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Messages - Spiced Wine

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What I want :) I've thought about this a lot lately, what I would like to see on the bookshelves.

Wonderful characterization, and I would rather the characters be complex shades-of-grey than good or evil. Paradise Lost influenced me as a teen, and after that I was never keen on 'evil' depicted as a blank, black wall. As a long-time Tolkien fan, his tendency to do that irritates me, although apparently he did not want to delve into his dark characters (Melkor and Sauron) as he felt it would not be good for his soul.
Tangentially, Guy Gavriel Kay, who helped Christopher Tolkien compile The Silmarillion, went on to write The Fionavar Tapestry, which has many similarities to The Silmarillion. He, however, managed to portray an absolutely terrifying Dark Lord (Rakoth Maugrim, the Unraveller, obviously Kay's version of Morgoth Bauglir the Constrainer) and his greatest servant Galadan (a Sauron-type character) and make him (Galadan) complicated, dangerous, cruel, intelligent, and absolutely fascinating. He succeeded where Tolkien didn't, because it was against Tolkien's principles.

I don't mind heroes as long as they have complexities and flaws, but I find nothing interesting in a Sir Galahad type, perfect, pure and interesting as a piece of plastic.

Reading women, I want them to be real to me, especially if they are put in sexual situations, since I have read too many books which fail on, shall we say, the technicalities, which seems impossible, but it's out there. I currently read one story containing het sex, because the author is an erotica wordsmith, and also because she writes what it is like, not as these bodice ripper romances depict it.  ::)

The only stories I've read where the plot carries the characters are the Silmarillion and the Lord of the Rings, because characterization was not Tolkien's strength. He was wonderful at archetypal figures (such as are in The Silmarillion), but when I read a story I want to get to know the characters so well that I feel I will know their reaction and thoughts in any given situation, at any given time.  The characters should carry the plot, not be pushed along by it. Let me know them. I don't want to be dragged through a series of adventures with people I hardly know. Why would I care if they  survive when they're little more than strangers to me?
GRR Martin is excellent at writing interesting characters who engage me, even if I want to strangle some of them. However, he's made me care about people I wish I had not, and his plot is still bigger than his characters. I prefer Guy Kay's style, and beautiful wordsmithing. His work is more poignant, but not as unremittingly grim and bleak. There is a sense of grandeur in it, which I absolutely must have in fantasy novels.

The subjects that immediately drawn me these days are usually darker ones. I write dark themes, or taboo themes (such as incest) because I want to know if characters can endure them and survive, how they react, what it does to them as people. As for relationships, until a few years ago, I only wrote and read heteronormative ones, then discovered that M/M was being written far more dynamically. Now, most of the characters I write of are bi, and the main relationships are between men. I would like to see a strong, powerful bi man or woman in a story, or a world where it's completely normal to be bi, such as in Ellen Kusher's 'Swordspoint'. She has a M/M main pairing. Next on my reading list is Storm Constantine's Wraeththu, with her androgynous hermaphrodites.
I enjoyed Jacqueline Carey's exploration of BD/SM in her Kushiel series.

As for species, I have always been Elf-centric, but the Elves I think of are the Elves of the Silmarillion; powerful, tragic, beautiful, able to betray, murder, hate, subject to all human emotions, are dangerous, ambiguous, like the Nordic Ljósálfar. I'm also interested in angels and demons (that look like angels and demons, not like men or women). Men come a long way behind, although I do write them, but for me this is the question when it comes to reading. I live in this town; I don't want to go on holiday to this same town, I want to go somewhere different.

Magic. I prefer it to subtle. I only use it rarely, usually for grand events. I would rather write out a full battle than have some-one win it by using magic. The character will win a battle because they are a tactician, a superb warrior, and have the native speed and strength of their race, not because they are a mage or wizard. Mind control, or suggestion, the ability to move across a world in an eyeblink, those are useful, even then I prefer not to use them.

So, I am really searching for something the size of LOTR with the grandeur of The Silmarillion, beautifully written with GBLT characters, dark themes, passion, pathos, tragedy, sexual tension, forbidden relationships, and larger than life  'evil' characters that engage me as Lucifer did in Paradise Lost, and make me think about them as seriously.

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Introductions / Re: Say Hi, I'm new thread
« on: January 21, 2012, 07:14:46 PM »
Hi, I'm new!

I'm Spiced Wine on Live Journal, and write fanfic under that name, but I'm fine with people calling me Siân, my real name. I don't even know why I gave myself a pen-name, except every-one else seemed to, and I was such a noob a few years back I thought it was an unwritten rule.

I live in Wiltshire, UK, and spend half my time reading, and half of it writing. I try and fit the rest of my life into any cracks.

I found the site via Twitter.

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Fantasy Art / Fan Art / Re: Nice fantasy pictures
« on: January 21, 2012, 06:32:33 PM »
Jankolas on Deviant Art does lovely pictures. (I look specifically for Tolkien fanart, or images that remind me of characters.)

http://jankolas.deviantart.com/gallery/

Finrod Felagund.



And Heise creates some beautiful fantasy art.

http://heise.deviantart.com/gallery/



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