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TricksterShi last won the day on January 13

TricksterShi had the most liked content!

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About TricksterShi

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    Running with the moon.
  • Birthday 03/28/1988

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  • Writing History
    20+ years
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  1. TricksterShi

    Distinctive Character Voices

    Character voice is important to me both when writing and reading. I'm very character oriented, so I want to hitch a ride with a character whose personality is both distinct and easy to access. That's why I end up writing in first person so much. I can get to the heart and soul of a character much quicker if they're telling me the story in their own words. I do use third person sometimes, but not as much, though I have no trouble reading it so long as the characters followed have easily definable personalities and voices. For me, character voice makes or breaks a story. A character can go out and conquer a country with nothing but a rusty spoon and an ill-tempered ferret or they could go to a coffee shop and snark with the barista they secretly crush on, I don't care which, as long as their voice is identifiable and engaging enough to keep me interested. The best distinctive voice that comes to mind is Miriam Black from the Miriam Black series by Chuck Wendig. She's not the kind of character you get to read too often. Abrasive, raw, self centered due to survival instincts, getting dirty because dirty gets stuff done, etc. She has the gift to see the details of someone's death when she touches them. She turns this horrible gift to her advantage by writing down what she sees and showing up when it happens to pick the money off the deceased. She's a great example of a character who isn't nice or morally right, but who is a full human being with a horrible history she's used to keep herself alive at any cost. It's hard for me to read those books, I have to be in the right frame of mind due to some of the subject matter, but if I closed my eyes and picked up a random page from a book to read, I would know her voice within the first few sentences. Scarlett O'Hara is another. I absolutely detested Gone With The Wind because of her, but her voice was another distinctive one that sticks with me. As far as tips or tricks, the only one I have is to get to know your character. Write tons of stuff from their perspective, even if it changes or never makes it into the official story. I've spent ten years with the current set of characters I'm now getting to publish and though their backstories, world, and relationships have changed completely they still have their own voices. One way I like to practice is to just write dialogue. Nothing else, no tags, actions, or descriptions. It's like sitting in a cafe with your back to everyone and just listening to who is talking. What kinds of words and inflections do they use? Are they shy or boisterous? Do they butt in or let someone else finish? Do they cuss or use clean replacement cuss words? Are they sarcastic? Serious? Do they get humor or take everything literally? What slang do they use, or do they keep their speech professional, or academic? Have fun with it. Experiment. The more I do it the more I learn about the character, and it makes slipping into their heads much easier.
  2. I love that there are so many aspects of fantasy that you can take and twist into something new or different. That you can set it in the past, present, future, or alternate world and just kind of go wild with it. I love how fantasy can be used to transport people to a world that was created in someone else's head, that they are often so vast and rich that they inspire other people to explore it and then go create worlds of their own. I love all of the sub-genres branching off of the main roots. I love the way fantasy can speak to the core of a person even if the story is set on an alien world following a host of people (or not human people) who live vastly different lives. I dislike parts of fantasy that get stuck in certain ruts, which has already been mentioned. I also dislike the lack of diversity on all fronts, and the Battle of Good and EvilTM that fantasy is known for. That trope has always rubbed me wrong for its oversimplification of the world and all its inhabitants. It also takes the challenge out of the conflict for me. When its Good vs Evil it eliminates a lot of potential development and growth. It eliminates the possibility that other perspectives, values, and cultures have worth and are worthy of consideration and exploration at the cost that it might change our own previously held views. I find that sometimes 'evil' is thrown around to be synonymous with 'those who are not us'. I get enough of that from fundamentalist family members; I hold the fantasy I produce and consume to higher standards.
  3. TricksterShi

    Worldsmyths Million 2019 Discussion

    I'm interested! I'm one of the ones who did go MIA last year due to RL issues, but the challenge did help me get a lot of writing done. I've been tweaking my 2019 writing plans and have a lot of projects scheduled, so I would love to do this again, I think it would help keep me on track. 🙂
  4. TricksterShi

    What do you want to write?

    Mind-mapping usually helps me. I did this the other day when I was bored at work and had already written and emailed myself scene ideas and a blog post (there really hasn't been much for me to do this week...). I wanted to keep writing but I was bored with my current project. So I mind mapped an older project I'll eventually get around to working on again. I started with the main character's name in the middle of a piece of paper and then branched off with bubbles for people, themes, events, and word associations until I filled the page. When I do that I usually find several key roots of the story and come up with some semblance of a plot around the character struggles. It almost feels like I'm playing a game so my mind relaxes and I'm refreshed afterwards instead of drained.
  5. TricksterShi

    Daydreaming, Stories, and You

    Oh, wow. I can't fathom never daydreaming. It's partly how I keep myself sane, especially when I'm stressed. I always daydreamed as a child. Sometimes it was having an adventure that never ended and others it was inserting myself into the narrative of a book or movie and changing things up to my liking. Basically internal fan fiction. I still do that as an adult. Sometimes I incorporate parts of a daydream into a story I'm writing, but not always. I find that the usual tropes and subplots of my daydreams are more comfort food for me on a personal level and I don't feel the need to explore them on the page through the filter of a character. And if I write my daydreams out in full, not for a story I'd publish per se, just for me, I do find that they lose their magic and I stop daydreaming about them.
  6. TricksterShi

    Who's telling this story, anyway?

    Thank you! I'm glad it helps. It's still a challenge for me, but I think it works for this project. I think I'll be alternating POV chaps between them when I reach the third installment, by then I don't think it will be necessary to devote whole books to one or the other.
  7. TricksterShi

    Who's telling this story, anyway?

    I struggled with this for my current project. I've worked on different versions of it for about ten years now, and the main character was always Fred or a Jimmy, who comes at a way later date in the overall timeline. When I nailed down what story I wanted to tell first it became clear after two drafts that Fred wasn't the best POV to use. I was too used to writing her as a jaded adult secure in herself and her abilities and she needed to be a child. So I switched to her sister, Taz, and spent three drafts really constructing her base personality because, again, I knew her as an adult, though not as well as I knew Fred. As far as why Taz was the better choice, she has an air of wide-eyed innocence, extreme hope, and love that just spills everywhere. She takes the world in and always finds something to be in awe of, and that's the kind of perspective I needed to filter my world through to the reader. During the whole process I found myself reevaluating Fred through Taz's perspective and it helped me let go of her adult character so I could find out who Fred the child was. Which is good, because she's the main POV of book two. It was a frustrating process a lot of the time, but I think the story came out stronger for it.
  8. Keeping on top of my writing plan today.  Scheduling posts on my author site, getting my calendar organized for the year, and laying out the breakdowns of months and weeks so I know what I should be doing.  Is this what sorta successful adulting feels like?

  9. TricksterShi

    Reading outside the fantasy genre?

    I love Karen Memory! I found that book through an anthology of weird westerns call Dead Man's Hand by John Joseph Adams. There's a sequel to Karen Memory called Stone Mad, but I haven't read that one yet. Steampunk Fairy Tales by David Lind is another anthology I liked. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. I haven't read the whole book yet but the setting and the way she twisted the history around the civil war (and added gas-poisoned zombies and airships) was really cool. Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories by Kelly Link, this book got me started on the genre, lots of good stories in it. Most of Gail Carriger's works seem to be steampunk and Victorian science. I've read one of her Parasol Protectorate series books and loved it. It's a romance, which is outside my normal comfort zone, but there's a ton of good humor and fun characters (including werewolves and vampires) in the middle of the posh and mannered Victorian era. These are a few I can think of off the top of my head. If you have access to Netflix (and it may even be on Youtube) there's a steampunk documentary called Vintage Tomorrows that is an excellent source of finding not only novelists who write steampunk but people who are involved in making steampunk things and examining the subculture and history around them. Truly fascinating stuff.
  10. TricksterShi

    Reading outside the fantasy genre?

    Fiction-wise I tend to gravitate towards blended genres, so Steampunk has been a big discovery for me the past two years. Some of it has magic and some of it doesn't. It crosses into different parts of history or into the future, or into different worlds entirely. It's fascinating to see the different spins authors put on their version of Steampunk, and some of them have influenced my current projects. I do read a fair bit of non-fiction. I like biographies and personal journals. I just picked up a variety of both that center on women who journeyed on the wagon trains during the 1800's. Because I liked the play 'Hamilton' so much I also bought the book that first inspired Lin Manuel Miranda to turn Alexander Hamilton's life into a musical. When I don't have either or aren't in the mood for them I turn to fan fiction. There is so much raw creativity there experimented on with great and wondrous abandon that mistakes are less jarring for me, and I get exposed to numerous genres and tropes, sometimes all within the same story. Some of them hold together better than some published works I've read.
  11. TricksterShi

    Novel Completion Time

    Thank you for posting this! It's helpful to have a breakdown to reference when I get overwhelmed by writing. I think I may make a bigger version of this to put on a wall in my writing space.
  12. TricksterShi

    Favorite Secondary Characters

    Thank you! He loves taking center stage with dramatic flair when he gets on the page, I can't wait to write a rollicking adventure story for him. 😄 I love your pirate queen! And the concept of how she created her ship and what it can do, I'd love to read a book about her. I've got a soft spot for pirates, Anne Bonney and Mary Read were my first exposure to female pirates and I spent a lot of my teenage years reading about them.
  13. TricksterShi

    Question of the Day #45: Murder

    My MC's haven't killed anyone yet. Though they definitely will once they hit book 3. They certainly feel as if they've caused certain deaths. In book one there is a monster attack that Taz sensed was coming, but being only 10yrs old she didn't realize what she was feeling and she was so afraid she forced the magic she shares with Fred to hide them both rather than fight back as Fred wants to once the attack is underway. They end up burying a lot of people after that and it weighs on both of them. They...technically kill their main enemy at the end of book 2, but not really? They bury him alive and he gets stuck between this world and the next. He definitely deserves it so I'm gonna enjoy writing that part. 🙃
  14. TricksterShi

    What are you reading? [2019]

    I just finished Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and I'm going to order the rest of the trilogy tomorrow. I read her Six of Crows duopoly and fell in love with the world and the characters, so I want to read everything ASAP, lol. I've just come out of a long dry spell where I didn't read much of anything fiction-wise for maybe two years, so it's nice to have an expansive story to dive into. I finished Shadow and Bone in less than a week. I also just finished The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. Her style isn't what I usually prefer to read, it makes me feel like I'm removed from the story instead of experiencing it, like watching it all through a window, but the story was good. It's a prequel to her book Practical Magic and shows the lives of the Aunts featured in it and how they grew up. I don't know if I'll buy any more of her books, but I enjoyed what I've read of these two. I've also got a billion other books on my to read/buy list and I still have a gift card to order some more, so there's no telling what I may end up with.
  15. TricksterShi

    Where Do You Get Your Books?

    Since Hastings went under I've only had Barnes and Noble for local books, and they're incredibly expensive. Amazon was my go-to, but last year I found a site called Thrift Books that has far better deals and is easier on my wallet. Lots of books are only $4 and if you pass the $10 threshold you don't have to pay shipping and handling. They're good about sending me emails on books I've favorited when they go down in price and also recommending similar books, so I've found some new favorite authors to read. I haven't had any complaints about their service. The only time I book didn't arrive was when the mail carrier delivered it to the wrong house but I got that untangled the next day.