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Everything posted by Penguinball

  1. Penguinball

    An Introduction and a Rose

    Hello! I've chatted with you on Discord, but welcome to the forum! ❀️ Sailor moon and Harry Potter.
  2. I love that fantasy can let me do ANYTHING in a world, have it be as crazy and out there as my imagination allows. I love being able to escape into worlds with magic, where the common person can rise up and change their destiny. I love the tropes, chosen ones and dragons and star crossed lovers. I love that fantasy allows us to examine our own world through a sideways lens and get a better look at ourselves. I dislike that fantasy can get stuck on tradition, specifically having the pseudo-medieval setting that is wildly inaccurate. We can do ANYTHING, why stick to castles and england-like settings? WHY do we also have to keep the gender roles of that time? Fantasy builds off the past, but so many people just can't seem to get away from Tolkien. Who I love, and I love a lot of pseudo-medieval stories. But variety people! Lets branch out! More women warriors! More strong female characters who don't need to be beaten in combat to fall in love! It is getting better for sure, but some of the gender stereotypes just WON'T DIE. It is an invented world, make it so that women can fight!
  3. Penguinball

    Adopt a premise/story idea

    Oh yeah I was going to respond to this! Here are some fragments. The Unfortunate Hero - This man actively seeks fame, he has no one to avenge and no lofty goals. He only wants his name to be remembered for all times, like his father before him (who did have such goals). He seeks out monsters and vanquishes them. Though he has killed many monsters and saved many villages, it is never enough for him. He is always after the next biggest monster, risking himself more and more in search of acclaim. He forsakes love, a family and a home to search for it. He becomes bitter when someone steals his kill, and starts a misguided quest for revenge that will destroy him unless he can come to terms with himself. The world is equally balanced. You health blind man and his fields all wither and die. Reciprocity. Do something good, and something equally bad happens. Likewise, do something bad and some good will come of it. Some people try to take advantage of this, with disastrous results. Pixie-like creatures tend to inhabit old castle ruins. they do this legally by sending an emissary to the area leaders and ask permission to move in to the ruins. The land and castle then belong to a micro nation of pixies and govern the land. Countries allow this because the farms nearby will flourish. A prince falls in love with a commoner and tries to introduce her to his parents but they disapprove, seeing her as unfit to rule a kingdom (not because she is poor born, she just lacks the proper skills and they don't want to waste time training her). The prince continues to see her in secret. His parents try to entice him to marry someone with more education. The prince marries the commoner in secret in an attempt to force his parents hand. The parents say that she must prove herself worthy and undertake a difficult.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. 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˜›
  7. Penguinball

    Worldbuilding Question: Travel

    Bump, in case anyone else wants to answer this!
  8. 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
  9. 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™‚
  10. 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
  11. 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?
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Penguinball

    Daydreaming, Stories, and You

    For me, rehearsing conversations needs its whole own forum post πŸ˜›
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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˜›
  19. Penguinball

    Organizing Your World Building

    Even though I want to know everything, the more I write down for worldbuilding the more I come to believe that 'less is more'. I really only need to know details for the things touched on in the story, everything else could potentially bog down the story. That being said, because I start writing in a constructed world I want to know a few basics, more for consistency so I don't write myself into a corner. I want to know the name and location of the major countries and maybe a few details about them that make them stand out from the others, like the gods they worship or unique cultural practices. I want to know how travel works in this world, which usually means knowing which country is allied with whom, and where the dangerous parts of the world are. The biggest part of worldbuilding for me, and the part I've struggled with the MOST in this world is the magic system. Does it make sense, is it complete enough, does it have realistic limitations. Does it fit in with the rest of the world? I've changed it many times since starting in 2015 (!!!) but I'm finally at a point where I'm comfortable and can work this magic into stories without risking gaping plotholes for myself to edit later. And that is really the crux of it. What do you need to know to avoid plotholes? Write that down first. Anything else you come across you can add to your worldbuilding files as you go, like flora and fauna they encounter, or that festival you just made up to give them a reason to dress fancy for a night πŸ™‚
  20. Penguinball

    Who's telling this story, anyway?

    I've switched, though I only got 6 chapters in before I ditched the project. The character I thought was going to be the MC kept coming off as having a wet dishrag of a personality, while her 'backup' MC was full of spunk and was really easy and exciting to write. I'm planning on getting to know her better, and going back to write more later, once I've got this thing plotted. Because that was another issue with it, I was trying to pants so the character voices were totally lost.
  21. Penguinball

    Reading outside the fantasy genre?

    Not to get too off topic, but do you have any recommendations for good steampunk? I've encountered it mostly in art and video games but haven't had much luck finding actual novels. I read Elizabeth Bear's Karen Memory, which was advertised as steampunk, but it was more just sprinkled in here and there (the big sewing machine mech suit was cool though).
  22. Penguinball

    Novel Completion Time

    Edit: I'm bringing this back from the archive, seeing that its a new year (which means new novels) and I find this super helpful to motivate myself. Words Per Day Days to Finish Weeks to Finish Months to Finish Goal 444 203 29 7 90000 600 150 21.5 5 90000 1000 90 13 3 90000 1200 75 11 2.5 90000 1500 60 8.5 2 90000 1667 54 8 1.8 90000 2000 45 6.5 1.5 90000 2500 36 5 1.2 90000 It can be tough to see progress when you are writing a little bit each day, which can in turn make it harder to want to write every day. To combat this I made myself a little chart to print off that says how many days it would take to complete a draft of a novel. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1O1jVBLV81x794SESh4pDW3YUbwS4sSmlejqrmEY4dDo/edit?usp=sharing I chose 90k as a goal because it is in between different genres of fantasy, including YA. According to a quick google search the average/recommended length for a fantasy novel (especially a debut one) is approx 100k, but I kept it a little lower to balance out with YA. If you could keep up the pace of Nano you could have a 90k draft in less than 2 months! A more leisurely pace of 600 will still get you a full, complete draft in 5 months. That is completely doable!
  23. Penguinball

    Novel Completion Time

    πŸ™‚ I'm glad its helpful! Its so easy to get overwhelmed by that big number. It also makes more sense too when you hear a professional writer say they only write a couple pages a day, that's only like 600 words, totally manageable!
  24. Penguinball

    Why We Don't Post

    A lot of stuff was archived when we moved to new forum software a couple months ago, so that's why more recent things show up in there. Its all free game though!
  25. Penguinball

    Why We Don't Post

    You can't restart an old archived thread, if that's what you mean. You have to create an entirely new one. Which is cool.