Feedback on HTL



Hey Folks, It's Raptor (or is that Unregistered again?) here. I'm looking for your feedback on what has happened in HTL to date. We writers are always interested in these kind of things because its very hard to write if you don't know what the audience is thinking.

First, how do you rate the story to date? (Good, bad, indifferant?) What do you like or don't like about it? What characters or ships would you like to see more of? Would you prefer the stories focus more on combat or on the characters, or is the balance about right? Do you like combat stories that focus on fighter combat, naval engagements, Marine assaults? How good a job are we doing on developing the Nephilim? I want your opinions on all those, and any other thoughts that you have about the story.

Best, Raptor
Thanks. :D I was hoping for a wee bit more of a critical evaluation though- i.e what do you like about it, what don't you like?

Best, Raptor
I like how it explains everything and it makes sense most of the time. I wish that there was pictures of the fighters i never saw in the games it would be easir to picture what they looked like but the discriptions are good though so i have a rough idea.
good, but new material is coming a little too slow for my tastes, i want MORE :D

but i really want to see the Hades, the reserves, and tanfen more, along with seeing how the Valley Forge battlegroup turns out
I love HTL as well, and just about the only thing that bugs me once in a while is that sometimes there are too many characters to keep track of... I think some chapters should focus on a smaller group of people and tell longer parts of the story from the same few points of view, instead of jumping from ship to ship every other paragraph. In fact, all the chapters which focus on the Vally Forge are so cool you could just forget about all other ships ;) Keep up the good work!

I'd just say something which constantly annoys me...half the time everything has to be demarcated to the nth degree. Example:

"1st Lieutenant Robert "Horror" Chaney ran his hand along the smooth spongy curvature of his F/A 98 Shrike-class strike bomber. He'd always admired the way Confed HQ, located in Sol system, had been able to design a craft capable of limited dogfighting as well as darting attacks against the enemy. He was glad that a squadron had been shipped to the TCS Endeavor, a single-line strike carrier currently deep in enemy territory."

It gets painful.

Also, inspired by the recent news report of our troops in Uzbekistan accidentally being stationed over a uranium dumping ground, I'd like to see the governments forced to make some harder choices.

Or maybe have some other character who thinks he's Kruger steal a squadron and go after the Nephilem, only to fail miserably. Now that would be entertaining.
Yeah, that is something that actually bugs the authors, too, when their flowing prose ends up pissed-about with like that.
First of all, thanks to everyone who's commented on the storyline. This is exactly the kind of thing I had in mind for this forum. I'll just reply to a few of the points.

Beergod: It takes an average of three *months* or more to write a chapter. :D Virtually all of us have full time work and/or study, so we fit the writing in when we can. While make sure that everyone stays on track, I can't push people so hard that they burn out or writing becomes a chore. We do have a lot of good stuff coming up for release, though.

Eder: I agree there are a lot of characters, but keep in mind there are half a dozen differant writing groups each writing their own seperate (though interlinked) stories. However, we have a bunch of chapters coming that fccus on very small casts, just because you asked for it. :D

Unregistered: You're right, we do go in for explanations a lot. The reason is that we're often working with original ships and fighters, and these stories have to be accessible to those who haven't been part of the Aces from the start. In addition, because this storyline hs been running for so long, (we're coming up on HTL's 4th anniversary now) we often have to go back and reference what happened earlier to make sure peole don't get lost.

As for hard choices, by a bizzare coincidence, I'm currently working on a story arc that faetures just that. And no, I'm not saying anything on what those choices are.

Best, Raptor
Unregistered: You're very right, I see in retrospect. In many of the Forge's chapters I've tended to... sort of over-verbose the classifications of things. But Like Rap said, I like to start every chapter from the reader's perspective of something like, "OK, if I haven't read any of the other HTL-related fics or am too familiar with the WC classes, specs, etc., this chap would still make sense to me." In other words... I feel I have to assume the reader hasn't semi-obsessively researched/immersed themselves in WC lore as I have over the years.

- Neo
Hmmm, actually, I like all the detailed descriptions. It helps me remember stuff occasionaly, and if it's just a description of something that I remember/know/don't care about, it doesn't hurt to just skim over it. :p

Vestigal description

I guess it's really a matter of whether you're reading a story or whether you're reading a tech readout.

That is to say, if it's critically important we know the Shrike's maximum afterburn speed is 820 kps, if that is somehow integral to the story, then by all means say it. If it's important we know what year the Hellcat V was put into service, then say it. Otherwise, it really is just superflous, and makes the sentences drag unbearably.

Just my opinion, of course.
Re: Vestigal description

Something that I would like your feedback on: Doing 're-runs' of the early HTL chapters on the CIC. We started our CIC postings with the 95th chapter, so those who hadn't been following the stroryline until thatpoint had a backlog of nearly a hundred chapters to read at the Archives. That would have been quite a daunting task for many people. Would the readers like to see our first chapters posted on the CIC one at time, with the intros? That might make it a lot easier for those who haven't been reading HTL from the start to follow the story.

The reason I'm asking is that we're fast getting to the point where the CIC chapters and those on the mailing list run in parallel. The good news for CIC readers is that you'll get new chapters at the same time the Aces do. The bad news is that these chapters will only be posted every fortnight. Would you guys like to see our early stories posted on alternate weeks when that happens?

Best, Raptor
i was smart, i went and read from the beginning up until the current stage when i got started

but i feel sorry for anyone who started in the middle and didnt get all of the background first
That's really the main reason I suggested that the Nifelheim story arc be considerably shorter than the previous & current arc. If a PBM is going for years... after a certain point it is all but inaccessible to budding Aces writers, many of which could maybe be new Aces members looking to write (how many new Aces writers have signed up for HTL in the last year or so?). There are plans for a follow-up to HTL... the buck won't stop when the chips fall in Nifelheim.

- Neo

If you're going to involve someone like Kruger, I for one reader plead for sanity. Have him get killed pulling one of his typical guts'n'glory boneheaded maneuvers.

Sorry, but I've always HATED characters like Kruger, men with clipped voices who can get away with doing monumentally stupid things because they're 'cooler' written that way. Be nice to see his ass kicked down a peg or twenty.
Re: Word...

Killing a canon character like Kruger in a PBM is generally not a good idea. We Aces learnt that the hard way with Blair. :D I tend to agree with you though, I'm not much for guts and glory characters who always manage to win. I prefer to writer my characters as thinkers. One of the reasons the Valkyries have managed to both survive and do major damage to the Nephilim so far (despite having older ships/fighters than their Confed counterparts) is that they've always got a plan going in, and they can think on their feet if the original plan doesn't work.

Neo: The dearth of new writers isn't limited to HTL. Desp[ite the fact that the club's rules now allow storylines other than the "main" PBM, there hasn't been very much activity outside HTL

Best, Raptor.
You misunderstand... obviously the death of writers isn't just in HTL as a PBM. What I'm saying is that new writers are, in most cases who join in club, going to be looking for a group to sign onto (I was), working on a single project they can actively & collectively contribute to as a group effort instead of doing what can be rewardless solo efforts. Without this door open for new readers/writers, excitement for the club tends to dwindle. I remember in the days/months when MTV & HTL were just kicking off and KOM had closed there seemed a massive spurt in INDY-type stories - the excitement level was high in the club. You could write for this, you could write for that, and the two PBMs to choose from were both fresh and the number of chapters you had to read to catch up to things were 2 digits at most - this promotes a good atmosphere that, I believe to no one's fault, has deteriorated (granted, the current state of WC at large has not helped, but what can you do?). At present in my perspective, you have 3 options as a new Aces Club member : 1) Read over a hundred HTL chapters and somehow try and contribute to the HTL PBM so late in the game. 2) Do a solo project by yourself. 3) Start a PBM by yourself.

Option #1 doesn't seem realistic. Option #2 seems intimidating to the average newcomer, albeit not totally unfeasible. Option #3 isn't really an option while there is already an "official" PBM churning its wheels and while everyone who *is* active in the Aces is writing for that.

After 2 years, KOM was inaccessible; after 4 years, HTL is all but totally inaccessible (are we even *accepting* new writers?).

Do you see where I am coming from now?

- Neo