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Everything posted by Tyrannohotep

  1. Welcome to our humble forum! I love those games (specifically the ones I've bolded) too! I've only played a little bit of Diablo III, but am very fond of the female Witch Doctor's design (hubba hubba 🤤). Would you happen to be a member of the furry community, by any chance?
  2. After a Mycenaean Greek warlord sacks her home city and enslaves its citizens, an Egyptian priestess must liberate her people. (Basically, I'm using November to finish my main WIP's first draft once and for all.)
  3. Honestly, I'm making it up as I go along with my main WIP. That's been the case with all the stories I've written that feature magic or anything else supernatural. I know what I need the magic to do within each story, but I don't really bother with designing an elaborate system underlying it all. Maybe I will put more thought into my magic system when working on a future project, but not now.
  4. No thank you, I don't want to spoil anything major right now. EDIT: You know what, I'll sort it all out in the second draft.
  5. I'm 20 chapters into my main WIP's first draft. I would say that I'm 2/3rds of the way through the whole story, yet today I checked my word count on Scrivener and found that it's around 36.4k words. Since my writing coach estimates that I need another 10,000 to finish the draft, my prediction is that the final word count will be ~45k. Since this is a novel I want to publish through traditional methods, I feel that this is too short. My understanding is that the majority of publishers would prefer word counts well in excess of 50k, such as between 80-100k. I will admit that, as my writing coach has pointed out a few times, some areas of my book could use expansion, and that I've been rushing the last few chapters since I've grown bored and disillusioned with the whole project and want to get it over with. But is there a significant market for novels like mine which are under 50k in word count?
  6. Finished a 4.1k short this morning. It's very sword & sorcery in tone, so I plan to send it to publications specializing in that fare once I get it revised.
  7. Right now, the approach I am taking with my main WIP is simply to continue working on the first draft. Putting everything back together is for draft #2 and later. If I were to abandon a story every time it "fell apart", I'd never get anything done!
  8. On a totally unrelated note... A subversive parody of epic fantasy where the Chosen One becomes the Dark Lord. This comes about because they think being Chosen entitles them to get away with anything and have everything their way. That's got to inflate somebody's ego, you have to admit.
  9. Welcome to our forum, Ms. Tassarin! Sounds like a rather subversive storyline you have there. I wonder how the original Chosen One feels about his hubby taking up his mantle? Is he happy about it, or does he resent it in some way?
  10. Yeah, they're probably something that would have been imported from the tropics. Maybe some rich assholes in fantasy-world Europe thought that having pet dragons in their backyard would make them more macho or something, and then the beasts got loose. In fact, there is some evidence from medieval bestiaries that dragons were thought to have originated in tropical regions like India or Ethiopia.
  11. What if dragons evolved the ability to breathe fire to keep themselves warm during the wintertime? If you're a big and scaly reptile living in the otherworld equivalent of medieval Europe, you might find the winter cold uncomfortable even if you had the "warm-blooded" metabolism that paleontologists have postulated for dinosaurs. Keep in mind, however, that dragons were historically considered more closely related to squamate reptiles such as snakes and lizards, which tend to have a more "cold-blooded" metabolism. Maybe fire would keep a dragon's metabolism running during a medieval European winter?
  12. As far as my own characters are concerned, I admit that they tend to plot towards the extremes of the morality spectrum. Individual protagonists may have flaws like a short fuse or an impulsive temperament that can get them into deeper trouble (those two flaws in particular being ones I find most relatable), but my antagonists often are truly evil. Often the latter are based on the types of people I find most loathsome in life (e.g. racists, sexists, greedy imperialists, or anyone who profits from others' suffering), so I have little inclination to portray them with any more sympathy than their real-life counterparts. There's something cathartic about giving the scum of society their overdue comeuppance in fiction. That's not to say every antagonist I've ever written has been a clearcut villain. My recent short story Dribble Like Me (a draft of which you can read at the Worldsmyths library) has one character who becomes the lead antagonist for a moment, yet he has a change of heart towards the end once the person he cares about the most prompts him to it. I simply felt that particular form of resolution best fit the theme of the story, which is one about intercultural conflict and misunderstanding.
  13. Those are some rather unique concepts from your own work that you've shared there, particularly the selendi. Welcome to our forum!
  14. This one is my favorite of the bunch. I love stories about setting out into the mysterious frontier!
  15. I see. I saw the place name "Caerwen" and assumed something more medieval. My bad.
  16. I agree, something like "mage" or "sorcerer" would be more evocative for the genre. "Magician" sounds too much like a guy who performs tricks with illusions in our world. Same word choice issue with "kids", in my opinion. It sounds too modern. "Children" would fit the setting better IMO.
  17. This is a blurb I typed out for a novelette I finished yesterday. It's more of a spy thriller than traditional fantasy, I admit, since it's set in our world during the modern day. But it does have enough lost-world adventure elements to qualify as fanciful. So...anyone willing to offer last-minute feedback for the August challenge?
  18. You need to qualify that those should be actual felines in the video. Celebrities CGI'd to resemble cat/human hybrids would only unsettle the receiver even more. 😨 As far as my own bad advice... Make sure your first draft is as perfect as possible so that you don't have to revise anything later. Believe me, I've actually been down that route.
  19. It might help to consider where our inner critics come from in the first place. I don't think anyone is born with them. Think back to when you were a kid doodling or scribbling things on scrap paper. Most likely, you'd always be proud of what you created, even if what you produced were literal stick figures (e.g. when I in kindergarten, I would always draw dinosaurs and other creatures as total stick figures, with even their heads and bodies being represented with stick-like lines). Confidence is something that erodes with age for most people. Sometimes, it's when we compare ourselves to our favorite writers (or artists, or any other creatives) that we feel envious to the point of inadequacy. We think to ourselves, "We'll never be good as they are." The best remedy for that might have us remember that we're aren't and never will be those authors. None of us will be J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, Brandon Sanderson, Charles Saunders, or whomever we consider the greatest writers in our chosen genre. They have their own voices, and we have ours. We can emulate their most effective techniques, but in the end we're writing our own stories rather than theirs. We're writers, not editors or publishers. In my own case, my inner critic assumes the voice of real-life critics, mostly online, that have panned my earlier work. In fairness, some of them may have meant to be constructive, but even these often sound condescending when my mind replays them. And then there are those critics whose personal disdain for me, whatever the cause, infused what they had to say to me. No matter the validity of their critiques, the tone of their delivery is what sticks out as hurtful. Maybe the best solution for the latter problem is to shut those voices off entirely. You're not going to bump into them again, and they'll never like anything you put out no matter how hard you try, so why bother to please them? They're not your audience.
  20. That is a good point you raise there. I simply felt that using authentic names went hand in hand with keeping your constructed culture closer to the real-world one. But fair enough, they don't always have to go together.
  21. I do like the idea of bad guys who believe they're working on the side of angels. In many cases, however, it might be something they tell themselves for comfort even though their subconscious motives are more self-serving. It's like that "white man's burden" theme I've mentioned before in this forum. You may convince yourself that you're off to civilize the misguided savages by invading their countries, but deep down what you really want is a regular supply of coltan for your smartphones (and, if you're in a position of authority, a crew of loyal shareholders). Your claims to noble intentions could as easily be rationalization for behavior you know is wrong as they are sincere misbeliefs. EDIT: The level of sincerity might depend on whether the bad guy is a leader or a follower. I'm going by intuition rather than psychological knowledge here, but I'd assume that a follower would be more likely to believe what they're doing is justified since they see themselves as following what their leader tells them is right. The leader instigating the whole conflict, on the other hand, would know what their true motives are and would probably withhold the relevant information from their followers. What they'd want to do is dupe their followers into fighting for their own gain (wealthy Southern elites in the US Civil War offering the psychological wage of whiteness to their gray-uniformed hordes would be a prime example of this).
  22. I would be shocked if nobody ever found themselves challenged to pick names for the places and people in their fantasy worlds. There is one consideration about this subject that has been bugging me for some time, and I think it has potential to complicate the process even more. We all know names have the power to conjure mental images of our characters, but it is not only because they might have certain "tones" evocative of their personality. They can also describe what kind of place that character comes from. Let me list some names below. Caeledar Ahmuhotepet Nyenziwe Zul'Potec Ali Ibn Sambahr Now match the above to the image they suggest most for you. A bronze-skinned scholar with an aquiline nose and a thick black beard, dressed in a robe and turban. He hails from a prosperous city adjoining an oasis in the desert. A priestly king with swathes of body paint applied over his light coppery complexion, straight black hair framing a face with prominent cheekbones, and a headdress streaming with jade-green quetzal plumes in addition to his red cotton breechcloth. His people build cities of terraced pyramids in the rainforest. A burly ginger-maned warrior in plaid trousers, with blue tattoos swirling over his snow-pale thews, and a very big sword under his baldric. Deciduous forests grow dense around the hill-fort where his people like to swill mead, brawl with one another, and play the bagpipes. A svelte mahogany-brown princess clad in white linen, her neck and limbs ringed with jewelry of gold and lapis-lazuli, and gold ringlets around her braided black hair. Her civilization is also situated in a desert environment, albeit situated alongside a river with fertile floodplains supporting a variety of wildlife like hippopotamus, antelopes, and crocodiles. She's looking forward to the day when she gets to commission a big limestone tomb for her own burial. A tall and lithe, ebony-dark warrior in a red cotton tunic, with copper ornaments and feline fangs hanging around her neck. Her people live in villages of earthen rondavels within a savanna, and she and her warriors will defend them with iron spears and ovular hide shields. It shouldn't be too hard, right? Yet I made up all those names on the fly for this OP. They're not taken from real cultures, but rather are composed of sounds that evoke certain cultures when you read them. But, as you can probably tell from the descriptions above, those images tend to have stereotypical qualities that may not flatter those from the cultures they're based on. Some might think these fictitious names are caricaturing their real languages. It's true that we're working with fantasy worlds, where the cultures don't have to be transplanted copies of real ones. However, even cultures that are fictitious and don't draw exclusive influence from one real-world culture or region can still need names that help "set the scene". You may have a scorching desert country that isn't transplanted from Northeast Africa, Arabia, or even the American Southwest, but would you be cool applying a name like "Chang Li" or "Archebald Shillington" to any of its native inhabitants? Those might be as undesirable as using the stereotypical-sounding made-up names above, but for different reasons. The other alternative is to use actual names or vocabulary from the cultures you're drawing influence from with regards to your fantasy setting. This is, in fact, the approach I prefer to take. It does mean, however, that I have to put more effort into making my fantasy cultures resemble their real-world counterparts. Sometimes that's what I want, but it can present a problem if I want to be more inventive with my world. What are ways you can devise fantasy names that are at once evocative of the setting without sounding stereotypical or caricatured?
  23. FWIW, I do think certain media can go way overboard with the "cheesecake" theme anyway. There's no need for panty shots outside of erotic scenes, for instance, and I don't think I would ever write (whatever would be the literary equivalent of) a panty shot in a story outside that specific context. I also agree that female characters getting most of the cheesecake treatment in stuff like video games and comic books often presents a double standard since their male counterparts rarely get the same treatment. Some cultures do have men and women walking around with less clothing coverage than others, depending on climate and context, but when you have a culture where one sex reveals far more of their anatomy than the other...yeah, you can tell they have certain ideas about gender that aren't egalitarian (and probably do reflect the creator's personal "gaze"). So, yeah, I can't dispute that a lot of media really does has a problematic "male gaze" bias. That being said, I would dispute your example of ancient Egyptian soldiers as an example of "armored infantry in a hot environment". The primary sources we have from ancient Egypt would contradict that claim, at least for the majority of soldiers. Higher-ranking officers and the Pharaoh might have worn more protection, but it doesn't seem to have been the norm for common Egyptian soldiers. Of course, artistic license and hyperbole are possible issues even with primary sources as shown above, but the same could be raised for modern illustrations (and, frankly, the way most modern media portray ancient Egyptian people and culture is a pet peeve of mine that would cause a whole 'nother derail in discussion).
  24. @katfireblade I do appreciate you taking the time to explain your sentiments (in regards to that trope I defended earlier), and I will admit that I shouldn't have posted what I did earlier. So let us leave it at that, and I won't say stuff like that again. My apologies.
  25. Emissaries from Afar 'Drew this myself a little over a year ago. I figured it'd work great as a prompt for a short story about cultural differences. You always have the option for swapping out the cultures represented here for other ones, though personally I'm rather fond of "Ancient Egyptians meeting Preclassic Maya" as an alternate-history premise.