The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes


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Post March 24, 2011, 05:59:08 PM

The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes

I confess to having read this in its beta test form first, but I have to come out and say it - I think this is the best Nightwatch story we've ever done. Although it could be a wonderful story on its own without any Nightwatch elements at all (I think this is something the authors may even wish to explore...) the Nightwatch characters give it a weird grounding.

The main premise is such a good one, and the main character is such a sympathetic one that I have trouble not telling Stephanie to just suck it up and don't be a baby as the technology and the backstory are so wondrous.

Candlefire is a gem. Is there a resurrection story in anyone's mind? I want to see her again, but not, of course, in zombie form. Her part of the story is so well-crafted and intense that I found myself re-reading those parts just for their intricate beauty.

More, please. I really liked this.

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Kate

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Post March 24, 2011, 09:55:13 PM

Re: The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes

Primo stuff, indeed, with great depth and intricacy of plot and character.

Candlefire is a gem. Is there a resurrection story in anyone's mind? I want to see her again, but not, of course, in zombie form.
I wouldn't say a resurrection, but a prequel might work. I'd like to hear what she might have done with extra dimensions.
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Post March 28, 2011, 08:07:01 PM

Re: The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes

I also want to mention a rather personal reaction (or, more properly, lack of one).

The previous two or three in the series -- well, almost all of them, really -- left me shaking in rage at Mr. Callow and wishing to do unspeakably rude things to him. This one broke that trend, and I appreciate that.

One of the great strengths of this series is the portrayal of the internal, human aspects of the characters, particularly the psychic damage they've endured in the course of their work. This is where the true conflicts lie. Any warm fuzzies they might get from saving the world are overwhelmed by their distaste at what it took to accomplish that.
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Post March 29, 2011, 08:30:01 PM

Re: The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes

Kate_Thornton wrote:Candlefire is a gem. Is there a resurrection story in anyone's mind? I want to see her again, but not, of course, in zombie form. Her part of the story is so well-crafted and intense that I found myself re-reading those parts just for their intricate beauty.http://www.amazon.com/Doesnt-Take-Genius-ebook/dp/B004RID1JS/ref=pd_rhf_p_t_1


First, thank you Kate for those words! You keep making me blush! :)

I can say there is definitely no chance of her being resurrected as it wouldn't feel right to me after the way "Girl" ended.

As Lester suggested, maybe a prequel could happen, maybe even a non-science fiction/fantasy story (I hate the term 'straight fiction'). I'm not sure, though. This story took a long, long time to write, and Xiang Ping isn't the easiest character to write.

Who knows what the future holds.
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Post March 29, 2011, 08:50:17 PM

Re: The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes

I've actually never worked together with someone on a story, as in co-authoring. I am curious as to how the collaboration worked, or more plainly, who wrote which parts?
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Post March 29, 2011, 11:34:43 PM

Re: The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes

I've actually never worked together with someone on a story, as in co-authoring. I am curious as to how the collaboration worked, or more plainly, who wrote which parts?


That's a complicated question. This began way back in 2006 as a story submission by Elizabeth called "Synchronicity." If you've ever wondered why season three only had five stories, it is because this one never quite gelled. She was on her second version when she simply ran out of time to continue work on the story, and I asked her if I could have a go at it. I was actually very nervous about asking her that, but she was happy to let me try and said that I could put it under her name, our name, both our names, or a pseudonyn (By the way, I have no doubt that if Elizabeth had had the time to keep working on it, "Synchronicity" would have come together, I love Elizabeth's writing, and I keep hoping that her work will soon be available again in the archives.) I wound up rewriting it and produced a story that I was temporarily calling "Synchronicity II." The writing credit would have said that the story was written by Liz Jeffries.

Then, in December 2006, disaster struck. The computer that held both Elizabeth's original and my revision died, and I was heartbroken because all of her work and all of my work had wound up wasted because of a faulty piece of equipment. I simply didn't have the heart to contact her and ask for another copy, and it was around this time that circumstances led to Nightwatch taking an unintended hiatus.

The thing is, I couldn't get this story out of my mind, and every time over the years I thought about Nightwatch's return, elements of it, particularly Xu, kept popping in to the equation. I'd actually lost track of Elizabeth, so my only option was to use my memory of what had been (both “Synchronicity” and “Synchronicity II”) as a starting point for the new story that was to come. I mean, what do you call this type of process? Writing by Hegalian dialectic, perhaps? Creating from shadows? I don’t know that I can conjure up anything that accurately describes what the actuall writing process was like.

What I can say with certainty is that the new title came to me in late September 2009, “The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes.” Almost immediately, I saw in my mind a Xu as little girl running through a field of yellow flowers (I found out later about the yellow cole flowers in China) with a kite she had made. I also saw her parents–-both proud but one very cold emotionally–-watching and marveling at what she had just done. Her father, the overtly caring one, called her Candlefire. I didn’t know why, exactly, but it sounded like a perfect pet name for this little girl. Shortly thereafter, I gave that child her full name, Xu Xiang Ping, the little girl who grew up and who literally late in the story has kaleidoscope eyes but who has also had metaphorical kaleidoscope eyes her entire life, someone who from early on was both blessed with genius but also cursed with too much self-awareness and too many interests. Xu led the way for the rest of the story. I’m not exaggerating when I say in this case the story’s title meant everything because the title showed me the way for what followed.

Writing "The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes" is one of the strangest creative experience I’ve ever had. It would not have existed without Elizabeth Markham which is one of the reasons why I discarded the idea of using a pseudonym. I think if I saw the original again, I'd find that the basic order of events is roughly the same, and Xu and her nanobots were there from the first draft. However, it is also in many ways original and a very different story. In particular, Dr. Xu enters from the beginning and now has a back story and very clear motivations for what she is doing. From conversations I've had with Elizabeth since I tracked her down again in February, I think I did what she would have done if she had thought it appropriate to do so--give a lot of focus to Xu and really develop her and give her quite a bit of space. It isn't traditional for this genre, but I created Nightwatch, so what the heck! I actually haven't heard yet from Elizabeth about what she thinks of what became of her original creation, and I'm very nervous. I really hope she likes it!

I'm really happy with how "The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes" ultimately turned out. However, given how long it took for it to come together, and given how much of a creative and emotional roller coaster ride it was, and given how in the end I obviously wasn't going to write anything else until THIS story was written, I hope to never go through this particular type of process again!

I'm sorry that this went on so long, I told you the story was complicated, but I hope Nate that it answers your question. :)

By the way, here are two links, one to Elizabeth Markham's blog http://lamellae.wordpress.com/ and one to her excellent webzine http://roarandthunder.com.au/.

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Post April 03, 2011, 02:17:38 PM

Re: The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes

I wound up rewriting it and produced a story that I was temporarily calling "Synchronicity II." The writing credit would have said that the story was written by Liz Jeffries.


I was thinking about this, and I want to correct a couple of pseudonym-ous errors from season one. For various reasons, all of them silly in hindsight, pseudonyms were used twice:

"Alconost" by Martin Delgado-Scott was really written by Ralph Benedetto, Jr. and Jeff Williams (thanks to Martin for letting us borrow his name).

"Ghost Rockets of Sweden" by John R. Murray was really written by Robert Moriyama.

Again, the reasons seemed really good at the time, but in hindsight...


--Jeff
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Post April 04, 2011, 01:06:17 PM

Re: The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes

It would be simple to upload new copies with the actual writers names and a "Writing As:" added to the existing byline. I think those pseudonyms should be preserved as part of the history of the series.

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