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Everything posted by Manu

  1. Manu

    Worldsmyths Million 2019 Discussion

    Being in Europe doesn't mean you can't participate, in fact we have a lot of members from Europe, myself and one (or even two?) of the mods included πŸ™‚ Worldsmyths million is trust-based, we don't check if you really wrote the number of words you pledged. The challenge is aimed at motivating writers, and working towards a common goal in addition to your individual goal is what we decided to go for as the additional motivation. You win the challenge when you achieve your wordcount goal, the same way NaNo or camp NaNo works. The conditions for winning one of the prizes will be what @JayLee decides they are, since she is the one offering the prizes. The prizes are just additional motivation, they were raffled off between all members who wrote a certain amount of words last year. All of last year's conditions for winning a prize can be found here:
  2. I got Randy Ingermanson's book How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method yesterday. I've only read a couple of pages before going to bed, but it looks good so far! I'll collect my thoughts about it in this thread, and complete my review once I have finished reading it. I have been using the snowflake method before, since Ingermanson has a blog post about it that is very detailed and has all the information you need to use the method. I've seen a lot of people recommend his book anyway, so I decided to read it. First thing that jumped to my eyes: It's not one of the typical, dry non-fiction book - it's set up as a story about a woman who wants to become a writer instead, and it follows her as she visits writing workshops and explores what works for her and what doesn't. So far, it has been a pleasant read that delivers the author's ideas in small and managable chunks, and as those ideas are delivered through a story, he also discusses them by having characters question them and discussing about them. It starts out with interesting thoughts about book marketing and finding your target audience. So far, it looks really good and I'd recommend it to anyone who isn't at war with planning/plotting. Looking forward to reading more!
  3. I agree with what @Elena said about epilogues - there's nothing wrong with them and it can be nice to see where a story is headed after the events in the book. I've seen too many prologues that were done poorly, so I'm sceptical when a story starts with one and expect the worst. They can be useful, though - if a story follows common story structure of character growth, it often starts with the protagonist being weak, which can be boring. A prologue can be a great hook in these cases to show the reader that something important is going on elsewhere and hook the reader before we meet the weak protagonist and their boring old life. And I remember @JayLee said some wise words about prologues in another thread, that they are necessary when adding a prologue eliminates information from the story that makes it cluttered, or when moving information to the prologue is what you need to cut a POV. I'll go digging for that thread and post it this evening if I find it.
  4. Manu

    December 2018 Challenge Voting

    Thank you! I'm quite surprised how this turned out, since in the beginning it looked like Zovi's story was going to win, and she did a great job there, loved it!
  5. Manu

    Worldsmyths Million 2019 Discussion

    Actually I was thinking that people could pick new individual goals each month - like the Muse said, pretty much like six camp NaNo's in a row. Last year, a lot of members went MIA - some signed up and never got back, so I thought it could keep people interested if they pick a new goal each month. If RL happens and you see you'll never meet the goal you set for the six months, it's demotivating, but if each goal is only valid for a month and RL happens, you can simply join in once things are smoother. And if people quit, at least the spreadsheets for the following months will be less scrolling and easier to maintain πŸ˜‰ And people could sign up whenever they want - last year, some joined the forum when the challenge had already started, and they needed to wait until this year. If we do monthly pledges, people could sign up for the following month even when the challenge has already started. I had adjusting daily goals in last year's spreadsheet, and if we stick to pledging for the whole 6 months, I can add a formula that calculates the words per month as well. Or per week.
  6. Manu

    Worldsmyths Million 2019 Discussion

    Concerning the pledges: I like the idea of adding 5k and 10k as pledges. 1100 words/day would be 33k or 34.1k words/month, so we could simply set the maximum pledge at something between 35k and 50k per month. 5k 10k 15k 20k 25k 30k 35k (40k) (45k) (50k) Does that work? Any suggestions?
  7. Manu

    Organizing Your World Building

    I haven't done a ton of worldbuilding so far, but that was also my experience. I did a lot of worldbuilding for my NaNo2016 novel, but I had a timeline when I wanted to work on what and when I'd move on to outlining, so it didn't drag on forever. But it turned out I did a lot of worldbuilding that I didn't end up needing, and while I was writing the story I realized where I needed to worldbuild more. I didn't do a lot of worldbuilding since then, because ny other projects have been set in the modern world or in fairly generic fantasy worlds, so worldbuilding was mostly magic system building or time travel rules building lately.
  8. Manu

    Worldsmyths Million 2019 Discussion

    @Romancegirl you could simply pledge the lowest amount of words available and see how far you get , a lot of members did that last yearπŸ™‚ There's no obligation to write daily, those numbers were just to break down the pledges for 6 months to numbers that are easier to grasp. And the daily numbers would actually have to be divided by 6 if we do monthly pledges this year, so they're even smaller and more managable. Welcome @Autumn, and it's good to have you back, @TricksterShi πŸ™‚
  9. Manu

    What constitutes a steampunk novel?

    I have clearly read way too few steampunk novels - I just feel that there are too few good ones out there! Technology that has a fantasy feel to it is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about steampunk - steam engines, air ships, stuff like that. And even though a lot of subgenres are named -punk, that part of the name actually implies that social justice is a common theme.
  10. Manu

    Daydreaming, Stories, and You

    I guess I'm somewhere in between - I can easily daydream and let my mind wander when I'm feeling well, it's actually where many of my ideas come from, and when I start working on a story idea, my daydreaming revolves around that idea and I start working out scenes, characters and character interactions in my daydreams. I love public transport for daydreaming, at least when it's not too crowded and when I have a window seat. Staring outside without actually looking at anything helps letting my mind wander. Hiking does that even more, but I rarely hike on my own, and my friends often expect me to talk to them πŸ˜› Keeping my hands busy is another thing that works for me, crocheting or working in my garden are monotonous activities that almost work like meditation for me and help to kickstart daydreams. Buuuut... when I'm not feeling well, my daydreams will stop, and my thoughts will start to loop around problems or situations from daily life. Stress is a creativity killer, and managing my stress level has been one of my greatest struggles during the past years. Well, at least I realize that something is wrong when I don't daydream for several days in a row, and I can try to do something about it. Not daydreaming is actually a hint that something is wrong with me!
  11. Manu

    What do you want to write?

    I haven't run out of ideas in a while, just out of time to actually work on any of them πŸ˜› Instead of brainstorming setting and cast elements (like magic and LGTB+), have you considered brainstorming conflicts and themes that interest you? I took an online writing course a while ago and they had one exercise that was about brainstorming the things that matter to you in life and the things you read or watched in media that resonated with you or that stirred you emotionally - those are the themes that will show up in your writing. Doing that exercise was an eye-opener for me, hope it helps spark some inspiration for you as well! And to dig into some neuroscience: Our subconscious will work on stuff for us while we do something else, and every time it has figured out something, it will cross the border to the conscious and manifest itself as that super-inspirational idea that came seemingly out of nowhere. Our subconscious will work on the same things we work on consciously - that's how it knows what the priorities are. So in order to make our subconscious generate ideas, we have to work on generating ideas consciously. So even if you're sitting in front of a blank page, try to brainstorm something, no matter how crappy it is, just to let your subconscious know you want it to work on that! More neuroscience when it comes to brainstorming: Write down all the crap ideas. If your brain has come up with an idea, it will circle around in your head because your brain doesn't want to forget it. Unfortunately, keeping crap ideas alive uses up ressources and makes it less likely that you'll come up with a better one. The solution is to externalize the crap idea by writing it down - it rewards your brain for coming up with an idea, and it frees ressources that your brain can then use to generate another idea. Also, the brain is like a muscle in some ways - it needs to warm up by generating crap before it generates good stuff. Some common brainstorming exercises work with that - write down 15 ideas, then forget about the first 10 and work on the other 5. Or write down all ideas that come to your mind (usually related to a prompt), when you think you're done, come up with 5 more ideas. Hope there's something there that will work for you!
  12. Happy New Year, Worldsmyths! I wish all of you a happy New Year, all the best for 2019, and I hope you will reach your goals and make your dreams come true! Speaking of which: What are your goals for 2019, writing-wise and in life?
  13. Manu

    Why We Don't Post

    None of that should be a reason to shy away from posting - you don't owe anyone who answers in your thread that you finish the story, it's even completely fine to brainstorm with others and then decide that you prefer to write a different story! And... is there such a thing as "the typical fantasy writer"? I don't think so πŸ˜‰ Don't make assumptions about what everyone wants to hear, you might be surprised πŸ™‚ In fact, I think you did bring up a couple of interesting questions in the past and your posts are usually well-thought-out!
  14. Manu

    Reading outside the fantasy genre?

    I love to read dystopy, which is usually marketed as SciFi. Non-fantasy books that I have enjoyed a lot is the Otherland series by Tad Williams - amazing worldbuilding, it's technically SciFi, but has fantasy elements. Dmitriy Glukhovsky's Metro 2033 is another one I'd recommend, the author does a really good job at creating atmosphere and tension - it's set in postapocalyptic Moscow, where the survivors live underground because the surface is pretty deadly after nuclear war.
  15. Manu

    2019 Goals and Resolutions

    I decided that I want to take writing more seriously, and I have several goals how to make that happen: Make my author homepage (high priority), and maybe social media accounts (low priority) Since I submitted my very first short story in 2018, my goal for 2019 is submitting more short stories than in 2018 - I'll still have to make up my mind if I will be fine with two or if I want to set a higher goal. I was planning to finish a novel in 2018, which RL interfered with. I will try to finish the same novel in 2019. I joined a feedback group, and my goal is to actively take part, and see if I can learn something there. Other goals in life: Learn a lot of new stuff in my new editing job (which still isn't 100% sure I'll get, but I hope so!) Take more time for my garden (the same RL stuff that kept me from reaching my 2018 writing goals also kept me from taking care of my garden, so lately it has rather been a jungle). Do a lot of sightseeing and crazy stuff with my new partner. Exercise regularly again and hopefully get rid of my back and neck pain. Enjoy life.
  16. Manu

    Beta Reading Guidelines etc Feedback

    Sounds good, especially the first two. Small detail: Since chapter length is arbitrary and up to the author, I'd prefer a word or page count over a chapter count. I'm neutral about the third one, personally, I don't mind if a newly registered member can view the stuff I put in the library. I don't post stuff there that I'm uncomfortable sharing with people I barely know anyway, but I don't mind implementing this restriction if others feel more comfortable that way. On the other hand (I think I've said this in the other thread kherezae made), reviewing stories in the library is a valid way to earn member status, and people need to be able to access these stories in order to do so.
  17. Hi everyone, I just submitted a story to the library and realized the options for genre, wordcount, feedback request and afterthoughts are gone. Is this intentional? And if it is, I thought they were pretty useful, is there any particular reason they were removed? Thanks!
  18. Thanks @kherezae and everyone else who helped to figure this out! It's back to normal for me now!
  19. Manu

    December Writing Challenge


    So I cheated and combined the Lodestone writing assignment and December writing challenge in one piece. It's tagged, so you should easily find it πŸ™‚
  20. Manu

    2018 Accomplishments

    We have entered the last month of 2018, and while it's probably a bit early to set goals and make New Year Resolutions, let's take a moment and look back on this year! What have you accomplished this year, writing-wise or in general? What did you do this year that makes you happy or proud, no matter if you worked hard for it or were just lucky to be in the right place at the right time? What challenges have you faced, what hurdles have you cleared? Anything else you'd like to share? I'd appreciate if we could keep the general tone of this thread positive - life sometimes sucks, but let's rather pat ourselves on the shoulder for overcoming difficulties than complain about having to face them in the first place πŸ™‚
  21. Manu

    2018 Accomplishments

    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! πŸ™‚
  22. Manu

    They do say to write what you know...

    Thanks πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚ @Tyrannohotep I wasn't aware you have spent that much time in other countries, I'm impressed and a little jealous πŸ˜‰
  23. Manu

    They do say to write what you know...

    That's such an interesting question - in fact I think I just learned a few things about me while I was thinking about an answer, so thanks for the thought-prpvoking impulse! Since I have never thought about this before, most of these are thing I realized just now, I can't recall ever having thought "This will help with a book". Becoming a biophysicist and working in research for a couple of years. It has changed me in so many ways it deserves a bullet list of its own. Since biophysics crosslinks biology, biochemisty and physics, I was trained in all of these and in crosslinking information from different sources that seems unrelated at first sight - I think that helps a lot when it comes to combining ideas or looking at things from a different angle. Analytic thinking. I've always been a rational person, but studying sciences has definitely trained my analytic thinking skills. It helps a lot when it comes to figuring out what doesn't work in a story and why it doesn't work. It's probably also the reason why I am a hardcore planner. Physicists are trained in dissecting an unmanagable problem into smaller, managable ones. Helps with a lot of things in life, but when it comes to writing, it helps me to structure stuff and approach things strategically - connecting the details with the bigger picture, and figuring out which details the bigger picture is made of in the first place. Working in research labs has tought me how to figure out patterns in huge masses of data. That helps a lot when it comes to figuring out story structure. It has also taught me that you have to be critical about your own theories - if you want to publish a paper, you have to be one step ahead to survive the peer review process, you have to ask yourself what weaknesses sceptics will find in your data and design experiments to prove them wrong even before you start writing the paper. Helped a lot with figuring out logic stuff and avoiding or killing plotholes. Also helps with designing magic systems or worldbuilding. Scientific writing. It has shaped my writing a lot, both in positive and negative ways. I have difficulties with embellishing a scene, but I am great at delivering relevant information in the correct order. Other things that have influenced my writing: Roleplaying. It helps with worldbuilding, and also with figuring out coherent character actions (because I was GM most of the time, and had to figure out what the players would/could do in a scene and how to react to that) Mental illness. I know what it means to struggle, and I think that helps with making a character's struggles authentic. Time spent in psychiatric hospital. It was a tough time back then, but retrospectively, it has broadened my mind in so many ways. I met people from all societal classes, who I would have never met otherwise. I gained insight in other people's ways of thinking during group therapy sessions, in a way you rarely get the chance to outside of therapy settings. I learned to analyze and question my own behavioral patterns, and reflected on the events in my life that have made me the person I am today. So many experiences, and I'm sure all of them help when it comes to characterization. Not proud of it, but: Growing up in a dysfunctional family. "Write what you know" implies for me that none of my characters have normal, happy families. I simply don't know how to write one. Rock climbing. I've written a character who is good at climbing before, and I probably wouldn't have without my own experiences. Having a small garden and grwoing my own vegetables. Gives me an idea of how much work it is to feed yourself, and how devastating it can be if something destroys your harvest (I had a rabbit in my garden once - just a sinlge one, but it was very hungry. In another year, it rained so much that the plants grew poorly, and 2018 was incredibly hot and dry. I'm so grateful my survival doesn't depend on my harvest!). Oh, and does saving a cat qualify? My cat is s former stray that I rescued πŸ˜›
  24. Manu

    Recent Updates (and related wonkiness)

    Yay to the limitation to making new topics in the feedback section, thanks a lot! I'm torn about being able to see the brainstorming subforum and the library content - both of those are excellent opportunities to help others out and earn member status by posting valuable input/feedback, but on the other hand I can perfectly understand if members are a bit iffy about sharing their ideas or submissions with just about anyone who just signed up. An additional newby-friendly library section is not necessary, I think, we have a public one. I'm also torn about making it a requirement to review something - we all want genuine feedback that the reviewer has put some thought into, right? Making reviewing a requirement could encourage reviews that don't help because someone just randomly posts "Yeah, I liked this" in order to fulfill a requirement. Archiving the threads in the beta reader forum every now and then sounds reasonable. Can we access the archive, though? 'coz I wouldn't change anything about mine, so I'd love to be able to just copy and paste it - otherwise maybe threads that haven't had any replies for X months could be archived, and we could just reply to our own beta reader profiles with "up to date" every now and then to keep them in the actrive section? About inactive member groups: Not logging in for 100+ days and not posting for 200+ days is not that long - a longer stay at the hospital (I've been in hospital for 3 months myself once) or going offroad for a year and being too busy to write can easily get you there, so I think for deleting accounts the members should be even more inactive than that. Something like not logging in for a year, and then they'd get an automated email that their account is about to be deleted due to inactivity? Oh, and yes, I'd be curious about member stats, too, if you find an easy way to make them available πŸ™‚
  25. Hi guys, I might be overreacting a bit, but I find it incredibly annoying to read those "Want a beta reader" threads by members who just registered and have not posted anything else. Admitted, there's only a new one every couple of months, but they are still annoying. I don't appreciate people coming here, asking for favors but obviously not willing to give anything back or become part of this community. So here's my suggestion: How about adding a minimum amount of posts required before you're able to post there? It could be something as low as 15 or 20, just make it so that the beta reader section is just for members of this community with a reasonable activity. Thanks for reading and (hopefully) considering!