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  1. 8 points
    I'm not sure how unpopular this opinion might be, but I often feel like there aren't enough small-scale fantasy stories. There are plenty of fantasy books about heroes and rulers doing things that influence entire countries, or about people with 'exciting' occupations like thieves or assassins or spies, and all that. And that's great. I love a lot of those stories. I just wish there were more stories exploring fantasy settings from other angles. I'd like to see stories about common people living in those small towns that adventurers often pass through; about teachers at magic schools who have to deal with classes and paperwork and finding time to live their own lives with the addition of magic which sometimes makes things easier and other times harder; about merchants and tavern keepers who are just trying to keep their business going after the hero killed the tyrant, took up the throne, and now sure, everyone's celebrating, but what's going to happen tomorrow with the economy and the laws and the taxes. There are a lot of stories about the movers and shakers of the fantasy realms; I want to see more stories about how the common people live while around them dragons are being slayed and kings overthrown, if that makes sense.
  2. 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."
  3. 6 points
    Hello All! I put together some lists of TVTropes indexes (copied indexes into spreadsheets), and thought I'd share them with you. I'm using a random number generator(link) as a story prompt machine, or if I'm stuck. Its been fun so far, so maybe someone else can get use of them. Here's the main genre tropes index for the ones I didn't include. I know TVTropes has a 'random trope' button but there are just sooo many it can come up, I find it useful to have a more targeted search. Love Tropes (605) Speculative Fiction Tropes (1353) Fairy Tale Tropes (165) Super Hero Tropes (252)Horror Tropes (485) Action/Adventure Tropes (555) Drama Tropes (236) Alt History Tropes (110) Espionage Tropes (144) Feel free to make copies for yourself/share them with others if you feel this is useful! Edit - I put them in a index of indexes, found HERE
  4. 6 points
    I've been into dinosaurs since I was age 4. My parents attribute it to Barney at the very beginning, although Jurassic Park certainly helped contribute to it (I saw the latter when I was between four or five years old). I spent six years of my childhood as an expat in Singapore, and I remember the tropical flora and the muggy equatorial climate very vividly. If you're wondering why so many of my stories have tropical settings, that's a big reason why. Also, the multicultural population of Singapore (as well as Hong Kong, where I spent my high school years) made me used to ethnic diversity. We studied ancient Egypt when I was in second grade, which is what sparked my interest in ancient history. Playing games like Age of Empires and Pharaoh a lot as a kid further kindled that interest. Hence why influences from ancient Egypt and other historical civilizations are also commonplace in my stories. Studying biological anthropology at uni has come in handy for world-building, especially when designing human ethnic groups and their cultures. During my grade school years, I had a few unpleasant confrontations with teachers and fellow students who wanted to impress their fundamentalist interpretation of Christianity onto me. I was already an atheist before then, but those experiences didn't exactly endear me to the Abrahamic religions. I'm not exactly a militant anti-religious type, but I'm generally not fond of worlds (e.g. C.S. Lewis's Narnia) that show a strong Judeo-Christian influence. I've left this for last since it deals with sensitive subject matter. But I'll never forget the day I first stumbled onto neo-Nazi and white supremacist websites while browsing the Internet in my early adolescence. It was a shocking experience to discover whole communities of people who not only embraced racist worldviews, but who went out of their way to justify their prejudices using pseudoscience and historical revisionism. Not only did that shape my personal politics, but it also led to my increased interest in African history and anthropology, since so many of these scumbags would insist that Africans were naturally incapable of civilization or cultural sophistication. As I said before, I was already into history even before this event happened, but it was probably what made me more focused on Africa.
  5. 5 points
    I've posted this before, but I am almost done my outline and I find this really inspirational. This chart is a reminder that it doesn't take that many words per day to get a novel going. A few hundred words a day and you'll have a novel draft in a matter of months. It can seem like a like long when you are staring at a screen, but its completely doable!
  6. 5 points
    Mynoris: Project - Necromancer (working title, not intended for final use) Goals - Write another 50k, or finish, by the end of the year. (I have no clue how long it will be, or how much content, so saying to finish by the end of the year would be foolhardy of me.) Summary - Addric goes with an adventuring party into a forgotten castle. When things don't turn out, he's abandoned to his fate. This fate is listening to a female necromancer tell her story, which starts out in her childhood, goes through her experiences training to be a concubine, and her life as a concubine, where things go sour and put her on the path to becoming an infamous necromancer, known as the 'Terror of Avendrow'. (It's a frame story.)
  7. 5 points
    I try to make my villains more morally gray than straight up evil, and I like to have multiple antagonists at various levels, each with their own agenda. I also like to insert plot twists that change the reader's perception of the antagonists, making them less of a villain in some cases. Severus Snape was a great antagonist for just that reason. I rarely give antagonists much, if any, POV time. I write fantasy, but there is a very heavy dose of mystery in my stories, and getting inside the head of the antagonists will often ruin the mystery. Villains need to have clearly defined goals and a solid plan to achieve them. Those goals don't need to be clear to the reader/protagonist until later in the story, but the villain needs to be fully aware of what they are and be proactive in pursuit of them. The villain is usually the most proactive character in the story. There are so many better things that your villain can be than evil. Evil is boring. Smart can be dangerous. Compassionate can be soul wrenching. Consider a passionate character, doing what he/she believes is the in the best interest of everyone despite the cost. Thanos comes to mind here. We fully understand why the heroes need to stop him, but at the same time, we understand where Thanos is coming from and we even sympathize with him to a degree. GRRM is a master at twisting the reader's perception on characters. In the beginning, could Jamie Lannister be any more despicable? Yet there are times where he shows compassion and nobility. The same guy who pushed Bran from the tower is also the guy who jumped into the pit, one handed, to save Brienne from the bear. He's known as the Kingslayer and generally regarded as a man without honor, yet when Jaime tells the story to Brienne of how the Mad King meant to burn the entire city, you can't help but feel for him. There are so many characters who are at times both despicable and noble, treacherous and loyal. Even Ned Stark, for all his honor and nobility, deceived King Robert when he wrote "my rightful heir" instead of "my son Joffrey" in the decree that named Ned protector of the realm. And Kat, who fiercely loves her children, yet had no room in her heart for her husband's bastard. It's this type of stuff that makes the characters feel real, whether they are hero or villain, protagonist or antagonist. The lines are so blurred in many cases that the labels become meaningless. That is something I strive for, though maybe not to the degree that GRRM does it. My stories aren't usually that big. But if I can get the reader to sympathize with someone they hate, or be angry with someone they love, then I've done my job well.
  8. 5 points
    I don't know enough about the biology of it to be able to really answer the more technical questions. What I gathered from that article, and others I read, is that the male/female dichotomy is the easiest way to explain things, as we don't really have language that describes the spectrum. At what point does a person stop fitting in the male category, when there is such a range of ways that sexual characteristics can be displayed? I personally think male/female as concepts are completely valid, the majority does fall into those categories and it is an easy way to explain things. The nuance of what lies between is very difficult to capture in English. But just because the majority does fall into those categories doesn't mean other options aren't useful too. Having words and concepts to explain these things helps people know that they aren't alone, it gives language to describe a shared experience that is otherwise difficult to explain. As far as I understand it, nonbinary boils down to the rejection of fitting into the 'male' or 'female' boxes that are used by most societies, of choosing a third option. I could be wrong though, I don't personally know any nonbinary people and haven't done too much research myself. I agree that this is useful for writers (and everyone to know). Representation is important- respectful, sensitive representation even more so. So as far as writing genders that our outside of our lived experience, I think it is important to find resources written by people who HAVE lived it, to make sure we are telling some semblance of truth. From a more technical writing perspective, we want to avoid tokenism, we should show multiple viewpoints of other genders to avoid making it sound like we are trying to make a statement about that group. And we should keep in mind that we may represent what is truth for one person in a group may not be the truth for another, as everyone embraces gender in different ways. All we can do is try to be fair in our representation.
  9. 5 points
    Here's my story. I noticed a real impact that social and media portrayals of gender had on my writing. As a young kid my characters started off as "better" versions of me, what you might call Mary Sues, who ran around having fun adventures and super-special magical powers with the "better" version of my best friend at the time. Later on as I grew up a little and my writing grew up too, I (unconsciously) looked around for examples of characters in media as a base for how characters should be written by default, how they should behave, etc. As an adult I can see that this was a form of "modelling". I wasn't explicitly taught writing, I picked it up from a love of storytelling, and so at first everything I "learned" was unconscious. Younger me looked around and saw that most of the interesting and pivotal characters were male. Male characters more often seemed to have complexity, inner conflict, the beating heart of story. At around this time I was also growing into the type of teenager who "wasn't like other girls" and I was developing a distinct discomfort with my gender and how I was perceived. Female characters in media, especially of my age, were often so stereotyped as to be unrelatable to me. Additionally, a lot of fanfic tended to be centred around male characters (since they were often main characters to start with, tended to have the most personality and backstory for writers to work with.) These all became models for my own writing. This reflected in my characters, of course. I can see a distinct shift, reading back my own writing, where my main characters stop being special versions of me, and become guys with suspiciously teenage levels of angst and a tendency to faint at dramatic moments. So for a loooong time literally all I wrote was white male characters, because that was what I learned to write. It made sense to me. Eventually I got over the "not like other girls" thing and realised that there were people I had a lot in common with, and some of them I could be friends with, wow! Cool! And eventually I decided hey, maybe I'd try my hand at that "writing female characters" thing. CUE BLANK WHITE PAGE. I had no idea where to even start because my mindset had been so focused on one type of story and one type of character. For a while this made me frustrated and sad and angry at myself. Why couldn't I write characters who were like me? What was stopping me? So I did a lot of my own research into crafting characters, and did a lot of thinking and practice. I read/watched a few works that had a big impact on me (Mortal Engines is one I remember in the YA genre, the play Hedda Gabler, and the book The Well - all feature female MCs who are flawed and tragic and unlikeable at times. Terry Pratchett's Discworld, too, though I'll admit he's not perfect.) Also, this feels like embarrassing advice, but it honestly helped me when I couldn't get unstuck and had no idea how to write: I wrote male characters and flipped their gender. Like, what if Indiana Jones was female? That sort of thing. (Eventually I found this could take you far but only so far as you start to consider how gender impacts character expression, etc... but that's an entire other essay.) I still feel like I have too many sausages on the plate, unless I make a concerted effort not to. Definitely need to work more on writing characters from different cultures and races! This is harder because it involves research. But the effort is rewarding because it has such fascinating results! So much more character depth and interest comes forth when you start to consciously examine your characters and play with tropes. It's another form of listing ten ideas and not just stopping at the 1st idea you have. The inverse of this: more and more of my characters these days are LGBT+ and I'm struggling to identify which ones aren't. TL;DR - I personally noticed an improvement in character development when I started to consider gender, because it forced me to stop and think about how I was writing characters.
  10. 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
  11. 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!
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 4 points
    All right, so apparently I missed the boat on laughing about this back in June, but in case anyone else is as out of touch as me...here, have a laugh! So, apparently 20,000 Christians petitioned Netflix to cancel the Good Omens TV series (based on a book by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett) because, well, of course they did. 🙄 Apparently according to some particularly clueless folks, ye olde great creator somehow created humor but is devoid of having any himself. The funny? The show only airs on Amazon Prime. The truly funny? Nextflix's response: And Amazon Prime's thoughts?: All I have to say is it's a good thing these people don't read manga, because hooo-boy, the depictions of Christianity there would make their nose hairs curl. I'm just saying (below cut): Heh heh heh.
  15. 4 points
    *waves* Been meaning to pop back in for a while. And all it took was avoiding homework in a class where I'm learning such fascinating things as "How to use the Start Menu in Windows 10" and "How to save a file in Word." Holy croakers, shoot me now. *headdesk* Tolkien is a pain in the tuchas, and I say this as a massive Tolkien fangirl. The problem I found with his books is that to understand and enjoy them properly you have to have already read them. I'm not kidding. I picked his stuff up at thirteen and read the first book in LoTR through sheer cussedness. Despite enjoying some of it, it was a slog trying to get through it, and more than once I found the best way forward was to just let go parts that confused me (this is okay as many of the events stand alone, and the least confusing bits are those with bigger plot arcs). I hit book two and the story took flight, and book two and three I chewed through in no time flat and with no issues. And I enjoyed them so much I decided to re-read the first book. And suddenly the first book was fun. I chewed through it with the same vigor and enjoyment of books two and three and, better yet, I understood everything. I was no longer confused. Tolkien was a fantastic builder of worlds, histories, and languages. He was in many way a superb storyteller, and I think allowances can be made that he was basically blazing new ground with the tales he chose to tell. However, that said, one of his biggest flaws as a writer is knowing his world so well that he forgets to introduce the audience to it properly. Or, since he was one of a rare breed of writer in that era (sci-fi and fantasy did exist but was not common and were usually just classified as regular fiction) maybe he didn't know how. And that lack causes his books to be dense and quite hard to read upon first picking them up. I highly recommend doing so as it is well worth all the effort--what he does he does well and aspiring authors can learn a lot from him. But I'm never going to blame anyone for not making it through his tomes; most people read for fun and it takes a while for the fun to kick in with his stuff. On this, I'd say the thing I'm sick of is marketing departments. That's how books are done now--a marketing department will first declare if they think they can successfully market a book, and to what audience. If they say they can, only then will a company agree to go forward with publishing or even agree to take a serious look at the manuscript. All these YA, Paranormal Romance, and Urban Fantasy look-alike plots (and goodness knows all three genres are so similar on tropes and plot points that sometimes the only way to tell the difference is how the book cover is kitted out) are that way because the marketing department knows these plots will sell, and so they'll saturate the market with them looking for every last dime. Remember when zombies were everywhere for a while, and vampires before that? I mean, more everywhere than they are now. Yeah, you can thank marketing departments. Though I will caveat my own personal preference with--gods save me from first person POV. It's so ubiquitous now that almost any book you pick up has it, and there's even a growing snobbery against other POVs (especially omniscient). In some books it is absolutely the right route to take, but I can't tell you how many books I've read where the plot is going on somewhere else but the reader isn't allowed to follow it because we're forced to sit on a single person's shoulder and peer through their hair. Again, it doesn't seem to be what's best for the book that's important so much as what sells. Off topic fun fact time! 😄 Swords aren't heavy. In fact, most medieval swords were so light that a child could lift them. Could probably use them too if the length didn't make them too unwieldy for a half-pint frame. Most weighed less than 4 lbs (1.8 kg), making them actually quite light--which makes sense considering the length of time swordsmen had to wield the things in pitched battle. In fact, even heavy bastard swords were often only around 3 lbs (1.6 kg). And what about exceptions like those enormous two-handed swords? Those were about 6 lbs (3 kg). That would take a little muscle and endurance to swing around for long periods of time, true, but yes, a woman can wield that. The really weighty swords did exist, but they were showpieces, not items meant to be used in serious warfare. And, seriously, at the 8-9 lbs (3.6-4 kg), I could have picked up and held, even waved around, the showpiece swords when I was ten. Heh. The things you have to learn when saddling a slip of a thing with a bastard sword that her five year old child finds first. In an urban fantasy, because yes, my heroine will totally be bringing a knife to a gun fight. Oh geez, reminds me of Dies the Fire by SM Stirling. All electricity and gunpowder inexplicably stops working, society inevitably breaks down, and suddenly...rape. All. The. Rape. I mean, I'm not sure this man could write a full chapter without mentioning at least one poor girl getting used, if not actually showcasing the event. It got to the point that I wondered if it was an author fetish. And frankly, it never made sense to me. It didn't add to the story at all, nor was it a large plot point, just a reoccurring one. You could just tell that the author thought that the only thing that stood between men and mass rape was laws, and once those were gone men would just...go feral. To every male on this forum, I apologize on behalf of this author. I shouldn't have to, but man he has a low view of his own sex. I can't seem to find a spoiler or similar tag to hide part of the post--if it exists someone point me to it and I'll try to edit the rest of this so only folks who want to see it can. I'm afraid I don't have exactly what you're looking for (I'd love recommendations on that too), but I think I have some ideas that are closer. And I love recommending stuff, so.... 🙂 Okay, books/series to check out... Karavans, the first book of the Karavans series by Jennifer Robinson I'm still making my way through the first book, but so far the plot follows pretty closely one family who have put their entire life in a wagon and are trying to flee to another country to escape a despotic king and a war. By the summary, despite any world-changing events going on around them, the story is pretty tightly woven to the man, his pregnant wife, and their two teenage kids. White Cat, the first of the Curse Workers series by Holly Black This is more an alternate modern earth. Everyone here wears gloves because all magic happens by touch--an ungloved hand in this world is the equivalent of a gun leveled at one's head in our world. And because doing magic is a crime, of course crime families have grown around "curse working," that is, utilizing magic for selfish purposes. The main character is Cassel, a teenage con artist with no magic born to a magical mob family. The entire series follows his life closely as he unravels a web of secrets and lies in his family and solves the mystery of the disappearance of his best friend. The Pillars of the World, first of the Tir Alainn series by Anne Bishop If you want stories tightly woven to family and as often dealing with ordinary situations as extraordinary ones, Anne Bishop is your girl every time. Though the blurb reads like an epic fantasy, the plot is tightly bound to Ari and her family and friends, following her life as she tries to navigate the witch hunts, fae of uncertain temperament, and a culture increasingly unfriendly to those who follow the wrong religion or born into the wrong bodies. Sebastian, first of the Ephemera series, also by Anne Bishop If you don't mind a heavy dose of romance (this series has the heaviest dose of romance of any fantasy I have read and could probably be considered a cross-genre book, but is light on sex), I highly recommend this series for the world building alone. Plus, the series reads like a song feels. Ephemera is a shattered land, and the only way to get from one country to another is magical "bridges" that link them. However, slipping accidentally between worlds is supremely easy--too easy. Each person "resonates" with a different place, and that resonance could change if someone becomes depressed, or violent, or happy. If a five year old child resonates with a different land than their parents, they could find themselves in another part of the world with no way back home. And Ephemera has monsters, like the Incubus Sebastian, darker sorts who may not be evil, but whom often get pushed into evil lands or driven there by the suspicion and hatred of others. The series follows the family of workers who help maintain the bridges, keep stability, and can even create new lands for the dispossessed to go. Oftentimes key points of the story happen at a dinner table over a meal. Like other recommendations, while there are world moving events in the background, we see them dealt with through the lens of one tight-knit family. But, if you read nothing else of Anne Bishop, I highly recommend the novella The Voice, also part of the Ephemera series but able to be read as a stand-alone piece. This is simply the story of one small village and the practice of "sorrow eating." It follows two girls and how they grow up and is very bound to friendship and compassion, and the damned thing made me cry. Not much does. Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, and Dragondrums, all part of the Harper Hall series by Anne McCafferey This is more Science Fantasy than straight fantasy, but it counts. 🙂 Follows one girl's journey out of an abusive home and onto the path of her dreams. Everything is about her, from her first festival to her progress a a musician to her brand new blue boots, and it's a fun read. This is probably closest to what you wanted. The Catsworld Portal by Shirley Rosseau Murphy Set in the 50s, it follows a painter and a girl who can change into a cat. She comes from a hollow earth, where she was raised poor, sheltered, and hidden, only to find herself plunged into a world she had no capability to navigate. And that's before she finds her way above ground. Though drama and politics are exploding all around them, much of the book is varying forms of domestic, a showcase of two people just trying to have a life, one that keeps getting interrupted by powerful people with far too many ambitions. Also, despite some well used tropes, the author melds them into a highly unique book. The Truth About Unicorns by Bonnie Jones Reynolds Warning, this book ends like it's the first in a series, though if it it was the rest was never written. That said it is one of my favorite books ever. It's set somewhere between to 1920s-50s, and follows two people in a very small town, a farm girl and the town's rich son. Not to mention, the enigmatic tutor. The story is almost impossible to describe but reads like a slice of magic. I'm just gonna give you part of the synopsis: Why did Crazy Lizzy paint her body with strange symbols? Who stole Cass's newborn baby girl? Why did the round house have a windowless second story -- and no way to reach it? I'll add--what was it with the sound of bells? 🙂 The Apprentice by Deborah Talmadge-Bickmore I once gave this to someone and they handed it back to me, unimpressed, saying it felt cliched and tropey. I can't say they were completely wrong as the elements--evil sorceress, dark tower, mysterious apprentice, etc--have been hammered into the dirt over the past few decades. However, it was written in 1989, when the tropes were common but had not yet reached the point of flogging a dead equine. This is the story of Shayna, a young woman trying to navigate situations that are way over her head and she is ill prepared for. Most of the story takes place in kitchens and bedrooms and gardens, the entire thing highly domestic despite a whole lotta magic going on. But what I love about it, as a writer, is how flawed everyone is. The more you learn about Shayna's mother, the more you realize Shayna is deeply abused, despite the author never actually mentioning the fact. She's also been raised in almost utter isolation--in fact ,the entire cast of this story, including side and bit characters, is maybe six people at most--leaving her ill equipped to deal with anything outside of her position as a servant. She spends the book torn, conflicted, indecisive, afraid, and sometimes making decisions that are stupid or even self-destructive, and all her actions are almost textbook abuse victim. The apprentice also isn't much of a hero, often making amoral decisions and displaying a couple cases of truly questionable consent, and yet at the same time he is courageous, determined, and unwavering in his desire to protect others and right an old wrong. But what made me really fall in love with it was that, by the end of the book, despite wanting to see the baddie defeated in the worst way, I didn't hate her. She's a terrible person, and yet the more you learn why she's the way she is the more sympathy creeps in. I couldn't fully hate or like anyone in this book, everyone is an antihero, everyone is flawed and weak and so very human, and that can be such a rare thing to find. It is honestly not the best book I've ever read, but keep in mind this author only ever wrote two books. It's a solid offering for a beginning writer, and I've always been sorry this author wasn't given a platform on which to develop and grow. The City Not Long After by Pat Murphy I'm not sure if this is an epic journey or not, it feels too personal. It's a love letter to a city and it's counterculture, but it's also the journey of "girl," a young lady who was never given a name. She grew up with her mother in a post-apocalyptic environment, on a smallish farm, and stayed there happily until being friendly to the wrong strangers got everyone but her killed. She went seeking refuge in San Francisco, and the entire book, despite the war that surrounds them, is more the story of the survivors and their city of magic and ghosts. Plus, you get to enjoy a weaponless war, which is truly unique. Four and Twenty Blackbirds, first in the Eden Moore series by Cherie Priest I am so sad she abandoned this series because it is downright amazing. In many ways it's a typical urban fantasy, mysteries, magic powers and all, but the stories within feel a lot more personal than most UA books. Eden is a young black woman who can see ghosts, living in the deep South. The first story is tightly knit to her family, while another follows her as she survives a city undergoing a natural disaster. The images from that book still haunt me. This being set in the South, you never escape the ties of family and friends that define her life, even as the mysteries ramp up. I love this so much more than her Boneshaker series. Shades of Milk and Honey, first of the Glamourist series by Mary Robinette Kowal If you like books like Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre, you're probably on board for this. It's your typical journey of a young noblewoman of the 1800s, following her as she sorts out her marriage prospects and tries to keep her family from doing anything too abysmally stupid. The twist is that every young lady is expected to learn the art of glamour, and our heroine is a whiz at it. Jane, at 28 and unmarried--not to mention not very pretty (and of course it's against the rules to use glamour to make yourself prettier)--is resigned to dying a spinster...and is pretty okay with that, overall, until a spate of domestic troubles pushes her unexpectedly back into the game. Fair warning; it does have the slow, steady, meandering-on-a-country-day pace of books from that era.
  16. 4 points
    This is good advice. But not necessarily the way it was intended. Usually it's seen as write the things you know from reality. Don't use things you have no experience with. Now, that is terribly unhelpful to fantasy and sci-fi writers who, by definition, have to write about things that we have no experience with since they don't exist, or don't exist yet. But we can still use this as a useful catch-phrase for writing, at least in a first draft. So here it goes: Write What You Know. You have a story idea in your head. Write that down because you know you have the idea. Don't worry about things that you don't know yet. If you haven't decided what technology your world has, or how big the country is that your story takes place in, don't sweat it. Write what you do know. Keep that pen, or those fingers, writing the things that you already have in your head. Write them until you don't have any of those things left. Then you can worry about sorting out the other stuff. I know this approach isn't for everyone, and that's fine. But, for me, I often get caught up in trying to make things make sense immediately, or trying to write things in order. But when there's something in my head further down the road in my story, I need to remember to write it down while I know it, or else I might forget it. Losing ideas can really set us back, so we should write what we know when we know it. Even if it has to be fixed later, or even tossed out entirely. Because if we don't write what we know, and fixate on what we don't know, we might actually be making more work for ourselves. Just a thought.
  17. 4 points
    Project - The Perilous Hunt Goals - Finish the first rough draft of the book by January 4 2020. Summary - Inspired by the tv show "Supernatural". A father's wife and the mother of the their two daughters is killed by a werewolf. So the father and two daughters hunt the werewolf across the country.
  18. 4 points
    Project: Tales from the Witch House (a future web serial novel) Goals: Finish and revise the first three arcs so I have a proper backlog and start publishing it online before November. Summary: In the middle of a city that never truly sleeps yet always seems to slumber, there is a big old house. The House isn't safe to live in; all but one of its original residents have left. Others, however, have trickled in. Witches and demons and werecats and other refugees of the occult underground, ones who are hunted or running or lost. Here they gather as squatters, reasonably safe under the protection of an old woman who's known simply as The Witch. Some of them view this place as a temporary pit stop, somewhere to take a breather and accumulate their strength. Some are trying to build a new home for themselves within these grey, moldy walls. None of them have chosen to come to the house. Instead, the house and its mysterious benefactor chose them. To what end? That remains to be seen. If it's even important, that is. I mean, who cares about the deep metaphysical questions when Tim's fur has clogged the drain in the only working bathroom again, in the kitchen the fumes from Delilah's cleansing candles substitute for air, and Leo forgot to get the groceries for the fifth time this week?
  19. 4 points
    Project - untitled POS is what I affectionally call it Goal #1: write up all the scenes of the 50k I wrote for nano so I can work out how to fix the mess Summary - oooof. Um. Humans, demons, faeries, people trying to attain their wants while I laugh and deny them. Sarett wishes for love, Luna wishes for family, Dmitri wishes for his children's protection, Sevastyan wishes to continue being the strongest. And somewhere a faerie is stirring, her eyes settling on just the right person to give her a chimera child... Bonus points; Kali and Dmitri are in my sig banner
  20. 4 points
    I um... Okay, so there are several reasons I am absolutely against this logic. The age group you're talking about (between ages nine and...what, fourteen?) are not mature by a long shot. As @Penguinball said, their brains are still developing, ESPECIALLY at that age. They're dealing with hormones. Educationally, they really haven't learned a whole heck of a lot. They are minors. They cannot legally: Drive Smoke Drink alcohol Join the army (I know that eighteen year olds in the U.S. can do this, and there's a big debate about the fact that eighteen year olds can serve in the army, whether by volunteering or by being drafted, but they cannot smoke, drink alcohol or gamble, but that's tiptoeing into politics and I am going to firmly push against this becoming a political discussion) Make medical decisions for themselves Gamble Probably some other things that I am not thinking of at the moment There are probably a lot of school systems where the kids have to walk to school, because they don't have school buses and they don't want the students taking city buses. How do you think these students would get to college if they cannot yet drive and are not anywhere close to getting their licenses? Their parents likely have to work. Some of these kids may actually be in daycare still. College is for higher education. Professors do not expect to be babysitting their students (granted, they end up doing that even when their students are in the 18-early twenties range because of the way their students behave, but that's more on the individual student and less on the students as a whole). They expect their students to be able to come to class (on time), listen to the lectures, do their work, and get their grades. They do not want to basically still be teaching the basics that should be taught in elementary/middle/high school. Unless you are a student prodigy (which is rare) who also has the maturity to handle the amount of coursework a college student has to deal with...you have no business taking college classes. (Exception: there are some programs in high schools where high schools can take college classes for credit as part of their high school requirements. I am fine with this, because at this point they're probably 16-18 years old and they're still developing their brains but not to the same extent as anyone in the 9-14 year age range. I was in a class where we had a student who was in high school and taking classes for college credit. He was very mature for his age and got his shit done.) Some college students are taking six classes a day while also juggling their homework, jobs, and any sports they play. There's no way a child in the age range you're talking about would be able to handle that kind of workload. Kids that age need to be allowed to just be kids. It's bad enough when they're staying up until 8-10 PM trying to get their homework done and then having to be up early to be able to catch the bus and spend 6-8 hours in school. So...yeah. I definitely disagree.
  21. 4 points
    I'm not saying any type of portrayed bigotry has no place in fantasy, or fiction in general. One of my favourite musicals(not fantasy but I think still relevant to this) includes a gay lead in the 1960s and it definitely at least mentions the homophobia he's scared of. The difference between that and the type I'm talking about is in the musical it ties into the character development, the theme of secrets throughout the musical, and the subversion of tropes. The type I mean is the one where you read it and you can tell that the author put this into their story not to make any type of commentary or make the narrative stronger, but just because they want it there. It's usually the same type of author that includes horrific slavery, sexual assault, and other things like that under the guise of "historical accuracy" while giving their characters perfect teeth and conveniently leaving out things like smallpox and dysentery. Meanwhile, this accuracy is usually at least partially inaccurate anyway. This just gets to me because you have control of this world you're writing. Make a point about things if you want, use character experiences to tie into their backstories and arcs, but don't make me watch someone get killed for being gay (usually the only gay character in these types of stories) in a fantasy world just because you think that oppression is a universal truth or that this kind of stuff makes your story "hard hitting".
  22. 4 points
    A good villain can make or break a story, and the good ones are often the most interesting! I agree that they need goals, and to pursue them relentlessly. I loooooove this kinds of villains as well, especially the kind where they would be the hero of their own story if it was told from their perspective. It makes them so much more human and interesting. My own short version... My logical writer side: My favourite is the kind of villain that has their own internal logic and moralities, totally separate from everyone else. The things they do may be evil, but they make total sense for that character. My awful fanfic loving side: I love me a villain with good shipping potential. Bring on the enemies to lovers fixer fics, NO SHAME.
  23. 4 points
    So I'm more than a little late getting this posted but something we want to do this year is give a list of what everyone pledged for each previous month and what they actually wrote during that month, just as a form of encouragement and such. I think/hope I got everything correct, but please let me know if I didn't and I'll adjust it! Purple is the pledge number and green is what was written in that month Orange is for those who surpassed their goals @airrica pledged 50,000 words and wrote 28,657 words for March @Amblygon pledged 5,000 words and wrote 0 words for March @Anthony Lockwood pledged 5,000 words and wrote 5,453 words for March @Autumn pledged 20,000 words and wrote 0 words for March @C_M_Clark pledged 30,000 words and wrote 3,611 words for March @CrabbyMaiden pledged 10,000 words and wrote 242,435 words for March @Cryssalia pledged 5,000 words and wrote 0 words for March @Dizzy72 pledged 30,000 words and wrote 0 words for March @Elena pledged 15,000 words and wrote 16,733 words for March @Emskie-Wings pledged 30,000 words and wrote 34,334 words for March @fenn pledged 5,000 words and wrote 15,603 words for March @Fluffypoodel pledged 70,000 words and wrote 13,456 words for March @Jedi Knight Muse pledged 50,000 words and wrote 11,419 words for March @Krimson Ravyn pledged 15,000 words and wrote 0 words for March @lorneytunes pledged 25,000 words and wrote 25,265 words for March @mathgnome pledged 10,000 words and wrote 0 words for March @morewordsfaster pledged 10,000 words and wrote 0 words for March @Mynoris pledged 15,000 words and wrote 15,855 words for March @Penguinball pledged 15,000 words and wrote 16,981 words for March @Pinchofmagic pledged 30,000 words and wrote 20,402 words for March @RKM pledged 20,000 words and wrote 9,767 words for March @roadmagician pledged 5,000 words and wrote 10,000 words for March @Romancegirl pledged 5,000 words and wrote 9,979 words for March @Sheepy-Pie pledged 15,000 words and wrote 16,994 words for March @Storycollector pledged 10,000 words and wrote 11,727 words for March @taintedhero pledged 10,000 words and wrote 1,055 words for March @Tangwystle pledged 200,000 words and wrote 38,874 words for March @Tigtogiba34 pledged 15,000 words and wrote 1,867 words for March @tllbrinkley pledged 25,000 words and wrote 27,500 words for March @TricksterShi pledged 20,000 words and wrote 15,728 words for March @ZillieR00 pledged 15,000 words and wrote 1,508 words for March Our total word count for March was 613,456 words! Congratulations, everyone!
  24. 4 points
    I just thought this was hilarious, and yes, I have done a few of these things in my stories. Maybe we all have. 😄
  25. 4 points
    Writing is a journey. As we get more experienced we learn new things and change and grow. How do you think you've changed as a writer since you started writing, to now? Myself, I started more as a panster. I felt like I needed to almost 'divine' stories, let them come to me without knowing what happens next. But now, I find that doesn't work for me anymore. I went from planster to fairly firmly in the plotter came. Even if I don't write down my thoughts, I still want to know how a story ends before I start writing. It helps me shape the story and is honestly just easier for me to write. I also used to be more about plot driven stories. It was about the cool worlds, the interesting premise. But now I find that my stories work best when I let a character with goals tell me what happens next. I can still have the cool setting, and an idea of what I want to happen, but it has to make sense for a particular character now. This has led me to doing character exploration exercises, writing throw-away pages that no one else will see of me just getting to know the characters, so I can understand what plot actions are understandable for them. The last thing that has changed is my defense of adverbs. I used to HATE how everyone says they are weak writing, that they need to be cut out. I would say, its not a rule, its a suggestion, do what fits best for your writing... while that is still true, I now believe that cutting out all but a few adverbs will PROBABLY strengthen your writing. I don't believe they ALWAYS have to go, but having looked at my writing with a really critical eye the last month, cutting them out has often been the best choice. OUTSIDE of dialogue, I should specify that. Using adverbs in dialogue can contribute to that character's voice, and that's free game. How about you? What has changed about your writing process, your writing beliefs over the years?
  26. 4 points
    I think mine is plotting, so the author of that article wouldn't like me 🙂
  27. 4 points
    Oh, wow, I loved that! Tragic relief is so necessary for comedy, and you got both in one twist here. Nice! I found the evil overlord a bit hard to twist too, it's been twisted a lot for comedy already, so it was a challenge. I don't actually know if this has been done by someone, but here it goes: The evil overlord inherited his title as evil overlord, and have a league of minions eagerly awaiting his grand plan for world destruction, but the evil overlord is a perfectionist. He can't act until every piece in the puzzle is utterly fail-proof. By then the bank he planned on robbing has closed, the superhero decided to get new villains to fight and the landlord for the overlord-lair got fed up waiting for rent. New trope: The Gentle Giant (big, strong, intimidating, but with a heart of gold)
  28. 4 points
    I would say I have a combination of inductive and deductive, but I lean more towards the inductive (if I'm reading the OP right.) Generally I have a very specific scene in mind because I have a literal dream at night that would make a good story seed. So I write up that scene the best I can. From there I have to figure out a) how the characters got to that point and b) where they go from that point. My dream scenes rarely start at the beginning and I'm rarely able to sleep long enough to finish it (even when I don't get interrupted, my dream's cohesion will break down into events that are not helpful for the story). Since I only see the one scene, I rarely have any idea of what the world at large looks like, and I have to use the general type of clothing worn, or furnishings in the 'room' to gauge what sort of level of technology the people might have. The same goes for things inspired from watching a show/reading a book. I usually have a clear idea of a single scene and have to expand outwards from there. But sometimes during conversation I'll get a more vague, large world idea that I have to distill back down to an actual plot. My story, A Time Before was like that, where I started with just the idea I wanted a story with Gods like the Greek Gods that weren't exactly the Greek Gods, and tell a creation story that explained them all. This sort of approach is far rarer for me. I think that's because, when I have these dreams or other specific inspiration, there's a strong emotional component that draws me in, making me WANT to tell the story. The other approach rarely has that sort of connection; generally it's purely cerebral without the emotional side. Interestingly enough, Mynoris, the character my screen name is from, came from A Time Before, which was not an emotionally drawn out story.
  29. 4 points
    I just finished listen to this (link) Writing excuses podcast about Internal Motivation for characters and they talked about some things I found useful. The whole episode is good but it is the Role, Relationship, Status, and Competence axes that I want to share with you guys. The idea is that each character has a Role, Relationship, Status, and Competence, and that these things come into conflict with each other, causing the character to struggle in some way. (Using 'you' because its easier, but I mean your character). Role - Your career or occupation, like being a city guard or a baker, that you have responsibilities for. Relationships - Your duty to other people, a character can be a brother, a wife, a mentor, a friend. You have responsibilities to these people. Status - Your class or place in social hierarchy. You have to do certain things because of that status, you have to obey or show deference, or you may be derisive to someone 'lower'. Competencies - What you are capable of, physically, mentally, and what you are skilled at, including the expectations you have for your ability to do things. Your character has a self identity built up of all those things. They are a baker, they are responsible for the quality of their goods, but their heart isn't in it because their mother forced them to follow in the family business, so their desire to please their mother is in conflict with their ability to fulfill their responsibilities as a baker (Role and Relationship). Your character is a noblewoman, and is expected to be able to manage her estate, but her low self confidence causes her to bungle the accounts because she expects herself to fail (Status and Competency). This is a great way to think about characters, what drives them, where to find the room to grow and change . If their self image in any of these categories abruptly changes, what happens to them? As an exercise, reply with one character and what their roles are.
  30. 4 points
    This is something I've been thinking about lately as I approach the issue of editing, and realise that the reason I stop at a first draft is that I don't know where to go next, and it's 'easier' to stop there instead of struggling with something I don't know how to do. Writing is a mental exercise. Because it's mind-based, the mind can be our most helpful tool but also our worst critic and saboteur. So one aspect of writing I don't really see discussed as much is how to create a mindset that's conducive to writing. How do we deal with mental barriers, beyond just 'aahhhh writer's block begone foul demon!' The term 'writer's block' doesn't describe why we're blocked in the first place. What limiting beliefs, thoughts or mindsets related to writing have you had to deal with? How are you tackling them? For me, the following beliefs and mindsets were an issue. And here's how I tackled them: Everything has to be perfect or 'just so' before I can start. This extended from everything to the writing space (let's rearrange the furniture!) to caffeination (one more cup!), to worldbuilding (I have to complete these 365 questions of varying relevance and build an entire author's bible before I can start). Really, this was just a form of procrastination. You can't fail if you never start to begin with. There's something alluring about an idea resting perfectly behind glass like Grandmother's special occasion china, but sometimes you've just gotta use the fancy plates for pizza, dammit. I have to keep rewriting before I share it. Another variation of the above. It's just another way my mind tries to protect my ego - after all, I can never be criticised if I never get around to sharing it! It has to be just right first. Writing is an Art, on a higher plane of existence, unable to be comprehended by mere mortals. Artists are visited by the Magical Writing Fairy who blesses them with magical writing dust. You just gotta wait for the muse, man. The 'mystique' around art sounds cool, but I realised that there's an actual process and method involved. It's a skill and it can be learned. I don't have to just shrug and go 'welp guess I can't write time to die' Writing is something you're just good at. You've either got it or you don't. Related to the concept of 'Art' above, it's this idea that Artists are just born geniuses who fart out masterpieces. With writing, you usually see the product (a book sitting on the shelf), and not the process (the hard work it took to get there.) What helped was listening to interviews with some writers who shared their processes and helped demystify it. If you're not immediately good at something, why try at all? Ahhh, thanks, education system! This was just another way of trying to protect myself from hard work. When in reality, all learning takes effort and everybody is a novice at some stage. Nothing gained without a risk of failure. And failure itself is valuable in what you can learn from it. REAL writers do/are... They wear black. Except on Wednesdays, when they wear pink. And they never, ever write genre fiction. Reality: There IS no secret illuminati cabal of Real Writers who will grant you access to their treehouse if you know the password. The 'magnum opus' effect aka. THIS manuscript is The One that will be amazing/perfect/wildly successful! Dude, stop putting so much pressure on yourself with every first draft. It's just a novel! Chill! I'm A Writer. This is harder for me to describe but I guess it's the realisation that I've invested a lot of my identity/self-worth in what I was praised for being good at (writing). But what if I lose my hands? What if I lose my voice, or my speech, or my ability to string a sentence together? Do I stop 'being' a writer? Still working through this one, but two things I've realised: 1) writing is a process, not a fixed state of being, and 2) your identity isn't any one thing, impermanence, zen and memento mori, etc. etc. What if I just secretly suck at writing and everybody's too polite to say anything, and then I end up on the writing equivalent of American Idol making a national fool of myself? I mean, at least you had fun? I figure if I open myself up to being wrong and ask for concrit as something that can make me better, then I'm already avoiding the reality-TV route. You're not 'allowed' to want to write. Writing is juvenile/just a hobby/not something people *really* do. Look at this giant list of stuff you SHOULD be doing that's more important than your silly writing. Ugh, this is the most damaging one. Reality: I am allowed to write. I am allowed to want to write, and to pursue writing as something more than a hobby, because it matters to me. It matters deeply to me and I love doing it, therefore it has value and enriches my life. I can devote time and energy to the thing I love without feeling guilty for it. Honestly, I'm still dealing with all of these on-and-off but even just writing them down and articulating them helps in fighting them off. How have you dealt with these or similar mindsets?
  31. 4 points
    I'm cisgendered so I am far from the voice to properly address this, but I want to chime in to say that biological sex isn't actually a binary, it is a range, and a very complicated topic. https://slate.com/technology/2018/11/sex-binary-gender-neither-exist.html The above article has an interesting story about an athlete that illustrates the complexities. https://www.genderspectrum.org/quick-links/understanding-gender/ This article breaks down some terms that help understand the confusion between sexual identity and gender. Identity isn't about doing what is easy, it is about doing what is true to your own self. I don't want to digress too much either but I urge you to do some research on your own to ease the befuddlement and to try and understand things outside of your scope of experience.
  32. 4 points
    Charic <NeedsALastName>: Role - He's a thief, like his father before him. Responsibilities as a thief? He would tell you it is to steal something impressive and get away with it, all while making a name for yourself. That's all he wants to do. 'Great thief' is an important part of his self identity. Relationships - His father was a thief, and he wants to make Daddy proud. If only his father would stick around long enough for Charic to tell him about his OWN adventures. Mother on the other hand is a strong, upstanding citizen, a former ship's captain. She disapproves strongly of Charic hanging around shady characters, and would probably disown him if she found out he followed in her ex-husband's footsteps. Still, as much as they fight he loves both his parents, and wants to make them proud. Status - He's low class, and that bugs him. He has to bow and scrape for every little lordling that passes by. Still, its a free world, and he means to take advantage of the upward mobility that money can buy. Competencies - Charic IS a great thief, when he's in the right mood. But he's past 30 and no one knows his name. They are singing songs about some 17 year old that jacked a bottle of wine from the temple of the God of Celebration, and that kind of thing can mess with a guy's confidence. He always manages to wiggle away from authority though, even if it means leaving a partner holding the bag. How does this lead to internal conflict? Well he sets high expectations for himself, and when he doesn't meet them, he falls into self doubt and despair and drinking, which makes him a worse thief, which spirals into him in a gutter, passed out drunk. A major part of his growth is learning to put less importance on his status and impressing his family, and finding satisfaction for his own sake.
  33. 4 points
    I'll have a book launching on Saturday, at the National Museum of Literature! It's the short stories collection issued as a prize for winning the first place in the literary contest last autumn. I don't like the cover because it doesn't represent my character. But the choice of the cover belongs to the publisher. It's a marketing choice, they say, unrelated to the characters per se, but more with the spirit of the book... The fourth cover comment is done by a famous hispanist, translator from Spanish and Portuguese and writer. She translated Paulo Coelho in Romanian, i.a. Also, since February till May, one Sunday each month I am at a book fair. 🙂 Getting slowly known.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. 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!
  41. 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.
  42. 4 points
    I can add another accomplishment: I found a flash fiction competition three days ago, the deadline was yesterday (it was in German, otherwise I would have advertised it to you). So two days ago I sat down and worked on a flash fiction piece, and yesterday I submitted my very first story ever! I had to includ my pen name and a short author biography, and even though I've been thinking about this kind of stuff for ages (I actually decided on my pen name more than two years ago), this suddenly made it all more real. So I guess I can really call myself a writer now! 🙂
  43. 4 points
    Wow, it looks like everyone’s had quite a few positive things this year!!! For me, I’d say my positive things are— I made a lot of notes and plans for Sapphire Dreaming, my first finished novel. I’m currently working on the second draft! I’ve also started Metanoia, a project near and dear to my heart. I got my first car in April or so!! It’s a cute little Kia Spectra. I’m calling it Whisper, ‘cause it’s very quiet. I can’t drive it yet but I’m super stoked about it anyway 😄 I found a really nice counseling/therapy center that’s helped out with my depression & anxiety a lot. My iron levels went up, so I’m no longer battling a vitamin deficiency!! Im still looking for a new pulmonologist but I have gotten some of my health issues sorted out, and I’m on a new medication that will hopefully help with that!! My sort-of stepdad left in January—he stuck around to help me out after mom died before disappearing while I was sleeping without any word. 🙄 But, the positive side of that is: I’ve come to live with my grandparents while I get my feet back under me, so I’ve gotten to see my extended family way more! I got a Nintendo Switch, after saving up for about a year. I love it dearly. ❤️ And I found a lovely writing buddy in @kherezae Despite a lot of negative stuff that happened this year ultimately there’s been a LOT of positive stuff too!! It was really nice to sit down and think about it, so I’m happy I saw this topic. (And that it was made!!!) Congratulations to everyone and I hope that next year brings just as much, if not more!
  44. 4 points
    I took the difficult decision to quit a study that I couldn't finish because of health reasons. I am also working a lot on my mental health, currently only through daily tarot cards, but in the new year I'm back to going to my therapist. I found people to make a podcast with and we now have 14 episodes aired on all kinds of LARP topics. It's in Dutch otherwise I'd advertise it to you 😛. It's going really well and the community is more excited about it then I had guessed and hoped for. I started the webserial and I was able to do loads of research and background creation in 1,5 months time and then coming as far as 36k before I had to stop. I have started bullet journalling and it's really helping me keep track of multiple things, like savings and my health and stuff, but also daily tarot cards. And I'm now making one completely about tarot card meanings.
  45. 4 points
    - 2 new novels published - 2 novels, a poetry and a short stories volume ready for publishing, to appear in 2019 - poetry published in 2 anthologies (3+4 poems) - short stories published in 3 anthologies and several literary magazines. - First prize won at a literary competition for short stories.
  46. 4 points
    Taekwondo to yellow belt, boo yeah? I remember how to tie the belt, and a couple of the moves, but its all pretty blurring. I was like 10 soooo... I did synchronized swimming for a couple years but I can't see how that would be very useful, it is super specific Lived in a teeny tiny town for summer jobs, out in the wilderness. So some experience being more disconnected and isolated, getting to know your neighbors. That same tiny town was also an old gold rush town, so I learned a lot about pioneers and living rough and carving homes out of wilderness, which I think is useful for a fantasy setting. Oh! And last time I visited I went on a stagecoach ride, which was super educational. Got a video on my up on it, from the drivers perspective. Hotel front desk and exposure to how shitty tired people can be. Editing to add - Helped my mom through a manic episode caused by drug interactions, was very educational experience to see how a person's personality can just be flipped because the dosage of a pill was incorrect
  47. 4 points
  48. 4 points
    Finally decided on a university major after 2 years of debating and questioning myself.
  49. 4 points
    Worldsmyths Advent Calendar Writing Challenge I did a bit of research into Advent, and it turns out there are typically four main themes of Advent. There can be some variation, but I went with a common set of four: Love, Joy, Faith, and Hope. So I've split our Advent Calendar into four arcs with these themes, and I'll post them one arc at a time to give people with complicated holiday schedules a chance to work ahead if they need to. The goal here is to do something small and writing-related every day, in this case based on a brief Advent prompt. I'll be putting the Advent challenges on the calendar, and you can respond to them directly there -- or, if you write flash fic and want to add it to the Library, tag it according to the instructions on the calendar event! I'll keep track of people's entries here. Day 1: Love Flash Fic Heartsong by @LivvyMoore Keeping you awake. by @Kenaron Fleeting by @Mynoris Insomnia by @Manu In Dreams by @kherezae Day 2: Love Magic @Manu (commented) @Mynoris (commented) @kherezae (commented) Rekindled Lies by @LivvyMoore @Penguinball (commented) Day 3: Love Character Trespass by @kherezae @Penguinball (commented) @Manu (commented) Day 4: Love Tradition @Penguinball (commented) @kherezae (commented) @Mynoris (commented) Day 5: Love Plot @Penguinball (commented) @kherezae (commented) Day 6: Love Mythos @Penguinball (commented) Day 7: Joy (Writer's Choice) @Manu (commented) Day 8: Joy Flash Fic Day 9: Joy Magic @Penguinball (commented) Day 10: Joy Character Day 11: Joy Tradition @Penguinball (commented) Day 12: Joy Plot Day 13: Faith Mythos Day 14: Faith (Writer's Choice) Day 15: Faith Flash Fic Day 16: Faith Magic Day 17: Faith Character Day 18: Faith Tradition
  50. 4 points
    In the hopes that Saturdays are a little freer for most people, Advent Saturdays will be for Flash Fic. Write a piece of flash fantasy fiction with a soft word limit of 500 words. (If you go a little over, that's fine, but the goal is to keep it short.) Your challenge response can be posted as a comment on this calendar event, or you may post it in the Library and tag it with "advent day 1" so that I can find it easily! The goal is to get it done December 1st, but late writing is better than no writing, so if you miss the deadline submit it anyway! This isn't a challenge we'll vote on, so there's no need for a hard deadline. Keep track of all the Advent challenges here! Your prompt is an AND/OR situation: "They say when you can't sleep at night, it's because someone is thinking about you." AND/OR