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Everything posted by Tyrannohotep

  1. These are all fair points everyone raised here. I wished I had considered them before making this thread.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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).
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Best: Don't worry if your first draft isn't perfect. You can fix it later. (Admittedly, I still struggle with perfectionism when writing. That's the real reason I nominated this as the best advice, since it's the advice I need the most right now.) Worst: People who pay attention to my writing (as well as my artwork) may notice that I have a lot of African or otherwise PoC characters. I've had people give me shit for this, and believe it or not, it's often (white) people who are supposedly more liberal/progressive in their politics. They tell me that writing PoC characters as often as I do makes me a "one-trick pony" or "monomaniacal" and that I should diversify my characters. Ironically, the fact that I am a white dude myself probably aggravates this issue. I don't think any of these subtly racist cowards would dare give the same advice to writers of color.
  18. My current WIP is set during the Bronze Age circa 1600 BC. I've been a sucker for ancient Egypt since we studied it in second grade, and over time that interest would expand to other pre-colonial African cultures. I also like some of the ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern civilizations, and for that matter almost any culture that's in a hot part of the world. Oh, and also anything prehistoric or "tribal". That said, I think Egypt remains high on my favorites list because it's one of the earliest and mightiest of the African empires. There were others, of course (e.g. Kush, Mali, Ethiopia, and Great Zimbabwe), but Egypt is one of the best documented and has left some of the most impressive monumental structures. I always thought it was cool that one of the oldest and most advanced civilizations in the ancient world was in Africa, a continent we stereotype as either a big safari park or an impoverished Third World mess. It's like a real-world Wakanda in that sense.
  19. Welcome to our forum, Nik!
  20. I prefer a more animalistic take on dragons, personally. You can give them a bestial level of intelligence in a Jurassic Park Velociraptor sort of way, but I don't care for the more anthropomorphic portrayals of dragons that have become popular lately. It's less of a problem for me if the dragon started out as human to begin with (in which case, they're basically a shapeshifter). But if it's simply a big carnivorous reptile, it better act like one to some degree. That said, I never understood why traditional dragons are supposed to hoard gold. Does a dragon really need to buy its next meal when it can simply fly out and snatch up prey? It might make sense if somebody was using a dragon as a guard dog for their stash of treasure, but otherwise a dragon would have little need for gold. Even if it wanted nesting material, metals are generally poor insulators.
  21. I believe I've said it before, but I tend to draw inspiration for creatures from Earth's prehistoric past. I've always loved dinosaurs more than dragons, and some of the other animals that once roamed our planet can be wondrous to behold too. If I do use creatures from folklore or mythology, I like to make them something that could plausibly be the product of natural evolution rather than pure magic. Like, a dragon might be a monitor lizard that evolved the ability to fly and spit scalding venom, whereas a sea serpent would be a large snake adapted to live in the sea and prey on whales. Alternatively, more chimerical creatures like a centaur or pegasus might be the product of artificial hybridization (sorcery?) rather like how the Indominus rex in Jurassic World came to be. Either way, there's a certain influence of science and sci-fi in how I approach these fantasy creatures.
  22. I agree that a fictional world doesn't need to have the same gender roles as the societies of our world's past. But to play devil's advocate, consider that those gender roles may have developed in pre-industrial cultures around the world for a reason. In my opinion, the big one is that men don't have to worry about pregnancy or nursing infants. Compound that with the pressure to have as many children as possible in settings where infant mortality is high, and what you'll end up with is a large chunk of the female population being bogged down at home with the kids while the men get to do the fun, dangerous stuff. Of course, you theoretically could have a few women choosing not to have kids (or at least not many of them), but then how would they deal with menstruation? Don't get me wrong, I'm as much for warrior heroines and other strong female characters as much as the next dude. However, if we're going to model our own worlds after our own history, we might want to consider why they established the social roles (including gender roles) that they did.
  23. * A pampered princess on a diplomatic errand gets stranded in the jungle after a T. rex attacks her expedition. * The President of the United States has a troublesome journalist's wife and child kidnapped and detained. The journalist has to break them out himself. * Aliens from another planet attack an ancient civilization on Earth, destroying its sacred monuments. Centuries later, unscrupulous documentary filmmakers want to prove the aliens built the civilization in question. * Survivors from the Titanic get stranded on a lost continent a la The Land That Time Forgot. * Vikings versus Zulus. 'Nuff said. * A guy searches for diamonds deep in the jungle so he can propose to his girlfriend. His girlfriend is the one who has to rescue him when he gets into trouble.
  24. I see fantasy as a genre with far more potential than many of its own authors realize. I agree with everyone who said that fantasy is the genre that allows you to create your own worlds. I would say that the world-building ranks high on the things I most enjoy about any fantasy book I read. This sort of limitless potential is why the tendency of fantasy books to regurgitate one another with regards to setting, characters, and tropes is all the more frustrating. So much more can be done with it than what we usually get. It's actually rather ironic that the genre with the most room for creativity is the one most commonly perceived as cliched and hackneyed.