Deus Ex Machina

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Recently, I found a new review for one of my novels, Barcode: Cavern of Youth. The review was actually written by someone that I respect as a reviewer. His opinion is always firm and factually based. I enjoy reading his criticism of my work. In my personal opinion, he didn’t enjoy Legend of Apollo, and I knew the series wasn’t for him. However, I still wanted the reviewer to read Cavern of Youth because I could learn something from his critiques.

Because I respect this gentleman and he knows I enjoy when he rips on my work, I feel comfortable responding to his review. I’d never actually address a reviewer like this, but this guy knows his stuff, so I’m willing to openly respond. (Not to mention I’ve been running out of stuff to write if you can’t tell. And what good is having a blog if you can’t be honest?)

Lord Nouda is my reviewer. He has an awesome website of reviews, is a top reviewer and reader on Goodreads, and an all around great guy to email.

His review of Legend of Apollo said:

  • The story is confusing
  • Lack of emotion
  • Annoying dialogue (which I actually fixed. There was an overuse of evil pet names, such as, brat, pest, etc.)
  • The plot was neglected

Of course I disagree with certain areas of his detailed review, but I definitely learned a lot about readers. By comparing his review with reviews of people that loved my novel, I was able to find areas of improvement. Ironically, by adjusting my writing in New War Order, some people that loved my writing initially, hated the changes. Final lesson learned: You can’t please everyone. In fact, I’m going back to my “confusing” style that some people gravitate towards.

However, in his new review, which isn’t complete, my reviewer specifically said, “The deus ex machina is strong with this one.” That almost made me snap. However, I respect this guy, so I calmed down! (You almost made me go Hulk).

I’m not offended as a writer. Nope. You’ve offended me as an English instructor.

the_god_of_the_machine_adam_eve-1280x960Deus ex machina stands for “god of the machine”.

The meaning is similar to the Latin translation. In the old days, a god would appear from nowhere and solve a seemingly insolvable plot. Nowadays, deus ex machina means that something–not just a god but any strange force–appears from thin air to solve a problem.

Yet, “the force” doesn’t just solve the issue, it solves it without tying into the plot. That last part is key. It does NOT tie into the plot.

Not to mention, god of the machine is a method in which this happens unexpectedly.

Application to Cavern of Youth

So where does Kode get out of deadly situations by strange force? Let’s see.

Case 1

Kode enters an elaborate footrace. He purposely starts the race late, watching the others navigate the track. Then, he catches up and almost wins. However, he stops short and saves his friend. Now, there is no possible way he can win, but he does. He uses dark particles to travel with a superspeed (I use the belittling term intentionally). Then, he wins and stops someone more evil than he.

Extreme solution? Check.

Comes from nowhere? Merp…if you’re not paying attention.

Has nothing to do with the plot? Negative.

Kode learned to travel through darkness by watching Hades and his shadowman. Before the race, Kode mentioned gaining this ability, but wanted to hold off until the last second. That’s exactly what he does. Even if it seems to stem from thin air, foreshadowing did occur. Of course, I fail in the extreme solution area, but this is Kode we’re talking about. He’s going to do everything with an over-the-top flare.

Case 2

Kode rescues Angie and Carmen. Kode is a few buildings away from the girls. He can see them being drugged, but can’t move his body. He’s tries very hard to fight the evil brewing inside of him. The internal struggle causes Kode to stumble through the city with a drunken demeanor. Right before the girls are raped, he allows the energy to explode and appears in each of their rooms simultaneously.

Extreme solution? Check.

Comes from nowhere? Negative.

Has nothing to do with the plot? Double negative.

This solution is very extreme. However, Kode has already proven that he can travel through darkness stupid fast. The situation does not come from thin air. It is dragged out to increase suspense. However, it has everything to do with the plot. Everything. Kode is showing a heroic side of him with his villainous tendencies. This comes up later on, the same way his “superspeed” did.

Case 3

Kode fights Angie and Monte. Carmen beats Monte and Kode begins fighting Angie. Angie beats the hell out of Kode, but he keeps getting up, drawing in more power that he shouldn’t have.

Remember when Kode appeared in two rooms simultaneously? Well, he uses that technique again. Kode mimics Angie’s technique–creating clones to fight multiple targets.

But wait, there’s more! When the stadium is attacked, Angie begs Kode to save her. Though he was just paralyzed by a drug, he stands.

Goku SupermanExtreme solution? Check.

Comes from nowhere? Negative.

Has nothing to do with the plot? Negative.

Not only he does keep getting up, which is very Goku/Superman-like of Kode, he continues winning. But when he is drugged, someone else should come in for the rescue, right? That’s the way most stories are written. (Uhh…did you not read Legend of Apollo? We don’t do stereotypical shit round hur.)

Kode (I almost wrote Goku) gets up and wins to show two things: 1) He has more heart than Vegeta, and 2) as shown in the plot, Kode’s blood removes poison.  Therefore, the paralysis wouldn’t normally work. It only seeps further into his veins because he keeps pushing himself to save Angie.

Summary

I could keep giving these examples and providing reasons why things are happening and how they relate to the plot, but you’ve probably already noticed that I’m very conscious of my choices. (By the way, Lord Nouda taught me the difference between conscious and conscience. I definitely used them interchangeably before meeting this guy.)

Now, I’m going to piss you off, dear reader.

I’m glad Lord Nouda called my story deus ex machina, though he used the term improperly. He clearly sees something that other readers don’t. Maybe he’s calling Kode a god that solves problems miraculously. Gasp. I mean, he is the son of The Writer.

[Insert evil laugh]

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2 thoughts on “Deus Ex Machina

  1. Casi estrello el kindle contra la pared cuando estaba leyendo el final del primer libro eso quiere decir que tienes una buena habilidad para hacer que tu publico se emocione, sigue escribiendo y no te preocupes por las cosas demasiado drasticas o irreales que de la realidad ya estamos hartos… Me sigues tomando por sorpresa en cada libro.

    I know you don’t speak spanish but I won’t use google translator xD Really good book, nice story.

    1. Luis, you make me wish I practiced Spanish a lot more haha. Thanks for the compliments (I hope I understood everything properly. I found a really good translator!) But please, buy some armor for your Kindle because the last two books might make you throw that sucker through a brick wall. And I hope you’re writing reviews on Amazon because I need them! Lastly, I’m glad you said you’re sick of reading realistic crap. (That line put a smile on my face). I’m sick of it too!

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