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Topics - Bradley Darewood

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Writers' Corner / Poems and Prose-Poetry here!
« on: January 12, 2018, 11:33:30 PM »
I feel like writing poetry, even bad poetry (especially bad poetry), is practical practice for making musical your prose, capturing lyrical rhythms to unleash later in your not-yet-finished narrative masterpieces. 

Plus it's just fun.

Anyone want to join me and periodically post their prose-poetry here? I know you want to @Jmack and @The Gem Cutter !

Writers' Corner / How to know which crits to listen to
« on: January 09, 2018, 01:18:17 AM »
So I just posted my new opening 150 words in a private facebook writing group, and I got some advice from one person who had some very formulaic (first sentence hook etc) advice, which made logical sense so I changed everything. A few hours later, two more people were like-- "the very first version is by far the best because xyz" and I'm like "Yes! That's exactly why I wrote it that way in the first place!"

Of course different people, different opinions that's what makes the world interesting BUT I WANT A RIGHT ANSWER LIKE IN MATH.

Anyway Ursula Le Guin says: "Group criticism is great training for self-criticism" and "The judgment that a work is complete... can come only from the writer and it can be made rightly only by a writer who's learned to read her own work."  The whole thrust of her section being that you have to learn to hear what's wrong with your piece yourself.

I've been doing this for quite a long time and I *still* haven't figured out how to tell which advice to take (and not to take).  What's the secret????

Writers' Corner / Fantasy word choice funtime
« on: December 30, 2017, 11:04:34 AM »

Poll: is it okay to use the word "insane" in a tolkienesque epic fantasy novel, or is that too modern?
"mad" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Writers' Corner / Characters who change between good and bad
« on: November 29, 2017, 07:29:49 AM »

So I love making the readers hate someone and then being like "woo hoo you were wrong you predjudiced bastards!"  so going from evil to... well not as evil seems to work out well, but going the other way...

I was just reading this book where a character who's a crafty underdog who I was totally rooting for turns out to be suuuuuper petty and evil and I was like whaaaaat and threw the book across the room and couldn't read it anymore.  So like I've got MCs with shifty allegiances too so I was all wondering if that might be kind of a problem.  I mean it's one thing if you find out they were awful all along and a totally different thing if you show them deliberating and struggling with the decision to become a bad guy, but still... how do you pull it off and delight your readers with the unexpected instead of alienate them and make them hate you


Okay so you've made it through the prologue about the Dark Lord or the Evil Queen or Baby MC or whatever and you're on to chapter 1!

What's your favorite opening-after-the-opening you've ever read?  Bran Stark watching some dude get his head chopped off?  Rand al'Thor bumbling around being a farmboy?  Or maybe there was no prologue and we just jumped to Paul Atreides sticking his hand in the old woman's box to see if he's human. (it took me years but I suddenly see the deep Jungian symbolism at play...)

It'd also be cool to think about what makes that chapter your favorite (or just plain good if you hate picking favorites).  What did it need to do and how did it do it?

Anyway, I'd love to hear what you all think...

Writers' Corner / How to write a royal proclamation
« on: November 15, 2017, 05:07:00 AM »

Someone suggested that I switch a dinner-party chapter with a royal proclamation scene, unfortunately I have no idea how to write one of those or what it would look like.

Are there any scenes from movies/TV series with a royal proclamation (that isn't campy) that I could look at? or an excerpt from a book? I can't think of any off the top of my head.

Writers' Corner / Naming a country conundrum
« on: November 15, 2017, 03:43:05 AM »

So originally my WIP took place in Ara Valon b/c I wanted it to be a riff off of Avalon, but in retrospect Ara Valon is too much like Tar Valon so I think i'm going to change it.  I like that people from there are called "Valonians" tho, so I figured if I changed it to something-Vale or Vael, I could still keep the Valonian adjective.

GRRM already has a place that's just "The Vale", Terry Brooks has "Shady Vale".... but there's room here. The place is full of temperate forests and greeness and castles and whatnot, so I want to possibly consider that. The problem here is that Something's Vale can sound too folksy and not like a whole country's name.

Option one: adjectives
The Golden Vale (the Golden Vael?)
The Emerald Vale
The... Royal?... Vale..
The IDK Vale

Option two: proper names
Aran's Vale
King's Vale
Olbion's Vale

Option three... ????

any ideas?

General Discussion / Help! Indecision!
« on: November 14, 2017, 09:55:29 AM »
I need a middle initial for my pseudonym.

Bradley A Darewood? (BAD), Bradely J. Darewood? (BJ Darewood?) X, Y, Z, Q, M, N, R?  THERE ARE SO MANY LETTERS I CAN'T DECIDE!!!

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Can Bradley finish a Sanderson Book?
« on: October 23, 2017, 11:18:25 AM »
Ok I'm gonna have some free time starting in Nov to read some of the stuff on my list.  I'm (with extreme trepidation) thinking of possibly cracking AMOL once again to try my hardest to finish it... Will I succeed this time? Can I *actually* finish a Sanderson novel?

(so yeah I had more success with A Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight, but to be fair I skipped and skimmed huge chunks of them so I'm not sure if it counts as finishing per se.... but AMOL has been really really rough going)

...which one would you be?

I'm not sure if I'd be Lust, Gluttony or Sloth. Given my nature prolly a combo of all 3. Lusgluloth

Writers' Corner / To Con or not to Con
« on: October 06, 2017, 03:14:58 AM »

So after reading the Sean Grigsby thing on the main site about how he really got started meeting an editor at a Con... Are Writer's Con's worth it?

I tried to find some, but they're not cheap

The San Miguel writer's con sounded like the funnest but it's like  700$ or more or something

This one in San Diego is like 450$

It's like something I could probably afford once in a life if I saved up... is it really worth it to go to one of these things?

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Weird SFF Books
« on: August 26, 2017, 11:40:12 PM »

So I wasn't sure where to put this "List of SFF Books No One Will Understand" so I went ahead an made a new thread for it.


So of all the books on this list, I'm particularly intrigued by The Book of the New Sun, by Gene Wolfe. Anyone read it?

Writers' Corner / Farmboy of Destiny
« on: August 21, 2017, 04:43:50 AM »
So the ever-brilliant @cupiscent humored me some valuable advice in a message and I thought I'd open part of it up here in case anyone wants to throw down.

Quote from: cupiescent
First up, though, let me make a sidebar caveat about the Farmboy of Destiny. A big part of my issue with this trope and its common depiction in fantasy is that it lacks agency.… I prefer a hero who demonstrates the potential for extraordinary from the first chapter.)

First off, let me say that I don’t have the trope allergy so many others do.  I have nostalgic love of the tropes i grew up with, but I do break away, and when I do it’s because I want to *say something*.  Ultimately this means my current WIP subverts tropes, meaning people who hate princesses getting saved and etc etc are going to write me off without realizing that I do turn that on it’s head by the end. 

But back to the Farmboy of Destiny— I think you hit on something important here.  When Harper Collins reviewed my WIP, they weren’t feeling my MC.  He was missing something.  He doesn’t have anything extraordinary— even less so than a Farmboy of Destiny!  He’s not special by nature— he’s just trying to survive.  He’s hearing stories about knights slaying dragons and saving princesses, and it’s something he can never be.  The book (which is really the first act of a 300k book I wanted to write, but since 300k isn’t kosher….) leaves him responding to situations he’s thrust into (because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time) until the very end, when he finds his agency at one pivotal moment in the second to last chapter (ironically in deciding *not* to be the “hero” and becoming a rebel and an exile instead).  In subsequent books he *becomes* extraordinary— as he rises to meet challenges and learns what he needs to of his own volition and initiative.

This presents a problem for me— It’s great in theory but I need something to hook the reader to the character, and I don’t think I’ve successfully accomplished that.  I’m still wrestling with this problem.

Quote from: cupiescent
This is not necessarily a problem by itself! I mean, Scarlett O'Hara has the most mundane of motives: she wants to never be hungry again. What makes her an amazing and compelling character is what she's prepared to do in pursuit of that motive. That's the extraordinary.

The flipside is a book I read that I was so unmoved by I can't even remember the title. (One Goodreads check later: it's Giant Thief by David Tallerman, and now that I actually look at that surname and that title side by side, all I can say is: seriously, dude? Sure, the book is about a thief stealing a giant, but TALLERMAN?? ahem. anyway. My point is...) Throughout the majority of the book, the main character's primary goal is getting out of this situation, while the situation itself is the main plot. While his desire to escape to safety makes sense, it and the main plot undermined each other, instead of one-upping each other.

I think this probably boils down in essence to: give the reader at least one compelling reason to care about this character in this situation. Whether it's because s/he is capable (meta/physically or emotionally) of incredible things and you want to marvel at their audacity, or whether it's because the situation is so damn important/fraught/hilarious you need to keep watching it unravel, have a Reason.

(If your reason why I should hear about these adventures is because of what the character does after them, then perhaps this is not the story you really want to tell.)

With your guy, trying to survive is a fundamental and compelling and above all relatable goal. We can all understand it. But because it's something everyone feels, the question is why we should care about this guy surviving. Why is his story compelling and deserving of being told? And the two big questions that jump out for me as having the potential for an answer: what is he prepared to do in order to survive? and why is it important that he survive? Somewhere in there is - or can be inserted - a strong hook to keep the reader engaged.

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