March 19, 2019, 05:17:17 PM

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Messages - J.R. Darewood

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Book Bargains
« on: March 18, 2019, 10:13:02 PM »
Dragon Wing, the first book of The Death Gate Cycle by Weis and Hickmann is on sale for $0.99 today. It is far superior to Dragonlance in my opinion, and one of the more creative series I've read.

I know I'm a month late seeing this. But I loved Death Gate too. I don't think it beats my teenage affection for dragonlance but it was a wonderful series with creative world building

Gahhhhh  i really wanted to write a story for this month but I'm totally getting my ass kicked time-wise.

General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: March 17, 2019, 12:51:12 PM »

@Lady Ty I think a lot of us have similar feelings about our own countries. Don't feel alone!  You're a good egg :)

Speaking of eggs. This Australian senator blamed the shootings on immigration and a daring 17 year old cracked an egg on his head... while trying to film it with his phone in a truly millennial fashion.  The senator then punched the minor. Like repeatedly. It looks like he hit the kid hard!

General Discussion / Re: Member birthday calendar
« on: March 17, 2019, 05:02:52 AM »
Writing poems that rhyme
  is not an easy thing to do,
but today the Cutter of the Gems
  is a ripe old fifty-two!
So freeverse can take a seat
  somewhere near the back:
rhyming's the flavor of the day
  if I can stay on track.
Happy birthday, goes the song,
  and I wish you many more
full of warrior wizards battle plans
  and other exciting lore.
Your poems and stories are a treat to read
  we never know what's in store
Keep it up, the cutter of the gems,
  you leave us wanting more.
May your birthday be full of fun
  and the coming years a blast.
May this year be made of treasured memories
  like every year until your last!

Happy birthday TGC

Thinking of you John. Be well and be strong.

Add me to that.  I'm sure I'm not the only one, holding you in our thoughts and wishing you well

Writers' Corner / Re: Wattpad
« on: March 15, 2019, 11:11:23 AM »
My experience through wattpad was a as a reader/browser and I've officially written off this website entirely as being trash. I'm probably being unfair because I could maybe find good content if I dug and searched especially for it but, what I find glaring is that the best voted and best read stories tend to be awful, poorly written teen at its worst. Lots of smut and fanfic too. Lots of fanfic smut.

I mean, 4.6M reads here :
And 7.4M reads there :

Yeah, that's kind of what I was getting at when I said Wattpad skews young. But, uh, more descriptive. :) @Nora you hit it right on the head!

Writers' Corner / Re: How much did you write today?
« on: March 15, 2019, 03:05:36 AM »

I wrote something!!!! I wrote something!!!!

I re-wrote the opening paragraphs of Chapter 1 of my WIP... for probably the 900,000th time.  But I think I'm close to something final-ish here....

General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: March 15, 2019, 12:04:24 AM »
BTW Americans funded Protestant organisations as well but that was less reported here and presumably there.

I did not know that!

I worked for American firms for over 25 years and through work and socially I have yet to meet an American who was either well informed about a tiny island their ancestors may have come from or were not politically and religiously polarized to lean one way or the other. Ireland is very small and far away in distance and time.

This is very true of Americans.

I am aware that Bradley is eminently better qualified to discuss Irish history and Anthropology than I am, however aware lots of Americans have tales of grief and woe with no factual reference at all as tales morphed through the generations and the telling. The truth is horrific enough the folk lore infinitely worse. A knee jerk reaction on my part but no one has any moral high ground in a debate on Ireland.

Haha don't give me too much credit! I had a friend that worked for a human rights org in N. Ireland many many many years ago.  She did not enjoy her experience being at the center of the fire, and was pretty agnostic when it came to picking sides.

Most of my expertise lies in conflict and development in the Americas, SE Asia and West Africa. I just dabble in European stuff, so I still have much to learn.  One thing my experience with the topic has taught me: trade might mitigate transnational conflict (in many cases but not always), but it foments and intensifies civil wars (in many cases but not always), steepens patronage networks (pretty much always) and hastens environmental destruction (pretty much always).

General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: March 14, 2019, 12:42:01 PM »
England not the UK? Submitting to an unchanging (despite what May would have us believe) deal dictated by Eurocrats concerned as Peat pointed out with punishing the UK over any deal that actually cuts ties. Presumably May will have a great career in Europe following her inability to do her Job here.

Politics is what you make it and I am very forgiving of those wonderful American allies who funded, supplied and trained terrorists of both religious persuasions to allow them to run protection rackets at home for 25+ years and a lot of kneecapping of Irish youth went on far more than there were shootings or bombings. A certain amount of control has to be exercised if your intent is to strike terror into the civilian population after all.
As for the IRA there were about 600 actively involved from the 70's to it's supposed dissolution. When the guns went away the kneecapping increased.

@Rostum you're right, the US has an awful history, and Americans are culpable in helping fund the IRA.

I'm not saying the IRA is Ghandi, that they didn't profit from the conflict, or even saying much about whether N. Ireland would be better off as part of Ireland given generations of (largely Scottish) migration and economic reliance on the UK. I'm saying distilling the conflict to N vs. S Ireland is blatantly untrue, and especially disturbing hearing an English woman do it.

As for atrocities there are certainly some throughout the last 1000 years of Irish history but fewer than are in local lore and far fewer than were brought up when the tin was rattled in Boston Pubs. I would say the greatest repression in Ireland's history is religion and a moderate churchman is hard to find in both the South and North

Care to talk about the bones America is built on? Plenty of atrocity there after all and that's modern history for the main part.

In an earlier edit of that post, I had compared it to people in the US claiming that white people bore no responsibility for generations of inequality since black people sold each other into slavery.  I edited that out b/c that comparison was a bit intense and I didn't want to go overboard (I wanted to acknowledge that we have jackasses here too, but I didn't want to say the Irish conflict was equivalent to slavery in the US). But yeah, we have a long list of awfulness, genocide against indigenous peoples, and continued awfulness we're committing today in places like Yemen or pretty much almost any country we operate in.

None of that makes it okay for that woman to re-frame the Irish conflict in such a blatantly false and self-serving way. Our awfulness doesn't undo any of hers, no matter how much worse ours may be.

General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: March 13, 2019, 11:32:10 PM »
But contemporary history recognises the key role played by the EU in bringing peace to Ireland. It's not just about trade (movement of goods) per se, but the free movement of people without border checks. That was one of the most contentious issues of the Troubles, the checkpoints, and the open borders facilitated by the EU were key in solving it. Also, the EU is one of the co-signors of the Good Friday Agreement, and that was part of its success - Irish Republicans were never too trustworthy of the UK in the long term (to be fair, the rhetoric of Brexit has proved those fears correct), so it was important to have a third signor that also served as a mediator between Ireland and the UK.

Again, the video may be simplistic for comedic purposes, but I don't think they're wrong on the Northern Irish issue. Just go and read Northern Irish political commentators since the Brexit vote, and you'll see that many of them are deeply worried that by leaving the EU, the UK may be putting the Good Friday Agreement at risk.

Those are all good points, but it does not excuse a woman with an English accent claiming that the conflict in Ireland was North and South Ireland "kneecapping each other" over a "border" as if the abuses her people inflicted for centuries had nothing to do with the conflict or it's resolution-- as if the UK wasn't even a party to the conflict and it was just Ireland in conflict with itself!!! Its the erasure of a history of colonialism by a colonizer.

Writers' Corner / Re: Wattpad
« on: March 13, 2019, 07:29:00 AM »
I think it's more about the demographic you're shooting for. Wattpad skews young. I have a friend who writes weird violent Gonzo shit and he did pretty well for himself on Wattpad. I started my current WIP on writerscafe which is generally better for poetry but I had a handful of dedicated readers driving me to finish a new chapter each week. It was never enough to really be considered an audience

I'm bad a knowing what genres mean but when I hear "Urban Fantasy" I *don't* think PnR (paranormal romance love triangles between werewolves and vampires).

I think of the Dresden Files.

But that could just be me.

General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: March 13, 2019, 02:16:34 AM »
It might have been a bit simplistic, but the truth is that without a deal, all existing trade deals will disappear in 2 weeks: if you don't think that will cause problems, you're not looking in the right places.

You don't fix the EU from the outside, you need to be part of the team to get your voice heard.

And people are elected: they're called MEP ("Members of European Parliament") and should act just like any other national parliament. If they don't do that, or if elections for MEPs have a super low attendance, that's not the EU's problem, but a problem of the people who are now complaining.

And you don't even address the benefits of freedom of movement for the economy in general.

But I will stop now, because I know I'm not that knowledgeable about the details, and I'm upset enough about the whole brexit thing as it is.

@ScarletBea you sound pretty knowledgeable to me! And @Saraband I'm with you on the point you made about constraints on Britian's trade deals with third world (or developing if you buy into that ideology) countries.  I also mentioned that the EU really benefited the UK and Germany (just at the expense of everyone else) so I'm with you both on the part where Brexit, especially this kind of Brexit, is not good for Britain.

As for labor rights in the context of trade regionalization and the EU (but not Brexit specifically), these articles on EU union-busting are more-or-less where I was coming from:
I have friends in France and Spain who are super incensed about a lot of things the EU has undone in their countries, and the EU's treatment of Greece is a well-documented tragedy in activisty circles.

So my beef isn't with Brexit per se, so much as this image of the EU as some sort of great improvement on domestic environmental and labor rights. They said the same thing about NAFTA and basically every other trade deal. They weren't, it isn't, and it won't be so long as it is structured in such a way so as to take democratic control over trade, labor, safety, and environment away from people.

Spoiler for Hiden:
haha... unless perhaps it's British conservatives they're taking control away from... which seems to be what you're saying the case in Britain.

The part of the video that threw me into a rage was that association with trade and peace. Especially the Ireland part. That was what made me absolutely furious. The rest of it was pretty funny.  But that Ireland thing still has me seething.

General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: March 12, 2019, 01:27:21 PM »
Full Frontal did an excellent summary of the whole Brexit mess.

I am able to laugh a bit because I'm outside the blast zone, but still. What a mess.

This is brilliant. Sad, because it captures the stupidity of it all so well, but very accurate, without getting into the really nasty stuff around immigration and whatnot. Still, I'm always proud to see that entirely blue bob up there, that reminds me that Scotland saw the lies for what they were, and rejected it all so overwhelmingly. And so did Northern Ireland, whose people could face the worst consequences of it all.

Sorry @Saraband but here's where we disagree. Parts of this video actually made me spit my tea out.

"You may remember us for WW2.  After that shitshow we created the EU and everyone traded freely!" ... "Ireland and Northern Ireland had an open border so they finally stopped kneecaping each other"

You've got to be f**ing kidding me. Ireland and N. Ireland were kneecapping each other? because of their border? There's so much wrong with that I just can't even.
Spoiler for Hiden:
But I will. How about centuries of brutal English colonialism? Police violence? Human rights abuses? Sure there were conflicts between protestants and Catholics inside N. Ireland, but that was very much a legacy of colonial occupation. Seriously how are you gonna have a parade go through your neighborhood celebrating the day your people got colonized? Try that shit in S. Africa. The IRA's targets were often in London how on earth could anyone even say out loud they believed it was a North Ireland vs. South Ireland conflict?? And it wasn't EU membership that ameliorated the conflict, it was the withdrawl of the UK's police state that was terrorizing its own people in N Ireland.  Once N. Ireland was demilitarized, people stopped turning to the IRA as their only recourse for the abuses they endured, and the IRA lost the manpower and financial support it needed to go sell drugs to London schoolchildren and blow up busses. That had absolutely nothing to do with the EU ending borders. WTAF. This pisses me off so much I can't even.

If May misses her deadline it could cripple industry and imports of food and medicine and reignite violence in Ireland... and strand brits living abroad and spark a global recession.

Seriously on what planet did the magic of trade solve the violence of WW2 and end the conflict in Northern Ireland? 

So sure this idea is built on Kant, but as convenient as it is to get rich off of Kantian peace (aka neocolonialism) trade foments class violence and can be directly related to civil wars, not the least of which being the dissolution of the Balkans.

First off, the EU might have grown out of the ECC, but the Maastricht Treaty turned it into a totally different animal. The EU was founded in 1992, not just after WW2.

While the EU was getting founded, there was a high profile civil war in southern Mexico.  The Zapatistas were upset that instruments of our happy post-WW2 Kantian peace-- the WTO, World Bank, IMF-- as well as new treaties like NAFTA were driving trade into indigenous territory.  Subsistence farmers were kicked off their land so the Lancandon jungle could be be turned into toilet paper by International Paper, then a cattle ranch for McDonald's beef by the governor's cousin. Treasured communal land, over which the second Mexican Revolution was fought, were invalidated, and bodies like the WTO ensured that local environmental and labor laws would be invalidated or the country as a whole would be punished.  So the Zapatistas worked with human rights groups and social justice movements from all over the world, organizing "consultas" in which the anti-globalization movement was born.

By 1999 labor unions, environmentalists, teachers, human rights activists and idk like everyone descended on a WTO meeting in Seattle, shutting it down, even though they were tear gassed, shot in the face with rubber bullets, grandmothers were beaten with batons, countless people went to jail.

All over the world, at any WTO, World Bank or G7 meeting, hoards of protesters were there to try shut it down.

Meanwhile, European pro-democracy activists were increasingly disturbed by the EU.  They were of course going on about ending nationalism and whatnot but if you look at the actual structure of the thing, it was essentially Europe's WTO on steroids.  Economic decision-making was now in the hands of a small number of people who were not democratically elected, and who were completely unaccountable. 

Economic regionalization and the reduction of free trade barriers essentially enables the expansion of large-scale patronage networks. Mega corporations of the wealthier countries can now displace your local supplier of food, medicine, toilet paper, whatever.  Small businesses suffer, especially in relatively poorer parts of the region, the cost of living goes up, and protections for the environment, laborers and consumers are eroded (this happened in France) and no one can do anything about it. The economy is restructured from a middle class making a living wage to starving laborers and an increasingly small class of executives profiting off of the management of the poor and their natural resources. Worse, the EU completely eliminates the ability of member countries to address this deepening inequality (Which is why you had riots in Greece over people desperately wanting to leave the EU, and why Spain will not be ever be able to get itself out of the shitter.)

You see the same thing in West Africa. The French essentially forced it all into a common economic zone with a common currency and France benefited. Rich people in Senegal benefited. And guess who suffered? The poorest people in the poorest countries in the world like Niger who were essentially forced into starvation by economic regionalization. These conditions are very much linked to the Tuareg uprising in Mali, Al-Quaeda's activity in Niger, Mali and Algeria and all sorts of subsequent violence that accompany mass starvation.

So yay. Trade.

That said, I'm not sure how Britain would have been negatively affected by the EU, since the UK and Germany seemed to have the most to gain in mass-exploitation and subversion of democracy in the rest of Europe.

For poor people living in the wealthier countries, concern with trade is either a human rights concern, or related to jobs leaving the country. In the US, the manufacturing sector is all but gone, and the unions along with it.  Meanwhile centuries of hard-fought labor rights are easily subverted when a company can just shut down it's local operations and open up in Indonesia using imported Chinese prison-labor. In the 90s, you had a critical mass of poor people who were concerned about this.

I don't know where those people went, now all we've got is "foreigners are stealing our jobs" as the ethos of Brexit (it's a poor conservative battle cry in the US as well. The xenophobes were always there, but in the 90s they weren't equated with the trade conversation) Which liberals identify as obviously racist.  But instead of, idk, pointing out that economic localization could be a good thing and done in a non-racist way, somehow anyone against free trade is now racist, and liberals are the standardbearers of trade.

Between Brexit and the Clinton campaign, since 2016 we have somehow landed in Opposite Land where it's the *liberals* peddling this pro-trade bullshit instead of conservatives! It's like I've just witnessed Orwell's Ministry of Truth establish some doublethink in Newspeak, where idk the whole of the 90s just got erased from the history books and replaced with something else. I feel like I've arrived in one of those comic-book superhero TV shows where they go into the alternate universe where all the good guys have all become super-villains. (Except unlike those shows, the bad guys didn't turn good, they just became even stupider.) It's like a nightmare I can't wake up from.

[JAN 2019] Air / Re: [JAN 2019] AIR - Critique Thread
« on: March 11, 2019, 09:49:15 AM »

The strength of this story is in the description. You painted a vivid picture of an incredibly beautiful Olympian society, and an equally vivid picture of horrific, revolting decay.

Luminous threads, artificial clouds, sparkling falls, golden obelisks, "canvassed beneath an iridescent vault of rainbows" made me want to be there and see it live so badly!!!

Great word choice, great imagery, great similes, excellent rhythm, excellent use of language all around.

So yes, the setting, at least what I've seen of it, is excellent.  The beauty of the floating city and the technology (or magic?) that supports it is great, and makes for an excellent juxtaposition with the disgusting magic of your Harbinger, which is conveyed excellently as well. So in answer to your question: setting: +++ magic: +++

In terms of where it could use improvement, you mentioned POV.  If I were you, I'd make a series of choices in the following order: 1) emotion/tone 2) structure then finally 3) POV.

1. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to feel.  I'd start by posing that question to you (or perhaps you posing it to yourself): What did you want the reader to feel in this piece? And from there I would let that guide your revisions. You hint that they are wasteful. Did they have this coming? Was this a complete tragedy? None of these questions need to be answered, per se, but having at least one question asked could build a larger sense of investment.

2. Structrually, you begin with the swarm, and the entire piece is a process of decay. Despite the rather intense content, the flat structure of the piece leaves it feeling a bit more like a scene study or a slice of life. There's nothing wrong with that, but it feels more like admiring a Goya in a museum as opposed to actually being inside the painting and feeling the horror (hope? desperation? satisfaction?) of a full narrative. There's nothing wrong with a slice of life scene painting as a narrative choice, but for a longer piece you probably want to structure things differently.

If you wanted to convey a sense of dread, I'd probably make the beginning about the society itself and bring the creature in at the last half or even the last third. That would give the decay a bit more meaning and context, and the first two thirds could be about building anticipation for the decay. On the other hand maybe you want to stick with the monster, and you want the reader to question whether it will be successful or not. For that to work we need more information as well-- we'd need to seed that possiblity that it might not succeed. Motivations could also be either dropped all at once or teased, making them reveals that drive the story. They don't have to be human-- is there a logic to it's actions no matter how foreign?  Is there a reason why it's there? Even if you wanted to stay close to the monster from the beginning to the end, you could still establish Aerox more in the beginning, with the monster observing it but not acting or revealing itself yet (maybe observing from afar?).

3. Once you've got the feeling you're going for, the structure you want to use to convey that feeling, the final thing I'd reconsider would be POV.  You've gone with omni here-- which can work very well-- but you've wedded yourself to the monster. That can be great if you're going for lurid fascination with evil or even a "they had it coming" angle, but we need more revealed to get invested. If you want the reader to sympathize more with the civilization (Aerox?), you might need a central Aerox character either as your POV character, or someone you follow a bit more closely in omni.

Again, it's perfectly fine as it is, but these were just some thoughts on other choices you might make in converting it to a longer piece and obviously it's all just my opinion.

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