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Re: Are taverns overused?
I think you first have to think of purpose.  Social? Motel? Drinking?  Churches/Temples could take lodgers of their same faith, and provide a social setting.  Same with Guild houses.  A low-cost hostel would make sense where there is a lot of poor travelers (I don't think peasants did a lot, but you could have migrant workers or something).  A society could have developed where people liked to have visitors in their house, and might have "room to rent" signs along the road.  Boarding houses make sense.  But for drinking, whether you call it a pub, tavern, bar, house of ill repute, or whatever, they are the same all over.

Mediaeval monasteries certainly used to take in travellers - in fact, a lot of inns were originally monastic houses of hospitality.  For peasants, it would depend how far the journey was to the nearest market or fair.  It might well be far enough that it made more sense to stay overnight in the town than to go home in the dark.  And, of course, you can make that work however you like in your own world.

September 15, 2012, 02:57:58 PM
Re: You know you're a writer when...
You know you're a fantasy writer when you look at an acronym and immediately start planning the character who'd have that name. (Just happened to me - it was AXUG, who's definitely a troll.)

Absolutely! And sometimes when I misspell a word and think, hmmm, nice sound to that. How can I use it?

The letters on car numberplates can be useful, too.

October 13, 2012, 02:32:27 PM
Re: Limited 3rd person POV and detailed descriptions
Nah I think it's perfectly fine to read that character's thoughts about themselves or others, that usually works (within reason for show vs tell reasons like you mentioned). But when it's specifically information that the viewpoint character does not know, then it doesn't work for me. Like the MC seeing someone approach, and thinking "That's Justan, professional fanboy extroadinaire", then approaching the person and not actually knowing their name or occupation. For me that kind of thing is jarring, even when it's not as obvious as that.

If the detail that is inserted is relevant to the plot, then it's a poor way of giving the information to the reader (essentially a slip into omniscient). If not, then it's just unnecessary exposition.  ;)

The point is that omni is a very specific POV that can work fine, as long as the author's chosen to use it and handled it properly. It tends not to work when it's used as a convenient short-cut for giving information more easily.

April 01, 2015, 03:52:52 PM
Re: Experiences with worldbuilding I like the distinction between rare but normal and totally unexpected. I've never seen a spaceship (except on TV) but if I came face to face with the space-shuttle, I'd be impressed and fascinated, but it wouldn't change my concept of the world. If I came face to face with a spaceship with ET coming out of it, that would.

I suppose my most common world-level is something like a pre-Enlightenment version of ours. Ordinary people assume that magic, gods and the supernatural do exist somewhere "out there", but they don't expect to experience it themselves.

April 02, 2015, 04:51:11 PM
Re: Fight Scenes...
Also, you can consider importance of military advisors in battle, although it might be an extra character which can break the storytelling flow. For example, who is greatest army leader and general of all time - probably Alexander, right? Alexander had a genius general on his side (cant remember his name at the moment, that also tells something (nobody remembers advisors or assistant coaches)) involved in all of his big victories. When he left him, Alexander started to lose... So ;)

I'm not sure who you're talking about. Alexander actually never lost a battle - the crunch came when he wanted to push on into India after his victory at Hydaspes - the army mutinied and insisted on turning back west. Alexander marched them back through a desert, possibly as punishment, and a lot died. He never fought another battle, although at the time of his death he was planning a campaign into Arabia, and possibly then to the western Mediterranean (which would have brought him against Rome before it had expanded much).

Alexander certainly had plenty of great generals under him, but he's usually considered the strategic genius of the outfit. On the other hand, his downfall (there are strong suspicions he was actually poisoned) was his political policy, which outraged the Macedonian old guard.

April 06, 2015, 01:57:33 PM
Re: Fight Scenes... A very good example of that was Lord Howard of Effingham, Lord High Admiral of the English navy that defeated the Armada. He didn't actually know a great deal about seamanship, but he was very good at listening to advice and knowing when to take it. He had loads of great captains under him - Drake, Raleigh, Hawkins and many more, none of whom had the social status to be put in command of the rest - and he used that talent to win. That contrasts with the Spanish admiral, the Duke of Medina Sidonia, who also had little naval experience, but considered it beneath his dignity to take advice from underlings. The result was a resounding English victory.
April 07, 2015, 12:00:07 AM