Helldiver (pt 2) by Dan Edelman

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Post August 09, 2009, 03:14:30 PM

Helldiver (pt 2) by Dan Edelman

Sadly, I am this far behind on things, Dan, but I simply couldn't let this go without any feedback.

Usually, when no one comments at all on your story, you fear the worst. You shouldn't.

You've got great building blocks in this world of yours. Cinnamon caring for her shipmates, for Rodonovan. Ambra's relationship with Rodonovan. The way the Dagian Guard "aggressively" worries about Kai. Even the love of the sailors for their ship. Friendship from Goblin Rod. The gut-wrenching betrayal by Squeezebox after he'd been with Rodonovan for 30 years.

But... you'll notice that none of these blocks is crazy-fast, super-charged action. None of that had to do with the relic and getting it anywhere safely.

You write action well. You really do, but it's not enough. It's not what I read for, anyway. To me, give me someone to care about, make it tough for that person, make it risky, and then have them fight or think their way out.

My advice is to take your incredible ability to world build, these great character beginnings, and then put fewer of them in a simpler story where they have to interact in a non-violent way to get something worthwhile done. What you learn from that story could help you add meat to your larger universe. Battle scenes are great, but they need more in between, something that lets the story build. And, personally, I'd find a way to like Kai for more than being indestructible. Something endearing. Something that gives him a weakness, because it's the not the strengths, but the weaknesses in people that readers are drawn to.

My two cents, and that may be all they're worth.

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Post August 10, 2009, 11:39:28 AM


Great opening comment, Nate.

I slide into the criticism once made of Asimov that I don't have enough action in my stories.

(Humor) Meanwhile, maybe we should get Michael Bay and Brett Ratner to team up on Dan's story. "If there's too many characters already, then more action can't hurt. It's not done until it's a literary Where's Waldo. Whaddyamean there's 3 inches of screen without someone getting wounded there?"


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Post August 10, 2009, 10:53:47 PM

Thanks for the critique, Nate. I appreciate it given that the whole piece was pretty long, and I also appreciate the kind words. I figured your substantive remarks would be similar to those you made about Part I, so I wasn’t surprised there.

The dimension that you identify as problematic has, I believe, its roots in the basic impetus for the piece: I had envisioned several action scenes/images that I found persistently compelling to my juvenile, maybe philistine, sensibility and I wanted to see if I could bring them to life on the page. I was really interested in creating an in-your-face, breathless, f$%k-s#!t-up ambience. In that regard, I feel I made some headway.

I’ve been called on having too many characters in play before at Aphelion (first and foremost by Nate) and frankly I don’t think it has to be a problem if handled properly. Apparently I haven’t done so yet, but I tend to gravitate toward the large ensemble cast and really want to figure out how to make it work.

As for the lack of a human interest aspect, I agree that it’s a critical element. But again, I was enthralled with the idea of stringing together these action sequences in a reasonably coherent way and less interested in focusing on human drama. A fatal flaw, I suppose. But not insurmountable. I think what I need to do is develop a novel and series from HELLDIVER and its prequel. So see you in about ten years...


Thanks again for taking the time to read and critique.

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