Nightwatch: Who Watches the Watchers pt. 2


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Post January 12, 2007, 01:13:05 AM

Nightwatch: Who Watches the Watchers pt. 2

Three hours and 17 selections of 5th-8th grade band pieces has numbed my brain to the point where I'm unwilling to tackle this head on. Let me abridge:


Is this all of the story now, or is there another part after all? Last time, Bill, you said there was only 1 more part, yet it says 'to be continued'. The storyline doesn't seem at all finished, and as if it will take at least a few more installments to get there. That said, I don't know how in depth I should attempt to judge the story.

What does the Stephanie infodump at the beginning have to do with the rest of the story? It's a ton of backstory for her, but sticks out like a sore thumb. It reads like one of those "I'd like you to put this in" things from Jeff instead of an integrated part of your story.

Telling vs showing is rampant in the first half of this installment.

The Psychic discussion about Stephanie reinforces the earlier telling, but is then largely repetitive, and therefore unnecessary, IMO.

Is it important that Tom realized how attracted Simon is to Stephanie? I think we as readers knew it already.

The whole business with the difference with a brown recluse and a house spider, is it important? Does it advance the story? Is it relevant for later? Or was it just to remind us about the interconnectedness of the collective, or something else?

I liked Simon's powers of deductive reasoning, but the effort placed to diffuse the potential powers and effectiveness of the collective at this point seems almost as if it was tacked on after the comments from the first part to tone down the danger.

However, as we see things from the boy's perspective, he proves that the psychic powers are just as deadly as we feared. He can think people dead. He so much as says so when talking about the Jaguar leaders being easier to kill than control.

There's a lot of discussion about the trade minister, but unless he's a part of Prometheus (or a part absorbed by), it seems superfluous.

The prayer struck me as odd. Perhaps it was just as it was found, and I'm wrong, but it struck me as odd that none of the verbs were conjugated. Since he learned it on the streets as a child it would have been Portuguese and not Spanish, right? I can't speak Portuguese, but I learned a fair amount of Spanish in school. In Spanish, normally you would for sure conjugate the first verb. Of course, it's a prayer/poem, so rules could just be out the window…

I truly liked the psychic discussions while Tom was being led on his journey to the bowels of Nightwatch. It seemed like a good way of SHOWING the collective's power and limitations instead of just telling us. Doing the opening of this installment like this would have been much more effective, in my opinion. I also thought it was a good way for all of us to lose track where the heck was at the point he met up with Simon.

That Prometheus has the boy and are able to use him is... chilling. Shivers up my spine kind of chilling. I look forward to that unfolding.


So, since the continuation tag was at the end of this installment, I don't know if I should look back at both parts and try to voice an opinion or not. Is there more from Bill to come, or is this going to be a 'find the boy' überplot that stretches out over the whole season?

If this is all, this part doesn't gel anywhere near as well as the first. It seemed to lack a certain... flow? soul? polish? voice? I'm not sure which is the right word. Maybe the plot seemed less structured. In any case, it seems far weaker than the first bit. Hope that can be distilled down into a helpful bit of constructive criticism.

Anyhow, there were good bits introduced, like the Prometheus thread, and I am very curious to see 1) how Nightwatch finds the boy, 2) what Prometheus will eventually use him for beyond mind-reading intel, and 3) how the bad guys are thwarted.

Nate

PS. Ooo. I just realized that since the Boy was really behind building the Tesla cannon, perhaps he (or a Prometheus-friendly faction of the collective) was Zod in Dan's story. Zod at the time Dan was writing it gave me conniptions, and I complained about it a lot. Somehow the idea that Zod was a psychic group instead of a demon conjured by a librarian is strangely comforting to me. Don't know why. Although I'm not sure how Dan will like the notion.
Last edited by kailhofer on January 12, 2007, 01:25:06 AM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post January 13, 2007, 01:22:09 PM

Re: Nightwatch: Who Watches the Watchers pt. 2

Zod wasn't a demon at all, but he was changed/toned down a bit from my original concept of his being a pure mentality/disembodied intelligence (similar to Vanamonde or the Mad Mind in Arthur C. Clarke's "Against the Fall of Night".) - created by Tesla back in 1908 after the comet's first deflection from Earth impact in order to give advance warning of the comet's eventual return. The Secret Society of Librarians Devoted to Beneficence and their single representive that was shown in draft 1.0 - that got cut from "Fly By Wire" to make the 2.0 version that was published - were just the group that was in contact with Zod as more of a guiding force than a controling one. The concept got cut before I could fully develop the text for it. Partly because of Nightwatch requirements and partly because the fact that "FBW" was actually three different stories happening simultainously proved to be a bit confusing to those not in the loop. (Jeff asked me to cut the endings for two of the stories, but allowed me to weld part of one of them to another chapter.) Stephanie speculated that there were actually two Zods; one living in the computers, and one that was less omnipotent that was impersonating the first. If there is ever a "FBW 3.0" written as a stand-alone novel without any Nightwatch elements, maybe I could clarify all the confusing bits.

Dan

Sorry. My fault. I got the versions confused from what was actually published.

Nate
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Post January 13, 2007, 01:49:34 PM

Re: Nightwatch: Who Watches the Watchers pt. 2

Nate & Dan,

A few answers. . .but not too much because Jeff Williams is one of those guys you Just Don't Want To Mess With. Hope you understand.

As for you, Mr. Nate Kailhofer. . .you were completely right and I was completely wrong. Quad Erat Demonstratum.

I could have done it in just two installments. . .as long as you don't mind one of them being on the order of 60,000 words.

It was just too much. I finished the thing. I absofuckinglutely hated the ending. I struggled. I swore mighty oaths to obscure dieties. . .and then I just cut the thing in half and sent in a Part II that wasn't meant to be a Part II but at least it made sense.

I am in the midst of a major ending re-write. You'll be glad I did this when it's done. No Kidding.

My first ending was just so. . .Hollywoody.

As for the Stephanie thing. Well, if I have to explain it. . .then it didn't work. I'm curious to see if maybe others can see the value in this. Any takers? In my book, it says an awful lot about WHY she is the way she is. I'll let the jury decide. And if I have to. . .I'll explain it. I know that Jeff gets it. He gets it so well that it took a month for him to decide to let me put it in the story at all.

Bill Wolfe

Actually, If I was right, I'm sorry about it. I was truly hoping to see a second part that could have done all you seemed to be trying to accomplish. Such a piece would have been a real thing of beauty.

I'm confused, though. You were still writing the second part after the 1st ran? And you're still not done?

If so, shame on Jeff for even running it. That's poor quality control. Your story could potentially ruin his carefully crafted, wonderful universe, or worse yet, never finish at all, and then how would such a hole be filled? I understand when Jeff himself does it, because only he's to blame if it blows up in his face.

I apologize if you had it all written, but if not, shame on you too, as an artist. Your medium and subject matter deserves more respect than that, in my opinion. Simon and company are such good characters that they deserve nothing less than an artist's very best effort.


As for the Stephanie thing, I do think it was a tremendous source for her backstory. You filled in a big blank. My concern was over why it was filled, and why it was needed for the story. Obviously, when you're done with the next part, I may have my answer.


Nightwatch is hard. People who haven't written one don't get just how hard they are.

Buck up. You can do it. I have every belief that you can knock my socks off if you try hard enough. You've got a great plot. You've established goals, heroes and villains. Add the rising action, a strong climax and some character resolution, and I have little doubt that this one can be known as the best multi-parter of the Nightwatch universe. Plus, you could even make an indelible impact on the subject matter and style of all future stories. That's how much this storyline could impact things.

But no pressure. ;)


Nate
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