Beyond the Gloaming by Dan Edelman


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Post March 19, 2005, 09:47:57 PM

Beyond the Gloaming by Dan Edelman

Dan E. fatigue? Perish the thought!<br><br>Actually, I liked this one best of the four I've seen. <br><br>From the first paragraph, I was drawn to it--to its simple, honest start. A boy rekindling a fire. I could easily relate to that. That he was a boy traveling among a group of men on horseback meant to me that this was a unique fellow, who would be apart from the rest, who would need some manner of special care. It also implied a loneliness that I think bore out well in the course of the rest of the story.<br><br>Raven is a likeable character. I sympathized with the humanity of his situation--chosen for a destiny he did not understand, that he did not want, and that might very well kill him. <br><br>Orlèan was less so, more enigmatic. I couldn't fully put a finger on him, or his motivations. Thematically, I supposed he played an Obiwan protecting a different sort of boy wonder until they could reach this world's equivalent of Star Wars' Corusant. However, I couldn't help but wonder if his motivations were somewhat less pure. <br><br>As far as the troops guarding them, they could have been interchangeable clones, since they all seemed to have the same attitudes and speech patterns. Similar things could be said for the two Mandaroy they meet; if one weren't a woman, I'd have thought they were clones, too.<br><br>The villain's characterization was not so well done, as we never get to see his motivations, but his menace to their situation was clear enough. He was bad, he was from... beyond (Beneath? Below? Beside? One of those prepositions, anyway.), and he was doing them harm. <br><br>The plot of this one, really, was simple enough: Try to get Raven through the Gloaming. In so doing, he learns a better understanding of the world, and with that knowledge, they survive and his character will be that much stronger for the next time. To that end, I thought things were going swimmingly. They had problems, but they were relating to it on very human levels--until they met with the Mandaroy. <br><br>At that point I felt the story stumbled. All of the narrative energy that was built to that point was lost by the lengthy infodump political discussion. The events mentioned in that passage had little or no bearing on the situation at hand. It put the whole of the story on hold, stopping the action. Plus, it threw a bunch of names at me that I can't remember anyway, which annoys me, rather than drawing me in. Moreover, once the action recommenced, I was still distanced from the plot, rather than feeling like a part of the story. I felt myself not caring whether the demon thingy would get them or not (except maybe for Raven--I still wanted him to come out ok).<br><br>I thought the creation of a new mountain was impressive. That was not the kind of result I was expecting, and kudos for that. I like to be surprised. Furthermore, Raven did it by making a conscious choice based on new-found knowledge developed from actions in the story. That's aces in my book. However, I really didn't see how sticking a mountain in the way stopped the bad guy/thing. Wouldn't it have just rode around the new mountain and came at them again?<br><br>You have a gift for vocabulary, Dan. I don't know where in the mother's red [bleep] it came from, but I'm glad you have it. :) Also, I loved the boy mumbling with the swollen jaw. Excellent! If you can just get all your characters sounding unique, you'll really be on to something.<br><br>This was a pretty good story. Raven was a great character, and I'd like to see more of him.<br><br>How long will it be before we can see all these plot streams start to come together?<br><br>Nate
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Post March 19, 2005, 10:15:31 PM

Re: Beyond the Gloaming by Dan Edelman

One of the things about Nate that I like best is that he points out things that never would have occured to me.<br>Sometimes I wish I'd make time to read all the stories before he does, though. :D<br>I'll come back and comment on this story later. I haven't read it yet. I just wanted to see what Nate said about it.<br>Dan
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Post March 20, 2005, 12:17:36 AM

Re: Beyond the Gloaming by Dan Edelman

Thanks, Nate, for a typically in-depth critique. That you comment on everyone's pieces to this degree should be taken as a sign of respect for the efforts we put into our work.<br><br>And I appreciate the fact that you really don't spend much time stroking me. That is, to me, a great compliment. <br><br>I hadn't seen the info dump here. But now that you point it out, I will revisit it and, I hope, smooth the way for the story to play out the way I had intended. <br><br>As for Orlean, well, he's no Obiwan. He's a young man thrust into a situation that he has to pretend he's ready for. His sin: he's insecure. There's no impurity there, but well we know how one's insecurities can result in misunderstandings and miscommunication and, sometimes, bad outcomes. He has a role in the big picture and he will prove his basic good nature.<br><br>The guards were not supposed to be anymore than typical soldiers. I did not put much energy into creating memorable characters; although I would like Jons Gallowglass to stand out (he has a recurring role in the bigger story).<br><br>But the two Mandaroy characters will be revisited to add some distinguishing character to them. That's an interesting critique and further evidence of your attention to detail.<br><br>I'll see about evoking more of the motivation for the villain (ie, the daemon using Robin Devenrath). <br><br>As for the creation of the mountain. Well, that in itself didn't do the baddies in. The land literally came apart. Imagine a massive earthquake on the par of a high 9 on the Richter scale; it utterly remade the land and essentially folded the surface under, eradicating nearly everything in the vicinity. Obviously, I didn't succeed in evoking what I envisioned. That will be revisited. <br><br>Raven's affinity for the land and the Telluron created the earthquake, and this affinity is akin to Jechiel's relationship with the wind (from Bone Up Yar). These too dudes are members of the Five. The balance of the Five include Trent Flowers, a San Diego gang banger whose magic is based on fire; Ariadne Allardyce, named the Claymage but not the true Claymage, whose magic is based on lightning; and Dante Duchesne, a member of the Scorpio Gemfires who are the archenemies of the Mandaroy, and whose magic is based on water. As you can see, I've chosen the elements as a basis for my magic system. <br><br>The Five will serve the Hunter, Kirsten Montroy, a UCSD undergrad from San Diego. Kai helps her cross the fugue from Earth to Cloister, on which these stories have all been set.<br><br>The baddies are from a "place" called the Twixt. It is all the between place fo the Jewell, which comprises the multiverse. They have been sent forth by Daeva Deathrage and the othes who constitute the Hand of Morath (as for Morath, well, I've little to say about that now). The Hand is a coven of ancient witches, and they seek to obtain a return to absolute power.<br><br>As for when all of this comes together? Well, I'm working on a piece now that, at least, brings together a few of the disparate characters (location: the Myriad Isles; the main players: Kai Ferracane, Rodonovan the Pirate, and a hottie named Cinnamon). But frankly, a lot of these strands are still developing and won't draw together for some time. <br><br>We'll all have to read the novels. <br><br>Again, thanks for the thorough and entirely useful critique.<br><br>(Sorry to bore everyone.)<br><br>Dan E.
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Post March 20, 2005, 06:56:08 PM

Re: Beyond the Gloaming by Dan Edelman

Thanks, Nate, for a typically in-depth critique. That you comment on everyone's pieces to this degree should be taken as a sign of respect for the efforts we put into our work.

And I appreciate the fact that you really don't spend much time stroking me. That is, to me, a great compliment.
<br>There's an old joke about a couple in a restaurant:<br>Man: I'd like the prunes flambé.<br>Wife: You don't like prunes.<br>Man: No, but I like to watch them burn! ;)<br><br>While I do think I've managed to learn a thing or two over the years and that it serves the greater good to share those bits I've gleaned, I assure you I'm not in this purely to help others.<br><br>I have some skill in critiquing. I think that's safe to say without sounding like I'm blowing my own horn. Unfortunately, I am unable to distance myself enough from my own stories to grill them in the same way. There is no one here, or anywhere else I've found, who puts the hot iron to a tale as much as I do. (Elizabeth Bear's brief appearance not withstanding.) Therefore, the only way for me to improve my own writing is to learn by helping others. <br><br>I treat every story as I hope my own will be treated. If I think it's great, I'll say so. If not, well, I'll say that too. Moreover, I think one has to respect the effort authors put into their stories. They deserve the truth after that much work. "Stroking" someone teaches nothing, both to you and them.<br><br>Nate<br><br>P.S. It looks like I got to see a primer after all! :)
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Post March 27, 2005, 11:25:43 PM

Re: Beyond the Gloaming by Dan Edelman

This one was one mama's red humper of a story!  Like the other three, there was plenty of action and adventure.  I'm not sure that I agree with Nate that this was your best effort yet, Dan, but it was a really good one fer shur.<br><br>Maybe it's because her death brought memories of Andre Norton to my mind, but it seems there were passages in this one that reminded me of her style.  But of the many books I've read by Andre Norton, I don't think I saw a single naughty word  in any of them--and there were a couple or three here.  :-)<br><br>In my experience, (20 years) I think that most GIs sound very much alike, with an exception here and there.    If someone wrote down word for word the banter overheard in a barracks, by reading it I probably wouldn't know who said what, with an occasional exception.<br><br>For that matter, the same might apply to any given group of people who live in the same town or work in the same place.  I realize though, that a writer must have his characters speak differently for the reader's benefit--since the reader can't hear the tones or inflections of the voices of the characters.<br><br>Another good story, Dan.
Last edited by dsullivan on March 27, 2005, 11:27:16 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post April 07, 2005, 04:11:04 PM

Re: Beyond the Gloaming by Dan Edelman

I found this to be a pretty good read. It started slow for me, but that may be due to my hectic life at the moment. If there's one thing Dan is not is a minimalist. It takes quite a bit of focus to absorb his lyrical style.<br><br>I think it's okay not to elaborate on minor characters. In fact, if you spend too much time on them, you can distract the reader from more important things. On the other hand, I've added a bit of oomph to minor characters before and then suddenly they play a larger role as they take on a life of their own. Since I like to add an element of organic writing in my style, that works for me (I like to surprise myself). But I'm painfully aware that I may need to scrap all that if I find I'm going somewhere I shouldn't. Writers be warned.<br><br>I was a bit confused with the transition between the scene where Orlèan and Raven are recovering from the initial ambush and the scene following when they're back with the group. The conversation left me with the impression that Orlèan would be viewed as the culprit by the others. It seemed a bit jarring to find them back with those same people once again so suddenly. I think Dan needs to add a part to the second scene where the Runechilds are reunited with the group.<br><br>Dan has great talent, but as I said before, I believe he needs to tone it back a notch. I love similes, metaphors, lyricism, and other examples of figurative language, but I'm not a typical reader. Even I found myself following the descriptions more than the plot to the point where I had lost track of what's going on. Description should support the plot, not supplant it. Unless you're going for a purely literary piece, which this is definitely not.<br><br>Overall, a good read. Definitely not a light read, but full and satisfying.<br>
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Post April 07, 2005, 05:08:57 PM

Re: Beyond the Gloaming by Dan Edelman

Thanks for the read, Jaimie. You make some interesting points: I agree with you about the minor characters. As it happens, Omen Swords was one of those minor players who intrigued me enough to want to write his whole story, but for the most part, I think you run the risk of bloating the text with too much attention to those kinds of background details--that's a lot of energy to expend on "dead enders." <br><br>As for figurative writing, well, others may have been distracted or even turned off by my style (so to speak) as well, but I wonder if you were distracted because you also work with figurative language (at least you did in the one story I've seen of yours-- a Best of 2004 winner, I might add). I wonder if you're simply focusing on that aspect of the piece cuz of your own interest. I read your story the same way. I said, OK, I see where this dude is coming from, let's see what kinda chops he's got.... What can I learn? How do I compare? So I pay relatively more attention to that aspect of any fiction. My goal is to say things differently. I hate trite/boring/uninspired prose (particularly in best-sellers); it sort of stinks of complaisance, of laziness. So I am always looking for an interesting and unusual turn of phrase. Obviously, I'm not always successful, but I consider it an obligation to readers (both of them). Ultimately, the rub is accomplishing that while also telling a compelling story (my El Dorado, I suppose).<br><br>As for the confusing transition: Fear kept the men from simply taking off, and uncertainty kept Orlean and Raven with the men. I'll look into how I might clarify this.<br><br>Thanks again.<br><br>Dan E.
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Post April 07, 2005, 06:25:07 PM

Re: Beyond the Gloaming by Dan Edelman

Thanks for remembering my story! :)<br><br>You're right. A Path of Ramble and Mist relies heavily on figurative language and imagery. It differs quite a bit from my other submission, Two Gods of a Darker Sort. The former is a standalone story. The latter is an excerpt from my first novel. And those two will be different from my Nightwatch story coming out later this year (gods willing).<br><br>I'm a bit atypical from most writers. I try not to have a set style. I'll change it based on what I'm trying to accomplish. From what I'm told, that's not recommended. If you should ever create a fan base, it's highly advisable to have a style and theme that they can be familiar with. I don't know how to reconcile that if I should ever become an established writer. I'll cross that bridge if I get to it.<br><br>In the case of A Path of Ramble and Mist, I set out to write a contemporary fantasy piece with literary elements. Jeremy was dealing with his unleashed id. I wanted the narrative to be almost surreal, with sharp, in-your-face imagery. I used a lot of sentence fragments. I crafted in lyrical language. There were violence and sex underlying the entire story (although Jeff made me tone that down, probably for the best) that represented the dark side of the human soul. I was attempting to merge the worlds of the conscious with the subconscious.<br><br>Even so, some people-- particularly science fiction writers-- didn't like the story at all. I had much better reviews from casual readers and literary writers. But I knew that would probably be the case before I wrote it. It's meant to be different.<br><br>How does this differ from your story? Well, for one, since I placed A Path of Ramble and Mist in a contemporary setting, I don't need to focus on extensive world building. Second, it's a standalone story. Again no need for extensive world building. Third, the number of characters is much smaller. I don't have the number of relationships (which grows exponentially as you add more characters) or the subplots you have to deal with.<br><br>My novel, on the other hand, is much different. It is fantasy world with a ton of characters, teeming subplots galore. I love to use misdirection and cliffhangers to keep the reader on his or her toes. It's a totally different animal. So my style in that case is much more straight-forward. I don't want to confuse the reader. I interject literary elements sparingly and only for emphasis (like the tragic death of a minor but important character).<br><br>I can't say whether I'm successful or not. I can also recommend that you don't write like that unless you're so rich that you just don't care or you have such a rabid fan base that they would buy something you wrote on a dirty napkin. That's why when I review someone's work, I try to understand the element they're writing in and for what reason.<br>
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Post April 08, 2005, 08:24:35 AM

Re: Beyond the Gloaming by Dan Edelman

I pondered your last comment for a bit and I wonder about your desire to ply different styles. It does seem problematic from a marketing standpoint. I would think a writer would have to have some kind of bitchin' je ne sais quois to maintain a fan base while shifting from style to style. Or he or she would require fans with an unusually sophisticated aesthetic sense. I think this is particularly true in genre writing. I think. But that doesn't mean it can't be done. Or hasn't already been done. Any notable (or obscure) writers out there who have accomplished this? <br><br>You and I differ in that regard. I have a self-imposed mandate that translates into a figurative sort of style. I am comfortable with my overarching goal and wish to stick to it at this point. I understand your assertion regarding a manuscript of vast scope. To a certain extent it makes a lot of sense. But I want to find that balance between "literary" (I don't consider what I'm trying to do literary, but I don't have a better word for it) and straight storytelling. If I can couple a compelling--and, above all, fun--story (in an ongoing series) with a distinctive way of looking at the familiar elements of fantasy, then I think there's room in the genre for me to distinguish myself. <br><br>Whatever, at this point it's a miracle if I even get an agent or publisher to return my SASE (2+ years and what--eight queries to DAW and I can't find out what happened to my manuscript, which I managed to find out back in early 2003 had made it out of the slush pile and to an acquisitions editors desk). And whatever again, I write because I have to so fuck `em.<br><br>Dan E.<br><br>
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Post April 09, 2005, 01:14:30 AM

Re: Beyond the Gloaming by Dan Edelman

Keep in mind that I recommend only toning it down a bit to make it accessible to a broader audience. I don't advocate revamping your style or anything drastic. However, it's only a recommendation. You need to do what's comfortable for you. I certainly take a selective approach to criticism in regards to my own writing. But then again, if we accepted all critique as set in stone, not only would we listening to contradicting messages most of the time, we would also end up being someone else's vision of a writer (whatever that may be).<br>
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