Pigeon's desk

Lesson 1: Dialogue

Prompt (specific version): John and Teresa are having a conversation while working on a school group project. In 500 words, convey to the reader that John is "disciplined" and Teresa is "good-natured". Do not use the word "disciplined" or "good-natured" (or any variants) in the piece.

Hello, I'm very new to writing, I'm trying to write my own fiction but it's very hard!

Pieces of the accused littered the floor. John had hurried down the hall and his worries were confirmed when he spotted Teresa already at work.

"What do you think you're doing?" he demanded, somewhat out of breath.

"I'm getting us a head start" Teresa replied nonchallently. She seemed of expected John to turn up. "You know you'd have to do this anyway, if I can get one to confess today then you get the entire weekend off".

"Thats not the point of this project Teresa... There's an order to these things you know, you can't just start doing your own thing. How many centeries do you think it took to hone and polish the ordeals?".

Teresa begrudgingly put down her knife and turned to face him.

"You want to do all the ordeals one by one in order?", she countered.

"Yes. It's what we were taught, what you're doing now is going to make us fail. You're probably going to get thrown in the pit if they ever find out what you've done, and you're not doing that any favours either. It'll probably take even longer for it to confess now".

John watched as Teresa's eyes sank to the floor.

"Why are you doing this?" he asked.

She mumbled somthing he couldn't quite hear.


"Because it's your birthday tommorow..." She replied. Her gaze still glued to her feet.

John closed his eyes and rubbed the deepening crease in his forhead. He wasn't sure how she had found out about his birth date or why didn't seem to care about the pit, but the anger that had been building up was no longer there.

"What ordeal were you on?".

She glanced upwards, light in her almost teary eyes.

"I was removing the skin".

John wandered over to the accused she was working on.

"You did a pretty good job" he lied, glancing at the un-neat chunks of fleash covering the floor, "but removing the skin comes after boat worm exposure. If there's no skin, what would happen?".

"Erm..." she tried to remember the presentation. When was it? Two weeks ago? Three?

"Come on, you remember, the cover of the skin encourages a certain behavior, and gives their hooks an easy place to latch, what couldn't they do if there was nowhere for them to latch?".

"Ah", she said smiling, "they wouldn't spawn!". Her good mood was snuffed out instantly as she realised her mistake and she sank to the floor.

"I'm... sorry".

"Come on." John lifted her to her feet. "I'll take you to the cafeteria and teach you ordeals 1 through 20, but in return you're paying".

"Ah, I don't really have money..." Teresa said nervously.

"I wasn't asking" John replied, stern eyed.

RE: Pigeon's desk

Hi there, Pigeon. Glad to see you making a "desk" thread.

For this lesson, I think you captured "good-natured" and "disciplined" fairly well. However, I really have no idea why your scene seems to be set in a torture chamber... The fact that they're just casually chatting while there's a thing without a skin in the room is pretty creepy and makes them both seem like sociopaths.

There are a few issues with grammar and punctuation. In dialogue that would normally end with a period, you should end the sentence with a comma.
Example: "I wasn't asking," John replied, stern-eyed.

You don't need to put a period after the quotation mark for stand-alone dialogue. The normal punctuation goes inside the quotation marks.
Example: "I was removing the skin."

"Nonchalant" is spelled like this <-

RE: Pigeon's desk

Thanks for the feedback Unice, I'll try and improve my spelling and grammar for next time.

As for the creepy setting I thought it'd make a nice contrast to the school project, I was thinking, what would a demon do for a school project? I get your point though, it kind of messes with the characters natures.

On to the next one!

RE: Pigeon's desk

Lesson 2: Action!

Specific prompt: Logan and Reilly are having a formal duel. In 500 words, depict the duel, with both combatants using swords. Reilly is of a higher skill level than Logan. Focus on pacing and reader immersion.

OK, my attempt at some action, sorry for the bad language...

Reilly wiped the sweat off of her forehead. It really was a long climb to the pilot seat. She reached the top and climbed onto the head, popped the hatch and dropped in. Logan was in for it this time. Screens and lights came to life all around her and she was bathed in blue light.

She flicked a channel open and taunted into the radio.

“Let's keep this a nice clean fight Loganberry.”

A vein rose to the surface of Logan's forehead, the pilot who she'd challenged.

“You got it Raspberry,” Logan spat back, “remember it's only swords this time, no breaking the rules of engagement.”

The very same vein rose on Reilly's forehead.

“Thanks for that advice! I'll make sure not to use heavy artillery this time, goodness knows I might hit the Wardens office.”

“Alright, that's it,” Logan roared back over the channel, “I was going to let you off with just a beating but now I'm taking this seriously.”

A green firework exploded in-between them that signalled the duel had begun.

The red knight of Logan almost exploded towards Reilly, he had brought it up to full power. His sword was aimed directly at the head.

Reilly barely had time to dodge, the engines below her bellowed their approval and she threw herself to the side. She glanced at the trail of destruction where she was a few moments ago. The scaffolding that was around her knight was reduced to scrap metal and there was a large hole in the sturdy wall of the arena.

She looked back to the Warden hoping for a disqualification but he just had his face in his hand, and his aid was trying in vein to comfort him.

The heavy sound of engines from within the hole alerted Reilly and she readied herself, although she considered Logan a hack and an amateur, he could be dangerously unpredictable.

CRASH. The red knight emerged making a brand new hole in a previously undamaged segment of wall and soared towards her with the same move as before. Reilly prepared. Dodge then counter.

Her knight shifted to the side and began a swing meant to remove a leg, though to her surprise the red knight came to a dead halt right in front of her, jets blasted from it's chest killing the momentum. Her swing just gave a graze and she readied herself as Logan came at her.

A quick series of blows followed, and Reilly began to gain ground. Her sword hummed and glowed, each swing brought her closer to victory, cutting off Logan's options.

She smiled. In a fair fight she always won. Payback felt great. What kind of an idiot uses high explosives in training.

As she brought down the final swing intended to end the fight time seemed to slow, Logan was doing something weird. His sword arm stayed still and his other arm rose. Reilly found herself staring down the barrel of Logan's heavy artillery.

“Shit,” she thought, and abandoned her swing. Quick as her body and training let her she brought the frontal shields online and up to maximum output.

An explosion lit the arena up, it was the red firework signalling the duel was over. Confused she looked around. Behind her was Logan and resting on her shoulder was Logan's sword.


RE: Pigeon's desk

Hmm... I find it hard to give concrete feedback for this one.

First of all, I think you need to set up your settings a little more clearly. Both for Lesson 1 and Lesson 2, I had a little bit of trouble figuring out what was going on. A reader with less experience in dark fantasy probably would have no idea what was going on in your first scene, and less experience with mecha would be very confused by your second scene. This very sparsely detailed style can work in a longer piece, but not something as short as a 500-word scene.

I hate to be vague, but I didn't feel very "immersed" when reading your fight scene and I'm struggling to pinpoint why. It probably has something to do with your sentences' length and complexity, as well as the complexity of the thoughts Reilly was expressing. The faster the pace, the simpler your sentences should be, sometimes to the point of grammatically incorrect sentence fragments. Even "psychological" fight scenes with strategy should have moments of blinding speed that give the scene excitement.

In terms of the action, I think everything was depicted fairly clearly, except for the very end. When someone pulls a trick during fighting, make sure it's explained clearly enough that the reader can tell exactly what happened.

Grammar-wise, you're missing some commas.

RE: Pigeon's desk

Thanks again for your speedy feedback, I like writing things in weird settings but since I'm very new to writing and the scene length is very short I guess it ruins the immersion for you.

I'll go for something more normal next time and try to nail the actual content.

RE: Pigeon's desk

Lesson 3: Emotion

Specific prompt: Jenny's dog, Titus, has just died. She got him as a puppy when she was four. In 500 words, convey her feelings to the reader.

Here goes!

It was a bright and sunny day, Jenny wondered down the pavement home. She was noticed by Buddy, the dog of one of her friends who was playing in the driveway. He yapped happily at her presence as she passed by. She kept her head down and walked past.

“Is that you dear?” her mother called, as she heard the door close.

Jenny made a beeline for her room, and quickly closed the door. She climbed onto her bed and pulled her favourite plush toy close. She pressed her head into its fur. There was no warmth.

She noticed Titus's bed had been taken out of the corner. Her parents must have been up here while she was walking back. Touching and moving her things. His things.

Her phone started ringing. She answered after several repeats because she found the jingle annoying.

“Hello?” she asked plainly.

“Oh my god, Jenny? I'm... I'm so sorry, are you OK? Sorry, I just heard, I-”, a panicked sounding voice spluttered out.

“I'm fine.” Jenny cut off, her voice wavering slightly, and then turned her phone off.

Knock knock. “Jenny? It's me, do you want to talk about it?” her mother asked from outside.

“No.” she replied.

The door opened and her mother pulled up a chair to sit facing her.

“We should talk about it, it'll help you know? I remember when my-”

“I'm fine,” she cut off, keeping her face down.

“Jenny, please, I know you and Titus were close-”

She flinched hearing his name, “Yeah, we were close actually,” she sniffed and lifted her head, her toy was starting to get damp. “Where did you take his bed, I never said it was OK to move it.”


“If you're not going to do anything then get out of my room.”

“Jenny I-”

“I SAID GET OUT” jenny screamed, and threw her toy at mum. She collapsed onto the bed and sobbed. Her arms reached out looking for that warm fur to cuddle and a wet tongue to lick her face. He would always curl up next to her. Comfort her through the bad times.

Her mother jumped to her side and pulled her into a strong hug.

“Shhh,” she whispered soothingly and held her firm. Jenny didn't even bother to resist and dug her head into her warm shoulder and let her emotions flow. He was gone, and she would never accept that.

RE: Pigeon's desk

Not bad. I think you nicely captured how people tend to lash out when they're in pain.

If I were you, I'd practice slipping details into your writing. If I didn't have the prompt, I wouldn't be sure you were even talking about a dog, let alone how it died and how long Jenny had it for.

Read over your writing before posting. You even missed capitalizing a "Jenny" this time.

RE: Pigeon's desk

Lesson 4: Relationships

Specific prompt: Raven Lionsheart is the captain of the elite King's Guard and has served for over 20 years. In 500 words, depict the relationship of trust between him/her (your choice) and King Reginald IX.

I'm not too happy with this one but I've been sitting on it for a while, let me know what you think.

King Reginald gazed over the battlefield. Brigands and bandits covered the ground, some tried to drag themselves towards the forest, others just groaned in pain, but most lay still. Two men clad in gold and red stalked around cutting or slicing anything that looked alive.

He wiggled his own sword. The man it was wedged in was indeed dead. His eyes moved to the other man lying at his feet. It was a little hard to tell but he was wearing the same distinctive red and gold armour of the king's guard as the other two. It lay mangled and wrought in an ugly fashion.

The King winced at the state of the man, Raven Lionsheart, veteran king's guard of 20 years and good friend. His chest rose and fell. Very much alive. Before the Kings eyes his wounds stitched together at an unnatural pace.


With a sigh he sat down and his mind drifted back to the attack.

They had been heading home after an exceedingly boring diplomatic event, the King and his 5 guards were travelling along the forest border on horseback. As they rounded a corner a group of people were waiting for them, crossbows raised.

“Down!” roared Captain Thale. Before the King could react Raven Lionsheart pulled in-front of him and a bolt thudded into his chest. The rest of the volley came like a storm of steel and downed Keller and Miles instantly. Reginald was thrown from his horse but stood up shakily, sword drawn.

“Bastards, it'll take them time to reload, we charge,” Reginald whispered to Thale.

“No need for that your highness,” Thale whispered back, slowly drawing a silver dagger from his side and pulling King Reginald down behind cover.

Their assailants before them were in disarray. Something fast moved between them slashing, drawing blood. The King identified it by the flashes of gold and red, it had to be Raven, but he was moving far too fast for a human with a crossbow bolt lodged in his rib cadge. The space around him grew dark and a red glow came from his eyes.

“We charge. And put that knife away Thale, draw your sword.” Reginald declared, standing up.


“Consider that an order.” Reginald said stern eyed, and started running, followed swiftly by the cursing Captain.

It didn't take much to mop up the rest, Raven took out the majority of them but sustained a few nasty blows by panicking bandits, leaving him in the sorry state he was in now. Thale had insisted they put him down immediately but the King made him take a vow of silence. The Raven Lionsheart he knew would never harm him, though he intended to have a good taking down to him latter about hiding things from his king.

RE: Pigeon's desk


Depending on how undead are viewed in that particular culture, having the king be okay with the fact that Raven is a vampire could be quite an effective way to show the level of trust the king has in him, as an objective measure.

The point of this exercise was more to see if you could depict their relationship based simply on their interactions, the subjective compared to the objective, if you will.

Remember that relationships are always two-way streets. This scene doesn't reveal Raven's trust in the king at all. It could be interpreted that he trusts the king enough to reveal his secret, but it could also be interpreted that his devotion to duty is deep enough that he'd reveal his secret in order to save the king's life while expecting to be executed.