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

Wil Alambre wilalambre at gmail.com
Tue Sep 19 21:41:44 PDT 2006

Last bit, I promise: I just re-read my Excerpt/Cover/What Happened
Last Issue paragraph... holy crap, what a mess that is! I thought the
concept was clever as hell, having seen it on other author's RACC
posts, but I just tacked it on at 10:30pm at night, moments before
shooting off the issue to the list.

Next time I promise to have a look over it, and avoid embarrasments
like "using connections to connect to" :)

Wil Alambre

On 9/19/06, Wil Alambre <wilalambre at gmail.com> wrote:
> Oops, forgot my post-story babbling at the end of Metal Fire 10!
> So, without further introduction, here are the missing...
> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
>   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
> characterization.
>   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
> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
>   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...
>   http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.creative/browse_thread/thread/07b4f087568d08d1/6131c0b63a0d828d?lnk=raot#6131c0b63a0d828d
>   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
> replies.
>   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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