Tilting the Windmill: Daredevil Dogma

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Abishai100

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Earl was an employee of the Hughes Power Plant in California (USA). He liked his mundane job but dreamed of being an airline pilot. Earl never made any real strides towards realizing this fantastic goal. He had a large collection of Daredevil (Marvel Comics) books, which he read to pass the time and 'transcend' any regrets he had in life about not becoming an airline pilot. Earl never married and lived a very uneventful life.

One day, Earl's boss called him into his office. This was the first time Earl was ever called into the head-honcho's main office. Earl wondered why he was suddenly getting top-level attention. His boss told him, "We'd like you to take a position in our new wind-energy farm in Northern California." Earl liked this new offer (which actually sounded like a simple transfer-mandate) and took the job.

The wind farm for the Hughes company was rather impressive. There were about ten tall mechanical windmills, rotating and converting wind power into mechanical energy, for efficient electricity. Earl was not too knowledgeable about sustainable energy research, but he was very happy in this new job. His little bureaucrat's office had a terrific view of the rotating windmills.

One weekend, Earl was asked to stay late for an all-night energy calculation assignment. He brought coffee and some pumpkin pie and one of his Daredevil (Marvel Comics) books to pass the time. There were only two other employees in the entire office building, and Earl was basically alone in his section. The hours passed away, and Earl diligently logged in the measurements on the power-counter.

As sunrise approached, Earl was satisfied he had done a good night's work. He finished his comic book about halfway and finished his snacks. Earl was ready to go home (his shift ended at 8 a.m.), when suddenly something very strange caught Earl's eye.

As Earl stared out the window of his office, he thought he saw a man dressed in what seemed to be a Daredevil superhero outfit climbing one of the windmills. The man was using some sophisticated rope-and-grip device and seemed to be wearing special climbing gloves. Earl couldn't believe he was witnessing this. He was about to call the security desk when suddenly the Daredevil-outfitted man stared into Earl's office window; stranger still, the man's eyes started to give off a yellowish glow. As Earl stared at this man and his glowing yellow eyes which seemed to be fixed on his office window, he hesitated in calling the security desk and wondered what this man was doing.

Earl continued to observe the man. The man had placed some kind of small but powerful light on the top of the windmill he climbed. He then scurried away and more or less disappeared. Earl then called the security desk and reported what he saw. The man was nowhere to be found. Earl was happy he did his part and went home. This incident was not spoken off too much by people in the office. Earl told no one about the man's glowing yellow eyes.

Three weeks later, a newspaper column surfaced which presented this Daredevil man's special windmill mission. The column read, "I, Daredevil, had placed a light onto the top of one of the Hughes company wind-farm windmills when it seemed an office employee spotted me from inside his window. I imagine this employee was not too interested in eco-activism, which is what I was interested in and why I did what I did. However, this office employee surely remembers my glowing synthetic eyes!" Earl wondered if this Daredevil-copycat was going to stalk him, so he requested his office issue a public statement, "I, Earl, am inspired by the positive aspect of this Daredevil-copycat's eco-activism gesture and assure him that the Hughes company cares about sustainable energy! We hope future eco-dialogue will be less criminal!"

About one month later, Earl received a strange letter in his office mailbox. The sender was a man named Thomas Right (from Virginia). Earl opened the letter and to his surprised found that it read, "I'm the Daredevil copycat you issued that official Hughes press statement about. Remember my glowing yellow eyes? Realize your own dream Earl and become an airline pilot!" Earl was pale with confusion. How did this man know about his private airline-pilot aspiration? Earl had never disclosed this secret dream to anyone! Earl realized this man must have been some kind of an angel (or ghost). Earl retired from the Hughes company, believing that he had seen the real Daredevil.

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cbishop

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#2  Edited By cbishop

@Abishai100: This one was better, and a little longer than most. At the end though, I was left wondering why you wedged Daredevil into it at all. Your red-costumed activist-alter-ego was really just a red herring. The activist could have climbed the windmill in a black outfit to help him blend into the night, or a white outfit to help him blend in with the windmill, and the story could have been exactly the same. Synthetic yellow glowing eyes and knowing someone's secret dreams has never been something that Daredevil does, so why would Earl come away from the experience thinking he'd seen the character for real? You're still leaving so much out of your stories, but this does show improvement over earlier stories. :)

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ImpurestCheese

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#3  Edited By ImpurestCheese

@Abishai100: Why did he put a light on top of the wind turbine? That doesn't make sense, if it's to prevent bird and bat collisions with the blade it's kind of moot since day flying birds can see the turbines, and bats (for the most part) use echolocation to evade obstacles, although wind farms kill many of both groups. It feels less like eco-activism and more like vandalism.

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Abishai100

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@cbishop: Well, as usual, your criticisms are both helpful and brutal. I was developing this as I was writing it, and I was looking for a way to make the strange eco-activist invader haunting to Earl, and the best tie-in I could think of was a Daredevil gimmick (since it was Earl's favourite comic book character). As per referring to the synthetic glowing eyes and strange psychic perception of Earl's secret airline pilot dream, I wanted to create an *alternative* Daredevil, so the reader would feel, well, at least something like, "It seems Earl normalized the haunting experience by simply believing that the real Daredevil had these other unknown odd abilities."

I'm glad you were pleased with the level of progress in this particular story, and I was definitely consciously trying to make plot/storyline details feel more accessible and descriptive. However, I agree that I still need to work on continuity and coordination.

With that said, I was wondering if you'd be willing to take a look at another Comic Vine Fan-Fic short-story (2-part) I wrote titled, Batman deconstructs Leatherface, in which Batman (DC Comics) must assess how to generally deal with the ghoulish Leatherface (I took the iconic chainsaw psycho from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise and spun him as a Scarecrow-esque new Gotham villain).

I respect your perspective and insights and would love any critiques/commentary you could post about the cohesiveness of the story (i.e., is the story well-organized?).

Either way, thanks ahead of time for your feedback. I'm guessing you realized I'm a huge horror film and comic book fan. I was wondering if you had a favourite comic book character. Did you guess mine is Deadpool (Marvel Comics)?

Cheers,

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cbishop

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@Abishai100:You said Batman deconstructs Leatherface is a 2-part story. Is part 2 Batman marks Leatherface? I'll read them both anyway, but let me know if that's not the second part.

Actually, I wouldn't have guessed Deadpool was your favorite. I'd have guessed Batman or Spider-Man, or someone among their rogues. Mostly, I thought you were all about the horror characters and Shiva. Especially Pennywise and Leatherface.

I apologize if I came off brutal in my critiques. Your writing reminds me of a couple of others on here who have told me that their minds basically only work with directness. So I was meaning to be direct. I also tend to get a little frustrated when it seems clear to me that a writer could do better than what they're doing. I'll try to take a softer touch next time. ;)

Take your response just above though. It's more relaxed than the way your stories read. On the one hand, I get it- you're having a conversation there, not telling a story. It is two different things. However, the more relaxed your story is, the more relaxed your readers will be, and the more likely they'll want to read more the next time you post. Now "relaxed" doesn't mean "lax" or "poorly written." It just means... <thinking> ...let the story take its time, I guess? And maybe trust your readers to remember what's going on. For instance:

As sunrise approached, Earl was satisfied he had done a good night's work. He finished his comic book about halfway and finished his snacks. Earl was ready to go home (his shift ended at 8 a.m.), when suddenly something very strange caught Earl's eye.

I harp on this too much maybe, but I think repeated words can be a bad thing. So too much "Earl" there. Another thing is the note about his shift that is in parenthesis. I'll come back to that, but for now:

As sunrise approached, Earl was satisfied he had done a good night's work. He finished his comic book about halfway and finished his snacks. 8 a.m. was here, and he was about to go home when suddenly something very strange caught his eye.

See? It flows a little easier. Now, parenthesis:

I use parenthesis regularly when I'm writing my own journal, conversational responses, and more comedic stories, but there's arguments out there for not using them at all. I say "rubbish" to never using them, because they are part of our written symbols for a reason. However there's a good argument that what can be said between parenthesis can be said between two commas instead. Or as you saw above, you can move it elsewhere in the sentence, and only have to use one comma, or possibly none depending on how you feel about the "Oxford comma."

I've also read advice that you should ask yourself if what you put in parenthesis is needed at all. That sentence could have read:

He was ready to go home when suddenly something very strange caught his eye.

You don't really lose anything there except for a specific time. You've already established that Earl was working through the night though, so your reader will likely assume that his shift ended at either 7am or 8am. If the time was important later on then fine, but it wasn't, so strictly speaking, you didn't need it. It's not a bad detail to have, but if it were me I'd take it out of the parenthesis.

Another reason to not use parenthesis is it can take your reader out of the story- something else I maybe harp on too much, but I think is important. Putting information in parenthesis is like an aside. Asides can say to your reader that you are telling them something you forgot to mention earlier, and that can come across as sloppy writing. If they're distracted by their thoughts on why you didn't go back and fix this, rather than throwing it in as an afterthought, then they're not as immersed in the story as they could be.

The other thing parenthesis can do is unintentionally make your narrator into a character. Unless a character in your story is narrating the story, then your narration should be neutral. With the shift info in parenthesis, YOU the narrator has just had a conversation with the reader. It's like you put a hand up to one side of your mouth, leaned in confidentially to the reader, and said, "His shift ended at 8 a.m."

This can be a little disconcerting to the reader. Think of it like a dream. When the narration is neutral, your reader becomes the narrator, and the narration becomes them observing what is going on. They are as immersed as they can be without one of your characters narrating for them, and letting the reader into their head. However, that parenthesis- that aside to the reader- is like someone suddenly showing up in your dream that is standing right beside you, and you weren't expecting them. It can be startling, and may even cause you to wake from your dream. You don't want that. You want them to make it to the end of the dream.

Another way to do it is to let the information happen, rather than just telling it to the reader. What I mean by that is this:

As sunrise approached, Earl was satisfied he had done a good night's work. He finished his comic book about halfway and finished his snacks. He stretched at his desk, and glanced at the clock on the wall. It was 8 a.m., and he was glad for it. He was ready to go home when suddenly something very strange caught his eye.

See? You didn't tell the reader in an aside. The reader observes it along with Earl, and never had any kind of bump to jar them from the story... except maybe to wonder where in the world the sun is not risen by 8 a.m. ;) ...Maybe he was only thinking about going home at 8 a.m., and that wasn't what time it was just yet. In which case:

As sunrise approached, Earl was satisfied he had done a good night's work. He finished his comic book about halfway and finished his snacks. He stretched at his desk, and glanced at the clock on the wall. It was 6 a.m. Only a couple of hours left, and he was glad for it, because he was ready to go home. He rolled his head from side-to-side to stretch his neck when suddenly something very strange caught his eye out the window.

Another way to go. :)

Okay, off to read your Batman/Leatherface story. :^D