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  • Birthday 07/31/1985

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  1. We have had two submissions for the September challenge! Please take the time to read and vote, and perhaps leave a few words of feedback. The Cat Lady by jessikanesis Candlenights Crystal by Jessitiz Do not vote for yourself. Voting will end on October 10th, unless there is a clear winner before the 10 days are up. The writing challenges will be on hold until NaNoWriMo is over, but please check out and participate in our other topics.
  2. That's exactly what I was getting at. I was reading a crime novel a few weeks ago and one of the main characters was black... and we literally were told about 5 times in the first chapter that he was a muscular black man and then it was never mentioned again. None of the other characters got that level of description, (although it was implied that most of them were white) but it just came across as very forced. Like the writer was jumping up and down screaming "LOOK! I'm not racist because I have a black character in my novel! GO ME!" It could be a personal thing but it just doesn't feel right to me.
  3. You misunderstand. It's not that it has to be justified, it's when it is made a big deal of for absolutely no reason. I mean, why even mention race if it's not relevant? I have read quite a lot of books and stories where a character's skin colour is *never* specified - because in those stories it just didn't matter! Edit: To try to give an example of what I mean, it would be like me picking up a novel and there's a couple of pages where an autistic character is introduced - "Hey, this is Joe and he's autistic" - and then Joe just sits there doing nothing or disappears for the rest of the novel... the autism isn't explored, it isn't relevant to the plot in any way. He is literally just in there so the author can pat themselves on the back for putting a 'different' character in their book. What's the point?
  4. For me, I don't like things that feel forced. Like I might be reading a novel and it's made really clear that a character is black/gay/transgender/female etc. but it actually has zero relevance to the plot - it's like the author threw it in there to prove that they are so open-minded or to try and appeal to a wider audience, when actually it's just lazy writing. It kind of makes me think about Harry Potter and the whole 'Dumbledore was gay' thing. I can honestly say that while reading the series, Dumbledore's sexuality never even crossed my mind. It has no relevance to the character or the plot in any way... so why come out with it after the books are already published? I suspect because she was criticised for only writing straight characters so she threw that out there to try and prove something. I never thought she was a great writer, but I lost a bit of respect for her after that. In my world, personally, the majority of humans are fair-skinned. The majority of people in power are male; with women taking a more submissive role. That's how my world ended up and I won't apologise for that. However, half of my main characters are non-human and several do have various degrees of mental health issues. One character is autistic. One is basically a psychopath. Another has PTSD and psychotic episodes. As far as sexuality goes - I have characters who are straight, gay, one who is pansexual, and two asexuals. None of these things were forced, they were developed as part of the characters... I never sat down and thought 'I'm autistic, so I am going to write an autistic character'. He just developed that way. All of my characters developed as their own people. I could throw a black character into the mix, or add more female characters, or whatever. But if I did, it wouldn't add anything to my story, it would be in there solely to please those who would criticise. And I just don't believe in doing that. That's just my way.
  5. We have had three submissions for the July challenge! Please take the time to read and vote, and perhaps leave a few words of feedback. A Thief's Price by Jedi Knight Muse Not So Alone by Sheepy-Pie The Game by Silver Do not vote for yourself. Voting will end on August 10th, unless there is a clear winner before the 10 days are up. The August challenge will be posted some time today by Sheepy-Pie
  6. Challenge is now closed. Thanks to everyone who submitted!
  7. Jonas, my sorceror, is autistic like I am. Very intelligent, very into books and learning things, a fountain of knowledge basically. But poor social skills, incredibly blunt and direct, and very much a loner. I didn't intend for him to be autistic (and autism doesn't actually exist in my fantasy world) but after writing him for a while I just realised that he basically was.
  8. I do feel that - in general - writing short stories can be difficult. Regardless of genre, you have to put in enough details to make the reader care about the setting, the characters, the conflict... and you have limited scope to do that so it can be tricky. But it can be done, and done well. Personally I think that some fantasy novels focus too much on world building - I liked Lord of the Rings but it dragged in places, and the little bit I read of GoT... I just got too confused by all the families and the characters and the politics... Sometimes less is more. There's also the question of what exactly *is* a short story? I mean, 1000 words gives you little to work with, but 10,000 words could give you quite a lot of room to build on details... and both technically qualify as 'short stories'. I think I kind of get the point she is trying to make, but it's just too narrow-minded for me to agree with.
  9. Title: The Game Word count: 1800 words Summary: When the tables are turned, fun turns nasty. (Contains dark themes but nothing too graphic) Link to story: http://forum.worldsmyths.com/index.php?topic=1623.0 Do you want feedback after voting ends? General thoughts are always appreciated.
  10. "This is a gift,” Lena knew they were going to come for her. It was only a matter of time before her luck ran out. For years she had depended on her good looks, her sharp tongue, and – for when things got out of hand – her father's fortunes to keep her out of too much trouble. She seduced men easily and discarded them when she got bored, blackmailing some of them, abusing others. One drowned himself after she laughed at his public declaration of love. She prided herself on seducing married men, giving them what they weren't getting at home. It was all fun and games; if the occasional family was hurt in the process, that wasn't her fault. But her behaviour gained her many enemies. And those who lived in the shadows played their own games. “it comes with a price,” It started when she seduced Milo Blackwall, a merchant who was travelling through her town. A passionate lover, handsome and wealthy, Lena found the tables turned against her, discovered herself wanting more of him, developing feelings for him. But he was married with children, and made no secret of the fact that he was happy. “What we have is just a bit of fun,” he told her bluntly. “Something to do when I am away from home and the nights are cold and lonely.” Never one to give up, Lena pulled out all the stops. She gave him gifts, used the power of her body to lure him in, even sought the services of a well-known witch to ensnare him with magic. Yet it was in vain. The more she clung to him, the more Milo started to regret their association and attempted to pull away. When his business was concluded, he left without even saying goodbye. Lena – used to getting what she wanted – was heartbroken and furious in equal measures. Seducing a young mage, the son of her father's best friend, she convinced him to scry for her lover's location. “Old family friends,” she explained, smiling winningly. The boy, fallen under her spell like so many before him, obeyed willingly. And so it was that several weeks later, Lena arrived in the big city of Edea and on her lover's doorstep. “I'm having a child,” she told the horrified merchant. “It could be anyone's child,” came the harsh reply. “You will not blackmail me.” “Really?” she pouted, twirling a lock of long black hair around her finger. “Perhaps I should have a talk with your wife, see what she thinks.” “You conniving whore!” he hissed furiously. “What do you want from me – money?” “Of course not!” Lena was insulted by the suggestion. Leaning forward, exposing her ample cleavage, she stroked his arm tenderly. “I want you. We are meant to be together.” Trapped in a corner, he thought quickly on his feet. “Very well. I do not want to hurt my family, but if you take lodgings in the city, I promise I shall come and see you as often as possible.” It was not exactly what she wanted, but it was a start. “That will do... for now.” The final two words hung ominously in the air. “Who is the lamb...” Trapped in a corner, with a mistress who was claiming pregnancy, demanding attention and flaunting their relationship for her amusement, Blackwall turned to darker sources for help. In a dirty tavern in the heart of the city, he met a man with the scarred face and a heavy bag of money changed hands. In his desperation, he summoned the Fanged Circle – the most notorious assassins, known as merciless killers. As the gold changed hands, Lena's fate was sealed. Knowing of her past, of the countless conquests who had been harmed by her selfish actions, Milo Blackwall made a specific request. No quick and easy death, but a game – to match the games she had played with so many others. At last she would encounter opponents who she could not seduce or bribe, who would turn the tables and hunt her as prey, toying with her relentlessly. All fun and games. A lamb to the slaughter. It started with a red rose, left by her bedside as she slept. Lena smiled, believing it to be from her lover – but her smile became a scream as she realised that the petals of the beautiful flower was slippery with fresh blood. The next day, the corpse of a dead raven appeared amongst her clothing. The beast's throat had been slit, and specks of crimson fluid were splattered over her most expensive dresses. That someone was creeping in and out of her room while she slept was terrifying. In a panic, lost in a strange city, Lena ran to her lover for protection, only to find his house empty and his shop closed. He had taken his family away for a while, a helpful neighbour informed her. As she navigated the busy marketplace, her pink cheeks wet with tears, she felt eyes watching her from the shadows. But when she turned around, there was no one there. Next came the threatening notes. We are watching you. It will be soon. One piece of parchment merely held a symbol; a roughly drawn circle with a fang in the centre. This time she went to the city guard for protection. The man looked at the notes and his face instantly drained of colour. “You have been targeted by the assassin's guild,” he told the terrified woman. Seeing her confusion, he went on reluctantly: “They run this city from the shadows. Once someone has been marked by them...” “What can I do? You have to help me!” The guard looked around helplessly and then shrugged. “All I can suggest is that you make immediate arrangements to leave the city as soon as possible. In the meantime, I will arrange with the captain to have two men watch over you.” “That will help? They won't follow me?” He could only shrug, unable to bring himself to tell this pretty young woman the truth: that one who was marked could never escape. “and who is the knife?" Lena returned to consciousness slowly, her head pounding. Everything was dark. She was lying on cold, wet straw. Pulling herself in a sitting position, her hands touched cold stone and she shivered. Where was she? Memories came back to her slowly... her conversation with the city guard, her panicky search for a caravan or a group of mercenaries who would escort her back to her town, hopefully far away from whatever monsters were hunting her. She remembered the wine that had been brought to her room. Thick and red, expensive. “A gift,” the innkeeper had explained gruffly, and Lena had asked no further questions. She was used to receiving gifts from admirers, expected it as her right. She should have known better. “You're awake,” a voice from the shadows startled her. It was deep, male, but that was all she could tell. “I hope the accommodation is to your liking.” “W-where am I?” “We call this 'the gauntlet'. It's a series of tunnels that run beneath the city, a way for those of us who wish to stay invisible to remain unseen.” His tone was calm and steady; they could have been having a conversation in a tavern. “A place for people to disappear.” Alone in the darkness, with a man she could not see, Lena knew true fear for the first time in her life. “Why am I here?” she whimpered. “Why me?” There was a long pause. The only sound was something scuttling across the stone floor. “Because every human is capable of cruelty under the right circumstances. Force someone into a corner and they get desperate. They come to us and we can make the problem... go away.” “I can go away. You don't... have to kill me. I promise, I will leave and I will never come back. Tonight. Please don't kill me. I don't want to die!” “No one ever does,” the voice said, dispassionate despite her pleading. “Think about the damage you caused, the people you hurt. Did they deserve it?” “No!” Lena sobbed openly, her body shaking. “No, it was my fault, I was wrong, I'm so sorry.” “A pity it has taken you until now to realise it. Of course, people will say anything when death comes knocking on their door.” Again there was a long silence. She heard him moving this time, the sound of boots on the hard floor. “I want to play a game. You like games, don't you, Lena? Except in this game, you aren't playing with people's feelings – you are playing for your life.” The sound of a key turning in a lock. A clatter as the rusty steel door swung open. For the first time, a small hint of light from a magical burning torch beyond. Lena caught a glimpse of him, though he wore a long black cape and his head was hooded. She only noticed the flash of a gold ring on the middle finger of his left hand. “Here are the rules; I will let you run. If I catch you - you die. Find your way out and you get a second chance. I will even give you a sixty second head start.” Lena nodded and swallowed back her tears. Not looking back, she ran through the door and down the stone steps. An intersection; not stopping to think, she picked left. Rats darted from her path as she fled down the passage, out of breath, bare feet aching as the slapped against the stone. Right – a dead end. Everything was so shadowy, and she could barely see in front of her face. But she could sense him behind her. The more she stumbled around in the maze of the dark tunnels, the realisation dawned on her – he was not going to let her leave. It was a game she could not win. Losing her footing, she tumbled down into a deep pit. Landing at the bottom, winded, Lena was terrified to realise that she was lying on a pile of bones and rotting flesh. The smell and the sliminess against her bare arms made her gag. Desperately she scrabbled around, trying to find a foothold, some way to pull herself out, but there was none. No way out. Just slippery stone and the dim magical light far, far above her. “Game over,” the voice said impassively. “You lose.” Her screaming continued long after the light faded, leaving her alone in total darkness with only the rats for company.
  11. July Writing Challenge July 1st - 31st Prompt: Freewrite Hi everyone! We recognise that the summer months can be extremely busy for some people. So this month we are basically doing an open prompt. Share a scene from a current project, or a short story you have been wanting to write. If you need some inspiration, feel free the browse here for prompts and ideas: http://forum.worldsmyths.com/index.php?board=32.0 If you have any other questions about the challenge, please reply to this post! Wordcount: 5,000 word maximum. Please remember, this is just a maximum, meaning that you do NOT have to write 5,000 words, it just means that you can't surpass it. Submission deadline: Tuesday, July 31st 2018, by 11:59 PM GMT-5 (11:59 PM EDT). If you already have something written, you CAN and are encouraged to submit it to the challenge! Voting will be posted on Wednesday, August 1st, 2018. All entries should be submitted to the writing challenge submission forum, using the submission form. You are allowed to submit your challenge via Google doc link or by uploading a Word doc to a response to this post as an attachment. Remember, all entries must fit the fantasy genre. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask either here in the thread or send one of us a PM! Good luck! Please respond to this post with the following information filled out in order to submit your entry: [b]Title:[/b] [b]Word count:[/b] [b]Summary:[/b] [b]Link to story:[/b] [b]Do you want feedback after voting ends?[/b]
  12. Title: Hall of Lost Souls Word count: 990 words Summary: A visit to the afterlife... Link to story: http://forum.worldsmyths.com/index.php?topic=1556.0 Do you want feedback after voting ends? Only very generally, nothing specific. I don't plan to work on it any further.
  13. A little girl sat beside the pond, keeping a silent vigil. A pretty child, only around six summers old, her blue eyes gazed unfalteringly into the still waters. She was alone in solitude, but anybody looking over her shoulder would have seen the reflection of a young man – raven-haired and handsome. Her beloved older brother, still in the world of the living. She was almost motionless, but every so often she would dip a small hand into the water, as though attempting to breach the gap between their worlds. Everything was dark and silent. He felt light, almost as if he was floating in the middle of nowhere. It was unsettling. Touching his arm, he was reassured to feel firm flesh – but his fingers came away sticky with what he knew was blood. Yet there was no pain, just a relaxing bubble of shadows. They had been fighting, he remembered that much. There had been a vicious storm, roaring thunder and flashing lightning. They had been vulnerable to it, up there on the high mountain tops. And the dragon, a huge beast with scales seemingly made of steel, barring their way to the temple. It has swung its massive tail and the pain as it connected with his side had been indescribable. And then? Nothingness... “Hello?” he called out on impulse. “Is anybody there?” His voice echoed back, the only response, and he was overcome by a crushing sense of isolation. Wherever he was, he was alone. For lack of any other course of action, the warrior just walked. And kept walking through shadows that reached out with long fingers. He could feel the damp chill through his torn shirt. There was no way of telling how long he walked for, but after what seemed like forever, a small dot of light appeared on the horizon. More agitated than he cared to admit and desperate for answers, he almost ran towards it. The light grew more intense, forcing him to cover his eyes for a moment. When he removed his arm, he discovered that the dark tunnel had opened into a massive hall. Huge pillars of stone extended far above his head; so much so that he felt as though they were never-ending. Weeds poked up through the stone floor and vines wrapped their coils around everything within reach. The whole place felt neglected. But it was not empty. Shadows floated around in the distance, vaguely humanoid shapes which took no notice of him at all. “Where am I?” he asked out loud, to them, to no one, just needing to hear a voice. “The Hall of Lost Souls.” The soft voice was one he remembered well, and heard often in his dreams. In a daze, he slowly turned his head and saw the little girl materialise beside him. “Lucia?” “Kane.” Her voice was so tender, filled with so much love. Dropping to his knees, the warrior swept her up in his embrace. She felt as light as a feather, but still solid enough to touch. “I've been watching you, big brother. I knew you would make it here sooner or later.” “Am I... dead?” “Almost.” A tiny smile touched her lips, but it was strained. A smile of sadness. “This is where the dead come and wait – to be collected.” “Collected?” “So they can go on to the other side. The Realm of the Gods is supposed to be through those doors. They say if you are denied, your soul remains on this plane forever.” “In that case - ” he ran a calloused hand through her hair, a gesture which has always comforted her when they were both children, “ - why are you still here, Luc?” “The doors never open any more. Some of these spirits, they have been waiting for fifty years, a hundred, maybe even longer. Eventually you fade and become only a shadow, forgetting everything of your past life.” Her voice held traces of childish terror. He looked around at the gloomy, forgotten place, lost and abandoned by the gods. “It's all right. I'm here, we're together now, everything will be just fine.” She clung to him for a long moment, and he had a sense of what she was going to say before the words were spoken: “No. You're not dead yet; you still have the opportunity to go back.” “I want to stay here. I don't want to lose you again, Luc...” “Sssh,” she touched a finger to her lips and looked at him, her gaze so sweet that he wanted to cry. “It's not your time yet, big brother. You still have so much to do. The world needs you and you must live for both of us.” “But - ” “Your friends are there. They need you now, much more than I do. When the time is right, I will still be here.” Lucia took his hand. Her fingers were so small, much smaller than he remembered. Had he really grown so much? “I love you, big brother.” “I love you too, little sister.” Before his eyes she faded away, her body becoming a fine mist. Everything around him went black. “I'll always be watching...” her tiny voice whispered. “Lucia!” he cried out, but his words were swallowed up by the surrounding darkness. She had gone. “Kane?” Another voice called from far away, this one agitated and panicky. It sounded familiar but he could not quite place it, except that it was female. “Kane – please wake up. Please!” There were other familiar voices, all equally strained: “Is he dead?” “The bleeding has slowed down.” “His pulse is stable now. Give him some room.” The sharp pain hit him, an intense throbbing in his side. He groaned and his eyes flickered open.