Action Example - Fight for Honor

The following texts are an example for an action novel in a medieval setting. It starts with a human-written prompt about a knight that braces himself and rides into battle.

MQL created three suggestions based on this text. The suggestions are shown in their original, unedited form below and are accompanied with a short evaluation.

Human-Written Prompt

On the day of the battle, banners are flowing in the turbulent winds of the peninsula. The three dukes with their retainers and scores of mercenaries trample the grass around the city. Severin looks over the plains and calms his mare Anathema. He needs someone reassuring him now like this, but – alas – none of his peers is in his section. Next to him, a crowd of peasants hesitantly moves forward. One of them almost hits his neighbor with his improvised weapon.

Then, the charge! Trumpets sound and Anathema begins to gallop like the other horses around. Severin and the men of lord Balthasar’s guard close ranks and lower their spears. A few hundred feet away, the enemy does the same. Glistering fearsome armor shoots closer and closer, the sweat on horse flanks, clumps of soil thrown in the air, rapid breathing, war cries – impact!

MQL Suggestion 1

Trumpets fall and he turns back to his horse on his side. He hears the clattering of his hooves and he shouts– "Aha, what the hell is going on!" Anathema clucks her hooves in agony, a single tear forming in her eye. She screams in distress as she falls to her knees. Anathema cradles him, her eyes filled with tears.

He turns to face us. He cannot take us out of here, he realizes. But he does not know how he can. He cannot let go. The man standing behind him turns around on his heels while he screams and turns to face Severin. Anathema runs behind and looks in his direction. The crowd of women who have stood over him with arms raised up high rush to support him. A man is standing nearby. Two or three stand behind him, their heads raised high, their feet dangling. The man speaks.

MQL Suggestion 2

“Severin! Severin, why are you attacking us?" One of the leaders of their unit looks at Severin. "Our ancestors were all killed fighting off some kind of great dragon."

"So do you! But when the enemy makes a last stand, we must get to its center and take out his men," the leader looks to Severin, "because all he has left is a single-handed sword. He is dead."

Lucky for him, the battle was only a skirmish. But the fighting was far more brutal. A few of the fighters and a few of the horses were seriously injured. The nobles did not retreat and did not flee in the city. They were not even allowed to fight in private because Severin's generals were very friendly and didn't want the public to be exposed to an enemy who had not even been attacked.

MQL Suggestion 3

Balthasar cries. "You little bastard!" and he points his mare at Severin. As the others do so, Ayleinn's voice rouses. Serenity. In the distance, Severin watches. Aha! Ayleinn's mare stands on the edge of the camp. She holds a red spear at the ground and lifts it to bear Severin forward. The others are already moving on. She takes out an iron javelin, but Serenity runs up and down in the wind. Severin leaps forward, but she catches up to both of her foes, and she holds with both hands the sword in between her ribs.

That's all Severin can do. She raises her sword to bring him down, while Ayleinn spins around, and Ayleinn swings the iron weapon into the air to bring her back up. That's the last sound she'll hear. The crowd of riders moves out.

Recap of Action Text Generation

MQL’s model does a good job capturing the medieval context. The action scenes are intense, but often lack a logical choreography. Some of the suggestions are better than others, but all introduce new story ideas and action-filled language. The first suggestion starts strong and can be developed further. The second and third suggestion need more editing.

When working with MQL on an action story, your job as editor and writer could be to give combat sequences a logical structure with detailed descriptions of actions performed. For example, you could combine the best parts of several suggestions into one gripping battle tableau.

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