We could write a story together - I think that sounds cool.
Anyways, over at RS.com - Lance Quazar
wrote a huge piece about this story -
This was without a doubt the most visually stunning chapter to date and easily one of the best looking photonovels Iíve ever seen. I loved the opening space battle, LOVED, the scene of the bombardment and ADORED the scene of the troopers in the river. You clearly spent many hours of intense labor on this and it shows. This chapter is a visual feast.
However, I have to be honest, in spite of that, this chapter really didnít do much for me.
From a storytelling perspective, this chapter is, unfortunately, a bit forgettable. Ultimately, nothing of real significance happens during this chapter and I was left with the feeling that, if I had somehow missed this chapter, it wouldnít matter in the slightest. You could go from Chapter 9 to Chapter 11 and not missing anything.
This was a throw-away adventure which didnít hold anything of significance in terms of plot, character or theme. Even though you are writing a serial, each chapter needs to be a self-contained and satisfying story in its own right, while also contributing to the greater whole. Itís sort of why I never cared for "UNDERGROUND RESISTANCE" Ė that story involved Ryrkof sitting on the sidelines in someone elseís story. This one, while at least giving Rykrof something to do, is still fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
Think about it like this Ė at the end of the chapter, what has changed? What have we learned about the story or the characters? Have the characters themselves undergone any significant growth? Have they learned anything new? Has the story deepened in complexity or been taken to the next level?
Sadly, the answers to most of these questions seems to be "no". While thereís nothing inherently wrong with the occasional stand-alone adventure, this particular chapter has so little in terms of conflict, danger and stakes that it feels largely unnecessary.
Now I completely respect your decision not to have Ryrkrof participate in hugely significant galactic events in every chapter, or to just barely escape by the skin of his teeth each time. Youíre right, that would make the series feel "fake" and repetitive.
However, in this particular story, the greatest and most significant threat that Rykrof faces is from a pair of wild nexu. Now, itís certainly fine to enhance a story with additional dangers and obstacles, but a random and impersonal threat like the nexu shouldnít be the climax of your entire story, even if it is just one chapter.
Later, Rykrof and his team are able to disable the generator with amazing ease, at least partly due to the fact that the "incompetent" Geonosian is late in his patrol. You should NEVER allow a hero to succeed because of the incompetence or stupidity of his adversary. Itís just sloppy drama. How can our protagonist be a hero if he only faces against tardy imbeciles who arenít doing their jobs? Villains should be dangerous and threatening at all times. Sadly, even Lucas dropped the ball on this one by making the Neimodians such boobs. Think of how much better TPM would have been if Nute Gunray was actually a bad [censored], instead of a stuttering twerp. By extension, it would have made Sidious and Maul look even more dangerous, since they were even more powerful.
In the beginning of the story, we are told that destroying this factory would be a significant victory for the Republic. But later, Grievous dismisses the victory by saying the factory was just one out of "hundreds." If the villain isnít concerned about our heroís victory, then it really isnít much of a victory, is it? Why did we bother following Rykrof on this adventure, when there was very little real import to it and almost no real danger?
Once again, I respect your decision not to have Rykrof single-handedly save the galaxy each time out of the gate. But thereís a happy medium to be found between that and going on a minor mission with no real danger and no lasting consequences.
Or, if youíre not going to make the plot the focus of the episode, give us some meaty character development to anchor and drive the episode. It was great to finally see the $EXY Alyssa Enloe unmasked, but you should have moved their conversation to the beginning of the episode to underscore the danger Rykrof was facing. Now itís not just his life on the line, but he has responsibilities to his wife and unborn kid. This would have made the dangerous he faces have extra weight. Instead, he only talks to his wife after he is out of danger.
(Additionally, the dialogue with Rykrof and his wife felt just a tad cornyÖ)
And then the story ends on a wholly unrelated note with Gunray and Grievous. This scene didnít do much for me at all (though I liked your Dooku dialogue, I think you do a very good job with this character.)
Now, I havenít read any of the Clone Wars EU material, and I certainly appreciate your desire to put in subplots and touch upon other aspects and characters in the SW universe. I loved the introduction to Grievous, for example, in your earlier chapter.
But this conflict feels pointless. Frankly, Gunray is a lame character who you shouldnít spend too much time on. Iíd rather see you developing your own characters like Trigg Fuda.
And finally I didnít feel that the scene with Palpatine was necessary at all. It feels a bit unrealistic that Palps would have the time to personally congratulate Ryrkrof on the success of just one mission. (After all, heís got a very full schedule, what with running both sides of the war.) Weíve seen Palps before, but heís always been necessary to the plot. Here, it feels gratuitous.
Chewie, I know I have been very critical, but it is only because I am such an admirer of your efforts. I love your work and I thought the visuals here were your best yet. The "garage" on Coruscant, the other visuals here are absolutely first rate!
But, most of the time, your stories have weight and significant and excitement and tension and this chapter just felt like it was going through the motions. Again, at the end of the day, if I had skipped this episode, I wouldnít have missed anything in terms of your larger story or character arcs. And thatís a shame. I wouldnít have written all this, though, if I wasnít such a big fan and if I didnít think you had the potential to do better. I certainly did enjoy this story, but I have to place it on the lower rungs of your photonovel ladder.Darth Delicious
also gave some feedback -
Now THAT is constructive criticism.
That's a lot of food for thought, Lance...and you know, from a story perspective, I found myself agreeing with you.
I haven't viewed these with a critical eye because I'm so caught up in Chewie's talent in presenting a visual feast for the eyes...but as an editor and a writer myself, that's something I should have been saying.
I will say though, I disagree in part with the fact that every mission should be a major struggle...I liked that this one was fairly simple. Not every installation is going to have good security, and a team with skill could slip in and out the Rykrof's unit did...it adds an element of luck, which, let's face it, is very prevalent in Star Wars and life in general. Not every situation goes to hell in a handbasket before it's over.
However, since the mission was easy, I do agree we could have seen more character development in it's place.
Still, I tend to give these things the benefit of the doubt, because Chewie has a way of taking things that seemed unimportant in one story and weaving them into another.
Great feedback, though! I'm sure Chewie will have a lot to think about on this one.