “But first, I’d like to see if he can tell me who these words came from”.

    “The end awaits us all. Let not your hearts seize up, nor your eyes lose sight. For this must become of you after you have carried the cry of your people forth into the ears of your enemy, and let it resound until fear fills them and their skulls crack in two. Let not the strength, or the reach, of your arm set your limits,” Vague memories came back to life in Exander’s mind, and he found himself reciting the words as well. “for it is by the strength of your will to keep hope alive that we will succeed.” Stacks broke off suddenly, and turned back to face Exander, realizing his joining in. He looked up and down at him measuringly and drew a quick smile.

    “Take heart.” Their words echoed off each other’s.
    “Aye, this is the one. This is Marcus’s son.”
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011
  2. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

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    Speaks like a stereotypical Scotsman. I pictured the little guy in a kilt. If you are going for a "read that before" and familiar territory, then well done, it definitely sounds like something I have read in a dozen books and seen in a dozen movies. Has a familiar feel to it, like an old friend. I guess it is up to you if that's what you want to do.

    Edit : This may have been better in the Showcase. Also, if you plan on publishing, keep to rough drafts here. :)

    Sent from my Blade using Forum Runner
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011
  3. C_OReilly

    C_OReilly Scribe

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    Thank you for the feedback!
    Would it be spammy of me to put this in the Showcase now? Also, when you say, keep to rough drafts. Are you implying people stealing ideas?
     
  4. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

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    Not stealing ideas, that is impractical. If your stuff is already available, like on a forum, then a publisher won't touch your manuscript. It has lost first publishing rights.

    Sent from my Blade using Forum Runner
     
  5. Well I personally think this is some pretty decent material. If you want my advice though try and avoid calling them halflings in the book, maybe make a brand new name for them. It's clear that they are inspired by hobbits, but halfling is a name J R R T created for his race, and while I think its fine to have a similar race I would avoid direct references to the original. Change the name and it might be more of a warm tribute, not such an obvious imitation.
    Hope I don't come across as too judgemental.
     
  6. C_OReilly

    C_OReilly Scribe

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    Your positive feedback means a lot :)
    I think instead what I'll do is not necessarily create a particular race for this character, instead he'll be just recognised as a very small person. Making his lack of height more of a grotesque deformity of the physical normalities of a human male.
    Such as in The third 'A Song of Ice And Fire' book, where there is that ancient old lady that comes and speaks to Lord Beric, Thoros of Myr and all the rest of the outlaws that take Arya captive. Arya describes her as being only 3 feet tall and ancient looking as anything, and she has magical dreams.
    When I read that I didn't necessarily question, well what race is this person? I just assumed she was some oddity of a human, and there is some form of explanation behind it. Such is the same with made up languages in a story, we don't need to understand every detail of the language or see an alphabetic chart of it for us to understand that this is a language of the world foreign to the common tongue representing something.
     
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