I think HoWW has a lot going for it. You've got a great setting with the hurricane happening. Your main character is interesting because unlike other assassins, he loves classical music and has malaria hallucinations. There are some really nice action scenes, too - I'm thinking of the highway shootout and Verdas's assassination. I think the dynamic between Daten and Lahlit is really compelling, too, and her limited English makes her dialogue concise and almost proverbial. So there's a lot to like. That said, I do have some suggestions for your next draft.
1. I wanted to see more of Daten before the big incident, the botched assassination, puts him on the run. As the main character, we should know learn more about him in the first act. I don't think I knew enough about him to really care what happened when he goes on the run or have much invested in whether or not he succeeds. What I thought was like an opening action sequence actually turned out to be the end of the first act, and it took me a while to get back into the story and figure out what he wants and how he wants it.
2. The hurricane could play a bigger role. That's the twist that would set this apart from other CIA assassin stories - it takes place during a hurricane. I think there has to be an assassination, or some intense fight scenes during INSANE conditions to make a great, memorable scene.
3. I don't think the thugs on the street are a good source of antagonism early on because they arbitrarily pick on Daten and Lahlit. Why doesn't Daten have to fight with Morda's troops hunting him down instead? Those people would make better opponents, and people tracking him would be more interesting and more of a threat than random hooligans trying to rob him.
4. I love the highway shootout scene, especially how Daten leaves the carnage. I think the scene is alright full of some complex grief and guilt issues, and I think there's a good opportunity to take it even further. My suggestion would be to Daten have act the same way to the Genaros ("we leave 'em or join 'em" kind of thing), but watch him discreetly perform a little gesture that shows his remorseful side. Maybe he could leave all the bodies, but move Lahlit's next to Carador's out of respect.
5. I think Daten should have a more personal relationship with Jesper. Morda calls Jesper "your good friend, your confidante," but from Daten & Jesper's one phone conversation, I didn't get the sense that they were friends. Jesper's pretty clearly a villain throughout the story, so I didn't see why Daten wouldn't know that. If this is going to be a big climax, the assassin seeks vengeance on his good friend who betrayed him, I'd like to see more trust or friendship between the two early on and consistently.
6. I wanted to see some internal conflict within Daten. He doesn't seem to develop much in the sense that he's the same person at the beginning and end, and we never really see him with any kind of emotional struggle or self-doubts. He's an interesting character, and I'd love to see more about what makes him tick.
Overall, I enjoyed the story and I think there's a lot of possibilities to explore to make this a really enjoyable, unique story. I hope my suggestions are helpful for you, and I wish you best of luck with rewrites! Please let me know if you have any questions or want to discuss anything further.
Review of: Hazards of Wind and Water/Revised
reviewed by andrewkula on 06/04/2007
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