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Penguinball

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Penguinball last won the day on January 19

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About Penguinball

  • Birthday 03/20/1988

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  1. Penguinball

    Adopt a premise/story idea

    Oooh I've got a whole bunch of idea fragments! Note to self to post some when I'm back at my computer. Great post!
  2. Penguinball

    Worldsmyths Million 2019 Discussion

    If shipping wasn't super expensive I'd offer up some kind of small crafty thing. Can we rig the test so someone in Canada wins? πŸ˜›
  3. Penguinball

    Worldbuilding Question: Travel

    Bump, in case anyone else wants to answer this!
  4. Penguinball

    MICE Quotient Tool

    MICE Quotient is a way of thinking about stories, a tool to help making them stronger in both the planning and editing phases. Not only is it a way to categorize stories, but also a loose guideline on where to start and end a story based on how it’s categorized. In his book Characters and Viewpoint Orson Scott Card writes: What are the different kinds of stories? Forget about publishing genres for a moment; there isn't one kind of characterization for academic-literary stories, another kind for science fiction, and still others for westerns, mysteries, thrillers, or historicals. Instead let's look at four basic factors present in every story, with varying degrees of emphasis. Balancing these factors determines what sort of characterization a story must have, should have, or can have. The four factors are milieu, idea, character, and event. Milieu (setting) A milieu story focuses on setting or world. Generally, the story begins when the characters leave a familiar place and enter a new, unfamiliar one, and usually (but not always!) ends when they again return home. Examples: Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbit, Dune Idea Idea stories are about the process of finding information. They begin with a question, and end when that question is answered. Books in the mystery genre are often in this category. Examples: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Da Vinci Code, a lot of fantasy and sci fi in general Character Character-based stories center on character transformation. They begin with a character’s dissatisfaction with their own life or circumstances, and end when that character either manages to change those circumstances or accepts them. Example: The Wizard of Oz, most of the Romance genre Event Although events happen in every story, the world in an Event Story is out of whack. It is out of order; unbalanced. An Event Story is about the struggle to re-establish the old order or to create a new one. Examples: Trading Places, Independence Day How to Use MICE: Each of these categories represents a promise. By setting up a character story you are promising that a character will experience a significant change over the course of the story. If the character fails to change, the story falls flat, and is unsatisfying. If you set up a disastrous event where danger is imminent but end up focusing on the character's relationship with their mother, the reader is left wondering if that volcano will ever explode, they wonder why their attention was drawn to it if it isn't used. Ever read a story and feel completely bored and unsatisfied, but you can't put your finger on exactly WHY it wasn't working? It is likely because the story lacks a promise. Using these categories can help you decide what to emphasize, and to diagnose issues when they arise. I personally find them useful for making sure my stories have a satisfying ending, which is the hardest part for me. Ever read a story where there is just too much going on, and you don't know what to focus on or care about? It could be that the story has too many of these categories, and needs to be trimmed so the reader knows where to invest emotionally. Do I need to include all of these categories? Well, a story can have more than one of these elements emphasized. They can be nested and layered to create deeper meanings and themes. But you don't need to include all of them every time. In fact, a short story will likely only have room to explore one or two of these concepts, while a novel will likely have aspects of all of them. Further Reading: Nesting MICE Elements with 'Last In, First Out' (the general idea is that if you nest stories in the order of Character, Milieu, Event, Idea, you would resolve them in the order of Idea, Event, Milieu, Character Writing Excuses Podcasts on MICE Blog Post with Handy Infographic
  5. Penguinball

    What are you reading? [2019]

    I'm rereading the Earth's Children series by Jean M Auel. I read them in high school and its interesting going back. I do enjoy them, but reading with more experienced eyes has me annoyed at all the head hopping and POV shifting. On one page she went from third person to first person in A's head, back to third, then first person in B's head. Totally breaking all the current rules. Her first person is super weak too, all the thoughts sound the same, all these long run on sentences that I THINK is supposed to show flow of thought, but really just makes me run out of mental breath. Still, I enjoy the series, and its close attention to the flora and fauna of an ancient earth. I've got some strong nostalgia for these books too, which helps. They DO go on a bit, I've been skimming. She'll go on these long descriptions of scenery and plants and I'm like OKAY. Can we get back to the story now? But I like them anyway πŸ™‚
  6. I think prologues and epilogues are like any other writing tool, they don't really stand out when used correctly. For me they only jump out and are obvious when I feel they are trying to be too mysterious, they are setting up questions that don't really get answered for a very long time. Setting up questions is great, I encourage it, but it leaves the reader with a kind of tension, when are they answering it? When are they addressing <big mystery>? Oh, not until Book Three? Well, that's exhausting. Another mistake people make with prologues is making them too long and involved. Don't take time to set up a character, make us care about them, only to never see them again or have them be immediately killed off. That feels like an emotional bait and switch, and has the side effect of making it more difficult to get attached to the ACTUAL main character. Epilogues I usually barely notice, but the ones that stand out to me are the 'babies ever after' ones, or 'where are they now' looks into the future. Or the ones where they try to tie up EVERY loose thread in a couple lines and half ass emotional conclusions to story lines. Or where they 'pair the spares' in sudden love confessions just so they aren't single at the end of the book... basically when epilogues are used as rushed extended endings instead of giving us closure for the story. I don't believe in telling people not to use them though, I believe any writing tool should be available for you to use. Just try not to shoehorn too much into a prologue or an epilogue and I'm happy. One last thought, Dan Wells talks about the 'ice monster prologue', and I think that is a great way to do it. The link is below. Basically its a prologue that gives you a hint of the dangers of the story, an idea of the world and future conflict, without giving much away. Its useful for heroes journey stories especially, because when you are starting with a hero who is just starting out, you likely won't get to those monsters and conflict for awhile. Its sets up future promises, and the story feels more satisfying when they are paid off. Its named for the prologue of the first ASOIAF/Game of Thrones book. Other examples are Dumbledore and McGonagal delivering baby Harry in the Harry Potter series, or the opening scene of Star Wars with the small rebel ship running from the massive Star Destroyer, where we are introduced to a promise of space battles and princesses and a secret mission, before transitioning to Luke's boring life. Setting up promises deserves its own post actually... But in conclusion, prologues - use them wisely. https://youtu.be/KcmiqQ9NpPE
  7. Penguinball

    Worldbuilding Question: Travel

    (found on Reddit) How do I go from the capital of your largest nation to the capital of a neighboring nation? - Give directions on how to get there, methods of travel, and/or hazards are along the way. In my story, the city of Middlecourt is the largest and most prosperous, being at the centre of the continent with good access to the other major cities. Travel is still dangerous though, many creatures and wild minor gods roam the countryside. Priests of the god of travel escort parties from place to place, with regular stops along the way. These priests can placate the wild gods and mitigate some of the danger. They are also accompanied by armed warriors, many of whom are followers of Arapys, the god of blood. Blood often gets shed while traveling, so escorting groups along the roads is a good source of blood to honour their god. To get to the island city of Saltburne, one would either wait for a party heading that direction, or pay extra to hire an escort for themselves, and head northeast. The first part of the journey is through plains, which transition into hills and then up into steppes. The port city of Rebrie is positioned at the edge of a tall cliff and is permanently engulfed in steam and high winds from the Sea of Steam. The forge god makes his home in the ocean below the cliff, and his activities bring up great gusts that enterprising sailors make use of with steam ships, which are hot air balloons with wings and fins to ride the air currents. A traveler would book passage on one of these ships and be carried across the steam to the island nation of Ashboume, of which Saltburne is the capital city. High towers rise above the steam to mark the location of the city on particularly misty days, and act as landing towers for the ships. Ta Da! You have arrived.
  8. Penguinball

    Worldsmyths Million 2019 Discussion

    I'm in! I'm a fan of monthly goals that adjust to keep us on track. So if the first month we all blast out words, that means we have less to write for the following months. Or if we slack off our counts go up the next month.
  9. Penguinball

    Organizing Your World Building

    I am pro Destiel, I think they have great chemistry and backstory. Though, disclaimer, I haven't watched the last like... 4? seasons? IDK. I have a thing about long running TV shows, I'm not the kind of person who wants them to go on for forever. I want closure. I want a satisfying ending. I don't want it dragged out until the characters are caricatures of themselves. Not saying that happened with supernatur- okay maybe I am. Same with Once Upon a Time, just freaking END already, I am getting story fatigue. To get back ON topic, the more I worldbuild the less I want to do it. I'm sticking to answering only the things that are touched on in my outline, the rest of the world can be a sketchy haze for now. Its just too much work, its easy to get discouraged and quit before the writing even starts.
  10. I haven't used the full book version but I have used the online explanation-only version and had good luck with it. For me it was helpful to flesh out the idea, when I had the general idea but needed to figure out what ACTUALLY happens. Its a great way to familiarize yourself with your story. Plus it reminds me of writing essays, which is a weirdly comforting thing? Its an easy to follow process that I'm familiar with, that's probably what I mean.
  11. Penguinball

    Daydreaming, Stories, and You

    For me, rehearsing conversations needs its whole own forum post πŸ˜›
  12. Penguinball

    Daydreaming, Stories, and You

    This is my liiiiiife. That's why the stories and movies I like best have strong self-insert potential πŸ˜„ No Shame. So tropey that I would be embarrassed to actually share the stories lines, but it is oh so satisfying. That was my reaction too! I was like...then what do you do inside your head? Nothing? How- what?? That's not even possible right? How can you just think about your day ALL DAY?! I literally cannot fathom what it would be like not to daydream. My coworker did say she was jealous of my imagination. How do you just not have one? Taking the bus is fantastic for this, or long car rides. Its probably good that I don't drive yet, I'd probably zone out into my own mind and crash πŸ˜› Maladaptive Daydreaming. I stumbled across the subReddit for it when people were talking about how much they love to daydream. It can be its own addiction for sure. I'm glad writing has helped you focus πŸ™‚ I've realized that I get downright grumpy and listless if I haven't had good daydreams for a couple days. I need to constantly feed my imagination different kinds of media to have fodder for my daydreams. Its not even about watching the thing itself, its about watching things that will make good daydreams later. Which is why 90% of my entertainment media is fantasy based. The last 10% is made up of cooking shows and documentaries.
  13. Penguinball

    What constitutes a steampunk novel?

    I love steampunk and steampunk-adjacent stories. Googling it, it sounds like people are really splitting hairs about what exactly constitutes 'steampunk'. My favourite new term of the day is 'aetherpunk', which is like steampunk with magic. But lots of people still call something steampunk with it still having magic. Base elements - Neo-victorian setting, with steam driven technology... actually the wikipedia page has a lot of great information, someone passionate clearly put a lot of work into it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk A lot of the steampunk I've been exposed to has a strange mix of my 'punk' ideals, rebellion, social change, but also a lot of optimism about technology and the future. Its usually not as gritty as other '-punk' genres. Its on my long long list of things I'd love to write. I have some notes for a fantasy goldrush story, where the source of energy that powers their magitech is running out, but a new source is found way out in the wilderness. It would mirror stories of the California and Caribou goldrushes. They can't use their airships because they use too much energy, have to go by foot through hostile terrain, but once they are there and accessing the course (idk, probably crystals or some junk), they can rebuild they tech and start fighting over resources.
  14. Penguinball

    Daydreaming, Stories, and You

    *This falls somewhere between Inspiration and Chatterbox so I'm putting it here because it IS writing related. Do you daydream a lot and tell yourself stories? I was talking to @Sheepy-Pie on Discord and she does this. I talked to a husband and a coworker, who are both distinctly NOT creative people, and they just...don't. They think about their problems or about what they have to do next, they don't imagine anything. We were equally blown away that the other does. I can't imagine my life without telling myself stories all the time. So my first question is - Do you tell yourself big stories via daydream? Sometimes my stories become involved and interesting that I want to write them down and share them with others. I find though that once I write down the notes and outline for it, its like I download it out of my brain. Its no longer something I day dream about. If you write down your daydreams, do you continue to daydream about them? Have you ever worked one into a story?
  15. Penguinball

    What do you want to write?

    That's a good question. I haven't written any actual prose since NaNo. I've written tonnes of notes, and have made progress in figuring out some rewrites for a novel WIP, but I haven't actually sat down and WRITTEN. Part of that is because I'm feeling pretty intimidated by the amount of work this novel needs, and I have a thought lurking in the back of my mind that I'm using note taking to avoid actually working on it, but that's like... a whole ball of trouble that I won't get into. So actual writing. I'm thinking of trying a writing prompt maybe, not working on existing things that have requirements and expectations. Just some writing exercises to get me 'back on the wagon' and to get things moving again, give myself a boost of confidence that this writing thing is still working for me. And once I get some prose down, I can look at my in-progress projects and pick something to work on. It might be better for my self esteem to work on some smaller projects and get something completed than getting discouraged trying to work on something big... Edit: I realized I just talked about myself this whole time, so I hope you can read between my ramblings and see the suggestion to work on writing prompts/free write/blather to get the creative juices flowing πŸ˜›
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