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Everything posted by bdcharles

  1. I enjoy the Steampunk aesthetic - sorry, the æsthetic - 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?
  2. bdcharles

    Daydreaming, Stories, and You

    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 🙂 Without my daydreams I would have absolutely nothing to write about, and it scares me when they fall quiet.
  3. 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.
  4. bdcharles

    Reading outside the fantasy genre?

    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
  5. May have been asked before; gonna need an answer. 🙂
  6. bdcharles

    Handling class in your writing

    How do you deal with different classes of characters in your stories, or the concept of class in general? Is there a layer of aristocracy sitting on the merchant classes, that rests in turn on the backs of the workers, or have you reimagined the whole thing? Are people defined by what they do, à la mage, rogue, warrior, and so forth? Or is your world classless, or something new? Does your writing draw from a particular strata?
  7. bdcharles


    What does your story’s currency say about your world? Is it straightforward mining of rare metals or is there something else of value that people barter with? How are the denominations named? https://www.independent.co.uk/money/how-the-worlds-currencies-got-their-names-a6939431.html
  8. bdcharles


    I keep losing track of my currency. I have to make sure that what one young person pays for, say, a train ticket, isn't the same as what a wealthy guildmaster pays for a royal bribe. I have a list. Slightly worryingly I may have lost it...
  9. bdcharles

    Handling class in your writing

    This sounds great. A lot of fantasy seems to me to concern people who happen to be royalty or aristos or have some connection to a notional throne. All of which is fine and dandy, but as you say, what of the underclass in such environments? What of the workers and general populus? I'm interested in the washerwoman who has to mop up goblin guts as well as make ends meet. What does the postman, whose daily run is punctuated by the flurry and rush of a passing war-dragon, think about his world? What is the impact of magic on the streets?
  10. bdcharles

    Neurodivergence in fantasy

    I really enjoyed the character of Thick in Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy. The impression readers get is that he has Downs, and alongside that he is just a very well-realised character.
  11. bdcharles


    I love a bit of medieval fantasy and the notion of a lady singing with wolves is cool. That said I am going to pass on beta for now, as I need to be sure that all the editing that could be done has been before committing. Looking at this extract, a couple of things you might want to focus on are: - dialogue punctution; eg: Lord Hammond grunted,[<- a comma sort of works here but it's not a common style of dialogue tagging, so you need the voice to really be able to pull it off] “All right then. Now what is this about Bishop Talrop?” “Now that’s a surprise. With the way he was spouting at me I was sure he would have come to you about it already,” [lower case s->]She said. - mixing styles. This extract is a little too talking heasdy for me. The dialogue itself is fine, but mix it up so it's not all just talk. Immerse me in the world and the POV character's perceptions as the dialogue happens. You do this with the desk but try a little more. Eg (and apologies for adding in stuff that's going to be irrelevant for your story but this is simply to illustrate what I mean.): Lord Hammond grunted. “All right then. Now what is this about Bishop Talrop?” “Now that’s a surprise. With the way he was spouting at me I was sure he would have come to you about it already,” she said. Sunlight streamed in between the linen drapes, the ones that her father had carried back from the war. “And what exactly has he been spouting about?” Elizabeth waved her hand. She wanted to confess all, to get back at Talrop for all the things he had done. “Oh, something about me being a Lady of Blackstone and my nightly singing was going to cause me to have my soul burn for all eternity because of it.” “Singing?" Lord Hammond frowned. "You mean that howling you do out in the woods every night? What harm could that possibly cause?” He shook his head and sat back at his desk. “Though he does make a point. It’s not natural for a Lady to be singing to wolves.”
  12. bdcharles

    Subverting Fantasy Tropes

    I quite enjoy conventional fantasy tropes but with a little twist; eg I have an asthmatic knight who doesn’t like to ride horses but who slays a dragon using explosives.
  13. bdcharles

    Story Titles

    They sound pretty good. I like the succinctness of them. "Darkness of Light" I might think was tipping the balance to a little too much, but by and large there's an evocativeness there. Maybe try and make the chapters suggest the changing of the tone in the story, particularly towards the end. Think drama, think buildup.
  14. bdcharles

    Overused tropes that you're totally using anyway

    I wouldn’t burn too much time on it. Tropes are tools and not necessarily to be avoided.
  15. bdcharles

    Overused tropes that you're totally using anyway

    Finished MS 1 has The Most Left Justified of left-justified fantasy maps. Add to that Rags to royalty, Magnificent Bastard - it's all there. To a point it is quite hard to avoid tropes. But I have tried to subvert them when I can - for eg the LJFM will have a land bridge (and there's probably a trope for that too!). I do tend to enjoy writing to the Hearing Voices and related similar tropes and I do it alot; it is just an interesting subject, to me.
  16. bdcharles

    Character replies

    ~ Hammerstyle rolls forward on the seat of his chair, crackling the wicker like autumn flames on a cold night. A deep rumble emits from deep within him, as though he is part man, part ghastly mechanical contrivance, just starting up and readying to set about some awful purpose. A specter of a dying smile plays about his jawline before vanishing entirely. "I don't," he says in a low tremor, "talk about my family." There's a pause. Then, abruptly, he sits back and his countenance changes, his searching eyes blue and friendly. Such is the switch that one could believe the previous comment never happened. "My friends are my family," he says breezily. "And as you saw last night, they are many and - " But once more his voice drops back to its trouser-flapping register " - they are very, very much-loved." His hands link together, forming up into ranks of cavalry. "Now," he says. One broad finger points. "What would be your dream vacation?" ~
  17. bdcharles

    Howdy oh fellow writers

    Welcome aboard Xanthuss/Isaac. I'll be sure to check out both Gail Carriger and Worldanvil ... though I probably ought to get some work done first 🙂
  18. bdcharles

    Character replies

    ~ Echo thought. How did she know? Did she know? Was she qualified to answer this question? Images swam up behind her eyes, of Ixawod and others, and to her dismay she found herself well-enough disposed towards them, but nothing that would prompt the words in love. She thought of Kenny the Swarhelian and her stomach did a curious movement, a little flip that she didn't have a word for. "I should imagine it's a bit like being hungry," she said at length, picking a runaway strand on her town dress, "but for people instead of food." On the wall behind her was scrawled another question. She wasn't going to answer it. Someone else would have to bear that honour. It read: what is the most embarrassing thing you have done? ~
  19. bdcharles

    Map Making

    I like the idea of a setting that has - gasp! - no coastline.
  20. bdcharles

    Map Making

    Here's my derivative, cliched, left-justified and horribly Euro-centric effort:
  21. bdcharles


    Dunno if any of you use the Soybomb Nonsense Generator but for me it's a dead simple yet entertaining (to me anyway) little page from which I've got city names, country names, regional slang, character names, you name it. I quite like using its output words in such a way that ~seems~ to make sense. Then the next poster could say which one they think it was, what they think it means, and add their own. Or maybe you have a nonsense word of your own that needs a home. Or you could shoehorn it into a name if you're feeling lazy 🙂 Or you can just get on with your proper writing hehe. Anyway:
  22. bdcharles

    Lodestone: a writers' workshop

    ^ ok cool, yes, I'll try it out
  23. bdcharles

    Lodestone: a writers' workshop

    I would join but I have no idea what "Writing Excuses" is (other than a thing I make to myself all the time... 😉 )
  24. bdcharles

    Small piece up for critique

    posted some comments in the doc
  25. bdcharles

    Hello, I am a purple dragon.

    Hi Zovi, and welcome! I'm listening to your E.Mezuxie music right now, and it's really nice - very pretty and ethereal. How did you put it together? Oh, and the Zovi one is nuts! 🙂 Anyway thank you for joining. Hope to read some of your stuff soon - sounds amazing