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The Cannae Legions It Is…

June 13, 2008

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from exposing The Scourge of Rome to outside readers, it’s that not all comments are valid. There’s a definite weeding process that’s required in determining which critiques are worth taking into consideration, and which can be ignored. For every worthwhile, constructive comment, there’s another that’s dripping with personal bias, blind adherence to “the rules”, or that age-old human desire to put one’s mark on something simply for the sake of doing so (if you’ve ever worked in a “collaborative” environment, you know what I mean).

One of the guides I find particularly useful is to watch for trends in the comments.  With the first draft of TSOR, for example, I noticed a lot of complaints about the first chapter being overladen with backstory and detail. Too much was being said, and not enough was happening. So it got rewritten. The starting point got moved, the backstory cut way back, and a good number of the details shifted to later chapters. The result? A much faster opening that cuts right to the chase.

I’ve noticed a similar trend in the comments about which novel idea I should pursue next. No one has come down against the Alaric novel, per se. But the response I’ve received here and in other places about the Cannae legions has been overwhelmingly positive. I can’t really put my finger on why. Both stories are, to my mind, incredibly powerful. Perhaps it has something to do with the story arcs. Alaric’s journey is ultimately a tragic one, ending in a nihilistic rage of desperation. The Cannae legions, on the other hand, endure disgrace and hardship before ultimately gaining their well-deserved redemption. Despite the bleakness of so much of the story, the ending is completely and thoroughly positive.

So…it’s been decided then. In this case, I’m going to go with the weight of comments, and write the story of the Cannae legions.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 13, 2008 9:58 am

    Woo Hoo, I love the underdog – rise from disgrace themes! I know what you mean about “putting one’s mark” on something. To put it in restaurant terms – almost always the first thing that a new GM will do in a restaurant is re-arrange everything. That does not always mean it is better – just their way to put their mark on things.

  2. June 19, 2008 4:52 pm

    Random…you might use this app if you are seeking feedback http://skribit.com/

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