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Skyhunter Commander

1/6/12-SkyhunterCommander-Untitled Sci-Fi Epic Chapter 11

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Hey all,

This week we get another look inside the Alliance, as we get deeper into Dalcon's plotline.

Brief Summary: Second Scion Dalcon learns of the disastrous attacks on Felinar and Sneva, as well as of the fall of two more, significant Alliance systems. he participates in an emergency advisory meeting to determine the next steps the Alliance should take to deal with the now clear threat they face.

Not much else to say this week aside from, as always, that any and all comments and questions are welcome and sincerely appreciated.

(And again, if anyone who joined recently wishes for me to send them the previous chapters I would be more than happy to do so.)

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Seeing nobody has responded.

I had a hard time getting into this. Likely because I haven't read any of the rest. Just want you to know why I haven't posted(and give you a bump so somebody who knows whats going on can post)

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I appreciate you bumping the thread despite understandably not having any comment to make.

If you'd like, I can send you the rest of the chapters (though I completely understand if you already have more than enough reading to do).

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I appreciate you bumping the thread despite understandably not having any comment to make.

If you'd like, I can send you the rest of the chapters (though I completely understand if you already have more than enough reading to do).

I wouldn't have time to comment on them, but I'll read them.

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I'll be honest, I'm still having a hard time getting drawn into the story you are presenting.

Let's start with the good. The first thing I notice that is good is that we have conflict here, but not military conflict. I like that Dalcon has someone he dislikes, for whatever reason, and who he blames the mistakes on. (I also like that he wasn't 100% correct about it.) The reveal of the video showing him wrong was nice also, especially that he missed the key information on it on his first viewing.

I also liked the fact that there was conflict on how best to proceed with the defense. The debate was interesting, if a little one-sided (and therefore a touch short). I would have preferred to have the emotions running high for a little longer.

I get the sense that Dalcon is being set up for having to go his own way -- in fact, he more or less does so in this chapter -- but I get less of a sense of what it costs him or what the conflicts are in him doing so. I have the feeling that Dalcon is supposed to be one of the "good guys" in the story, and so far he is presented very favorably. However, if he is one of the protagonists, things don't seem to be going poorly for him soon enough to get me wondering how he is going to survive what is coming.

Some of the more critical parts I noticed had to do with timing and actions of his superiors. I'll start with the timing; I don't recall (having read the chapter many weeks ago) where Dalcon was that would have had him away for the recent actions. The last I remember, he was leaving the library station to report back... somewhere. It isn't mentioned in this chapter at all, so I assume it either went unremarkably, or this is where he was to report back.

However, when describing the others in the room, Dalcon mentions Ronner, who had investigated the library with him "a few weeks ago". That seems like a long time for Dalcon to be out of touch, especially if he doesn't have much faith in the decisions being made while he is not there, and it seems he doesn't.

Also, based on the description of Dalcon being the lowest ranked person in the room, and the number of others, I get the impression that he's about the fifth-most important person in the alliance. Granted, you mention the only reason he's there is due to his unique position, so he may rank a bit below that, but in order to even be present (regardless of other connections), he has to be fairly important. Also by those same words, Commander Ronner is even more important.

This leads me to question once again what the two of them were doing on an expedition to figure out what happened to the library. Normally, people that high up send others to find things out. Perhaps Dalcon is one of the others being sent, but Commander Ronner almost certainly shouldn't be. You could probably explain his presence there somehow, but it will be even harder to have him leading the attack instead of in a safe ship kept a secure distance away from the library while the attack happens.

Also, information of the superiors. It seemed to me, based on the descriptions, that all of the others in the conference room besides Dalcon had seen the video of the attack. If Dalcon was highly placed enough to know of the attacks and their results, why did he not already know of the video. It seems an odd bit of information to not have access to, especially since it doesn't really show anything about the ships.

I was listening to the recent writing excuses podcast on brevity, and wondered if some of the advice in that could be used here also. In particular, I thought the first few paragraphs could be cut down and combined, in order to remove some duplication, but mostly to get closer to the start of the real action. Find some way to show he's mad, sure, but we have seven paragraphs of him being mad and trying to remind himself to keep a handle on his anger. Well, six, plus a recap of what had made him so mad. The recap could potentially be moved a bit later, or even revealed in dialog. Alternately, you could just reference the lost ships, since the chapter is right after the one in which they did lose the ships, rather than the description of where they were lost and all. Anyway, I think it might do better cut down a little more.

The last couple of paragraphs might merit a bit more of a look as well, although I didn't think they seemed to drag out as much as the first ones.

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Thanks for commenting.

It seems like most of the problems here are related to the first Dalcon chapter, which makes sense. Part of the issue with his arc is that in previous drafts he really only appeared when he was needed to do something. Now that I've decided to make him have a more full storyline, I've already upped the number of chapters he'll get, but I may need to add another couple in the next draft/later on. Also, based on your comments and the comments on Dalcon's previous chapter, I think I'll just go and rewrite it for the next draft.

In regard to the story as a whole, I don't see Dalcon as a third main character, but more as a secondary main character (secondary to Darkclaw and Nayasar). In my current outline, he has another short chapter or section of a chapter, and then in his next full chapter is where things start to go worse for him.

And about his role within the larger government, to use a bad analogy, he's the Vader to the First Scion's Emperor: The field commander, who often takes part directly. And yeah, there is a bit of a hole there with what happened between his last chapter and this one. In the next draft, I'll either add another chapter for him or have him mention in this one where he's been since then. It's basically meant to be that he recently arrived on the planet, and first heard about the failed attacks not from his superiors.

Yeah, the brevity podcast was a good one. It's too bad I'd already written this chapter. Though the thing is, I've found that in general I tend to be almost to brief, trying to avoid dragging things out. I guess I'd have to drag something eventually.

Also, regarding you first remark, was that referring specifically to Dalcon's plotline, or to the story as a whole? (Though, given that I have not been submitting on any sort of regular schedule, it is definitely harder to get drawn in/stay engaged. Hopefully once I get to the next draft/submit another story that won't be an issue)

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Also, regarding you first remark, was that referring specifically to Dalcon's plotline, or to the story as a whole? (Though, given that I have not been submitting on any sort of regular schedule, it is definitely harder to get drawn in/stay engaged. Hopefully once I get to the next draft/submit another story that won't be an issue)

I was referring more to the story as a whole. I've enjoyed both of Dalcon's scenes I've read, this one and the previous one, in that they have personal action and a character I can somewhat relate to. It is mostly when I consider each of his chapters in the context of the larger story and actions that I tend to have critiques. Each new chapter I get, however, I have to remind myself who the people are and what they've recently been doing. It certainly doesn't help getting the chapters sporadically, but even regularly one week apart may not be enough to stay completely involved in a story.

(I'm the sort who, if I really get into a story, will look up as I finish and wonder where all the time went, why is the sun coming up, and how am I going to sleep before I need to be at work in an hour? That is to say, if a story really grabs me, a few minutes is too long to wait, let alone a week at a time.)

As I've learned more about writing lately, I've come to realize how difficult your undertaking is, in that you are trying to get the reader involved in a main character who has no emotions they can connect to (at least at first). I wonder if there are other aspects of Darkclaw that you might be able to play up more, despite being unemotional. Loyalty, for example, is one of the traits that can let a reader connect to a character, and Darkclaw seems to have plenty of loyalty to his lord (again, so far). He's also quite competent, and that is another trait people will connect with. Perhaps if you emphasized those two (or others you think are appropriate) more in the first few chapters, it would be easier to get into the story overall.

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