Much more than give you a mission, however, I simply wish to say hello, and to express my appreciation of our conversations in the past, and for the tribute you have paid of reading and reviewing at least some of the works of mine. I hope things are well with you, wherever you might be at, and that we may run into each other in the chat room eventually (improbable as that may be, with (for my part) my connection to the internet being as irregular as it currently is).
Now, as for your mission (should you choose to accept it). Some months ago you did read and complement my story draft The Betrayer, for which I thank you again. What I ask is whether you would be willing, at some point before either of us dies (after a long, happy, and successful pilgrimage on this Island Earth, of course), to write out for me some kind of a review of the aforesaid story draft, of a little more detail than the feedback you did give me those months ago. Most importantly, what part of the story (what particular passage, or what particular part of the whole narrative, or however you choose to interpret the word "part") do you think is the strongest, what part the weakest, and why on both counts?
I'm quite aware that you're a busy man; hence my emphasis of "should you choose to accept it" and the wideness of the deadline. To be honest, I don't know when it is I might get around to revising The Betrayer, but even if I never do, I think it would be for my betterment as a writer to be able to look back on such feedback from such a personage as yourself.
Hey MPK, I've been quite busy, but I wanted to respond and say that, yes, I choose to accept the mission! I'd be happy to read and review your story in more depth. I think the soonest I can provide you feedback is by the end of December, but I am still around and would like to help!
Hey MPK, I had a long response typed up, and then my browser ate it as I hit "Reply," so I'm attempting to recreate it.
Caveat: KotOR and KotOR II were a long time ago. I haven't touched those games in nearly a decade, so some nuances of the plot and backstory are lost on me. My Star Wars knowledge is generally after 40 BBY.
There were a couple of small niggling things--weird phrases like "licks of lava" or odd thoughts like "why would a Jedi hunter like Atton be so weirded out about carrying a lightsaber?" or "man, their gearing up for Malachor seems unimportant" I'm having a hard time remembering those, but such as I can remember them, there they are.
Overall thoughts--the story seems a little tired by the end. The encounters with Atris and Nihlius (sp?) kind of drag on a bit. By the time you get to Sion and especially Kreia, it feels like you felt the story was too long and then decided to cut it short. I'd prefer less Nihlius and Atris and more weight to Kreia. Cutting out Kreia's dialogue by describing that it happens feels like you decided that it was time for the story to end. The prose throughout the duels is a little purple, and especially with Nihlius reads almost with too much melodrama.
Plus sides: Atton is very well charactered. I enjoyed how you wrote his character and gave him depth and purpose without going too overboard. He's conflicted yet effective in his abilities. His mental inner dialogue is believable and true to the character (counting cards, fighting his Force potential and wrestling with feelings for Meetra)
Down sides: Having Meetra literally decide on a whim to go sense the Sith, which turns her from wounded antihero to steeple-fingered sociopath undermines your ending. It'd be a little more climactic if she saw through Kreia's dying eyes or something, but she kind of just decides that it's time to go full Palpatine on a whim. At least in Betrayal, Jacen's fall (blegh) was written with gravity as he realizes with appropriate tension. This just sort of happened. Her descent isn't as gradual as maybe it could be throughout the story, as she kills the Jedi, then she maims Atris, then she kills the Sith and that's all well and good, but then she decides to be a manipulative Force-user-killer too, and that's extra bad? In general, the prose, while well-written, tends to be a bit over the top.
I still like the story and am glad you brought it to my attention (again). Hope it helps.
Thank you very much, my good man. You've pointed out some of the weaknesses I was aware of already, but also some that had escaped my attention, which was mainly what I wanted.
Yes, I can get very purple at times. I think it's an attempt to get around the fact that I don't really know how to write a fight scene. Or I think I don't know.
I'm disappointed that Meetra's fall didn't come across as more believable; that was one of the only things that I had thought I got basically right, even in this hackneyed draft.
You sensed correctly that I was running out of steam toward the end of writing (a ragged state of mind which can only be understood, I think, by a fellow writer who has been in a similar situation), and the times devoted to each major villain that Meetra encounters are rather out of proportion. I enjoyed writing the scenes with Atris and Nihilus, because I felt I understood how to relate them to Meetra's character; whereas from start to end, Sion felt like a chore. Kreia was actually very fun to write. But aside from being tired of writing, I didn't think I'd be able to reproduce their whole entire conversation without it getting tedious (to read, I mean).
As it stands, aside from the benefit of your perceptiveness, I think reading your review and thinking afterward has me convinced, more than ever, that I shot myself in the foot with the very form of the story by having to cram my ideas into the events of the game. Having the main character plow through encounters with four antagonists basically back-to-back is not something I'd ever write in an original plot of my own - but that's what happens in TSL, and I was trying to write TSL, whereas my time would've been better spent writing something original (as I said in the Author's Complaint).
Anyway, again, thank you very much for the review. As reward, I shall endeavor to finish reading your Force Exile series sometime before my demise. So cheers.
You're welcome. For the record, I disagree with the statement that you don't know how to write a fight scene. Beast of Rutan and River certainly belie that premise.
I've never accused TSL of having the greatest writing. It very clearly was rushed, hacked apart, and stitched back together. I didn't mind the fact that Kreia's dialogue with the Exile was cut short as a piece of intentional irony, that the old crone who's always talking had her poisoned tongue effectively muted, but between that and Sion's piece, it was fairly evident that there was more (completely-understandable) writer's fatigue involved. I've certainly been there.
Good luck with your next ventures! Mine are largely teaming up with my wife now to slowly clean up my old works. In a way, it's refreshing in that she brings a really solid grasp of good writing and isn't as steeped in Star Wars lore, so she helps me tell the stories and build the universe better. It can also be very humbling as she reads aloud every stilted phrase and run-on sentence, followed by silence as she considers how best to fix it. There's probably some meta-ironic analogy about breaking someone('s writing) to remake it in a stronger form that could be made about the process.