August 18, 2017, 10:53:23 PM

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Re: Where Are You? I've lived in the Mid West of Ireland off and on for over 30 years.

Write what you know? So most of  my Fantasy and SF books have one or more Irish (or Northern Irish) characters.
My blog is hosted by Corvids press and might have more information. Though I'm a rubbish blogger.

I'm usually in my library, or the bedroom, writing or reading. So that's where I am now.

May 01, 2017, 02:08:21 PM
Re: How did you find us? Strangely I signed up here after seeing a tweet. The exception that proves the rule?  :D
May 01, 2017, 02:14:18 PM
Re: Do you start big or start small? Warning Will Robinson! Long rambling post.
I treat a first draft as a "proof of concept". It might get changed hugely after then considering the "world consistency". The first two to three versions can be quite different. By about version 3 or 4 it's clearer what the "world" and characters are. The first version might even skip a lot of scenes and chapters. With the 2nd and 3rd, the Novella gets filled in and adapted and becomes a Novel.
IMO the "Worldbuilding" has to be subservient to Story. For example "Caves of Steel" by Asimov is actually a pretty conventional detective story and could even be re-done as 1940s California or maybe New York is better, "Noir" style.
While the original Star Wars draws on a huge lot of ideas and characters in Dune, it's a more mystic almost medieval  Japanese style of fantasy story (IMO while I'm fond of SF and even "Space Opera" like EE Doc Smith, Lucas lost it when he tried to explain stuff after the first few films). Actually "Willow" is maybe Lucas at his best. There is almost no worldbuilding, just familiar tropes.

Often stereotypes and tropes work better than explicit worldbuilding. If it's wonderful description and exposition (Badger's house in Wind in the Willows), that's fine. But if either "info dump" or ST-TNG style explanations it's boring or silly.
Too much Worldbuilding before writing and it looks like Fan Fic, unless you are Tolkien! Don't try to copy Tolkien's World, as he spent nearly 30 years building it and it relied on scholarship. Go back to Norse, Germanic, Celtic, Greek, Egyptian, Babylonian stories, even 17th C. Fairy Tales and use that to build your world instead of tinkering with Tolkien's!
You see this in Raymond Fiest. The original "Magician" starts a bit like a "Dungeons & Dragons" novelisation rip off of Tolkien, then about 1/2  through he finds his own voice and in the Rift War series builds his own World.
Also I can't believe that Modsitt (Magic of Recluse) worked it all out first.
We know that Lewis didn't really do "World building" for "The Lion the Witch and the Wardobe", and that Tolkien and others laughed at the beaver's sewing machine and marmalade. Check out the order the books were actually written! The Magician's Nephew is a clever sort of "recon" as he thought about how could it have started, long after even the "Silver Chair" (IMO one of the best actually) was written.

I started "Under the Stone of Destiny" in about 1995. But I wrote four more in the series before publishing in September 2016. My conception of the Inamok, Fay (Sidhe, Elves, Faerie) and Tuath Dé as well as some of the characters changed, so it was only during 2016 that I "finalised" the Worldbuilding  for the series. I've got to version 3 to 6 on three books in the series that probably won't start to be published till 2018, they are much more constrained because of what has gone before, BUT ALSO the worldbuilding. It's hard to change the "world" when documented and detailed. This seriously limits your imagination when writing the stories.
An extreme example is my later (but published earlier) "Talents Universe" Series. Before writing it I decided:
1) What the Seven Circles of Talent are.
2) How Starship Jump drive would work (based on a 1970s discussion with my mum and 1992 "lost in space" sort of story.
3) That the main setting would be like a Boarding School that you can't leave (even for weekends) without "passing".
I've done eight stories on that, but folded one into another. I've outlines for two more, which may never be done. The "world building" ultimately limits the series.
But never fear! I've a 2nd draft of an unconnected fantasy (with NO world building done, though I had to make a map for me to judge times). Also started an unconnected SF that's much more "hard SF" than "Talents" which is about 3 to 3.5 on SF Moh scale. (4 is no fantasy science and no Jump Drive or wormholes).   

May 06, 2017, 04:34:56 PM
Re: Is this just completely ridiculous?
...  the only person who must love the story is the writer. Ironically, if they love it and write it well, others will follow (whether a few or many). But if the writer doesn't love the story, no one else is likely to.

Yes, can't be said enough. 99% of writers might never make enough to live on. I think if you sell 100 books (not give away) you are something mad like top 10%?

So write the story you want to read. If you can STILL read it in a couple of days and like it at the 14th proof reading, then there is hope for it.
I don't write "for the market" or to "push an agenda", I write the stories I want to read. It's a bonus if it makes money and other people like them.

May 06, 2017, 04:46:04 PM
Re: Is historic fantasy better than speculative? Real world historic fantasy needs much research.
Imaginary world historic fantasy backgound can be crystalised by playing Civilisation a lot, as can "future" speculative fiction. Why? Because things depend on things and some things make others inevitable.

Valves (tubes)  depended on development of mercury based vacuum pump, diamond dies (for tungsten or nickel filaments) and mathematics.
Transistors and ICs were "held up" for nearly 50 years due to lag in materials science. Bell Labs beat more serious researchers because their Germanium was new stock and purer.

Maxwell's Victorian equations made special relativity inevitable. Einstein would have had General relativity within a year rather than 10 years later if he'd paid attention to mathematics at university, it needed non-Euclidian geometry.

Decent "speculative" fiction might need a good science/engineering/mathematics background.

However "speculative fiction" is a very broad term and might even use "historic fantasy" as a vehicle.

May 11, 2017, 10:19:05 AM
Re: Religion in Fantasy It's important to research and understand a wide range of philosophy and religion (Ritual, practice, folk belief, theologies, divisions etc) of the real world for last 3000 years otherwise any religion in fantasy can sound childish, shallow, nonsensical or stereotypical, by mistake. You might deliberately want to have one or more of those attributes.  You can have "founders" or "followers" that are honest, deluded, really inspired, hallucinating or charlatans.  Famously one SF author invented a religion, deciding it was more profitable than writing.
Possibly three or four popular religions (or popular at one time) in the last 1500 years were deliberately synthesised  by  the founder to get broad support. The same might be true of some denominations.
There are various basic kinds of religion:
Folk Magic  and possibly shamanistic
Polytheistic, choice of who your favourites are.
Polytheistic, but there is often one senior god
Dualistic (some supposedly monotheistic religions are dualist, some allegations of dualism are woolly thinking).
Monotheistic. But not all religions that are allegedly related might agree that it's the same god, even when one claims it is. A large number of "pre-colonial" African religions may have/are monotheistic. Some Celts and earlier Western Neolithic peoples might have been monotheistic. No-one knows what Druids before 600AD believed. Not just Christian has concept of three-in-one or resurrection.
A place of punishment isn't universal for religions that believe in an afterlife.
Not all religions differentiate, or even have at all, the idea of a soul or spirit.
Not all have an afterlife.
Re-incarnation can be once, or indefinitely or till perfection.
Perfection can mean becoming more than human or nothing (like a drip into ocean).
I don't think ANY religion believes dead people become "angels" that's a popular later sterotype. Angels in Judaism, Christianity and Islam are immortal creatures that don't procreate, not human, demons are two kinds, fallen angels and malicious magical creatures.

So you can invent what you like, but be careful about using real religions. In my SF there is mention of Islam, Hindu, various sorts of Christian (Catholic and Reformed), Judaism and Scientology (though it's not named), because Alien priests (one a monotheist and one polytheist) discuss belief with a person of human origin and also there is a scene where an Alien Ambassador is questioned about religion by members of the Northern Ireland Assembly.


May 13, 2017, 05:57:25 PM
Re: How much did you write today? Very slow today about 700 words. Though I got up after I went to bed last night and added 800 words to that day's 3600 approx.
Head woolly.

Also start is slow as I have to name characters and a bit of their background (in separate cast text file). Each project is a separate folder. I only combine all the separate text files in word processor when complete story arc is done. Then the first edit of that is the true first draft.

June 01, 2017, 04:00:14 PM
Re: How much did you write today? Did about 800 last night.
June 03, 2017, 09:38:09 AM
Re: Elves and humans
I'm surprised that so many are surprised at elves with tattoos/a punk-esque look. Its pretty common in a lot of games.

But games have little relevance to the vast majority of readers and writers. Even in games it's only an attempt at marketing (or designer egotism) as games depend on good gameplay, not imagery and backstory.

Also I think watching too much TV/Films can be bad for writing as they are an audio - visual medium. Reading uses BGI not CGI  (Brain Graphical Imagination).

Fantasy largely builds on sterotypes and tropes  500 to 3000 years old. Dunsany, Tolkien, Macdonald etc hardly invented much at all. It was their storytelling.

(Dons asbestos suit and runs).

June 07, 2017, 08:27:48 AM
Re: How much did you write today? Still writing nothing, because alternately proof reading and edit in corrections (on 3 books since last bout of writing).
So two books nearly sorted, one needs entirely re-written (part one was in 1991 an part two in 1996, I've written 14 books since then), two books are only outline and 1st chapter, one book is very disjointed and three in near complete draft (Talents Universe) but the last one is the most complete (#8 in series).

Probably I shouldn't start a new book?

June 18, 2017, 11:09:10 PM