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Everything posted by bdcharles

  1. 1) I don't tend to seek out love triangles and so on as plot points. I don't mind them as character backdrops but for it to be a key thing ... too romance-y. Excessive "Only Royals Matter" type narratives are a little tired also. I am interested in the average person in the street making their way through fantasy dragon land, not an identikit parade of disposable princesses. Excessively low fantasy - basically a normal drama with some minor fantastical element - is also not my thing, but then again I have known it to work for me. Depends on the quality of the underlying drama. 2) I actually like most standard fantasy tropes. Left-justified fantasy map, prophecy, chosen one - you name them, I genuinely quite like them, which is why I like fantasy. I don't also really know which tropes are disliked, so it's kind of hard to answer. The sheer amount of tropes in general make it hard to really pin myself down to a few - I guess there's only room in my mind for about 3 tropes in one go πŸ™‚ I'm reading the Inheritance Cycle currently (me and my daughter are both geeking out about it) and it's Trope City - chosen one, Nordic world, dragon telepathy, sexy elf, geographically impossible rivers/when in doubt draw a mountain range, subterrean alcoholic dwarves, mystery lands to the east, the whole bit. It is highly derivative, but very enjoyable nonetheless. I admit it; I like most tropes! 2) The only trope that's been disliked is more of a romance one, and I share that feeling. Well - not so much dislike, but more like ... not a huge amount of interest.
  2. Echo is frequently quite thoughtless. She gets an idea in her head and she goes with it, and despite her humble beginnings she is not afraid to push it through no matter what the objections. This trait, while it does deliver results (her main and often hectoring defence of it), also delivers great bloodshed. Oh, and don't ever hand her any kind of weapon, even for her to look. She'll be fiddling with it and will have your eye out. Ao - he's a little bit of a side-switcher. Consumed with a desire to be adored, he is intelligent, elegant, and scathing of those he considers beneath him, which is pretty much anyone whose manor house is smaller than his, or whose countenance doesn't exhibit the sort of rarified eloquence that his does. His words cut like barbs. Always armed with the last word on who's who (and who isn't) in society, he believes himself to be almost a work of art. One need only gaze upon him to know pure beauty and he's not afraid to let everyone know it. Ixawod is a good guy, but he's from a rich background, handsome, a little arrogant and entitled. But don't worry. A good dose of war and killing soon puts him in his place. He is Echo's lover for a time, but is not particularly faithful to her. He moves in the same circles as Ao. Faraday Foxtrot-Brown: a canny lady and a journalist, she and her jotting minions control dukes, justices of the peace, industry captains, everybody, mostly through fear of a withering writeup. She's great company - she'll show you the glittering highs of the town - but don't ever trust her; she is deeply and fundamentally deceitful. Sir Gaunt - he's chivalrous to the extreme. However he is quite physically weak and prone to asthmatics. Nobody can really get their head around how the hell he got accepted into the ranks of gallantry other than the fact that he looks like a child's drawing of a knight. Varyonet: little more than a vicious street thug, she has always had to fight for every last scrap. Unpitying in everything she does, being on the same side as her in battle is no guarantee of amity; bore her, make too much noise, or just get in her way and she'll cut your throat or embed a crossbow quarrel in your forehead. It is only through a weird obsession with Echo - possibly after she becomes pregnant with Ixawod's baby, and tied into the postpartum depression she suffers - plus some other luck, that she ends up on their side in the various conflicts. Humpty Doughty. He's an antag for book 2. An old school-fellow of Ixawod's, he's a complex guy. Dropped on his head as a small boy, he was left with mild learning disabilities and since then has taken to carrying an egg around. On a good day - when they're not bullying him, for instance - the egg remains unharmed but on a bad day, it will be crushed in his fat pink hand. Draw your own conclusions from that, but all I will say is that he sends a shadow throughout the land, and that even Hammerstyle (below) keeps him at a respectful distance. Hammerstyle, my antag from book one, doesn't have any flaws, unless you count being too ambitious, too energetic, and being just a bit too much for the average person. But those are really their flaws, not his. He's got it all - tall, broad-shouldered, a rockin' lion's-mane hairdo - and he throws the awesomest parties. He has no flaws. He's amazing. Critique him at your peril πŸ™‚
  3. This is fine, imo. But if you had something like: It wouldn't work so well for me. I suppose it's the frequency and quality of the technique, rather than the simple fact of it.
  4. I kind of agree with it to be honest. I think my issue with it is I just see so much of it. Occasional use, with some embellishments and a good whack of additional solid prose in there so the "as" doesn't end up as the centrepiece of the sentence, is absolutely fine, but I have seen five fairly unremarkable sentences, all using "as" in this way, all one after the other, and it takes me right way out of the story.
  5. bdcharles


    Great topic! I admit, subtle yet effective foreshadowing is not something I am all that proficient at. I've definitely been focusing on this. What I can do reasonably well though is character and description; I use alot of body language to suggest mood and things of importance, and I've been told my characters are highly sympathetic and my world is very vivid and immersive without being overdumped. But ask me to manage tension? I mean, it does seem to happen at certain crucial times but I am never quite sure how I did it. I just try and put myself in the situation I'm writing about, with a view to what I want to happen, and write all the little things I see in the leadup. It's really not a thought-through process but an imagined one.
  6. Yeah, to me chapter titles are part of the artistry of it. I like being a little poetic with them.
  7. Yeah. I do actually use multiple POVs in my WIPs but naming the chapters after the characters never even occurred to me as I open with the character doing stuff anyway so it would be clear who it is; eg: most of my WIPs are from Echo's perspective but here are some others that aren't. Haha actually I just went to scrape an example from my WIP: The name of the chapter? "Ao". FFS :) It's the only one I can think of that is like that and I will probably change it. Here's another chapter called "The Myrda Building", that starts like this:
  8. Hmm. I'd rather not, to be honest (God, I'm fussy - I know, I know!! :) ). I want the character's voice and personality to project who it is, not for them to have to come with a label each time we meet. Of course this could all be reasonably well got around by not using first person in the various chapters, though that's not a fantasy-specific thing. This is of course just personal preference. I know many people whom it doesn't bother one iota.
  9. Not sure tbh. I just see a lot of it still in beta readings.
  10. I am not a massive fan of YA fantasy. A lot of it seems too much like generic teen romance with fairy-wings clipped on for me. I also don't care for POV chapters named after the character doing the POVving, a technique which seems very overdone at the moment. I apologise for anyone whose style this is; for what it's worth my style is horribly flowery and overblown so please - have at it :) Lastly I find Neil Gaiman's writing intolerably dull. God I feel awful saying this. I feel like I'm popping a squat over hallowed turf, particularly when I've had nothing but nice exchanges with him and his wife over Twitter. Tolkien though? LotR I do understand but - how can you not like Pm Hfbbit? :)
  11. I’ve always found that groups on writing sites tend to be very quiet. A section on the forum may get more interest.
  12. I've been a bit quiet on here lately, but every time I come back there's more names, more content, and seemingly more activity, which is great! For me, that's the main thing - just get loads of relevant activity going, and I'll be more likely to post and engage. So in summary - keep up the good work :) In general I use both forum and discord. I also try and use the WS twitter account to keep engagement going there too. Nothing is particularly unclear to me. No issues with staff responsiveness. Love the new forum! It is easy to use and most importantly, it looks like a fantasy writing forum should look, right down to the purple colours and creepy tree theme. I do think some sort of critique place, for people to post and workshop their writing, would be useful. But that depends if that is a goal of the forum. I joined a club but I have been very slack there ... I can only apologise. Again, the library here is infinitely more user friendly than with the last software, so good job on that. I would say the one thing that slightly puts me off with it is simple user engagement. I posted something there a couple of months ago and have had no replies, despite replying to some other users' library content. Maybe I am not using the library for what it's supposed to be for, but then the comments option suggests feedback. Sounds like I'm having a right moan - I'm not! But it would just be nice. No-one wants to shout into the void, or indeed raise a fist to an indifferent sky :) Just logged back on there. Nice to see lots of names and content. No issues with this. It was a little quite before, going back a few months. I really have not looked into this enough. [Goes and has a poke around]. Okay. To me, a couple of things keep me from fully engaging here: one is the word count. Writing up to 5k words in a month is a very tall order timewise for me, so I kind of feel a bit like - if you don't have bags of time, then this isn't for you, which will then somewhat limit the content. Also the fact that entries must be submitted to the library makes it just that little bit less user friendly. Why not just have threads for each month's entries to save having to click here, there and everywhere? Lastly, the prompts. Who chooses these? What scope is there for prompt suggestions to be submitted and then voted on by the general membership? I see it says 'send us your ideas' in the FAQ but ... I dunno, maybe make it just less of a black box. It could form a great discussion topic and just cast the net a smidge wider that way. It might be that way already of course and I just don't know. Hope all this helps anyway :)
  13. Which page contains the section you're interested in? @Jedi Knight Muse I do it now and again, maybe three or four times throughout the book in several chapters.
  14. Well I am partial to a seductive first line (of book, chapter, anything) so I try and give it as much in as short a space as I can. In those lines, I don't shy away from telling, I try and portray time and setting and mood, to position the reader, and using stronger words and images to offset any more generic ones. The workaday business of dialogue can come later. Here's a couple of examples: Hope this helps.
  15. I don't think it would throw me off. I switch POVs a fair bit even in a chapter, and sometimes even dip into others' heads while I'm in another char's POV section. I just like the old-fashioned style that supports it, and I do it in a number of places, though I suspect the day will come where I'll have to cut those bits. It's a little hard to say whether it works here because I don't have the context - all I see is Kassel's POV. As for the scene in general, I like it. I like the depth it goes into for Kassel and the world. And - joy of joys - you have kept your sentence structure varied. I am beta reading some stuff at the moment and while there are many enjoyable parts, five consecutive sentences going "X was a Y, subordinating to the Z" is a bit much :)
  16. Great question. My MC starts out at 20 (she notes that it is her 21st at one point), and while I was conscious of this bias such that I included several key supporting characters aged 40~ish and 51, and older, the MC and her allies tended to be young. I really don't know why this is and need to dig deep a little. Is it because they're better looking? Because they represent some innocence within us? Because a typical 40-something yomping through fantasy dragonland is a hard aesthetic to pull off? Maybe. I dunno. My MC's age just seemed right. The person it was based on was about that age at the key time anyway. Challenge accepted, I guess πŸ™‚
  17. I'm going to work on The Dire Queen. I'm about 62K words in and feel I've barely started. I have a reasonable idea of where I want it to go but I want to really deep dive into epic fantasy elements. The first book focused on characters and themes - and I will keep that - but I feel the deep immersion in the world was not as developed as I would like. It was also pretty human-centric. Now I want readers to get snared into a fabulous world and be bewitched by beguiling races. Magic will be explored further and incredible creatures will feature. The world as we know it is to be left firmly behind.
  18. In terms of writing, I love the fact that you can make any place or vision real via the medium of the fantasy novel. In terms of reading, I love the fact that you can go to all these far flung places where fantastical stuff happens. There's not much I dislike about the genre other than the proliferation of derivative work, themes, ideas etc. But even those I quite like :)
  19. Until about ten years ago, my daydreams had pretty much got out of hand. It seemed that, while friends and colleagues were making giant strides in their careers, I was merely getting by. Yes, I had some of the trappings of achievement. Yes, I put up a reasonably convincing front about it, but all the while I hid a terrible secret. I was... I was ... I was a secret daydreamer. And not just that; I had ... I had ... I had ... say it ... I had imaginary friends. No. I had a whole imaginary life. I was Walter Mitty, I was every self-deluded loon, and my fantasies frequently took far more of my concentration than the day-to-day drudge of real life, which - though it had perks aplenty - was bland and unfulfilling in comparison. Even as I attended meetings and flew to customer sites, I was an intergalactic space captain, I was a warrior astride a giant winged beast, I was rocking the main stage in some far-flung metropolis before the adoring millions. I thought I was ill. How long, I wondered in desperation - how long can any sane adult maintain such deception and not take some deficit to their health, be it mental, physical or financial? Something had to give. Then I discovered writing, everything fell into place, and here we are πŸ™‚ Without my daydreams I would have absolutely nothing to write about, and it scares me when they fall quiet.
  20. I enjoy the Steampunk aesthetic - sorry, the Γ¦sthetic - but I often wonder how best to translate that into a novel? Clearly there is going to be some setting to it; a Steampunk novel set in some far future is going to have a challenge on its hands that something which draws on Victorian London may not. There's the add-ons, the brassy science - the cogs, the automatons, the fabulous flying contrivances and the curiosities that lurk just below our normal sightline, peeping up when they think we aren't watching. What else? To me, the simple style of the language is a big part of it, or at least it should be. I struggle a little to buy into it if it is not written in the style of Charles Dickens or Jane Austin or somebody like that. Eagle-eyed readers will observe that I have chosen the Georgia font today; that's because in my view typeface selection can underpin the look-and-feel. Names. Names are a big part of it. I love that tradition of mixing odd names with common ones - Inigo Jones, Heironymous P. Bosch. Those sorts of names make me want to read loads more about them. Thoughts on what really "makes" a steampunk novel?
  21. Ah yep my wife cites that as one of her favourite reads. I'll have a go at it someday. I love a bit of steampunk. And Lin-Manuel Miranda - for some reason I am seeing that guy's name everywhere recently. I mean he's very talented but I'm starting to get to the point of asking: what does this mean? What am I being told? And I'm really not the sort that asks that question alot. :) I've already seen Mary Poppins Returns (it's great by the way!) so what more does L2M want of me? :) Great responses by the way guys. Keep 'em flowing
  22. Blasphemy? Heresy? Madness? Not at all! Why not share some non-fantasy books you've read and enjoyed, and what you got out of them? I'm reading The Muse by Jessie Burton (she of The Miniaturist) right now, and I love her attention to detail with the little quirks and observations of her characters. That's definitely something that's feeding into my own WIPs.
  23. May have been asked before; gonna need an answer. πŸ™‚