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Anonymous criticism - The Omega Path

July 26, 2014
Posted at 1:46 pm


I know, it's been ages, but guess what? We finally got some ANONYMOUS MAIL!!! Woooooo!

So, for those of you who may be new to this blog, here's how it works. When people write to Lazarus directly, he answers directly. But when they use the anonymous feedback, Lazarus hands the letter to me, and I get to answer it here in the blog so everyone gets to enjoy it. Oh, who am I? I'm Annie. Pleased to meetcha. And it's really been a long time since we've gotten any anonymous feedback, so we're all really excited!

On with the letter!

I don't want to give Feedback, because I feel
compelled to give constructive criticism. And
authors don't like criticism. And criticism is so
easy, far easier than creating a story... but you
asked for it!

Absolutely 100% true! All authors hate getting criticism. Hate it, hate it, hate it. But at least Lazarus tries not to be a dick about it.

First, thank you for an entertaining story with
great pacing and characters, dialogue and melody.
Thank you for the turmoil and humour and sexy
stuff. All that was great. Far too many stories on
SOL get high scores not because they are well
written, but because they are adequately written
with a certain fetish. But you have genuine skill.

Nice start, nice start. You're buttering him up. That's good. He likes the butter.

Second, my criticism. You managed to write a
"Comic Book". That's not a compliment from my
perspective. If you create an unimaginable horror
please go further than killing SPOILERS and
SPOILERS a person. Do worse than that please, make
it realistic, give evil its due and avoid a happy,
happy ending. Some people died, yes, but only
unimportant side characters! I can't believe
SPOILERS survived. And do try to go further on
making people grey instead of evil and good. You
did try, but not a whole lot. Tombspawn is just a
deranged psychopath and all the good people are
heroes and good for the most part.

Sorry for the spoiler alerts. Don't want to ruin the ending for those who haven't gotten there yet. Please continue.

Happy? There's more criticism, but that would be
nitpicking. Please never stop writing.

Okay buster, you asked for it! First of all, that was NOT a happy, happy ending! At least it wasn't for me! For if you may recall, my last scene had me contemplating jumping off a SPOILERS OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! TURN OFF THAT MESHUGGINA SPOILER ALERT!

Oy! (Sigh)

Sorry. Let me start again. First of all, thank you. Thank you for writing, and thank you for your kind comments. All of us appreciate the feedback, and by "all of us", I mean Lazarus and all of the voices in his head. Since this story isn't officially published, but handed out for free, the only reward Lazarus gets for his efforts are letters like yours, and he treasures them all, even the ones with criticism.

Now you raise some valid points, some of which Lazarus realized himself. It is somewhat "comic book." He noticed after the first book and well into the second that his villains tend to be two-dimensional. Desdemona, Tombspawn, Muscle, and Armory are all pretty much just forces of nature and not fully fleshed-out characters. It was only Adamantine and what's-his-name in Purgatory who got some shades of gray. And Lazarus was concerned about this, but finally realized it was okay for two reasons;

One: One of the tasks of a writer is to identify who the story is about, and what are the major challenges. And despite the fact that the Omega stories feature heroes battling villains in the massive climax, that's not what the stories are about. The main antagonists in the Omega stories are Life itself and Growing Up. The Omega Touch was about Tricia giving up manipulation and learning respect and sacrifice. It wasn't about Desdemona. The Omega Path was about Joey learning about love. It wasn't about Tombspawn. And you can bet that when there is a third book, it's going to be about someone else learning something important. I wonder who.

Two: Three-dimensional characters are those with complex and conflicting desires coming from an empathic human existence. Desdemona was a demon, and never human. Tombspawn was a dead human who used other dead humans. Muscle was a construct, never really human to begin with. And Armory had his humanity surgically removed. With no humanity, there is no empathy and no complexity. So it makes sense that they were simple forces of nature, and fit well in a story that wasn't about them.

Now Lazarus is no George R. R. Martin. He's not going to kill off characters just when you start to like them. No, character death will only come when he's done with a character and he needs the death to move the plot. And the amount of death and destruction that occurred in the book actually exceeded what Tombspawn was originally planning. (Keep in mind he was trying to do things quietly and with finesse.) But what you're asking for is not something Lazarus would put into the second book of a trilogy. Third book, yes, but not the second.

And as for the heroes being too good, I'll have you know that if they weren't good people, they wouldn't be in EarthGuard now, would they? I mean, do you think they let in any old shmuk with a cape?

So, all in all, Lazarus really hated, hated, hated having to read your criticism, and hated, hated, hated forcing me to write this. And he'll have you know that he's already started working on the next story which he is taking some of your points and suggestions, and he hopes when he finishes it you will read it, enjoy it, and criticize all over it.

And thanks again for writing!