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Alt-IA: Iron Hands - Complete


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#26
Aurelius Rex

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I take it as a compliment, Phil. :huh:

Things have progressed, but still not as fast as I had hoped with the colourpieces. I am getting there, and after the feedback from Ace and Matt above I have realised that I have to clarify exactly what is actually going on using the colourpieces.

Edit: Colourpieces 3 and 5 added, and working on numbers 1, 4 and 6. The colourpieces I have posted will still be pretty rough, I admit, and will beed intensive proofing to properly polish up. Given the problem of wriring about the evil and good Manuses (Mani?) I am considering having the evil one refer to itself as the Dragonshard, as it is a way to differentiate them and subtly reference that it serves the Void Dragon at the same time.

Colourpiece 4, where the real Manus prematurely wakes the Void Dragon so that it will consume his legion is now up. Now just 1 or 6 to go...


Edited by Aurelius Rex, 30 October 2010 - 02:29 PM.

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Iron Warriors +++ Iron Hands +++ Alpha Legion +++ Dark Angels

Index Astartes: Scions of Dorn

#27
Ferrata

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For feedback on the feedback, they've just reached Terminus and I'm on comment 26 I think :lol: It is a good read, on par with the other DHIAs. However, unlike with my usual feedback were I might go "Hey, it isn't how I would do it but it works fine", I am literally doing everything I would do and expecting you to ignore most of it. :)

#28
Aurelius Rex

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Hehe, sounds extensive, Phil. Y'know, I thought you didn't want to write another DH IA article, but it sounds like you are doing it. :lol:

Colourpiece 6 added, with a cameo from the Eldar Farseer from the introduction who kicked the whole thing off! I wonder if anyone will notice. It also foreshadows major events in the Death Guard IA article, which will round off the Dornian Heresy. Also proofed and improved the Istvaan colourpiece, changing it from 'he' to 'it' or the Dragonshard.

Edit: Colourpiece 1, the final sidebar is now drafted and updated on the board, and that is it for tonight.

This leaves me to proofread the hell out of the article (especially the colourpieces) and then apply the feedback from you guys. I will do my level best to get it complete for late Sunday evening, and within the self-imposed October deadline, but it seems like a tall order.

How is the feedback going, by the way? Will everyone be able to get at least something to me by Sunday noon (GMT) to allow me a sporting chance to consider and apply your changes? If not, then could you let me know? :lol: If it really turns out that it can't be completed tomorrow, then so be it, but that is still the aim. ^_^

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 30 October 2010 - 11:30 PM.

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Ultramarines, White Scars, Space Wolves, Thousand Sons and Blood Angels available as a pdf
Click here for the Legio Imprint download thread
Iron Warriors +++ Iron Hands +++ Alpha Legion +++ Dark Angels

Index Astartes: Scions of Dorn

#29
Octavulg

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Paragraph 1: 'Ascend' isn't used that way. The subject ascends, not the object.

Colourpiece 3 comes out of nowhere, eliminates mystery, and generally seems to spoil things a little. It'd work better if there had been any hints that Ferrus' mind hadn't been his own, but the problem is that pursuing Necron methods is such a natural outgrowth of the Iron Hands' character that Ferrus doing so feels fairly rational. Thus, it doesn't seem like he's corrupted - so this feels arbitrary.

Battle-Cry: I assume you mean jammed vox-nets?

* * *

Everything's pretty good up until about Color-piece 3. After that, things get kind of...sloppy. The writing's not nearly as tight as it could be, and things feel...loose. The story doesn't hum any more - if anything, it feels like it's moving slower than it was before. Things should be picking up speed, not slowing down.

6500 words is more than you need. I suspect you could do all this with 5500 - possibly even with less.

The Colour-Pieces feel...lacking. The other story they tell feels tacked on - for the same reasons as previously mentioned. It's a needless complication - there's no tension because it doesn't feel like the Iron Hands would necessarily do anything differently if Manus weren't under the control of the Dragonshard.

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#30
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I will attempt to get my feedback to you by noon, but I might have to get a little less picky to make sure I can.

#31
Aurelius Rex

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@Phil - Many thanks for the feedback, Phil. ;)

@Octavulg - Good to hear from you on this. Since your comments about the Word Bearers IA I have certainly been extremely conscious of the word count in subsequent IA's, including this one, and have not come near the WB one in terms of length. :tu: Things seemed to be looking good for this one, with a lot lower word count that recent ones until it came to the last few days with drafting the colourpieces... but then I should have known that by now.

My first job today will be to review and proof the colourpieces, but in general my feeling is that they all serve a vital role. Now ideally the revelation that Manus was being controlled would come in a final twist colourpiece that came right at the end after the battlecry section, and everything that had gone on before just fell into place like the 'Bruce Willis is a ghost', or 'It's a cookbook!' or the end of Usual Suspects, and then you go back and read the article all again in that context... Unfortunately, I really don't think that this kind of thing is possible in this case as there are too many clues from the knowledge that the reader has from the norm-'verse history that things are not on the level with Manus, like wanting to get the dragon, the spurious history of the 'ancients' that he made up which was clearly at odds with that the reader knows about the history of the Necrons.

The colourpieces are also there to break up the exposition into smaller chunks rather than, as happens in the Harry potter books, for instance, that the exposition gets spouted for about thirty-odd pages at the end by Dumbledore. (Reading to my kids - I wouldn't have chosen to do it for the fun of it. :( ) I would also disagree that the storyline in the colourpieces is lacking, although that is not to say I won't try my damndest to tighten and improve it. They each have a specific aim which clarifies or turns the events of the body of the text on their head:

Colourpiece 1: Establish that the hands were suspect, his friendship with Fulgrim and ties in the sword.
Colourpiece 2: Showing him getting zapped, or at least making it clear that something seriously ominous had happened.
Colourpiece 3: Given the stuff above, I can't see how this would come out of nowhere. Yes, it may eliminate the mystery, but if people have been paying attention then it shouldn't be any surprise. It clarifies what is going on. The appearance of Lucius showed that while some things have changed dramatically, some are immutable, like Lucius being a tool. It also earned him losing his hand to the very weapon he created using C'Tan tech. It also shows a very different spin on the events of the battle between Manus and Fulgrim at Istvaan, and that he is a big fat liar! :P
Colourpiece 4: Explains what was happening at the Medusan Cataclysm, and shows the fans of Manus that he isn't just a patsy. Even in that situation he fought on and won a major victory.
Colourpiece 5: Ties back to the fate of Fulgrim in the alt IA:EC, that the Dragonshard really isn't as unemotional as it was designed to be, and re-injects a hint of ambiguity into Fulgrim's fate... and that Manus might still be in there somewhere.
Colourpiece 6: After the comments in this thread earlier about it not being clear exactly what the plan was for the Dragon, humanity and the necron shells in the basement, this was intended to clarify. It also was supposed to make clear what the Dragonshard's motivation at claiming the Blackstones was, for those who might not be quite so up on their C'tan history, and their supposed locations.
Colourpiece 7: Really a quote to break up the format of the colourpieces before it, which included info that they now use necrodermis on their vehicles - or at least on their Land Raiders - which have taken on a Monolith like role as they aren't needed as conventional transport vehicles. It also includes a mention to Tanakreg, which ties back to the Word Bearer alt-IA, and skews the events of the Dark Apostle novel.

Phew...

OK, that was at least the intention. I will certainly re-read especially the colourpieces and all of the article to see if I can tighten and trim it, but I don't see the story could be significantly cut down - at least in the short term. While I agree that I would love to trim it to 5500 words, it is far from the longest IA, and that the response to them (even) at this kind of length has been very positive, so I don't see it being the end of the world if I can't do it. I will definitely consider doing this when the time comes for the eventual PDF version, though. ;)

Edit: I have put the colourpieces through three extensive proofing passes, to the point where I can no longer find anything to nitpick or change. I trimmed off about 40 words in total, but could do no more. Next, it is on with the main body of the text, including the feedback I have already got. SCC, Ferrus, anyone else, is there anything else to add? :)

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 31 October 2010 - 03:03 PM.

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Click here for the Legio Imprint download thread
Iron Warriors +++ Iron Hands +++ Alpha Legion +++ Dark Angels

Index Astartes: Scions of Dorn

#32
Octavulg

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@Octavulg - Good to hear from you on this. Since your comments about the Word Bearers IA I have certainly been extremely conscious of the word count in subsequent IA's, including this one, and have not come near the WB one in terms of length. laugh.gif Things seemed to be looking good for this one, with a lot lower word count that recent ones until it came to the last few days with drafting the colourpieces... but then I should have known that by now.


Honestly, I haven't read a lot of the other ones - the size is a major obstacle. I get worn out around two-thirds of the way through (7000+ words of text on a computer screen is draining for me, especially in IA form. Dunno why). The Word Bearers were really good, but by about the six thousand word mark I was starting to ask if it was over yet.

If it's any consolation, the same thing happens with the Space Wolves and Blood Angels. :)

My first job today will be to review and proof the colourpieces, but in general my feeling is that they all serve a vital role. Now ideally the revelation that Manus was being controlled would come in a final twist colourpiece that came right at the end after the battlecry section, and everything that had gone on before just fell into place like the 'Bruce Willis is a ghost', or 'It's a cookbook!' or the end of Usual Suspects, and then you go back and read the article all again in that context... Unfortunately, I really don't think that this kind of thing is possible in this case as there are too many clues from the knowledge that the reader has from the norm-'verse history that things are not on the level with Manus, like wanting to get the dragon, the spurious history of the 'ancients' that he made up which was clearly at odds with that the reader knows about the history of the Necrons.


See, the problem is that you're writing an alternate universe, and thus the reader isn't necessarily sure whether to be suspicious or to just accept it as truth. Plus, there's the fact that Manus could quite honestly not realize he's lying - the Necron history could be lying, or he could have interpreted it wrong. It's not quite clear enough that there's something not right with Manus - just that something might not be right. Indeed, I'm not sure the IA wouldn't basically work just as well with Manus completely normal, just being lied to by Necron artefacts beneath Terminus.

We also kind of move from "hints of influence" to "OMG he's a Necron!" without much in-between. An additional color-piece in between might remove more ambiguity, but also might make it a smoother transition. Just don't do the battle for his psyche - that'd be a little cliched. The Dragonshard getting acquainted with it's body might be good - then you can build up to the reveal of its name, too.

The colourpieces are also there to break up the exposition into smaller chunks rather than, as happens in the Harry potter books, for instance, that the exposition gets spouted for about thirty-odd pages at the end by Dumbledore. (Reading to my kids - I wouldn't have chosen to do it for the fun of it. laugh.gif )


Well, they are a pronounced lesson in why brevity is better. ;)

I would also disagree that the storyline in the colourpieces is lacking, although that is not to say I won't try my damndest to tighten and improve it. They each have a specific aim which clarifies or turns the events of the body of the text on their head:


Oh, sorry, that's not what I meant at all. Mea culpa. The main storyline after colorpiece 3 is what gets bogged down.

I'll try to give you an example.
The whole section between color-piece 3 and color-piece 4. I'd say you could achieve the same effect with this:

"With the three loyalist legions effectively destroyed and their place inside Dorn’s rebellion cemented with blood, the Iron Hands made their way to the Terran system. During the journey, Manus crafted a new hand in adamantium to replace the one he had lost. It was a reminder not just of the price they had all paid at Istvaan, but also of the dire cost of even a moment of sentimentality.

While the Imperial Fists and the Salamanders continued on to Terra, the Iron Hands headed for Mars. They ignored the calls for aid from their supposed Chaos allies and instead made planet-fall close to the Noctis Labyrinthus region and secured the area from possible attack. The wilds of Noctis Labyrinthus were far from the most intense clashes between the Mechanicus and their Chaos corrupted brethren, and for more than a week the Iron Hands faced little in the way of attacks. It was, however, simply a matter of time before their presence brought down the full might of the Titan Legions, in the form of Legio Vulturum.

Before the Iron Hands could test their mettle against this formidable foe, Ferrus Manus recalled every one of his battle-brothers down through caves deep beneath the red planet, to the prize they had sacrificed so much to obtain. It lay in a vast cavern that was all-but identical to the one constructed back on Medusa, save for an indefinable impression of being somehow crowded and oppressive. Manus attributed this to the Martian Artefact’s extra-dimensional nature. Such was the complexity of the item that all manner of equipment had needed to be put in place before it could be moved.

Manus instructed the Iron Hand fleet to break orbit and return to Medusa, before approaching the control panel. He raised his hands for silence, which was broken by the unearthly howl of pent-up energies seeking release and a sickening sense of movement, although the only visible change was that of the corrosion on the walls fading to reveal pristine, shining metal. They had returned to Medusa, but before the legion could celebrate their success it became clear that something had gone terribly wrong."

It's quicker and it keeps the story moving. The other way, we kept getting bogged down in details and distracted from the current point of our story - getting the Dragon/Artefact back to Medusa. In terms of our perspective, we landed, secured the place, went down, then went back up again, then went back down again while under fire, then left. This way, we land, we defend the place, we go down and see the artifact, and we leave. It even uses most of the same words - just in a different arrangement of sentences. And it remains focused on what we're doing.

Colourpiece 6: After the comments in this thread earlier about it not being clear exactly what the plan was for the Dragon, humanity and the necron shells in the basement, this was intended to clarify. It also was supposed to make clear what the Dragonshard's motivation at claiming the Blackstones was, for those who might not be quite so up on their C'tan history, and their supposed locations.


It works, and there's no need to take it out - but why were people upset about plans being ambiguous in 40K? :tu:

Edited by Octavulg, 31 October 2010 - 07:19 PM.

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#33
Aurelius Rex

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Thanks, I think I am clearer about what you mean now, Octavulg.

I have posted on the board now - good grief, but the bbcoding is a pain in the arse to use, and don't even thing about it staying in place when you edit it! It can be found in Liber Astartes in its own thread - which will hopefully get some good feedback on past form - and added it to the collected megathread (History and Legacy of Dorn's Betrayal) in the Horus Heresy section.

Many thanks to everyone who was able to give me feedback... Even though I didn't necessarily use every single bit, I have considered it all and it has made the article a heck of a lot better than it was before.

@SCC, Ferrus Manus - I'm sorry I couldn't wait any longer for your e-mails, but have not finished with this, and will continue to hone it right up to the time it gets published in the PDF*. Thanks for any work you have done on it, and if you send it through to me I will make sure your feedback makes it into the final version. :tu:




*There were significant differences between the articles in the part 1 pdf and the ones which originally were posted or were sent to the Librarium!
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Alternate Heresy Index Astartes articles for the World Eaters, Emperor's Children, Raven Guard, Word Bearers,
Ultramarines, White Scars, Space Wolves, Thousand Sons and Blood Angels available as a pdf
Click here for the Legio Imprint download thread
Iron Warriors +++ Iron Hands +++ Alpha Legion +++ Dark Angels

Index Astartes: Scions of Dorn