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Xanxa

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Xanxa last won the day on February 14

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About Xanxa

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    Psychedelic Purple Chicken

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  • Penname
    Xanxa Symanah
  • Writing History
    Over 40 years
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  1. I think Ingenue is the term you're looking for. There might be another term, but I can't think of it right now and doing a search proved useless. Wiki says that ingenues are usually naive, innocent young women. Maybe there's an equivalent term for males but I can't find it.
  2. I only mention specific rules when they're relevant to a scene, like when a character breaks one and gets into trouble. I also refer to certain sets of rules in passing, but I don't go into massive detail. I have a general code of conduct which all sorcerers have to adhere to. Contravening it could mean blocking or removal of powers in the most severest of cases. Lesser offences usually carry some sort of temporary behavioural restriction. Readers only find out what amounts to a contravention when one happens or when someone is warned against a possible offence. I also have the newcomer trope, whereby someone has to explain a rule or a custom to them. Dealing in dialogue is a better way than straightforward info-dumping, even if it is considered a sneaky info-dump. My characters' voices are distinctive from my narrative style, so hopefully it doesn't come over like a recital of rules. Cultural misunderstandings also happen. Having someone inadvertently cause offence is another good way of revealing to readers. How the accidental insult is dealt with also shows perceptions from the POV of a specific race or sector of society. I also love correcting assumptions. Example - those on the outside often believe that giving the wrong sort of bow or failing to use the appropriate form of address will result in the offender being killed on the spot. This is an extreme scenario which rarely happens but is exaggerated by those outside that particular culture.
  3. Xanxa

    Immortal/Long Living Characters

    Approximate life-spans in my universe are as follows: Mondias – Between 70 and 100 standard years Yttria – Between 70 and 100 standard years Malvania – Between 100 and 150 standard years Varathusia – Between 100 and 120 standard years Sartoria – Between 100 and 150 standard years Viria – Between 120 and 200 standard years However, those with the powers of sorcery or those who are otherwise genetically enhanced can live beyond these approximate projections. Some of my characters have existed for millennia. Some have lived multiple lifetimes while retaining the memories of all their previous lifetimes. Some can manipulate time and therefore extend their life-span. The longer-lived characters have a fondness for imparting their wisdom to the younger characters. Such wisdom isn't always well received. Some of my long-lived characters have learned to predict patterns of behaviour so well that they become expert manipulators, able to influence people and thus change the course of events to something more favourable for those they care about and have a duty to protect. I find the manipulation aspect fascinating and I explore this in many of my novels. I'll have certain characters plotting behind the scenes, bringing factions together or setting factions against each other, while remaining in the background unnoticed or disregarded. They only make themselves known in times of need. I also have what I call Ascended Masters, those who don't pass into the Beyond (neutral afterlife, not a heavenly or a hellish place) in the usual way but due to a consensus of the Gods, they are permitted to ascend, ie, become beings of pure energy, almost like Gods themselves. Ascended Masters can take mortal form when they choose, although when they first ascend, they have to learn how to manipulate their energy to interact with the physical world. Not all my long-lived characters and Ascended Masters are grim purveyors of doom or boring relayers of tedious anecdotes. Claude loves scandal and gossip so he'll work as much of it as possible into his history lessons. Kvyrt Elygiak is known as the Trickster for good reason. He enjoys practical jokes and will often prank people by impersonating others or even by becoming an annoying buzzing insect.
  4. Glad the dog survived, but poor jester. A jester is often more than mere entertainment. Sometimes he's a spy or even an assassin. So Odious might have a harder job than he expected in trying to dispose of the jester.
  5. I should have mentioned this in my above post, but only thought of it later. One of the things that annoys me about the fantasy genre is the stereotype of attractive protagonists and their equally attractive partners, coupled with the ugly/scarred/disfigured villains. I have to admit to sighing and rolling my eyes at yet another incomparable beauty and a ruggedly handsome leading man. With that in mind, I prefer more realistic characters. I will have some who are attractive, but I still try to give them small flaws, like for example, Anwyn is definitely alluring, but in an ungroomed way. She has unruly eyebrows and hair and she hates dressing up. Her mouth is a little too wide and her chin juts out like her father's. She disdains young classically handsome men. Her first husband is in his sixties when they marry. She is sixteen. Her second husband, who she marries two years later, is in his early fifties. Both have terrible dress-sense, according to Anwyn's best friends. I also have a culture where being on the plump side is considered beautiful.
  6. I've never understood all the hate and criticism that prologues get. So many accusations of bad writing, info-dumping, self-indulgence on the part of the author ... need I go on? I never skip a prologue in a book that I'm reading for pleasure. Or an epilogue. I consider them valid parts of the book, chapters by another name. As for my own writing, I've done two first chapters which could be considered prologues, though I've named them "Chapter 1" in each case. The one in "The Sunshine Acolyte" is vital for both character-building and setting up of plot. In retrospect, I could have done without the one in "Malachi's Law" but I consider it a sort of background/scene-setting that helps the reader to understand the locale and culture where the story begins. I've never felt the need for an epilogue in any of my novels. Interestingly enough, epilogues don't seem to get as much bad press as prologues.
  7. This sums up my thoughts on the genre too. With that in mind, I always include diversity. I have several distinct races and cultures, plus I also have disabled characters, gay and lesbian characters and transgender characters. I prefer to have morally grey characters rather than clearly defined heroes and villains. While I do have a few classic heroes and villains, I prefer to leave it up to readers to decide which character or team to root for and which to boo. In some of my novels, the concept of enemies is quite vague. The "enemy" might be a series of obstacles and challenges preventing the protagonist from reaching their goals. Or it might be the protagonist him/herself, being their own worst enemy, plagued with doubts or doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.
  8. I mentioned elsewhere that I've got several of his books. I've not heard of this one though. Sounds like it's more on the sci-fi side. I'll have to search for this book and have a look at reviews, see if it would be my kind of thing.
  9. I love comic relief characters. I think they play a crucial part in bringing some light relief as a contrast to the many darker scenes in fantasy novels. My friend and fellow author, Marie Andreas, works a lot of comedy into her fantasy novels. Even some of her more challenging scenes are sprinkled with humour. It makes for an easy and lively read. It's hard to pin down characters in movies and TV shows who are only there for comic relief. I find Tyrion Lannister (Game of Thrones) amusing. His witty sarcastic delivery and often self-deprecating humour is awesome. In the books, there's even more of it. But there's also a darker and more serious side to him, so I can't say he's purely there for comic relief. I also loved Murdoch in the original A-Team TV show. His habit of talking to himself or to a sock puppet, for example, is hilarious. I love the way the rest of the gang have to bust him out of the mental institution when they need him to fly his helicopter on missions. In the movie version, Sharlto Copley does a great job of reinterpreting his character. And now for my own characters: Lyle Menehari has a penchant for the theatrical, no surprise that he ends up being a drama teacher as well as a spy and assassin. I have him making exaggerated gestures, giving ridiculous speeches and even conveying serious issues in a comedic way. Ignacio Ingrao is supposed to be a fearsome villain but I've made him a figure of fun. He deliberately plays the idiot and behaves in a shameless and inappropriate manner, especially in public. His clumsy lewd behaviour hides a keen intellect. Behind closed doors, he is a warm and loving parent and he treats his household staff like close friends rather than servants. Kvyrt Elygiak (also known as the Trickster) has a fondness for practical jokes and a vicious scathing sense of humour. He makes no concessions to polite behaviour and he cultivates a deliberate ungroomed appearance. Even when has to attend formal occasions, his robes will be crumpled and he prefers to hover above a conference table rather than sit in his allotted chair. My favourite comedic character has to be Luigi Nentofore. I introduce him as an eccentric street-dweller who dresses only in bandages and scraps of fabric. He loves leaping off high buildings and doing other acrobatic stunts. Later, I give his back-story that he was once a famous motor racing driver until he met with an accident which caused him to give up professional driving. He then became a circus acrobat and finally ended up living rough on the streets in a deprived district, despite the fact that he comes from an extremely wealthy family. They don't neglect him. He chooses that lifestyle out of personal preference. He has a childish manner of speaking and often repeats himself. He also loves using beds as trampolines. As with the others, his silliness hides his underlying intelligence. When he slips out of his childish persona and behaves like a proper adult, it comes as a surprise, especially to those who don't know him well.
  10. Xanxa

    Age of main characters

    I have a wide range of ages for my characters. I write multi-generational family sagas, which by their very nature have to include more than adolescents and twenty-somethings. Using older characters to explain traditions, rituals and other issues is a neat way of avoiding the dreaded info-dump, since it can be dealt with in dialogue, giving insight into characters along the way. I love my older characters. Some of them have lived multiple lifetimes and have great wisdom and knowledge to impart. One of my main historian characters teaches his students the "real" version of history which he has lived through, pointing out the discrepancies in the santised version which appear in history books. Also older characters have some great eccentric habits and quirks which can be fun to write. I often take a character from birth or early childhood and chart their life into adulthood. I like to show how they develop their personalities, preferences and moral stance, also how they react to certain situations and learn from them. Or don't learn, as the case may be. I also try to stay away from the "young and beautiful" cliches of fantasy characters. Not all of them are classically attractive. Many have flaws and scars and I make sure they're not all slender and elegant. To me, variety is the key to creating interesting and memorable characters.
  11. Xanxa

    Organizing Your World Building

    The Winchesters are fine young men, a little young for me but still cool. I have to confess a liking for Bobby and also a strange fascination with Crowley. I'm actually writing Crowley in a fanfiction crossover. He's been busy turning people into mice and dragons. Great fun!
  12. Xanxa

    Daydreaming, Stories, and You

    I sense a new topic emerging soon.
  13. Xanxa

    Organizing Your World Building

    Still laughing at how Dean Winchester managed to sneak his way into this discussion! I've been building my universe for around 30 years. To keep consistency, I started writing a sort of guidebook, like a Lonely Planet guide, dealing with geography, history and culture. Over the years, it's grown with each new novel that I write. When I started my blog a few years ago, I was stuck for what to include in it. I didn't want to blog about the process of writing, as I felt that would only interest other writers, and not be of interest to potential readers. So I picked topics from my guidebook and turned them into blog posts. You can find them in The Virian Chronicler along with some freebie stories that I wrote in collaboration with other authors. The guidebook posts are among the earlier blog posts but there's a search facility so you can type in keywords like "culture" or "planets" to find them. In fact, I'll make it easier for you: Fenian Culture
  14. Xanxa

    What do you want to write?

    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.
  15. Xanxa

    Daydreaming, Stories, and You

    I daydream a lot, especially when I'm on my way somewhere or stuck in a waiting room before an appointment. I can't imagine what it would be like NOT to daydream. Some of my daydreams are about my novels. I play out scenes from them in my head like a movie. I know what most of my characters look like, even if their faces aren't totally clear. I can imagine their voices, the different accents and slang they use, their mannerisms when talking, even down to the way they walk. Sometimes I'll experiment with a new scene, one I haven't written. Only a few of these scenes make it into novels because most of them are unrelated to the plot. I also imagine conversations with people I'd like to meet. Not only celebrities but some of my online friends. Also when I see someone in the street who intrigues me, I imagine having a conversation with them and getting to know them.
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