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Penguinball last won the day on February 19

Penguinball had the most liked content!

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About Penguinball

  • Birthday 03/20/1988

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  1. Penguinball

    No romantic subplot?

    Well I personally like them, romance and finding a partner is a big part of a lot of people's lives. But as always to really boils down to it the subplot is done well. There's a reason why Romantic Plot Tumor is a trope. They have a tendency to take over and sideline the main plot if care isn't taken, which is why they get so much hate. So if you look at your story, and that subplot isn't adding anything like tension, increased pace, room for character growth, then I'd say remove it.
  2. Penguinball

    Multiple POV characters/chapter question

    I was thinking about this some more, and as others have said, it being a super short chapter is fine to me, especially because its at the beginning. The shortness increases the pace, which isn't a bad thing, could get the novel up and running from the get go. On the other hand too, I wouldn't notice if it was just a scene break, if the Alanna/Kassel thing really bothers you.
  3. Penguinball

    Hey Everyone

    Yeah, I only watched the first episode and didn't finish, it was too 'sexy young people go on adventures' for me. I wasn't a huge fan of the books anyone (first one was alright) so I didn't have a lot of interest to finish it. Chronicles of Shannara was the same, too much teen slang and sex and not enough focus on the stories. But I guess if sex works for Game of Thrones... Oh yeah, and the book Stardust is fantastic! I'll always recommend Gaiman. The movie is a pretty close reproduction so I was happy with it. I got the poster signed by one of the actors last year, its up in my library now 🙂
  4. Penguinball

    Discussion: The Beginning of a Chapter

    One thing I wanted to add - Go to your bookshelf, or electronic equivalent, and see how a couple of your favourite books open. Maybe that will spark something?
  5. Penguinball

    Age of main characters

    I completely agree with this. We are all just people, why do we have to make such a big deal about what bits a person has. Yeah, there are some culturally ingrained differences between genders, but at the end of the day a person's adherence to those differences varies so much that we might as well write person first, gender second. This is something I've thought about a lot, especially in regards to my gods and dragons. They would just have to think differently than humans on some basic level I think, otherwise they'd run into problems like elderly humans do, like forgetfulness, inability to adapt to change, um... inability to give a f*ck?. Like, a human granted immortality. I would think the granting would have to change them, grant them a more elastic, youthful brain or something. Otherwise you'd have a 700 year old who just doesn't give a flip about conventions, and complains about how things were done back in the back (back in the day you died of the plague at 40 at were HAPPY about it). I mean, that could be funny, but if you are going from a more realistic/hard science approach to your fantasy........... Okay to summarize, I vastly overthink character age, which is why my human protagonists are mostly young.
  6. Penguinball

    Best (and Worst) Writing Advice?

    I want to amend my post to add second bad advice, which kind of sums up this thread I think... Rules. You must do this, you can never do that. If you do X you are a bad writer, if you don't do Y you can't even CALL yourself an author. Screw. That. Yeah, there are guidelines, and advice, and things you should consider doing or not doing, but writers shouldn't deal in absolutes. We aren't Sith. We should take advice under consideration, weigh it against our own experiences, and make our own decisions. If there is a 'rule' you are really set on passing on, consider phrasing it more like 'I suggest you don't do X, but if you do, be prepared for a negative reaction for <these reasons>'.
  7. Penguinball

    Too Many Names

    Wheel of Time had over 2400 named characters, and its my favourite series, so maybe I'm a bit biased... but I don't think there is an easily definable upward limit, because it varies so much from person to person. And it also depends on the skill of the writer, how much they can develop and utilize those extra characters. People above have made a lot of good points about secondary/background characters already so I'll just add this: Consider the function of the named characters. What is their purpose? Are they just there for flavour? If they aren't doing something that impacts the story then maybe they should be combined with another character. I think the reaction of 'too many side characters' comes when those people aren't doing anything with story relevance. If the side characters matter, people won't notice how many there are. Related side note - Make sure the names are different from each other. If there's an Istan and an Istar I'll probably skim and get confused about which side character is which.
  8. Penguinball

    Hey Everyone

    Welcome, fellow Wheel of Time friend! Are you excited for the upcoming TV show? I'm cautiously optimistic, once they release casting information I may change my mind. I'm often around on the Discord, feel free to ping me if you have any questions!
  9. Penguinball

    Discussion: The Beginning of a Chapter

    My first chapters have been written during NaNo, so time has always been of the essence. Its also been the first day too, so there's a lot of excitement and energy. I usually just metaphorically barf on the page and keep going. Just start at some place I know is lame, and will need to be changed, so I just put some dumb thing down and forget about it until a couple months after NaNo is done. My short stories though I write slower, and I do struggle to think of how to start. A lot of backspacing and rethinking. I'm often writing from a prompt, so I'll rephrase that and see if that sparks something. When I'm revising, I try a couple different lines, and then sent it to someone for a second look, and get their suggestions. But generally the first line/paragraph is the one I rewrite the most, and the one that gets the most attention.
  10. Penguinball

    Age of main characters

    In my heist story the characters are a bit older, late 20s - mid 30s for most of the cast, with the ring leader being in her 60s. I want them to be experienced thieves, and I find the trope of 'young super thief' a bit of a stretch at times. In the Star Mirror the protagonist is late teens, its got a bit more standard 'becoming your own person apart from your family' theme as opposed to the 'found family' theme of the heist. I think I default to that late teens/early 20s when thinking about stories, mostly because a lot of them are at the beginning of their careers/life paths, but I'm not afraid to age up where appropriate.
  11. Penguinball

    Zero drafts

    This is a great suggestion in general, I do that without thinking about it consciously. There is a caveat though that sometimes we want to include that awesome scene for its own sake, and it can end up dragging down the story. So some caution, this is where that 'kill your darlings' advice comes in. But if it fits, having a list of these scenes is great to keep the excitement refreshed when you are starting to feel a bit slumpy, they can remind you why you wanted to write this in the first place. I like to think of it as a 'cheat mode' that is somewhere between pansters and planners. I know a lot of writers (myself included) can get up in the labels, and trying to be as efficient as possible, and worry too much about if they are a planner or a panster. Zero draft is a happy medium in my mind. You can view it through both a planner AND a pantser lens.
  12. Penguinball

    Real World History Geek-out

    I was going through notes and found a file from last year where I was brainstorming ideas. I'm a fan of the gold rush period in British Columbia, Canada. It came after the California gold rushes, early to mid 1800's mostly. I worked a summer job for several years near Barkerville, which is a restored/recreated frontier gold rush town from that period, its a beautiful area, and still really cut off even in this day and age, over an hour drive to the nearest proper grocery story and no cell service. My grandpa has a gold claim out there, he and a partner work the same creek that was worked in the 1800's, and make a living off of it. Not a GREAT living, but costs are low out there. I took soooooo many pictures when I was there last summer. I really want to write something in a similar setting, a frontier town created out of wilderness where people with big dreams try to strike it rich and be set for life. My notes outline a story where magic is finite, and running out in the cities. A new source is found waaaay out in the unexplored regions, and people rush to be the first there and claim a piece of magic, either for themselves or to sell and get incredibly wealthy. The conflict is partially environmental, with all kinds of nasty monsters, and partly from the government/big families trying to buy up land and force the small people out. I'm also considered mages to be indentured servants, and that magic might be addictive... Anyway, responding to others in the thread, I am ON BOARD (ha) with more piracy, and more steampunk/clock punk/ punk punk. I 100% believe there is a market out there for it. I think the reading public is getting to be so over pseudo medieval settings. I know the things I've been reading have been moving away from that at least.
  13. Penguinball

    Zero drafts

    This is something I've been experimenting with, I'm doing more or less what @Banespawn describes. Its basically a super long outline, where I go into more detail and sketch out roughly what happens in each scene. For me I find it helps work out the story problems and spot plotholes before I get 40k words into a story. My current process right now is to: Do a free flow unorganized rant about the story, basically a description of 'I'm pretty sure this is what happens'. It captures the biggest strokes of the story Next I go through and put that info into Dan Well's 7 Point Story structure, and work out the bigger shapes of each plot thread and character journey, usually ending up with a chart with 5 or so columns for the different threads. I then take THAT information and write a linear outline, starting at where I think Chapter One is, and sketch out what happens in the story. This way if one of the threads isn't working, I can change it now. My most recent outline ended up at over 5000 words, and it would have been longer if I didn't get fatigued and started using bullet points. Optional - Take that outline and break it down into a scene list. I don't usually do this though, I find it sucks too much excitement out of the story, I want to leave SOME things for me to discover. Write the actual Draft One
  14. Penguinball

    Best (and Worst) Writing Advice?

    "Said is dead!" "Never use adverbs, ever! Any -ly word is the sign of a hack writer!" Same people saying these things, WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME!? I think this is a symptom of people regurgitating writing advise without being experienced enough to hear what they are saying. I partially agree with the adverbs, too many of them does make a piece of writing seem weak, but you don't need to get rid of ALL of them, every time! Its become popular to dogpile on a writer at the first adverb, and that kind of thinking is just toxic.
  15. Penguinball

    Best (and Worst) Writing Advice?

    What is the single piece of writing advice that has helped and stuck with you? The first thing you would share with a new writer? Mine is below. And bonus round - What is your least useful piece of advise? What is something someone told you about writing that you wish you could unhear? Good advice - This is a compound one with a couple parts, and its taken me a long time to take to heart. Like, I knew on a surface level that this advice is true, but its taken YEARS to accept it. A) Your first draft will suck. EVERYONE's first draft will suck. Some will suck less than others, but the first draft is rough, its awkward, and THAT'S OKAY. B) You are ALLOWED to suck. Don't be discouraged while writing because it isn't flowing out of your pen/fingers as amazing, perfect prose. That is an unrealistic expectation to hold yourself to, and the sooner you realize that sucking is okay, the sooner you will get better at sucking less. C) Just because something sucks now, doesn't mean it sucks forever. That's what editing is for! Even the roughest, more awkwardly written story can be massaged into something great. It is all part of the process. Don't despair and throw writing away because it is currently not that great. Just keep writing through the suck Bad advice - I have a lot less of this, but reading Stephen King's On Writing, he kind of talked about his process like it was the BEST way (particularly writing a draft in a short amount of time as possible with little planning). Everyone has things that don't work for them, so putting forth advice as Law really bugs me.