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