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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 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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!
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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".
  13. 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.
  14. 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!
  15. 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. 😄
  16. 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?
  17. 4 points
    I think mine is plotting, so the author of that article wouldn't like me 🙂
  18. 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)
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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?
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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!
  32. 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.
  33. 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! 🙂
  34. 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!
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. 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
  38. 4 points
  39. 4 points
    Finally decided on a university major after 2 years of debating and questioning myself.
  40. 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
  41. 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
  42. 3 points
    Kids are hitting puberty at age 11 these days, that is far too young to move out. And teenagers brains are still developing, they need a lot of guidance. It would be healthier to remain at home, but with increased boundaries and responsibilities.
  43. 3 points
    Just some things that I've noticed can work: characters who are funny because they take themselves too seriously (the boss in The Office) juxtaposition/contrast and subversion of audience expectations (the killer rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. any kind of contrast. Kronk in Emperor's New Groove subverts the expectations for a henchperson - "My spinach puffs!") humour from a situation. "for want of a nail" - you take a basic scenario, and exaggerate til 11, then keep going! (eg. in Meet the Parents, Ben Stiller has to deal with increasing BS from his judgy in-laws - relatable to most people because they probably have some weird family members, but it's exaggerated to the extreme) humour from common experience (ie. the slug lady in Monsters Inc. is funny because most of us have had to deal with either embittered bureaucratic frontline staff AND/OR annoying overly-friendly customers who want a free pass) characters who cause their own demise (through stubbornness, or stupidity, or being a jerk - see the finale of Seinfeld where almost every single character they've ever wronged turns up for their trial to publicly shame them, because they were terrible people. or, by contrast, Bertie Wooster is continually dragged into his friend's schemes because he's dimwitted and also a pushover.)
  44. 3 points
    The mentor without a clue. So, fantasy has so many tropes, and playing around with them has become more and more popular. Here's a thread for turning the old tropes into something with a comedic twist for inspiration. Pick a trope, any trope. The runaway princess: Instead of having a run-away princess, maybe everything runs away from her. Maybe she loses everything, literally. Not only pets and objects, but she lost a suitor in the garden maze (never to be seen again) and a hand-maiden at the county fair (she probably ran off with the toffee-apple vendor), and now it seems she lost her way back to the castle. Curse? Or is she just careless? It's becoming a real problem though.
  45. 3 points
    I'll have to give that podcast a listen, these were some really interesting questions to work through! How do you fix character voices when you find out that two of them are too similar? I usually run into this problem with side characters that aren't fleshed out or haven't had much page time. I rarely run into it with a POV character since I spend so much time in their head and they become distinctive through each draft. When I fix the issue with a side character it usually entails taking time to draw up their backstory and get a feel for them through that. Then I can bring in nuances through dialogue and their actions. Or I cut them completely if they aren't truly necessary to the story. How can you tell if a character is, in fact, the problem? If I have to constantly go back and double check names and facts about a character and find I'm confusing them then that's a pretty sure sign the character is the problem. Or if my primary beta reader can't keep them straight. Or if I become avoidant about certain passages I know something about them is throwing me off and I have to sit down and pick it apart to find what it is. How do you maintain interest in a character who is largely inactive? Well, short answer is: I don't. As I've gotten older and dealt steadily with depression through my twenties up to now I find my attention span has shortened immensely. If a character doesn't hold my interest and can't be engaging then I either throw a wrench at them or scrap them completely. I don't have the energy to spend on a character who doesn't add anything new or keep the book going. I'll work with them a bit to see if they can shape into a character who pulls their weight within the story, but if they don't I'm not going to keep them around to clutter up the page. How do you write interesting bad guys when your only POV characters are the good guys? I spend time with them behind the scenes. Bad guys or antagonists are the heroes and main characters in their own minds so I will let them take the reins, so to speak, and let them show me who they are. Depending on what their deal is I may need to do extra research so I understand or can empathize where they are coming from. My current villain is a budding teenage serial killer. In his case he is a true sociopath and is unable to feel empathy towards other living creatures or people, but he is able to blend in with his community and fake human emotions and connections very well. Research, in his case, means delving into true crime documentaries and books that focus on the psychological makeup of such a person. His main drive is obsession and without the usual checks and balances of empathy and sympathy the way he goes after what he wants and why is different than other characters. Beyond him there are less extreme antagonists who aren't sociopaths but are ruled by purely emotional factors, such as greed, love, hatred, bigotry, etc... Then I just have to find that same component within myself and explore it. One of the most helpful things I've ever come across to help with all my characters came from this Maya Angelou video: How do you give meaningful challenges to a powerful character? Still working on this for some of my characters. Right now the ones who are powerful are witches capable of greater than ordinary magic but are kept in check by strict laws, societal distrust, and they are outnumbered. Also, delving too deeply into using more magic than one is capable of carries the danger of burning out or going mad. Other challenges I'm currently toying with have to do with individual personal stakes. Power of any kind doesn't come for free, so there has to be consequences for obtaining or using it, and it has a greater impact when the challenge comes from dealing with those consequences. In my current project my main characters obtain a connection to each other that gives them a greater capacity for using magic, however this puts their sanity and social standing in jeopardy, especially with their mother who has finally obtained respect for being a competent and trustworthy witch. In trying to protect their neighbors from the teenage serial killer who is also using magic they have to break laws and rules and then deal with the social fallout. How can you make a normal, everyday character interesting? They have to have something personal at stake in something that I can relate to. Even if they get thrown into the most extreme of fantastical situations a character will get boring if the only stakes are something like, the world is going to literally end apocalypse style. That's fine to use as a plot, but the ordinary character getting through the situation isn't equipped to worry about the large scale event as a whole and nothing else. They have to have something personal that's driving them to survive, like trying to get back to their family or finding a safe zone or finding the cure for their loved one, even just surviving for their own sake. They have to want something and need something, and it's far more interesting if those things are relatable (and at cross purposes because, yay, tension and conflict!). The world going down in flames is not that interesting, but how people deal with it to fulfill their needs and wants is. How do you edit an existing manuscript to give characters interests which mesh with the plot? If it's an old manuscript I would probably take time to go behind the scenes with the characters and establish those interests first, then have the existing manuscript and a new document on screen side by side and just do a massive rewrite. With the way my brain works, if I tried to go in and tweak things here and there I would end up with a knotted mess and even more work. I can do that if the manuscript is 90% complete and I'm just doing touch ups, but those interests are completely absent that has the potential to change the existing manuscript in pretty fundamental ways. I'd feel more comfortable taking it page by page. I actually did something similar to the book I published last year when I had to go in and add things to the plot line that needed to carry forward into book two. It was tedious but kept everything straight in my head.
  46. 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.
  47. 3 points
    From what I vaguely remember, I do remember watching some movies...but they were mostly documentary-types and boring as hell. I think I was in 6th grade history class and I remember learning about Neanderthals, and watching some kind of documentary...and falling asleep, haha. I remember watching The Patriot and The Last of the Mohecans in high school, but it might have only been specific scenes in order to make a specific point regarding the lesson. So, here's what I didn't mention about my hatred of history: in 2012, I was finishing up my first college degree and I had to take a history class. Initially I registered for some history class that I totally would have bombed (thank God for websites like ratemyprofessor.com, because I looked the professor up and he was basically a hard ass and if I remember right very few people passed the class because of it). I told my dad, who works at the school (not as a professor), and he was able to get me into a different class. It was technically an advanced history class, but because it was essentially 100% writing and my best subject is in English (and I had probably taken whatever the prerequisite classes were), I was able to take it. The way this class was structured was perfect for me (except for the fact that it was a night class and I live 20 minutes away so I'd be driving home at like 9:45 PM). You went in, he would talk for a few minutes, we'd hand in our homework (which was responding to the questions at the end of each chapter in the book...let me tell you, some of those questions were weird and ridiculous, though I can't remember specifics any more), and then he'd put in a movie that was related to the chapter that we'd had to read before the class. We watched Gandhi, we watched The Last Samurai, we watched...crap, I can't remember the name of it now. It was like a TV show or something, kind of like a mini series, and it was basically about slavery, but it was an actual movie and not a documentary or anything like that...OH! It was called Roots. We watched like the first and second half (for some reason I don't think we could watch the whole thing...probably because it's so long). You went home, you wrote a response to the movie, and that was it. No quizzes. No tests. No final exams. I did fall asleep in that class a few times, but that was mostly because it was a night class, I was usually coming to class after working a shift, and the lights were off so it was easy to fall asleep during the movies we watched if I was bored. 😛 But the professor never seemed to notice. The only thing we had to do at the end of the semester was a 7-10+ page research paper. I'd never really written a research paper before (I mean, I probably did for an English class, but it had been SEVERAL years since I last took an English class). What I was really worried about was the MLA formatting, because like I said it had been several years since I took an English class and MLA had changed a lot since then. Initially I wasn't very good about keeping my notes and sources organized but I eventually got the hang of it. I wrote about the Irish potato famine, and I had a LOT of help from my uncle who...I think is a former history professor. He had done a TON of research on the famine, so he had all sorts of sources and quotes that I was able to use for my paper. I ended up getting an A- on the paper and an A+ in the class (or something along those lines...pretty sure I got an A+ in the class). I can't remember what the professor wrote on the paper itself but he told my dad that he was really impressed with it, or something along those lines. It was really fun learning about the potato famine (but also depressing because of everything the Irish went through when immigrating to America) because I'd had no idea what the details of it were. I probably have ancestors who came over from Ireland during the famine, so it was cool to have that aspect of it (and I think I mentioned it in my paper). During the same semester, I also took an intro to cultural anthropology class (also not really a class I would have expected to get a decent grade in or have any remote interest in, but it ended up not being that bad) and I think I got a B+ in that class, which got me on the dean's list. tl;dr I really, really love the way this professor structured this class, because it was perfect for people like me who are taking it as part of a requirement for graduation and otherwise have 0 interest in it. I wish more professors would structure it that way instead of expecting everyone to take tests and listen as they lecture and somehow memorize the things they're saying and be able to pass tests.
  48. 3 points
    In terms of writing, I love the fact that you can make any place or vision real via the medium of the fantasy novel. In terms of reading, I love the fact that you can go to all these far flung places where fantastical stuff happens. There's not much I dislike about the genre other than the proliferation of derivative work, themes, ideas etc. But even those I quite like :)
  49. 3 points
    Thanks 🙂 I am pretty impressed that you learned Korean, it must be such a difficult language to learn! Learnig English is actually not that hard as a native German speaker, since both languages are related and English is the one with the easier grammar 🙂 @Tyrannohotep I wasn't aware you have spent that much time in other countries, I'm impressed and a little jealous 😉
  50. 3 points
    @Penguinball, you've got some real neat ones on your list, like the stagecoach ride! Also, I'm sure the experience with your mom was challenging and awful while you were going through it 😞 It's cool that you got something out of it beyond the hard memories. @Manu that's a lot of things, and such a cool analysis of how so many different things in you life have impacted your writing! It's so interesting that you never really thought of it before, but that in investigating the question you were able to recognize so many different ways your life experiences have influenced you as a writer. Also, like I mentioned in mine, I learned Korean, so I'm keenly aware of the challenges of using a non-native language, and can I just say that I'm super impressed that I doubt I'd have any idea your native language isn't English without the little note in your signature?!