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Topics - J.R. Darewood

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General Discussion / Employment issues
« on: July 04, 2019, 10:19:15 AM »
ScarletBea's note: I've moved these posts from the "Depression etc" thread because I feel they address a different issue. Let's have a separate thread for employment advice (similar to the "Domestic issues" thread for stuff around the house).
I hope this is ok with the people involved?

I'm nervous about this job application for a job I really want, but that's definitely outta my league.  Can I post my cover letter here for editing advice?

Writers' Corner / Writing for divided, impatient milenial audiences
« on: June 25, 2019, 06:04:28 AM »

Riffing off of this:

I don't agree with most of this article, but this part stood out: "the Gandalf, Radagast and Saruman figures of the series are all genderflipped, Jordan used magic to put a skewed view on misandry and misogyny, and the series shows remarkable depth in historical and social parallels. There are layers of alien cultures, especially among the Aiel and Seanchan. The show needs to hit with that first, and that’ll be tough, given the story structure."

I think this is actually a huge modern dilema: using a regular trope-filled story to rope people into the trope-twisting surprise you have in store is a great way to open minds. But today people seem to be divided to the point where the more liberal readership can't abide a standard opening, and the more conservative readership won't abide the twist. There's no mind-opening, progression or intellectual growth to be had. I'm not sure what the solution is to engage today's readership with something they'll give time to develop instead of being able to judge in the first 15 seconds.


Did anyone else in here watch this?

I now you hate spiders @ScarletBea  but you might like this one :)

[JAN 2019] Air / [JAN 2019] AIR - Critique Thread
« on: March 02, 2019, 06:17:04 PM »
I hope you all don't mind me starting this. Here's the critique stuff to kick off if anyone wants critiques:

Here is the possibility to get critiques for your stories entered in the writing contest - and to give critique as well.

So what we're doing is this:
1. Everybody who wants critique for his story posts in here.*
2. Everybody who wants to do a critique for a specific story (whose writer has asked for critique) posts it in here.

If this thread is overrun fast, I'm splitting it so that every story has its own one to avoid confusion.

* I know that critique isn't always easy to handle, especially if you are not used to it. So if you feel more comfortable receiving it in private, people can send it via pm. They can post here that they sent a critique via pm so that others know about it.

At the moment I don't think it necessary that we create a system balancing given/received critiques. However, if it turns out to be unfair and some people are giving critiques without receiving some (or the other way round) we have to add one.

Basic rules for critiquing:

This is just a small guideline for those that haven't done critiques before, stolen from this forum's writing section.
Critiquing Other’s Work

            1. Please read what the poster is asking for before you post your critique.
            2. Critique the writing, not the writer.  Never, “You are...” or “You should...” but rather, “The writing is...” or “The story should...”
            3. We all have different levels of writing ability here, keep that in mind when critiquing.
            4. Find what is right in each piece as well as what is wrong.
            5. Remember that subject matter is personal. You don't have to like a story to give it a fair critique.
            6. Remember what your biases are and critique around them.
            7. Remember that real people wrote this stuff, and real people have real feelings. Things you may not say while critiquing: “That’s awful.” “That’s stupid.” “You couldn’t write your way out of a paper bag.”

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Black Leopard Red Wolf
« on: February 20, 2019, 11:32:59 PM »

Is anyone reading this?  In the 90s I never would have imagined GQ doing a piece on a fantasy author!

Links, Competitions and 'Stuff' / Baen SF short story competition
« on: January 26, 2019, 01:34:35 AM »
The deadline is coming up fast (Feb 1) it's an SF contest that's pretty specific.  The prohibition on "Stories that show technology or space travel as evil or bad" sort of disqualifies most of my stuff plus the whole baen mixing of "military" and "adventure" sort of rubs me the wrong way. Maybe this would be a good one for @tebakutis ?

Anyway here's the link:

Writers' Corner / Deep thoughts and midnight musings
« on: January 08, 2019, 11:29:27 AM »
Sometimes I have deep thoughts in the shower, or when I should be sleeping.

I thought about just adding them to the poetry thread (should I just put this kinda stuff there?) but in case you all want a space to put your deep thoughts, I made this new thread.

JR's deep thought of the day.... errr night:

When you write a love poem, you put your heart and soul into the page in the hopes that that one person will find it beautiful.  Some of us write poems to family, prose poetry to friends.... even a well crafted letter to a stranger can be a work of art.

That thoughtful limerick you scrawled in the wall of the toilet stall might be photographed and immortalized as a meme. Or maybe it's a joke that only lands with one or two people.  Art might have commercial success, or it might not. But so long as it finds an audience, it wasn't in vain. One person who smiles or cries or gasps when they read your work is enough to make it worth it. 

That's what I mean when I confess that deep inside I think of everything I write--a book, an essay, an article, or story--as a love poem.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Favorite Character in SFF
« on: December 28, 2018, 05:53:52 AM »
Has this been done before?

Who are your favorite characters in all SFF and *why*?

Writers' Corner / Famous Fantasy All-Time Sales by way of Mark's Blog
« on: December 24, 2018, 02:27:49 AM »
@Mark Lawrence put this up on his blog, and I thought it was really interesting and people in here might wanna talk about it.

He's getting his data from here:

I was pretty shocked by where some of my favorite authors placed on this list!

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Licanius Trilogy
« on: November 30, 2018, 07:48:07 AM »
Is anyone else reading the Licanius Trilogy by James Islington?

The last book comes out in February!!!

Maybe I'm having male PMS, but I read the latest SPFBO update and it sort of made me angry. I put it in spoiler tags because it's a little agro, and I'm not usually like that.  So open the tags at your own peril.

Spoiler for Hiden:
I was pretty agnostic about the books on the list, and the judges listed some perfectly good reasons for not liking the books, but the whole picking on prologues thing really irked me. Some story structures require a prologue.  Others don't.  They're not en vogue in publishing in general right now, but they are an especially common device in fantasy, especially epic fantasy.  And this is frigging *fantasy faction* so having prologue hate here seems akin to wearing a KKK outfit to a Black Panther rally.

LOTR: Prologues
WoT: Prologues
Harry Potter-- She called it Ch 1 but it was a frigging prologue.
Gentleman Bastards: Prologue
Almost every fantasy book I've ever liked: Prologue

If someone doesn't write well, they write a bad prologue.  That's not the prologue's fault. Maybe they're bad at exposition.  Maybe they're bad at plotting.  That's not going to go away if they take out the prologue.  So saying that prologues are "ambitious" or "tricky" really rubs me the wrong way.  If you just don't like prologues why are you reading fantasy in the first place???

It's like when people tell new writers not to use adverbs.  You can't outlaw an entire frigging part of speech. That's just officious. Why don't we write all our novels in 140 characters to satisfy modern attention spans.  Maybe we should just draw stick figures instead of using words. I'm going to go be a rebel and read tons of adverbs by Henry James while snickering angrily at modernity.

Ok, now I'm getting all worked up. Sorry for ranting but that was really bothering me. 

Open For Submissions / Anthologies looking for stories
« on: August 04, 2018, 05:26:40 AM »

So this came across my facebook feed... couldn't tell you a whole lot more about it but it might interest some of you guys.


Unexpected Heroines:

Why is it always the teenage girl who is the heroine?
These are the stories of female protagonists who are never cast in the feature films. The awkward, the old, the forgotten, the different.
Their adventures were never meant to be. Their save-the-world expeditions shouldn't have happened. They are the ones who stepped forward when no-one else would.
Our unexpected heroines.

Forgotten Sidekicks:

We all know what happens when the hero saves the day, but what about their sidekicks?
Too often the hero is held high and celebrated whilst their sidekicks and comrades are brushed to the side; their own battles forgotten, and their actions airbrushed to nothingness from the tales of victory.
These are the stories of the ones who aren’t remembered; the ones who helped save the day, and got cast aside; the ones who don’t want the applause, and the ones who deserved the applause and never received it.
These stories didn't make the headlines - but they happened, and they're glorious.

Lost Gods:

They have slept for centuries. Buried. Forgotten. Lost.
Until they awake. Or are awoken.
When the deities of old return, will they bring blessings or destruction to a time that no long remembers them?
Should they be left to lie in peace, or used for our own ends? Are they gods, or monsters?
What lies out there in the realms of the lost gods?

Submission Guidelines:

The submission window will run from 1st September until the 30th November inclusive.

Submissions to be emailed to:

Lost Gods –

Forgotten Sidekicks –

Unexpected Heroines –

All fantasy sub-genre and styles will be considered – comedic, epic, grimdark, noblebright etc. We are particularly keen on diversity - think older characters, LGBTQ, ethnic minorities and those with disabilities

Submissions should be (ideally) between 4-7,000 words (10% leeway given either side) and either 1.5 or double spaced and in an easy to read font such as Times New Roman or Arial size 12/14. Please include your contact details at the end of the story, along with a short bio and details of any writing credentials and/or social media handles.

We are aware that this is a long submission window, but hectic lifestyles for both writers and editors means that we must be patient. Editors will be reading submissions as they are received but final decisions are unlikely to be publicised until the end of December 2018 at the earliest. This allows there to be a reasonable amount of time for reading and selecting the final line-up.

Payment will be £15 per story and a physical copy of the final anthology for which the story appears and, should you also wish, copies of the eBook for your own private use and not for resale or lending.

Any questions relating to submission guidelines – please do ask away!

Introductions / Nice to meet you all!
« on: July 23, 2018, 06:14:51 AM »
Hi I'm J.R. Darewood.

I like Skyrim and ice cream and I read fantasy bc I miss being 10 and playing Dungeons and Dragons.  Anyway I look forward to meeting you all for the very first time, since this would be my very first introduction. And no my name isn't Redwood I have no idea what that's about

And @ScarletBea if you write out my name it still summons me even if you don't get a cool popup
@J.R. Darewood.

General Discussion / Motorbikes
« on: July 17, 2018, 09:50:45 AM »
Thanks all spent the day looking at broken bike working out how its going to get me round Holland in a couple of days time   :( Apart from that a good day will be celebrating in a couple of weeks time too much going on at the moment.

What kind of bike is it?

If you'd like to exchange feedback / get feedback on your entry this month, drop in here and say hello!

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