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Lightfall Review Topic

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#41 Offline The Iron Toa

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Posted Sep 02 2012 - 08:33 PM

Been a while since the last installment. I've been slow in updating my story, too, though. Anyway, it's good, nice to see you're still doing this. And it looks like next time, we'll see the final battle. Woo!So, about these latest chapters. I'm not sure if you kept Rogog alive because you and I pitied him, but anyway you did come up with a good explanation. The crowds have fun watching beings die, but it's foolish to waste a popular fighter. And grabbing onto a much larger opponent and actually climbing on and hanging off him... classic fight scene move. I didn't expect Emeder would die, but at first I did wonder if Imegna interfered, because he seemed to disappear. That it was all Emeder's quick moving was a minor surprise, but one I liked.Now, I was thinking Guftivei had some clever scheme, but if he did, it didn't seem to work out. I guess he just got carried away. And I'm no gambling expert, but once everyone started following his example, wouldn't the money received be less?About the mysterious new character... hmm. My guess is that she's an Order of Mata Nui Agent. I can't think of any species we know look a lot like Vortixx. But we'll either find out more about her in your next post or a new story. (I hope, at least. I wouldn't be very nice of you to introduce a character like this then never explain her!)Looking forward to your next update, and thanks for reviewing my first story!
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#42 Offline Maganar

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Posted Sep 04 2012 - 06:04 PM

Now, I was thinking Guftivei had some clever scheme, but if he did, it didn't seem to work out. I guess he just got carried away. And I'm no gambling expert, but once everyone started following his example, wouldn't the money received be less?About the mysterious new character... hmm. My guess is that she's an Order of Mata Nui Agent. I can't think of any species we know look a lot like Vortixx. But we'll either find out more about her in your next post or a new story. (I hope, at least. I wouldn't be very nice of you to introduce a character like this then never explain her!)

I don't know much anything about gambling either, but the concept was that this set of tables was designed to take reward minimum payouts for predictable victories and entice people with hugely multiplied returns on unwise bets. The actual number of people making bets on one versus another was not supposed to affect their return. This might be unrealistic, but it was supposed to be a system that backfired horribly when Guftivei just started more or less making bets at random. He's been a rogue saboteur for decades - I doubt he really cares about cash much since he can steal just about anything he needs during the raids he's been making. He just wanted to mess with the heads of the gamblers... but he messed up the whole operation!Let me help you out here with our friends Semitra and Divrok... I'm grabbing some excerpts from the text of Lightfall.Part 3, Entr'acte - [From Helryx's private log...] Considering the hiatus in assassinations, I am temporarily reassigning agent code-named Viper to study the Ravager team. A stealth commando like her should have no problem following the wake of destruction this group seems to leave behind everywhere they go. Meanwhile, I will consult with codename Primordial on this matter to see what his opinion is.Part 4, Intro - [From Helryx's private log...] True…but my most recent conversation with codename Primordial put things in a new light. Oh, light. No pun intended.Part 4, Chap. 40 - “You seem to be waiting for something to happen. Perhaps you could tell an old Primordial warrior what that may be?” / Her voice rasped “You should know better than to disturb a resting Viper, stranger.” / “So it is you, Semitra. Can’t be too careful these days.” / “No, you can’t. What’s Helryx want, Divrok?”Part 4, Chap. 45 - [Person matching this "Semitra" figure comes to Guftivei's aid. Looks strangely like Vortixx, but is not. Has been watching team; refuses to talk about the details.]Do you see now?Anyway... I will uncover her as-of-yet unknown species in the sequel (when the sequel happens, if you saw my PM... but it will happen.). And just let me tell you that there is a very specific reason we have never met her species before.

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#43 Offline The Iron Toa

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Posted Sep 04 2012 - 11:34 PM

Oh, if I had looked back over the previous chapters, I probably would have figured it out. But I forgot about that part, and so her arrival was a surprise to me.
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#44 Offline Maganar

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Posted Sep 05 2012 - 09:13 PM

It's up!Posted ImageThat's right, the spinoff is out!I meant to put up the conclusion today, but I just realized there was one last thing I needed to alter slightly. Mostly just a writing thing I want to sort out and clean up. In the meantime, I wanted to get you guys started out on this continuation. Enjoy!
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#45 Offline ALVIS

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Posted Sep 11 2012 - 07:04 PM

Might Semitra be of Lariska's species? Lariska was described as looking similar to a Vortixx, and she was exceptionally stealthy in addition to that.Well, anyway -- you warned that people might not like the finisher, and I have to admit I thought it rather abrupt. The Light Ravager went down before I ever expected it, though perhaps that's because I always take at least a 3-page battle to kill the main antagonist, :P. And the tie-in to Takua didn't have as great an effect on me as it should have, because I never played MNOG, though I did appreciate the link to canon story.
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#46 Offline The Iron Toa

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Posted Sep 11 2012 - 09:31 PM

The battle against the Light Ravager was rather anticlimactic, I'm afraid. I suppose the heroes did deserve to defeat it after going to such lengths to prepare. But as Bob said, it was abrupt. The dimension it was in was not what I had in mind, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Different laws of physics indeed. Now, maybe I'm forgetting something, but how does Emeder know so much more about these rifts than his companions? Of the three of them, I would have thought Imegna would know most (but even she didn't know about them until Umbra told the Toa, right?).I don't have much of an opinion about the scene with Takua, except I don't think of Takua as being that grumpy. But he did hit his head pretty hard, maybe he got a personality change along with amnesia? :P Anyway, it's a pretty cool way of tying it into a future story about Takua, if you're going to make one.There are two more concerns I have. One, weren't the sea gates of Metru Nui closed? I think they would have to travel through Karzahni to get into the dome -- the same path the future Toa Mahri took, but the opposite direction -- and that would be a journey worth at least mentioning, I think. And second, the last line of the previous chapter makes it seem like they are going to fight the Ravager very soon. But this last chapter takes place the next year. I suppose it could have been late in the year in the previous chapter, but it still gives a sense of them taking months to find the Ravager, and the last chapter doesn't mention any such lengthy search before the final showdown.I'm sorry if it seems I'm complaining a lot. It seems you've been busy, and I bet you want to get this story done so you can focus on your new ones. So maybe this last installment was a little rushed.
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#47 Offline Maganar

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Posted Sep 12 2012 - 07:27 PM

The battle against the Light Ravager was rather anticlimactic, I'm afraid. I suppose the heroes did deserve to defeat it after going to such lengths to prepare. But as Bob said, it was abrupt. The dimension it was in was not what I had in mind, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Different laws of physics indeed. Now, maybe I'm forgetting something, but how does Emeder know so much more about these rifts than his companions? Of the three of them, I would have thought Imegna would know most (but even she didn't know about them until Umbra told the Toa, right?).I don't have much of an opinion about the scene with Takua, except I don't think of Takua as being that grumpy. But he did hit his head pretty hard, maybe he got a personality change along with amnesia? :P Anyway, it's a pretty cool way of tying it into a future story about Takua, if you're going to make one.There are two more concerns I have. One, weren't the sea gates of Metru Nui closed? I think they would have to travel through Karzahni to get into the dome -- the same path the future Toa Mahri took, but the opposite direction -- and that would be a journey worth at least mentioning, I think. And second, the last line of the previous chapter makes it seem like they are going to fight the Ravager very soon. But this last chapter takes place the next year. I suppose it could have been late in the year in the previous chapter, but it still gives a sense of them taking months to find the Ravager, and the last chapter doesn't mention any such lengthy search before the final showdown.I'm sorry if it seems I'm complaining a lot. It seems you've been busy, and I bet you want to get this story done so you can focus on your new ones. So maybe this last installment was a little rushed.

Ok, a couple things to say here in response. To start, I actually felt that part four was one of the weaker parts in general of this epic. Later additions (intro, Order agent interchange, and some other little things in the fights) made it better overall, but nothing was done to ameliorate the ending. Now, I should say that the ending was abrupt by design. It was meant to close off quickly and show that the trials to accomplish a task can sometimes take on a greater meaning than the completion of the task itself. There was originally something to soften the rapid closing... and that is the fact that while the battle was still this short in my original manuscript, there are several chapters following what currently sits as the final chapter. However, these throw us headfirst into the sequel, which, as I said, I am putting on hold (though not abandonning - just to clarify). Those will be included as a final addendum to this epic as a countdown to the release of the sequel. But that will be awhile.Angel Bob, if I don't change my final idea for the sequel, you're in for a treat. The last part is essentially one, massive, extensive final battle that concludes with the fall of a major antagonist. Unlike your epics, though, it isn't entirely "berserker vs. forces of evil." It's different. That's all I'm saying for now. And it is still subject to change. While I am addressing you - if Semitra is one of Lariska's race, then it's getting a name :P . So, no, the intention was not specifically to bring in another member of that race. If it even is that race, which I suppose I will leave up to you to decide as the reader. Oh, and I just thought of something. Shafts has a pretty crazy final battle. That will probably suit your taste as well. You'll just have to see when I post it.None of the three knew much anything about the Realms prior to entering. However, Emeder's direct connection with shadow allowed him to manipulate the Realm itself (as all substance in that Realm is made of either light... or shadow). With that comes comprehension. So he rapidly came to understand the Realm, whereas the other remained oblivious to further details aside from obvious observations ( :bigeek: OMG I'M DISAPPEARING! "epiphanies").Oops. I didn't mean to make Takua sound grumpy, just airy-headed. Like he was confusedly bumbling around and unable to keep his mind on anything germane. However, I will not be following this up with a story of Takua. Those closing lines after he woke up were adapted directly from the opening lines of the MNOG walkthrough. It was meant to connect with (pseudo-)canon and leave it off right as that main storyline installment began.I believe I said something about how the abandonned city of Metru Nui lied "through the Sea Gates," but that was "not their destination." I can't remember for sure (and I don't feel like looking it up at this moment), but they were only approaching that part of the world. They didn't need to pass through the Gates, so getting there should have largely been a non-issue. They could care less about Metru Nui itself. As for timeframe, it was meant to be in the final weeks of the 999 year mark in the penultimate chapter and practically the very start of the new year in the final chapter. Unfortunately, with my method of subheading the chapters with a value in years, there was no way to accurately reflect this. And, in retrospect, it could have been a little better elaborated (maybe with an introductory paragraph giving a cursory glance at their route) at the start of the final chapter.Not to worry, this final reception to what I had considered a problematic plotline (it was just messy avoiding canon inconsistencies and giving an adequate conclusion while still successfully represent the "trials sometimes more than completion" thing) was, albeit not as "YAY!" as I may have hoped for, still a bit better than I had expected. Plus, this was my first and there is plenty more to come and I hope future endings may prove more satisfactory. I personally feel that the ending to Shafts definitely is and I expect to feel similar sentiments with my other works considering how they are currently shaping up. :fonz:Overall, my main point is that this finale wasn't as coherent as I personally had meant to make it :shrugs: , but I'm pleased that no one felt that I crashed the whole epic into the ground. I am more confident with my future works and I hope you guys will stick around enough to see it: I think you will find that improvements have been made to my writing style, endings included, and that you will enjoy what I have. Either way, thank you for sticking this one through to the end, guys, and helping me learn what I needed in order to make these upcoming works as good as I feel they are!

Edited by Maganar, Sep 12 2012 - 07:31 PM.

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#48 Offline ALVIS

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Posted Oct 05 2012 - 10:32 PM

I'm assuming this will be the review topic for Shafts, as well? In that case...So far, I'm enjoying Tignioni's story. A mine is always a great setting for adventure, and the Gorellian Hounds make their return. You do really like them, don't you? But that's understandable. The crystalline warriors, I have to say, are very intriguing and I wish we'd seen more of them. They also remind me very much of shardminds from D&D 4th edition, but that's hardly a detractor.
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-- Harlan Ellison
 
Short Stories:
 
LAST DESTINY, starring an Agori and a Turaga
 
DESCENDANT, starring Kraata-Kal and Makuta Teridax
AN EVEN EXCHANGE, starring the Makuta of Stelt
THE END OF THE BROTHERHOOD, starring Tobduk and Makuta Chirox

#49 Offline Maganar

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Posted Oct 07 2012 - 08:02 PM

I'm assuming this will be the review topic for Shafts, as well? In that case...So far, I'm enjoying Tignioni's story. A mine is always a great setting for adventure, and the Gorellian Hounds make their return. You do really like them, don't you? But that's understandable. The crystalline warriors, I have to say, are very intriguing and I wish we'd seen more of them. They also remind me very much of shardminds from D&D 4th edition, but that's hardly a detractor.

Actually, I should add a more obvious link to the review topic (I haven't always been on top of things lately :P ). For now, the review topic for The Sordid Shafts is linked via the banner at the top of the actual epic. It looks the same as the one in my sig, but instead of linking to the epic (which you are obviously already on if you can see it) it links to the review topic. I'll add a the words review topic in parentheses underneath it sometime tonight and extend the link to include those words as well. And I might as well put a link RIGHT HERE too.I'll address your feedback in my next post on the legitimate review topic.

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#50 Offline Aderia

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Posted Jan 15 2013 - 02:36 PM

Hey there, Maganar! ECC Critic Aderia here, and I've got a review for your "Lightfall - The Menace of Light". Now, I did read your author's notes before I read, and I took them into consideration while I read, but not while I critiqued. Note also that I didn't read any of your other reviews to avoid bias. So don't take any of this personally, since I found a lot of nitpicks. Not spelling and grammar errors, mind you. Just things about the story itself, little details that I thought needed addressing. Props, though, for having very few spelling/grammar errors. So let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. From Chapter 1:  

Suddenly, there was a magnificently bright flash. Could this be the supplies at last? 

Granted, I don't live on the Southern Continent or anything, but if a magnificently bright flash suddenly brightened my day, I would definitely not think immediately that it mean the supplies had come in at last. In other words, the character's train of thought was disjointed. 

Yet, when he stopped he saw nothing other than a massive hole.

Be specific. A hole where? In the sky? In the ground? In the air? In his heart? Help me picture this clearly when you narrate. 

The sight almost blinded him instantaneously. 

Because the 'magnificently bright flash', amongst other things previously mentioned, wouldn't almost blind him instantaneously. Right. 

  In fear of some trap he activated his true mask, a Mahiki, and called forth an illusion that there were nearly a dozen copies of him present.

Two things. 1) True mask? What? You owe your readers more explanation than that before moving on. 2) I think, even for a Mask of Illusion, whipping up a dozen copies is a stretch. 

Tignioni frantically raced his mind to try and make sense of the situation before he was obliterated.

Reword that. Minds are not race cars or horses or greyhounds or snails. You don't 'race' them. 

Tignioni called upon his elemental energy to explode the whole surrounding area.

Is this a Nova Blast? Because you could have just said so. The words you chose weren't the best. It made your character sound like a Toa of Explosions, not a Toa of Fire, which can cause explosions. Nothing against the idea of a Toa of Explosions. I'd love to read a story about one of those.  

The brilliant orb searched haze caused by the blast,

This piece read funny, and the only thing I could think is that you forgot the word 'the' between 'searched' and 'haze'. From Chapter 2:  

Had there been anyone to witness the aftermath of Tignioni’s battle with the bizarre orb, they would have observed that an unusually shaped rock near the site collapsed into an unconscious Toa of Fire. Tignioni’s quick thinking to produce the illusion he was a rock and veil it with an explosion had saved his life.

Unconscious Toa cannot maintain use of their Kanohi masks. He should be dead. 

Wait…there was a village right behind him.

Word that more clearly. I pictured the village as a crazy clown following the Tignioni. Then when the Toa turned around, the clown was right there in his face like a creeper. 

Tignioni suddenly felt a sinking feeling

One too many feels in this sentence. Its redundant. 

“Is there anyone here?” Tignioni cried out again, though he knew it would be futile. 

Then why would he waste words? What if the crazy evil killer disco ball enemy comes back because it heard him? 

  Yet the facts were overwhelming, and after six passes through the village and a fruitless hour searching, he surrendered himself to the truth. 

What facts? Other than 'the fact that he was sure nobody was in the area', mentioned in the sentence beforehand. Dead bodies are facts. There aren't any of those. I would think a Toa would know better. Also, while I'm at it, due to the first two chapters being set at the same time and place, they could easily be combined into one chapter. Especially since you mentioned in your author's note at the beginning, "Yes, the chapters (esp. early ones) are very short. Very, very short - too short for my own taste."  From Chapter 3:  

the final blow was when they destroyed the last stand of vegetation on Xia. 

Fruit stand? Tree nursery? Specify. 

What was it called? Oh, yes: Metru Nui.

No colon. 

He saw two phalanxes of armed Vortixx advancing, one from each entrance. 

Okay. Again with the realism. Even if it were realistic for Xians to care the slightest about some unhappy tree hugger in their midst, they wouldn't dispatch two phalanxes of their men to exterminate. They'd take his lowly job away at the most, and leave him to suffer. That aside, one Vortixx against 'two phalanxes' is horrible odds. He wouldn't have time to plan his escape, forget the name of Metru Nui, etc.etc. As an author, its your job to tell a convincing story, just remember that. 

They had pinpointed him to this building, but didn’t know where he was.

You can pinpoint a person's location, but not specifically a person. Not sure if that's entirely correct, its just how I'd put it. Because when I think of pinpointing a person, I think "I PINPOINTED YOU NOW YOU HAVE A PINPOINT STUCK IN YOUR FACE AHAHAH". Just food for thought. =) 

It was risky, since the ground was nearly fifty bios below him

Plural of 'bio' is 'bio'. 

but they had overlooked one thing: he could travel from one building to the next on their outsides because Xia was so industrialized and the buildings so close together.

How could they overlook this? They live on Xia too. Are they all just stupid? 

he pried it off with his spear, which he had slung over his back previously.

The sudden introduction of his spear was not impressive. It seems like a conveniently convenient plot device the author came up with just for the sake of being convenient, if you catch my drift. Not only that, but a spear is really not the best thing to suddenly give your character if he's scrambling over rooftops. From Chapter 4:   

Guftivei shifted his spear horizontal.

Horizontally. 

It snagged between the buildings and snapped

Again, let's slow down a minute and think this one through. The whole reason this guy is on the run is because there are no trees and he spoke up about that and got in trouble. So logic would tell us that the spear is made of something not wood, because of no trees. So what else would a spear in the Matoran Universe be made of? I thought of metal, I'm not sure about you. And I don't picture metal spears snapping. More likely, his arm would snap, or the spear would get 'unsnagged' from the two buildings. Just my two cents. 

Suddenly two Skakdi with modified Cordak blasters pulled in front of him. Just before they shot, Guftivei bluffed, “Wait, I got something your master wants!” Deciding to play with their greed he said “I’m sure he’d pay you extra for bringing me and what I have with me right now.” One of the Skakdi grunted, then gruffly replied, “So, you have something we need, now do you? Well, put your hands up, we don’t want trouble, now do we?”

Besides overly-gullible Skakdi being convenient plot devices like the spear, between the two different characters' lines of dialog, you should start a new paragraph. 

On impact, it exploded. The Skakdi were too hardy to be harmed by it, but they were startled. It gave Guftivei the second he needed to dash up to the first Skakdi and throw him back into the other one, bowling both of them over. He threw an explosive at the wall as he sprinted past. 

A Vortixx shouldn't be able to physically overpower a Skakdi. 

When he looked back he saw a ship armed to the brim headed their way. It had Kanoka launchers trained on the vessel Guftivei was in.

Man, I really hope this Guftivei is secretly involved with a rival black market trade ring or high treason, because I'm really not buying this whole thing. It's blown way out of proportion for a dispute between an environmentalist and an industrialist.  From Chapter 5:  

The boat’s pilot was cowering in a corner.

Unrealistic. Someone that wimpy would be filing records or washing dishes somewhere, not captaining a vessel. 

Looking up at the rigging, an idea suddenly came upon Guftivei. As another disk hit the hull he began to swing a sturdy rope wildly. Suddenly, he latched onto the rope and swung across to the attacking vessel and boarded it as soon as three disks hit the hull of his hired transport. 

Where did this 'sturdy rope' come from? How can a rope be 'sturdy'? How much 'suddenly' can you cram into one scene? How can he latch onto a rope if he's already swinging it wildly? How does he swing across to the attacking vessel? We don't even know how close it is, or how the ambiguous, sturdy rope attached itself to said vessel. tl;dr - work on your action scenes. Its a lot harder than an action scene in a movie. Once I realized what you were trying to set up, I pictured Pirates of the Caribbean. I'm not sure if you're familiar with those movies at all, but yeah. We can't see what you can see as your readers. Just think of narrating as describing an obstacle course to a blind person. 

but Guftivei simply sidestepped and the unsuspecting offender flew overboard just as one more disk hit the ship. 

Again, this is something else that only works in movies. And about the whole 'increase density' gig. The boat is made of metal, and therefore is already more dense than water, am I correct? Even so, I would think it would take far less than a dozen Kanoka disks like that to sink the ship, since you really took your time setting up a word problem for your reader here. It feels like 4th grade math class all over again when you were describing the whole scenerio. And for the record, I hated 4th grade math class. 

The enemy thought quickly and held up an elbow intended for Guftivei’s face, but Guftivei blocked it at the last moment.

Wording, again. "Here, I'll hold up my elbow for you to inspect." But I'm gonna give you the benefit of the doubt and say you meant "Let me quickly throw up my elbow with enough velocity to dent this person's face painfully." 

As one more Kanoka hit Guftivei’s vessel, he grabbed a crate with over twenty still in it and smashed it upside-down into the body of the vessel he was standing on. As a result, the disks all discharged their increase density effect into the enemy vessel.

How is he this strong?? 

As one more Kanoka hit Guftivei’s vessel, he grabbed a crate with over twenty still in it and smashed it upside-down into the body of the vessel he was standing on. As a result, the disks all discharged their increase density effect into the enemy vessel.

Stop with the convenient plot devices already! And besides, what's the point of a small scouting ship if your character just goes back to his own ship anyways? His own ship which is in no shape to sail, with the density mussed with and all. And again, its a question of bouyancy, not density.  

The first thing he was going to do in Stelt was get a fast ship. He was going to sabotage the corporation responsible endlessly.

How exactly do you sabotage something endlessly? Unless that's not what you meant with your confusingly worded sentence? 

Guftivei was about to settle down for a life as quiet as one could be when one is always planning sabotage. However, it would not remain that way in the future. He would be part of something greater than he had ever imagined.

The sudden shift in the tone of voice and verb tenses, telling things that already happened in the storyline, and then switching to say what will eventually come to pass, its a bit jolting. And rather than come right out and say it, use a more subtle version of foreshadowing. It makes it more fun as a reader. From Chapter 6:  

Suddenly, a bright sphere appeared. Emeder averted his eyes from its brilliance. Before he could react, a blast of pure, concentrated, light energy seared the building behind him. Falling rubble pinned him to the spot and hit him in the head, causing his vision to blur. Emeder could only just make out the form a Toa of Lightning being cleanly obliterated by a shaft of destructive light. Then everything went black and he heard nothing more than screaming Matoran and the sizzling of air heated to the point of being plasma. Slowly, the sounds merged, and then muted as Emeder lapsed into complete oblivion.

This whole narration was told in a passive, uncaring voice. Like you as the author didn't really care what you were putting your character through. And that carries over for your reader. I didn't care that your Toa of Air Whatshisname got knocked out or his town died and yadda yadda. There are countless words in the English language, and writers just have to combine them creatively to make readers care about certain things. 

It was only after shifting seemingly endless amounts of rubble off of him did he remember what had transpired. 

And just how did he manage to do this, if he was stuck? 

Suddenly he noticed Shom was dead, along with all the Matoran, and it was his fault. He had faltered when they needed him most. If he hadn’t been buried in the rubble he could have saved them or at least have died honorably beside them. He was a complete failure.

So he's torn apart inside because his friend are dead. He blames himself because he didn't do anything. It was his fault he couldn't do anything. His life sucks and he wishes he was dead, O Great Spirit take him now!! But as a reader, I could care less. Because the way you narrated the whole thing, there was literally nothing that made me care for this character or his dead friends or his horrible life. Unless you were intending it to be that way? 

Suddenly he heard Matoran voices.

You really need to find a better word than 'suddenly'. -Abruptly-At once-Instantly-Out of the blue-Unexpectedly Just a few off the top of my head. 

For a moment he let his hopes rise, before noticing it was a party of travelers. He couldn’t bear to let them see his face. They would find out he was the failure of the village. Emeder bellowed in rage then vanished into the forest. He could just hear the Matoran gasping in horror as he faded into the trees.

Stop laying on the angst so thickly. Since I haven't connected with this character as a reader, its like trying to force conversation on an already awkward date. 

When no one was paying attention, he stole a ship and headed south of his homeland, the homeland he had failed to protect.

I really don't see how you thought you could pull off the stealing of an entire ship by an angst-crippled Toa in one sentence. 

He would eventually find himself on the Southern continent, where he would meet a certain Vortixx named Guftivei…

I'm sure you've heard 'show don't tell'. Which is good advice. Better yet, albeit less common, 'show -and- tell, in a balanced fashion'. Choose either or, but for the sake of your readers, don't just fast-forward like that. It really devalues the story, coming off as cheap and shallow, an easy way out.From Chapter 7:  

They would hide in the dense jungle around the three-room hut he and Emeder had built in the island’s center, a location chosen to avoid the entire abode being washed away in a storm.

 Take a minute and think about what you've just said. The island in question is small enough to be walked around in five minutes. So -maybe- a bit larger than a football field. And you're trying to cram a dense jungle onto this speck in the ocean?!? The entire island could be washed away by a storm, forget their little house. How the heck did a house get there in the first place? And now is as good a time as any. If there's one thing that has real potential to make or break a story is interaction between characters. You gave us a green-house happy Vortixx, and a Lesovikk Jr in the first half of your story. Separate, they were mediocre. You set them up to meet, and it could have really been a great scene, but you fast forwarded through it, which really disappointed me. The next chapter opens and the two of them are mellow buddy buddy on a quaint little island.  

They were two heroes intent on doing good, but one was running from his destiny. It wouldn’t last much longer.

 I don't see how they're heroes. 'Protagonists', maybe. And again, I know you can foreshadow more creatively than that. From Chapter 8:  

Stealthily, Emeder maneuvered the watercraft behind the building. He clambered atop the building and awaited the next phase.

 Details, details, details. How'd they get a water craft? Why is a building so close to where a watercraft can be manuevered? What does the watercraft do while they're clambering on top of buildings?   

  Despite this, He and Guftivei could still work together

   Uncap 'he'.  

  When it detonated, the whole building would erupt in flame as a result of the black powder in the air.

 I'm not sure that black powder stay suspended in the air that long. I think this scene would have worked better with some kind of flammable gas. From Chapter 9:  

“Guftivei! I need a distraction! I can sweep these maniacs right off the roof on the building in front of us with a gust of air, but I have to be able to sneak around until I can see where they all are. Otherwise I’m using up elemental energy on wild misses.”

 I appreciate this reasoning, but it's really not necessary. A gust of air is a gust of air, and its really hard to miss with one of those, especially since Emeder is a Toa of Air and can make the gust as large and powerful as he wants, and his enemies can't do anything about it. If I didn't know better, I would think he was trying to get Guftivei killed.  

and had numerous fighters

 Why are so many people after them? I thought they were on a secret stealth mission. And if there are that many enemies, I don't care who they are, they should be dead. You also describe in more detail than other things their weapons. Huzzah for description, except for the fact that you said previously that they preferred not to kill on their missions. It makes no sense that they would have that many weapons. From Chapter 11:  

He grabbed the back of the giant’s neck with one hand and planted his feet on its chest. With his other hand he began to jab it in the face with the tip of his weapon. The leviathan shook his head from side to side, attempting to dislodge his attacker. When this failed to work, he simply swatted at his face. 

 Again, this seems like something out of a movie. The scene when Legolas was attacking a Cave Troll or something in the first Lord of the Rings movie comes to mind. And even on screen, that scene didn't look realistic. And would it really be that hard for the two of them to just jump off the rail car and lose the giant attacking monster for good? Emeder is a Toa of Air, he could soften their landing, and everyone would be happier. I don't see the point in derailing an entire train and all that jazz. From Chapter 12:  

the entire procession began to slip into the abyss below,

 Where did this Abyss come from? Where the heck is this rail car even driving? These details are important. Another nitpick, during the long stretch of dialogue at the end of chapter 12, make sure you make it clear which character is saying what. It was good dialogue, but hard to follow because there was no indication. From Chapter 13:   

 Emeder’s eyes shone with fear behind his mask. As the question was posed to him he screamed “NO! I know nothing! No, no, NO! Leave me ALONE!” With that he turned and bolted into the hut.

 Not saying that I had a very solid grasp on Emeder's character to begin with, but this was very out of character and choppy.     Okay, well now that that's over. There's really nothing I can say that I haven't mentioned already. Things I think you should work on, based on what I read here: -Details-Realism-Character development-Emotions And you also did a lot of things well, like dialogue. I also liked the time stamp you had at the beginning of each chapter, it was very organized. And also, like you mentioned in your author's note at the beginning, I did see a lot of improvement from the beginning to the end. Good job there. It was a bit of a rough start, but things smoothed out nicely for you towards the end. I'm also glad to see you continued this story arc with sequels and the like.  Until next time! ~Aderia


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#51 Offline Maganar

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Posted Jan 16 2013 - 02:47 AM

 Another thing that should be brought to light is the fact that I knew that this story lacked the intended vibrancy and that some parts were muddled.  (Did I mention that in the author's note?  Actually, I might have.  Can't remember.)  I just reached a point where I realized that I was going to have to post this eventually if I ever wanted to head anywhere with it, regardless of its shortcomings.  I decided to take the inevitable volley of criticism that was destined to come.  Everything starts small.

 

Most everything you've said I agree with wholeheartedly.  I just figured that I ought to drop a couple (long-overdue) clarifications on some things that came up in your review.

From Chapter 1:  

Suddenly, there was a magnificently bright flash. Could this be the supplies at last? 

Granted, I don't live on the Southern Continent or anything, but if a magnificently bright flash suddenly brightened my day, I would definitely not think immediately that it mean the supplies had come in at last. In other words, the character's train of thought was disjointed.

Yeah, this is a prime example of the lack of my tendency to fail in my attempts to accurately describe events during the first part of this saga.  You brought up that numerous times; this is yet another and it was so confusing that you didn't even get it.  "Flash" was an awful word choice.  "Glint" would have been far more accurate.  A "glint" could easily be the result of light reflecting off of metal objects in a trading caravan.  A "flash," as you've pointed out... not so much. 

The sight almost blinded him instantaneously. 

Because the 'magnificently bright flash', amongst other things previously mentioned, wouldn't almost blind him instantaneously. Right. 

Yup.  Wouldn't have been "pre-blinded" because [insert clarification directly above].

Tignioni frantically raced his mind to try and make sense of the situation before he was obliterated.

Reword that. Minds are not race cars or horses or greyhounds or snails. You don't 'race' them.

Ow.  I said I wasn't responding to things I agreed with, but... yikes.  Miserable wording.  I cringe to see this. 

Tignioni called upon his elemental energy to explode the whole surrounding area.

Is this a Nova Blast? Because you could have just said so. The words you chose weren't the best. It made your character sound like a Toa of Explosions, not a Toa of Fire, which can cause explosions. Nothing against the idea of a Toa of Explosions. I'd love to read a story about one of those. 

It was more supposed to have been a pulse of burning fire radiating outward, henceforth temporarily obscuring the area... none of which was explained... *coughcough*You'rerightagainaboutunclearcommunication*coughsputter*

From Chapter 2:   
Had there been anyone to witness the aftermath of Tignioni’s battle with the bizarre orb, they would have observed that an unusually shaped rock near the site collapsed into an unconscious Toa of Fire. Tignioni’s quick thinking to produce the illusion he was a rock and veil it with an explosion had saved his life.

Unconscious Toa cannot maintain use of their Kanohi masks. He should be dead. 

He was meant to have been just slipping out consciousness, the "collapsing into Toa of Fire" thing being the point at which he finally did go unconscious... none of which was explained... again.

Also, while I'm at it, due to the first two chapters being set at the same time and place, they could easily be combined into one chapter. Especially since you mentioned in your author's note at the beginning, "Yes, the chapters (esp. early ones) are very short. Very, very short - too short for my own taste. 

And that would be one of those things I simply forfeited correcting as a result of my fear that I would otherwise simply procrastinate without end.

From Chapter 3:  
It was risky, since the ground was nearly fifty bios below him

Plural of 'bio' is 'bio'. 

:blink: OMG.  I need to check my other writing to make sure that isn't a habit.  I'm not honestly sure if I was previously aware of that.

but they had overlooked one thing: he could travel from one building to the next on their outsides because Xia was so industrialized and the buildings so close together.

How could they overlook this? They live on Xia too. Are they all just stupid?

They could overlook it only as a consequence of how incredibly inadvisable this is.  This is probably also guilty (to a lesser extent that the other examples) of existing for the sake of plot devices.

From Chapter 4:  
On impact, it exploded. The Skakdi were too hardy to be harmed by it, but they were startled. It gave Guftivei the second he needed to dash up to the first Skakdi and throw him back into the other one, bowling both of them over. He threw an explosive at the wall as he sprinted past. 

A Vortixx shouldn't be able to physically overpower a Skakdi. 

IMO, I wouldn't call pushing a dazed person into a wall "overpowering" them.  But a fair point nonetheless.  Duly noted.

When he looked back he saw a ship armed to the brim headed their way. It had Kanoka launchers trained on the vessel Guftivei was in.

Man, I really hope this Guftivei is secretly involved with a rival black market trade ring or high treason, because I'm really not buying this whole thing. It's blown way out of proportion for a dispute between an environmentalist and an industrialist.

Now I'm sorely tempted to write a short story spinoff about rival black market trading that Guftivei became involved in during his time of Xia.  Curse you!

 From Chapter 5:  
The boat’s pilot was cowering in a corner.

Unrealistic. Someone that wimpy would be filing records or washing dishes somewhere, not captaining a vessel. 

No one said he had any idea what he was signing up for by taking Guftivei off Xia, so I wouldn't go so far as to say that he shouldn't be captaining a private vessel.  That still does not excuse what I can now see was clearly a plot simplification on my part: make the dude a coward so you can just say he hides in a corner the whole time.  Woohoo!  Only have to write things about one character now!

And about the whole 'increase density' gig. The boat is made of metal, and therefore is already more dense than water, am I correct

Right, it's only the pocket of air you trap in a boat that keeps it above water.  Nevertheless, it will still sink if you increase its density enough.  It'll dip lower and lower in the water until the ocean floods straight over the gunwales, swamping the whole things and sending it to a submerged resting place.  I'd say that this is all simple science, but in any normal physics whatsoever, you can't just snap your fingers and increase density.  Increasing density means the amount of mass crammed in a given area; ipso facto increasing density of something without altering its shape requires matter to be squeezed in.  That's just silly, but Bionicle physics is like that.  Increase density is an everyday disk power.

 From Chapter 6:  
Suddenly he heard Matoran voices.

You really need to find a better word than 'suddenly'. -Abruptly-At once-Instantly-Out of the blue-Unexpectedly Just a few off the top of my head. 

It's actually really funny to see this brought up for the first time only now.  The inexcusable number of times the word "suddenly" appears (not just in Menace of Light, it's rampant throughout the saga) was another thing that almost caused me to hold back.  I even considered just doing Ctrl+F for "suddenly" and replacing half of them with other words, but I didn't want to risk insertingly a nearly synonymous word that ended uo making no sense in context.  I also didn't want to evaluate each one of the endless "suddenly"s for the sake of getting something posted sooner of later.  The result was this.  As I said, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around how the review topic has 50 posts and only just now has someone mentioned it (it's not like I was just going to arbitrarily shout it out if no one brought it up). 

From Chapter 12: 
the entire procession began to slip into the abyss below,

 Where did this Abyss come from?

That sounds way more melodramatic than it ever needed to be.  Heavens above.  It just careened over the edge.  That was all.  Yet again, this could have also used more detail.

And you also did a lot of things well, like dialogue. I also liked the time stamp you had at the beginning of each chapter, it was very organized. And also, like you mentioned in your author's note at the beginning, I did see a lot of improvement from the beginning to the end. Good job there. It was a bit of a rough start, but things smoothed out nicely for you towards the end. I'm also glad to see you continued this story arc with sequels and the like.  

And in the author's note, I was referring to the later parts of the saga.  Those were - generally, at least - as refined or better than Menace was at the end.  As for dialogue, that was one of the few things I was comfortable with upon posting this.  I'm glad to see you found that confidence to be well-founded.   Date and location stamps are a unique aspect to this saga and they intend to drive home the scope and scale of this saga.  That fact that you felt even Part 1 had managed to smooth out before its end is an enormous confidence booster for me.  By now, this thing has even spawned a spinoff epic.  That is my latest and I was much more proud of that one.  Incidentally, I can safely say that a fair number of the shortcoming you outlined in this review are things I intentionally noted and avoided when writing the spinoff.  A couple remain, though they have been buffered a bit.  I can think of one uncomfortably plot-devicey scene in the spinoff... but only one.  Not the suspension-of-disbelief-requiring plethora of them that was present here.  Another thing the sequel excels at that this fails at (something you didn't mention because you couldn't have noticed without reading all four parts): starting and finishing!  As you did see, the start was weak.  The ending of part four was chastised even by my non-ECC reviewers as having been effective but anticlimactic (there was actually a justification for the weak ending that I really don't want to go into right now TBH, but my other reviewers have heard me defend myself already). 

Until next time! ~Aderia

 It doesn't take much more than a glance at this review for me to see just why you are in the ECC.  Lately, I've been working on a new, unrelated epic saga set on Bara Magna.  It's been a long a gruel and it's still far from done.  A lot of the things you've said here I've already taken into account in this new project... but I'll be darned if I don't take your "major points for correction" list and do a readthrough of what I have written so far in an attempt to smoke out any pesky scenes that fail to achieve their intended verisimilitude and any trite plot devices that find a way to sneak into nearly everything.  This review should prove to be invaluable.  Thanks a billion (why should we stop at millions?).  I'll put this to good use.  :D


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#52 Offline Aderia

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Posted Jan 16 2013 - 09:42 PM

Heyo! Well I can drop the ECC formalities now, and say -

 

Ahaha! I read through your review to my review, it made me smile.

 

I also think I should apologize if I came off as blunt or rude while nitpicking, I re-read some of my own comments. Not to make excuses, but ,like, it just wasn't my day when I sat down to review your story. =/

 

And yeah, I saw that this epic had multiple parts to it, and I really did consider printing off all of them to review at first. But then like, real life got in the way and all, so that didn't happen, unfortunately. So in that respect, my review was a bit unfair to you, which I also should apologize for.

 

But anyways, I gotta thank you for replying to my review in depth. I don't remember the last time an author who I gave a serious review ever took so much to heart. It makes me really glad to know that you appreciated my efforts. =)

 

One of the things I really love to see in a story is the actual author improving themselves, which was really evident here, I'm not sure if I really highlighted that in my review. But good work there, and keep that up.


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#53 Offline Maganar

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Posted Jan 16 2013 - 11:17 PM

I also think I should apologize if I came off as blunt or rude while nitpicking, I re-read some of my own comments. Not to make excuses, but ,like, it just wasn't my day when I sat down to review your story. =/

 

And yeah, I saw that this epic had multiple parts to it, and I really did consider printing off all of them to review at first. But then like, real life got in the way and all, so that didn't happen, unfortunately. So in that respect, my review was a bit unfair to you, which I also should apologize for.

 

One of the things I really love to see in a story is the actual author improving themselves, which was really evident here, I'm not sure if I really highlighted that in my review. But good work there, and keep that up.

Sure thing.  I get the angle you were coming from.  Don't worry about having not read all parts.  I've got a couple other epic writers that read my stuff from time to time and that suffices for me.

 

It's a serious comfort to know that I haven't just been imagining the improvements in my writing.  I mean, I've had a couple of my readers go "Woah, Sordid Shafts came out way more awesome than Lightfall," but now I have an ECC review indicating that my path towards better writing was becoming apparent even before Part 1 of Lightfall had been concluded.  That's a relief to know.

 

Thanks, Aderia.  No need to apologize.


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