[Starfall/ACRA] Metal Fire #10, False Maria 04

Wil Alambre wilalambre at gmail.com
Tue Sep 19 21:41:38 PDT 2006

Oops, forgot my post-story babbling at the end of Metal Fire 10!
So, without further introduction, here are the missing...

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 So, last issue was the third part of this four part story. It was also the
issue written in that 'burst', with this issue coming almost five years later.
Hm, I think I said all that before in the last Notes. Oh well, it's not like
I actually *read* this stuff anyway :P

 So, here's the issue I'm most... well, I wouldn't say "worried"; I wouldn't
have posted it if I wasn't happy with it. It's the issue I expect to be the
most out of place. Because of teh time between writing issue nine and writing
issue ten, any momentum I gained in terms of plotting, of theme, of getting
used to characters, etc is *whoosh* out the window. I may as well be finishing
off some other writer's arc.

 I think this is clear in two places, in my humble "I'm completely talking
out of my ass as I have no idea how to properly analyze any written work,
never mind my own work" -iness. The wrapping up of this arc, and the

 As I've more or less admitted in previous notes, I have no technical
knowledge in terms of writing fiction. I didn't even take any creative writing
courses in high school. Other than Jack M Bickham's "38 Most Common Fiction
Writing Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them)", my whole education in becoming
an author has been reading novels and comics and thinking "hell, I can do
better than that". :) Personally, I think some of my more interesting
phrasing and sentence structures are born of the fact my grammar is horrendous
and I have no idea how to proper put together a sentence.

 So, in regards of this issue, I was not surprised when I realized I
wasn't actually sure how to tie off an arc, resolve immediate plot elements,
and keep the impression there will be more without adding some sort of blunt
"never fear, this series is not over yet" sentence.

 So I had Poe actually *say* a blunt "never fear, this series is not over
yet" sentence. Sigh :)

 Also, writing this, I noticed I was pretty comfortable with introducing
elements and setting things up. Then I noticed I wasn't so certain on how
to provide a satisfactry resolution! So the end of this arc may come across
as very clumsy. Look, they're working together now! Look, gunmen are after
them now! Look, Eddy beats the other hackers! Look, Kimberly beats the
gunmen! Look, Reeve is done for now! That's the climax right? Right, yes,
that was it! Whee!

 The next arc is just two issues, setting up the status quo. Being little
but set up for "how things are" between Ed and Kim and Hamilton, I expect
to have more fun figuring out how to give a satisfying "that's all folks"
to the reader. Hey, at least Val will appear again for a bit :)

 Speaking of characters... argh! Poe, as far as I can tell, is *still*
flat! He had the personality of a cardboard cutout with a gun taped to it.
Hell, I probably *could* have replaced him with a cardboard cutout with a
gun taped to it, and only changed the story by reducing some cumbersome
dialogue. I was in the second draft of this issue when I *finally* figured
out where I was going with Poe. So, next arc, hopefully both him and
Hamilton will fill out a bit. If not three dimensional, maybe at least
a clever bevel on the edges :)

 Ed may suffer a bit. I dunno, I like him, and I tried to get his portion
consistant with the way I wrote him five years ago. I hope I got it right.
More likely, there's a speed bump and a change, and eventually (in future
issues) a return to how I was happy with him.

 Kimberly's all over the place the whole arc anyway, so whatever :P

 What else was I going to say... um...

 Oh, two new things I tried! One, incorporating some of the thematic
elements Tom encountered in issue seven. Two, introducing a sub plot element
in the way Reeve, Poe, and Ed perceieve Kimberly. Usually, that's the
sort of element that would work best as a subtle underpinning, but
considering I threw it in four issues later, I expect it to be very in
the face of the reader: "look, I'm trying to be clever and set something
up for later"! It would probably work better if I wasn;t struggling
with the other parts of the writing.

 I lied, three things! I added a paragraph at the top that acts as a "this
is where we are and what is happening now" intro to the issue. I can be
thought of as the cover of the issue. It also will be picked up as text fed
through the RSS, and therefore what will appear as the Excerpt on the RACC
mirror site. Ah, see, I *can* be clever :P

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 So not only did I forget to add these authors notes to issue ten, but a
minute before I tack them on to the mailing list, Tom's review of issue nine
comes in. Here it is...


 Man, I am *entirely* spoiled by getting a detail examination of each issue.
I'd just like to take this moment to acknowledge it, that I appreciate it,
and to thank Tom for doing the favour... thanks Tom! :)

 So, when I plot a story, I basically write it how I think would sound good
to me. If I can come back aday or two later and I like the flow of it, then
it's a second draft or a third draft to smooth out some sentences, tighten up
somewordy places, add personailty, flavour, and such. Then, off to a friend
to proofread, berate me on my genocidal grammar and spelling, and to get his
opinion on how it falls together.

 What's really great about Tom's detailed replies to the issues is he can
point out *why* the issue sounds good to me. Pointing out how the story still
worked well despite my reservations on the beats and the shift in view
point. And explaining *why* it works. I learned a lot in his last three

 Now, the catch is to take it to heart without it going to my head :) Maybe
I'll suffer for the improvement? I know of one or two novelists that, as their
series contiunes, become better *writers* but poorer *storytellers*. It's
like as if some of the "grudginess" of the earlier works were some of the
appeal of they style.

 The sentence thing... yes, I admit it :) I catch myself doing it too,
sometimes. I pad out a sentence with what I think are clever or witty
phrases until they've ballooned to three times the length. If I don't like
the sound of a sentence, I'm more apt to throw more words at it before I
try to improve it. The technical goobly-gok of the computer hacking
and the description of Kimberly's robot point of view is where it most
obvious. If you think it's bad now, you should see it *before* I go through
it :P

 Okay, enough for now! Thanks for reading all, thanks for your thoughts
Tom, and I hope you like issue ten :)

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