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Everything posted by Tyrannohotep

  1. I'd say that's a good book to get you started on your reading journey. I admit that I'm biased more towards the movie since that's what I grew up on, but I do like how the book is able to explore the setting and certain concepts in greater depth than the film could fit into its running length.
  2. I'm still plugging away at my main WIP. Right now I'm a little over halfway through Ch. 19, out of a planned 30 or so. However, I admit that I've lost a lot of my steam over the whole endeavor, and I haven't had much luck in rekindling my inspiration. I know the saying that writing is more perspiration than inspiration, but I'm one of those people who does their best when they have genuine passion driving them. I could never force myself into productivity. I would blame most of my current burnout on a loss in confidence, especially since the first draft is turning into a real mess with only the vaguest sense of direction. There's also the "alternate history" nature of my story, which means it's set in our world despite a few key historical divergences (well, that and a few mythological elements thrown into the world, such as gods and dragon-like monsters). The challenge I've always had with writing any historical fiction is that it's very much playing in somebody else's sandbox with toys that are not your own. You have to stay as true to the historical reality as possible, and very often there's so much you need to know before you can start writing. There are so many stones you can't afford to leave unturned, even ones you didn't know were there to begin with. You might think that, in alternate history, you could get away with more creative license than traditional historical fiction. That's true as far as the major timeline divergences are concerned, but even those require you to consider all these real historical factors that would affect the "alternate outcome". That leaves you with yet more of those damned stones to turn. It all requires an overwhelming level of work. So much that I don't think I am up to the task anymore. Some authors can do historical fiction or alternate history very well, but I'm nowhere near their level. Maybe I bit more than I could chew with this entire project. Or maybe I need some more encouragement. UPDATE: Nah, going to keep on going anyway. I have way too many of these recurrent down moments that end up subsiding after a few hours.
  3. Were they also concerned about God being played by somebody not of Palestinian descent, by any chance? I'm just sayin', if you insist on Biblical accuracy when it comes to casting the part, gender isn't the only thing you should take into account.
  4. Going by gut instinct alone, I would choose my-as-ma. Thing is, I've had a lifelong problem with mispronouncing words like those because I always try to pronounce them as they're written. When I was younger, for example, I would pronounce "chemical" starting with a "ch" sound like in "change" or "China". It's even worse when I have to pronounce all those foreign words with accented letters, or even those with letters that don't exist in the English alphabet. Recently, I saw a German word with a letter that very much looked like a funky variation of "B", but then I found out that the letter represented a sound that was nothing at all like "B". It made me wonder why they even went to the trouble of inventing a whole new letter instead of, you know, choosing lettering that matches the sound. (That seems to be a theme with all the Germanic languages other than English, come to think of it. Those Scandinavians sure love their crossed O's.)
  5. I'm sorry to say that I think this story could stand to use some proofreading. There are a lot of grammar mistakes, for one. I do like the concept of the serpentine character though. Was Toxus seeing visions in the snake's eyes inspired by the Kaa scene from Disney's recent Jungle Book remake, by any chance? It reminded me of Kaa using her powers of hypnosis to show Mowgli his backstory.
  6. My favorite part of the writing process has to be the part where you get to create your own world and its inhabitants. You can paint whole landscapes or scenes and then populate them with characters doing interesting things, all with little more than simple words. It isn't easy by far, but it can be rewarding when you manage to overcome the difficulties and pull it off. Writing is also a medium that helps me speak my mind in a way that entertains people or at least grabs their attention. Sometimes I'll have an idea that I really want to share with people, so I'll build a little story around it for readers to enjoy. Other times, it gives me an opportunity to show people how I see the world and its history (the same applies to my visual art as well). Creativity in general is a wonderful tool for self-expressive communication.
  7. Not to mention that "evil" is a subjective concept anyway. Different cultures have different ideas of what qualifies as good or evil. To some people, genociding certain other populations of humanity would be considered a moral necessity, whereas others may turn a blind eye to rape if the target "deserves it". If anything, a lot of the behavior most of us would consider evil actually came about from people who had convinced themselves they were doing the right thing. In some cases, sure, their agendas were actually self-serving, but they were still able to make themselves and others think they had altruistic motives. The numerous examples of nations invading others to "civilize the savages" or "pacify the barbarians" while claiming their natural wealth come to mind. Hell, to tie it back into the theme of religion, a lot of the violent religious fanaticism seen throughout history was driven by people who felt the world would be a better place if everybody followed the same religion.
  8. That's a very good way of looking at it. That said, I think "portal fantasy" turns some people off because of the formula commonly attached to it. One exemplar of this basic formula that I remember was a movie I saw as a teenager about some white American high-school boy who ended up in ancient China. It was a coming-of-age story where he tagged along with a bunch of heroic martial artists (one of them played by Jackie Chan, of course) and helped them save the land from the bad guy. Another movie I saw with almost this exact same formula was the animated Flight of Dragons. The fantasy land this time was more traditional medieval European fantasy, but it was still about a young modern-day dude who landed in this realm and saved the day with the help of local heroes and wizards. Point being, that's the formula most people associate with portal fantasy. Young dude from the modern day finds himself in another world, he becomes the hero saving the world from a bad guy, and then returns home. Admittedly, that's the sort of adventurous fantasy many young men find appealing at a gut level, for very understandable reasons. I myself would be lying if I hadn't felt the same way myself in my youth. But formulas like that aren't going to get you praise for suspenseful novelty in storytelling.
  9. Cosigning this. Though even with regards to Europe, only certain cultures from that subcontinent get represented a lot in fantasy. Usually northwestern ones like England. That's why I will give the Witcher franchise a little credit for exploring the eastern (as in Slavic and Romanian) part of Europe for a change.
  10. These are all fair points everyone raised here. I wished I had considered them before making this thread.
  11. It used to be that once a kid became a teenager, they were considered sufficiently grown to leave their parents' home and take on adult responsibilities and autonomy. Nowadays, we force teens to live with their parents for another few years so that they can go to high school. Only after they graduate from high school can they go on to college and enjoy their delayed autonomy. If you think about it, this makes no sense. Your average teenager already wants to get out of the house and live as an adult long before their high school graduation. Forcing them to endure four or more years of parental domination does them no favors. Furthermore, there are few things they learn in high school that they won't learn from more qualified educators in college. The way I see it, the modern high school is superfluous and should be abolished. Instead, we should send our kids straight to college the moment they hit puberty. That way, they would get to spend a larger proportion of their youth out in the world as free and independent adults. Who's with me?
  12. I plead guilty to having themes of racism, sexism, and xenophobia in my WIP. Usually, it's the unsympathetic characters that express those sentiments, because they're supposed to be the bad guys after all. Mind you, my good characters aren't 100% perfect in that regard either, but they are supposed to adjust their attitudes as part of their arcs.
  13. Sounds like the entire paranormal romance genre. Is that still a thing nowadays? I remember there were whole aisles filled with the stuff a few years back (for reasons too obvious to need pointing out), but I would have expected the fad to lose steam eventually.
  14. I tried reading Game of Thrones and couldn't get deep into it. The writing wasn't necessarily bad, but it did feel unfocused in the way that it seemed to jump between PoV characters without a clear overarching storyline. So I have never been fond of the franchise as a whole.
  15. I'm drawn to villains who are evocative of real evils in the world. There are a lot of messed-up people out there, and one always wants to see them taken down. Some of the most frightening are the villains in positions of power and influence who use their position to bully and oppress others. You know, fascists, imperialists, capitalists, racialists, fanatical religious leaders, etc. They have done more damage to world peace and harmony than your average street criminal could dream of inflicting.
  16. I know intersex individuals exist, but what I had in mind with my original post weren't biologically intersex people but rather people who belonged to one sex on the biological level but were psychologically "non-binary". But fair enough, if they feel like they're non-binary, they can identify however they want.
  17. To be honest, the whole concept of "non-binary" befuddles me. I can understand addressing trans individuals by the gender they psychologically identify with. But if you can't decide which gender you psychologically relate to more, why not simply go with your biological sex instead? It would save you a lot of trouble. And while we're at it, "pansexuality" sounds an awful lot like bisexuality. The only difference seems to be taking trans and non-binaries into account. But I digress.
  18. Most of my MCs have been female, including the one for my current WIP. Even the stories where the POV character is male typically have a strong woman by his side. What can I say, I'm a sucker for strong heroines.
  19. I'm not crazy for it personally, but I am sure it can be done well in the hands of the right author. If you're truly a fan of things medieval, I would say go for your passion when creating your fantasy world.
  20. Except for a few gods or spirits here and there, I don't think I've ever written an immortal character. I imagine it would depend on exactly how long they've been around, as well as how common immortality is in the world. It must suck to be an immortal who's seen generations of loved ones dying (unless they ended up desensitized to it after a while). Also, if you take your immortality for granted, you might have a lot of privilege to check when dealing with ordinary mortals who expect to grow old and die.
  21. Here's a random setting idea I came up with. I'm thinking of a world where human history has repeatedly cycled between "Golden Ages" dominated by large and advanced empires and "Dark Ages" wherein all civilization collapses and humanity across the world reverts to a hunter-gatherer state, foraging among the ruins of the previous "Golden Age". Triggering each of these transitions would be fluctuations in environmental conditions, a bit like the cycling between glacial and interglacial periods in our own world's Pleistocene epoch (in fact, the entire Holocene epoch we're living in right now is really another interglacial period). Of course, there's also some inspiration taken from Robert E. Howard's idea of periodic global cataclysms (e.g. the ones that begin and end the Hyborian Age, the fictional era his stories about Conan the CImmerian take place).
  22. My protagonists tend to be twenty-somethings, often around 25. That's probably because I see that as the "just right" age. Old enough to possess some maturity and skill at whatever they do, yet not so old that their good looks and fitness have started to weather away. Of course, it probably helps that I'm still in my twenties as I type this.
  23. I ought to try out some of these suggestions you guys are putting forward. Though it kinda sounds to me that "Draft 0" is really another form of outlining. Might be great for pantser types like me.
  24. I loved those games when I was a boy. I still play the HD version of AoE II from time to time. It's particularly good that they've put out new DLC adding African, Southeast Asian, and other oft-neglected civilizations to the game. I've also enjoyed the Civilization and Total War series, as well as a few city-builders like Pharaoh and Zeus. Good times.
  25. With rare exceptions, school systems tend to suck a lot of fun out of anything. As for the "West is Great" narrative (which happens to be one I don't care much for, either), that is why I could never get into traditional narratives of US history. For example, you are supposed to see the Founding Fathers as role models, to the point where people quote them to make political points. I'm sorry, but guys like them are the reason our country's history has been so miserable for anyone outside the "rich white dude" demographic. And no matter how popular he remains, I'll never forgive Thomas Jefferson for what he did to poor Sally Hemings.