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  1. 6 points
    This is a great thread and what my current WIP is focused on. It's good to see what people find commonly frustrating about fantasy (definitely agree re: lack of imagination, in a genre that has such open possibilities...) Vice-Chancellor Odious leered from the shadows. "Sire, you should bring the snivelling wench to your bedchamber and teach her the consequences for disobeying the Dark Lord..." Lord Darkmore looked up from his vast pile of paperwork and sighed. "What is it with you and rape? Every time I try to put an evil plan together, it's always got to involve nubile young virgins. Rape this, pillage that!" "But rape is historically accurate, sire..." "And so are the dragons, I suppose! Look, I wore the black robes, I got the heads on spikes like you suggested, but I have to draw the line somewhere. Frankly I'm starting to become a bit concerned, Odious. Do you need a sick day?" Lord Darkmore fixed the Vice-Chancellor with his Level 10 Death Glare. Vice-Chancellor Odious considered this for a moment. "Sire... I'd feel better if you let me kill the hero's dog. It would establish the grim reality of the world and show the reader that this isn't another fairytale for kids if anyone can die. Please? Can I at least torture the lighthearted comic relief?" "Not the dog, Odious. But you can get rid of the jester. I hate jesters."
  2. 5 points
    This is something I've been experimenting with, I'm doing more or less what @Banespawn describes. Its basically a super long outline, where I go into more detail and sketch out roughly what happens in each scene. For me I find it helps work out the story problems and spot plotholes before I get 40k words into a story. My current process right now is to: Do a free flow unorganized rant about the story, basically a description of 'I'm pretty sure this is what happens'. It captures the biggest strokes of the story Next I go through and put that info into Dan Well's 7 Point Story structure, and work out the bigger shapes of each plot thread and character journey, usually ending up with a chart with 5 or so columns for the different threads. I then take THAT information and write a linear outline, starting at where I think Chapter One is, and sketch out what happens in the story. This way if one of the threads isn't working, I can change it now. My most recent outline ended up at over 5000 words, and it would have been longer if I didn't get fatigued and started using bullet points. Optional - Take that outline and break it down into a scene list. I don't usually do this though, I find it sucks too much excitement out of the story, I want to leave SOME things for me to discover. Write the actual Draft One
  3. 5 points
    Hi everyone! We are very excited to announce that we've (hopefully) finished finalizing all of the important information about the Community Writing Challenge, which means that we can finally give everyone who's interested in joining the needed information! First, you can find a more detailed blurb here, where you'll find the important links about the challenge. If you want to help us advertise about the challenge - which we would certainly appreciate! - you can link to this Google doc to make things easier. The most exciting thing about this year's challenge is that we have TWO sponsors! @JayLee and her friend have agreed to sponsor the challenge for a second year in a row, and have some fun prizes they're offering! In addition, WorldAnvil is also sponsoring the challenge! They are offering a 10% discount code to all participants, in addition to two three month memberships! You can find more information about the sponsorships here. You can find the FAQs for the challenge in this Google doc. We've created a Club, which you can find here, for anyone who wants to join in on the challenge. This is where all important announcements, all check-ins, discussions, etc will happen, so please make sure you join it! In addition, we also have this post, where you are welcome to ask any questions about the challenge that the FAQs do not currently cover. I think that's about it. We're really looking forward to this year's challenge! If you'd like to help us advertise, please see this post in the club!
  4. 5 points
    That's exactly the point people are trying to make. We don't HAVE to base a created world off of ours. Just because our world happened to evolve the way it did doesn't mean others would too. The way gender roles evolved is a complicated issue, with more influences than just biology. I don't want to siderail this conversation too much as it has vast potential to get heated, but I'll leave it as saying that one world (ours) is too small a sample size to say that the way gender roles evolve in an intelligent species is correct. But ANYWAY. A created world has a history vastly different from our own. We have the freedom to deviate. That is what I love/hate about fantasy.
  5. 5 points
    Ooh, let's see... Writing goals (not necessarily all in this order): Edit/rewrite Storms of Magic Plot out and write sequel (depending on how things go with editing/rewrite, try to do this by March-June, just to have the full outline) Come up with outline for overall trilogy Do more world building Try to do some side stories involving Arris/Merek etc to get back into their heads again. Submit the first 1-3 chapters (after editing/rewriting them) to the library for feedback. Get more alpha reader feedback. Apparently I'm going to be printing out my NaNo novel (aka Court of Shadows: The Forgotten Throne) so that at the very least I can go through and edit and make notes, even if I don't plan on actually doing anything else with it right away. Standalone novel (possibly for Camp NaNo in April 2019) - The Raven Prince Start outlining in March Story of Ivar, prince of the Autumn fairy kingdom, and the events leading up to the attack on the kingdom and up to the point when Alana comes into the picture (most likely) Work on world building Maybe start exploring more with this character/what I've done for world building with him/his kingdom so far...i.e. the dragon guardians that the fairies are allies with. Story of prince who becomes a partial golum (possible short story) Rewrite/Continue Court of Shadows: The Forgotten Throne Goal: maybe by summertime Rewrite/continue Mageborn (old project) Try to submit something somewhere again at some point Write more stories focusing on fairies, because I'm really finding it to be fun, overall. Life goals: Find a full time job. I've been in retail way too long. I'm going to go crazy if I'm stuck in the same job in the same position for another year, and I deserve to know what it's like to actually work a full time job. I have two degrees, I should be able to use them towards something without having to go back to school for a third time to get my bachelor's degree. Start getting more serious about my photography. Take on more clients to do photo sessions with. Maybe find someone to mentor me about the business side of things. Lose weight.
  6. 4 points
    That's a lot of why my published trilogy is early diesel, late steam. I think of it as "the time period wherein the world suddenly got a lot smaller". The next step in the process was, of course, airplanes, but they only get a few mentions in the trilogy. One of the sequels I have planned will let me do a much better of job of early airplane geeking. :) (Alas, I still have a great many stories ahead of that one in the queue.) But I'll be frank, some of history I find so painfully depressing that I wish there was some way to fix it. But even when I'm doing alternate history, when I do the research some things really do seem inevitable, and although many details change, the world I end up with isn't really better -- it's just different. But I still get to choose which stories I want to tell. Just because a world is far from perfect, doesn't mean I can't find a few hopeful, (and perhaps even occasionally amusing) stories in it. :) Sad but true. I think because they are geared to the masses rather than the individual. IMHO, that doesn't work. "The masses" are too generalized to be a valid target. Trying too hard to appeal to almost everyone leads to cliched, formulaic and dull material that almost nobody can like. I was told to write what I know. And, well, I grew up in a family with eight kids. :) But I'm not sure how interesting it turned out. One of my betareaders said something to the effect of: On the surface it looks really cliched, but everything is slightly different that what you're expecting. Getting back to the topic, for that world I don't do any specific historical research, because it's really hard to find direct equivalents of anything. I mean, there isn't actually anywhere in the historical world that is "generic medieval". Which is probably why I have heard some would-be fantasy authors claim that they don't need to do research: they just make everything up. But I think otherwise. When you are making everything up you need to do MORE research, because you need to really, really, really understand how a world works in order to build your own from scratch. You need to understand cosmology and geology and climatology and ecology and social and political and economic systems. Including, yes, the patterns of history. :) Fortunately the more specific research I do for other worlds also achieves that goal. (Two for the price of one! Or perhaps more accurately: buy four, get two for free.) Right now I'm researching Ohio in the early 1800s for a story set in the alternate history fantasy world. I just finished a biography of Tenskwatawa, "the Shawnee Prophet", brother to Tecumseh. Neither of the brothers exist in my world, and the political situation they faced has been rewritten a bit: but the pressure on the native people's lands by the immigrant settlers remains, and I imagine the people in my world will attempt to deal with those pressures in many of the same ways.
  7. 4 points
    That "advice" sucks, @Tyrannohotep - I wonder whether any writer who is only writing stories about white male characters has ever had to let others tell him it made them a one-trick pony. More bad advice: Write every day. Well, I'm not sure if that advice is really that bad, but I simply haven't managed to write every day for more than a year. And reading that advice over and over again makes me feel bad about myself and my writing, so that piece of advice doesn't work for me right now.
  8. 4 points
    Best Advice Keep everything you write. One day, it'll spark a new idea. I did this, and ended up writing a 100,000 words based on a short story I wrote when I was 15. Worst Advice Two fold a) "LGBT characters should be characters first, gay second" - I've had this spouted at me constantly, as I write LGBT fiction. Usually by straight people, sometimes by misled LGBT people. The concept sounds fine on the surface, but usually it comes from someone objecting to an LGBT relationship in your work, which is what they define as "LGBT First" : The mention they're gay at all. It's usually followed up with "we don't need to know their sexuality! It shouldn't come up!" All it does is push young LGBT writers into feeling they have to suppress their need to be out and proud in their writing. Real people mention their sexuality, real people get into relationships. Hell, most of the heterosexual work ever written is motivated by romance. Avenging the dead lover is a popular cliche in every genre. But apparently when you're LGBT, you're not allowed romances. b) "Don't use tropes". Usually from people who don't understand what a trope is. A trope is a building block of a plot. Sometimes overused with no originality. But unless you're writing a blank page, good luck avoiding tropes.
  9. 4 points
    "Said is dead!" "Never use adverbs, ever! Any -ly word is the sign of a hack writer!" Same people saying these things, WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME!? I think this is a symptom of people regurgitating writing advise without being experienced enough to hear what they are saying. I partially agree with the adverbs, too many of them does make a piece of writing seem weak, but you don't need to get rid of ALL of them, every time! Its become popular to dogpile on a writer at the first adverb, and that kind of thinking is just toxic.
  10. 4 points
    I have to say I love the boundaries you can break with fantasy. There are very few limitations. I also love being able to create worlds that you can look at earth issues through an allegorical POV. You can explore those isues without coming off as too preachy, because you can move the issues from their original context. Hate? "Serious" fantasy has an obsession with the medieval period. It also has a serious problem with rehashing old tropes. But the one that annoys me the most in high I've read is the edginess some people try to insert into their fantasy, especially 'serious' published authors. Fantasy is often not very fantastic. Too much death and murder. I've put down multiple fantasy books when they decided to pull out the gratuitous brutality for no describable reason early in a story. Especially if it involves children or women getting killed or worse, as I've encountered at times.
  11. 4 points
    I love fantasy because of pretty much the same reasons as many others in this thread, that your own imagination is the limit when it comes to the magic and worlds you can create. That's like mental freedom. I enjoy reading other genres, but when it comes to writing I need some of that fantasy magic to really get excited about a project. It's also open to so many different cross-overs, from horror to cozies, so there is something for everyone. I don't hate much about fantasy, but the more strict "genre tropes" can be really annoying when I'm trying to find books to read. I love the potential of Urban Fantasy, but I dislike the list of main ingredients most UF-books have. However, the repetitive tropes make me more eager to write my own take on that particular genre, which is fun. I don't read a whole lot of epic fantasy, but I recognize what some posters here mentioned about the annoying gender/class/race issues which the author try to excuse through "historical accuracy". Like goblins and that sentient sword are historically accurate, lol! But those social issues (and everything else) are all the author's choices, so they have to personally stand for their views. I don't blame the fantasy-genre itself. Instead, I think fantasy has the unique opportunity to place stories anywhere in history, while showing modern or ideal sensibilities through worldbuilding. It can definitely be done really well as a natural, unquestioned part of the story-world. But like with the UF-books, I have to remember that some writers/readers love the tropes I dislike. All I can do is write my own stories.
  12. 4 points
    I love that fantasy can let me do ANYTHING in a world, have it be as crazy and out there as my imagination allows. I love being able to escape into worlds with magic, where the common person can rise up and change their destiny. I love the tropes, chosen ones and dragons and star crossed lovers. I love that fantasy allows us to examine our own world through a sideways lens and get a better look at ourselves. I dislike that fantasy can get stuck on tradition, specifically having the pseudo-medieval setting that is wildly inaccurate. We can do ANYTHING, why stick to castles and england-like settings? WHY do we also have to keep the gender roles of that time? Fantasy builds off the past, but so many people just can't seem to get away from Tolkien. Who I love, and I love a lot of pseudo-medieval stories. But variety people! Lets branch out! More women warriors! More strong female characters who don't need to be beaten in combat to fall in love! It is getting better for sure, but some of the gender stereotypes just WON'T DIE. It is an invented world, make it so that women can fight!
  13. 4 points
    I've got several novels in the planning stages, so I already know what I'll be working on when I've finished my latest round of editing and completed two partially-written novels. I also want to explore a concept which is very much in the development stages and has only been mentioned in passing in some of my novels. It's the sort of concept which could spawn a whole new series, so it will give me plenty of material. For those who need new ideas, I'd reiterate what Livvy said about trying prompts and looking for images. There's also the "adopt-an-idea" forums. There used to be one on here and on the main Nano site. There's also one on the site that I admin and I'm sure you can find them elsewhere. Another suggestion is to take a side-character from a novel you've already written. Try writing their back-story or giving them an adventure of their own. Take the under-developed character and fill in the blanks. Re-write scenes from an existing novel from their POV.
  14. 3 points
    This is a great suggestion in general, I do that without thinking about it consciously. There is a caveat though that sometimes we want to include that awesome scene for its own sake, and it can end up dragging down the story. So some caution, this is where that 'kill your darlings' advice comes in. But if it fits, having a list of these scenes is great to keep the excitement refreshed when you are starting to feel a bit slumpy, they can remind you why you wanted to write this in the first place. I like to think of it as a 'cheat mode' that is somewhere between pansters and planners. I know a lot of writers (myself included) can get up in the labels, and trying to be as efficient as possible, and worry too much about if they are a planner or a panster. Zero draft is a happy medium in my mind. You can view it through both a planner AND a pantser lens.
  15. 3 points
    @Banespawn and @Penguinball both describe my thoughts on Draft Zero XD But I guess if I was to describe it as a process, it would look something like this: Think of the scenes that won't leave you alone. The big battle at the climax, maybe, or the conversation between the heroes between missions. Write 'em down. Summarize everything you want to happen around those things. Get into detail if inspirations strikes, if it doesn't, don't worry. Fill the margins/comments section with notes and questions when you don't know what you need/want to happen around events. (Or leave them right in the page, maybe highlighted or a different color for easy finding.) When it's finished, you have a draft zero. Some people take draft zero and start outlining. Others just go ahead and dive into filling those gaps. I think it depends on how much inspiration you found, and how many gaps you filled, while you were zero drafting. Basically, to me, Draft Zero is an even messier version of the First Draft XD The first time I ever wrote a novel, I used the Zero Drafting method, though I didn't know what it was called at the time. I just knew trying to write from point A to point B wasn't working for me, and neither was writing non-chronologically. So I started summarizing important scenes that weren't calling to me at the time, and only filling in bits of dialogue or description. It helped me feel like less of a perfectionist, because it felt like... outlining, but not outlining? I don't know how to explain it, exactly. Or even if what I described is a technical draft zero haha.
  16. 3 points
    I think that schools often put a really big emphesis on political history, rather than social and cultural history. That's a huge shame, really, when it kills off people's interest for the subject. And in what you say about Alexander the Great lies a great writing tip for characters. We need to know the smaller personal stuff to really connect and wanna know more, whether the people are real or fictional. You also made me super-excited to go and read a lot more about Alexander the Great now. :)
  17. 3 points
    Good advice that has helped me: Find out what works for you. It seems so trivial, but with many things there is a right way and a wrong way to do it, and with writing you simply have to find out what resonates with you - the right way is the one that works for the individual writer. Keep a notebook. Starting a writer's notebook was a task in an online writing course I did, and I found it silly at the time. But I tried it nevertheless, and it turned out to be one of the best things I have done. Writing down ideas made me more creative, and once I started it, I had more ideas than before. Frequently, more ideas kept coming while I was writing an idea down, and keeping those raw, unfinished plot seeds turned out to be a real treasure. Several projects I'm working on are based on ideas I combined with older plot seeds from my notebook. Bad advice: lol, literally every writing advice by Stephen King that I have come across, and Penguin was dead-on with putting the reason into words: See, Mr. King, different things work for different people. And when I heard you say keeping a notebook was the best way to immortalize bad ideas, I felt offended. Maybe playing around with ideas and combining them simply isn't your thing, and that's fine - but please stop dissing authors who have a writing process different from your own.
  18. 3 points
    I hate learning history in an educational environment. They make it so goddamn boring. Many of the important people are boring people who did boring things, and people mostly only write about because they benefit a certain narrative that the curriculum wants to tell us. Usually some form of "The West is Great". Even the interesting ones, we only get to hear the boring stuff. Alexander the Great is toned down to yet another generic boring conqueror man, not a wildly intelligent 20 something year old, who's teacher was Plato, and who had a life long love affair with his best friend. There are so many interesting people, amazing events, crazy things and strange stories from history. My favourite period of history is probably the ancient world. Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Persia, ancient China and Japan. We know both so little and so much about those periods that there are so many cool ways to work with it in writing. Plus, the architectural style of the period set the standards we still use today, and the characters were interesting.
  19. 3 points
    Best advice: From Chuck Wendig's blog: Finish your sh*t. Also, writing is messy, imperfect, and doesn't always work. Learn what you can from it and keep going. His humorous and profanity laden posts have a lot of great practical advice. Worst (unsolicited) advice: You'll never be successful if you write XYZ. People won't like your work if you don't include good values in the narrative. My own advice to newbies: Write what makes you excited to sit down and pound out words. Whatever that is seek it out and don't stop until you've written your way through to the end. You are your first audience, so make sure you're entertained, enraptured, and satisfied.
  20. 3 points
    I have so many WIPs cause last July was start a WIP month for my head. I like adding elements of humour in my writing so they will all have something like that. I'd share some of my novel which definitely will have humour but it'll take me a while to find a good bit. I can however share a rough snippet of something I worked on a while ago... a lot of comedy likes to pop up in flirting when I write it... oops! A soft knock at the door drew my attention, and for a moment I thought about ignoring it. Chucking the book on the chair arm, I returned to the door, Vittoré smiled as I opened it. “What are you doing—” Vittoré glanced down at the grapes in my palm. “Planning to share, Otavio?” I met his eyes, lingering longer than I should have. “Not my food.” “Perhaps it’s not food I’m after. Can I come in?” I stepped aside and Vittoré pinched a grape as he entered. “Care for a little fun?” “D-Depends what you mean by fun,” I managed. “A little bomb making, maybe some metallurgy, or did you only want sex?” I regretted having food in my mouth at that exact time; out came a ridiculous splutter and half a chewed grape. Thankfully it hit the wall. “What?” “What was it you said? ‘And if I don’t?’ Well, Otavio.” Vittoré smiled and stepped close. “This is what happens.” “I meant the bombs…” I squeaked. “Oh.” He pursed his lips. And then a tiny bit later on; “It’s too risky. No bombs.” “Not even little ones?” “No, Vittoré. No bombs. Not even little ones.” “Huh.” He clacked his tongue against the roof of his mouth. “So just sex then?” I glanced down at the folder in his hand. “You’ve got the plans there haven’t you?” “Well of course. Do you really think I’d turn up to your room without an idea what I want to do to you?” “I’m still talking about the bombs.” Heat burned at my cheeks and Vittoré leant over to my ear. “I wasn’t.” “I know I—” He pulled away and growled, “Otavio. Stop confusing me. Do you want this or—” “You came in here talking about bombs! I’m more concerned that you are going to strap a bomb to me and—” “That can be arranged, I mean, if you are into that kind of thing.”
  21. 3 points
    I found this great blog post on tumblr about filter words, so I thought I would share it here. Eliminating filter words is a great way to make your writing a lot stronger. Its one of those things that's hard to put your finger on as your reading, WHAT makes this published book sound so much better than my own WIP? Well, reading about filter words has really helped me figure that out, and is a fantastic tool for editing. Rather than just linking the post (which you can find here), I'm just going to copy paste the body of it, with credit to Publishing Crawl.
  22. 3 points
    This is really interesting and I've liked reading about all the different ways people incorporate fantasy creatures, traditional or not! I don't really use a lot of fantasy creatures in my writing. When I first started writing fantasy, I went with a lot of the traditional creatures, like fairies and dragons, just because I thought that was how fantasy was supposed to be, but I was never very interested in them for their own sake, so I soon dropped them. The few fantasy creatures I still have are ones I've made up, most particularly two non-human races in my fantasy trilogy (who are admittedly fairly closely based on Tolkien elves, though I've jettisoned the noble and majestic stuff. They are also not immortal). I have another story with people who aren't quite human anymore, but that's because they've been changed by magic, so I'm not sure if that counts. I've done a little bit with creating fantasy animals (as opposed to sapient species), but I need to do more of it.
  23. 3 points
    I love that the fantasy genre literally means you can write about anything and it doesn't matter if it actually makes sense (if you're also creating the setting/world), because you don't necessarily have to apply real world rules to that world. If you wanna have purple clouds and gravity doesn't exist and you can float in space without dying, then you're free to do so. It allows you to do whatever your imagination desires with your writing. Of course, you still need to be careful and make sure to balance the less realistic things out with things that are more realistic, but still...it's your world, it's your characters, it's your plot, so you make the rules, and I love that. I love not being limited to the real world. The real world is boring, and crazy (especially these days). I write and read fantasy to escape that. I don't think there's anything that I hate in the fantasy genre? Hate is a strong word. There's certain things that I don't like, like certain creatures and certain tropes (i.e. rape, and sometimes love triangles, though I suppose it depends on how much of a focus they are in the plot. I can deal with it if they're a sub-plot and the story doesn't revolve 100% around the triangle and whom the girl/guy is going to end up with). I can't stand vampires (except for ones played by David Boreanaz 😛 ).
  24. 3 points
    When we moved onto the new forum, we condensed the writing prompt stuff into one forum, which you can find here. NaNo still has theirs, too. Pinterest is a whole treasure trove of writing prompts. Example: here's the Worldsmyths profile with lots and lots and lots and lots of boards that @Sheepy-Pie created and has been adding to, and here's one on my personal profile with lots and lots of prompts, too, some of which are probably in the Worldsmyths ones, too. Right now I'm focusing on my NaNo, trying to get it into shape and then I plan on continuing it (after I figure out the last half of it). Like others, I haven't actually written anything since NaNo. When I was originally planning to get back to my main project, I was planning on trying to do little side stories to get back into the characters' heads again, because it's been so long. When I do get back to that main project, I'll do that. Whenever I get stuck on an idea, I go through my idea journal, which I have tons of dialogue/writing prompts/plot ideas written in, and I make lists of the plots that stick out to me. I'll go on Reddit, the NaNo forums, anywhere else I can think of to try and get some inspiration. This is another one I like to go to. I've also made lists of the tropes that I like and want to use. I made a list of the projects that I know I want to work on in the future. i.e. I eventually want to go back to my Mageborn story, but that's probably a loooong ways from now.
  25. 3 points
    None of that should be a reason to shy away from posting - you don't owe anyone who answers in your thread that you finish the story, it's even completely fine to brainstorm with others and then decide that you prefer to write a different story! And... is there such a thing as "the typical fantasy writer"? I don't think so 😉 Don't make assumptions about what everyone wants to hear, you might be surprised 🙂 In fact, I think you did bring up a couple of interesting questions in the past and your posts are usually well-thought-out!
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