META/POLL: The Purpose of Criticism

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at
Tue Feb 19 16:24:13 PST 2008

On Feb 20, 7:27 am, Tom Russell <milos_par... at> wrote:

> When I enjoy Superfreaks, what I enjoy more than anything is the
> detail work, and sometimes there is a lot less detail work-- at least
> it seems that way to me.  Details such as clues to a mystery or, more
> commonly, details of an investigation that make it spring more fully
> to life-- I love those.  And sometimes you skimp on those details.

I'm sorry you feel that way.  I'm not a forensic scientist so I
provide as much detail as I can based on my limited familiartity with
the field.

>>   And more
>> recently there was the comment in the otherwise positive review that
>> dramatic moments in Superfreaks are "few and far between".

> A quick google search fails to turn up that quote

It was in Russell's Review's #2.  You were refering to Officer Tom
Jackson feeling bad over having shot somebody in self defense.  As I
said in response at the time, I thought it would have been more
accurate to complain that such a scene was becoming cliche in

> But in my opinion, everything you've just said is the mark of
> extremely strong characterization.  I know you didn't mean it that
> way-- I know you see it as a problem.  But in my opinion, it's a mark
> that I'm doing things right.  And, further, I know I'm not the only
> one who feels that way about his characterization.

Real people are more predictable than that.  If you truly know a
person, you can predict how they will react.  In the case of your
characters, if they are truly fleshed out then they will write

> > I also have a problem with the fact that Martin Rock has spent his
> > entire life as either a sidekick, a soldier or a vigilantee and
> > therefore has never had time for a formal education.
> He at the very least graduated from high school-- and perhaps even
> went to college while in his twenties and still a sidekick.  And he
> was educated in private as well by the original Green Knight.
> I guess I see your point about the head injury thing, but the idea
> that he's not educated doesn't make much sense to me.
> And furthermore, even if he didn't go to college, Martin Rock is very
> much a self-starter.  You don't need to go to college to be smart or
> to speak well.
> I'm no genius.  But I can string a few sentences together.  I
> generally have strong grammar and am able to make most of points
> coherently and entertainingly.
> I've never gone to college

but you haven't spent the past fifteen years living out of basements
either (or, if you did, you had internet access).  People are the sum
total of (their biology and) their experiences.

I acknowledge that you are well read in fiction.  But to create
believable characters you need to draw more from real life.


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