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Re: Describing accents...
less is more.  Just give hints, don't try to replicate the accent completely. 
I had trouble reading some of Bronte's N. England accent in Wuthering Heights.

you mean you understood anything the manservant said? That's impressive.

May 23, 2014, 06:42:42 PM
Re: One million words of crap I've only been writing about two years, and so far my motto has been: "Well, I can always change it later."

The million words really isn't a good measure of quality. Everything you write after 1 million won't be gold and everything before it won't be complete crap. You could be the worst author in the world, write something today, and there would still be some value in it. You could be the best, and there will still be some crappy moments in what you've written. The more you write, the better you're able to recognize the good and the bad, and hopefully replicate the good. It's the recognition that's important, and the ability to admit when something you've written sucks so that you can change or remove it.

I'm about 375k words (counting edits, strikes, etc.) into my current work in progress, and I just yesterday realized that 3 of the first chapters were written with a third person omniscient narrator, while the rest of the book is third person limited. It's a long process, but the upside is that you will notice your progress, and then you get to shame your past self for making such absurd mistakes.

December 09, 2014, 04:18:51 PM
Re: Rape and other sensitive issues in Fantasy novels It's impossible. Try as hard as you want, you can't control what people take out of your work. You can do your best to make everyone see it the way you want them to. It will never happen. And that's a good thing. People are different. They're going to see different things in your work. Different things will be important to them. If you're not actively promoting a dangerous idea, such as violence against a specific group of people, or discrimination against a certain group of people, I think you're okay.

Interpretation is too subjective to censor your work for fear someone will misinterpret it. Someone will. Often times, it's the most innocuous statement in the book, and people turn it into hate. Other times, people interpret it one way, when really you're making the exact opposite point. It isn't something you can fight, and quite frankly I don't understand why anyone would want to try. Why would you want to decide what fiction means to other people? Shouldn't they be entitled to their opinions? That's the beauty of interpretation, is that someone might get the most satisfaction out of something you didn't intend.

Now, of course that has a downside. That means people can also get the most pain out of something you did not intend. Am I saying authors shouldn't be aware of what might trigger someone and try to minimize it? No, but is that author "guilty" of something if they don't think of minimizing a trigger, or because they choose not to? What if they have chosen not to because to them it is the best way of advocating their point?

People are going to see the worst in your work. They're going to see things that aren't there. Don't paralyze yourself because someone might take it the wrong way, or simply because they might disagree. It's impossible to please everyone.

.... phew. rant over. Now back to our regularly scheduled Justan*. Have I made a cheesy joke yet today? Oh, wait. I did*.

March 06, 2015, 04:32:30 PM
Re: How to get every stuck plot unstuck
I'm writing a short featuring the character I've used in my Rogue story and I'm stuck just after he appears, pointing a gun at the main character.
This advice just fails short to help hahaha

I say just keep following the advice until you've created an endless loop of gun toting newcomers.  :)

Or, you know, three gunmen caught in a revolving door.

March 23, 2015, 12:20:55 AM
Re: Miscellaneous Musings
Wow you're even worse than me ;D I usually also have a few tabs open, but it's only one for each site hehe
Yeah I open all the unread posts at once, each in their own tab. Far more efficient that way...
I do the same. :)

Me too. I often don't remember what topic I'm reading because I tend to jump between them while scrolled halfway down the page.

March 23, 2015, 12:30:18 AM
Re: Miscellaneous Musings
My logical brain is having a meltdown at the moment
*does... not... compute... *

The worst part is I just today noticed the topic header is at the top of each individual post. Guess I'd gotten so used to it I blocked it out.

March 23, 2015, 01:01:04 PM
Re: Go Vote on the Best Story of 2014!
I keep seeing this comment on the voting thread
I keep forgetting to vote.

No need to keep it unattributed. That's no way to shame me properly.  ;)

March 23, 2015, 01:02:49 PM
Re: Women Write Fantasy (The Giant 'Women in Fantasy' Database) I won't pretend to have facts or data, but I wonder what effect web marketing is going to have on this in the next few years. Word of mouth seems to be the 'big one' for selling books, but the most recent authors I've read have all come to my attention due to twitter, personal time on FF (like Jen Williams and Mark Lawrence), or from amazon giveaways (I know, I'm cheap). I know this isn't science, but it's been a pretty even distribution for me, and since both men and women presumably have an equal footing in their ability to reach out to people on such platforms, I wonder how it'll change things.
March 24, 2015, 01:55:24 PM
Re: Get those priorities right and show some respect....... Oh dear...

“For the huge Kárahnjúkastífla dam project in the east, consultants with clairvoyant skills were hired to check out the landscape first to ensure it was empty of elvish rocks. There’s now money to be made in this sort of consultancy work.”

Clearly I've chosen the wrong career path.

March 25, 2015, 01:45:24 PM
Re: Scene & Chapter Length Usually between 3000-7500 words for chapters. I don't really worry about scene length, as I don't picture it in scenes, I picture it by major event and character. Chapters are structured first by event, then by character, with scene breaks between character swaps.

Just to make it clear, we're not using word count as the primary means of working out what needs to go in the story. It's one thing that it makes sense to consider at this point, because we want to write a novel of roughly 90-120k words rather than a 300k doorstopper that would be completely unpublishable as a debut novel. Sure that's thinking ahead of ourselves, but why not aim for what you want to achieve right from the beginning?

Having recently finished a 350k word doorstopper as a debut novel, we have very different styles XD. I see the wisdom in this (I'm currently doing it for my WIP), and I think limitations are great for learning the more disciplined aspects of writing, but I feel like I lose a lot of the other half (voice, style, characterization), when I put limits on myself.

IMO, (Take my opinion and like it! Seriously though, do what you think is best, but I'm now going to give you advice which is really nothing more than me justifying my own choices  ;D ):

Your first book should be about experimenting with whatever nonsense you can think of. Play with tense, play with structure, with first person, third, even second if you feel like it. Rather than build your limits from the start, test them. You're going to be naturally skilled at certain aspects of writing, and fail miserably at others. You won't know which skills you've got until you try it all, and find ways to work around those you suck at. The first book should be about looking at every tool available to you, feeling their weight, and then dropping them on your toes.

Look at all the rules every want-to-be writer/editor has regurgitated on their blog over the years, and mangle them. Then see what happens when you listen to them. Find out which ones really apply, which ones have been repeated so many times over the years to have lost all the original meaning (mantras suck), discover the kernel of truth which originally inspired the advice, and then adapt it to fit in with your own style.

EDIT: I might have more to say on this as I think. (Protoss voice:) I shall return.

EDIT: As promised, I have returned. (the second person "you's" in the following statements are not directed at you specifically Raptori, they are a general you, because I am in my ranty mode, and ranty mode loves them general "you's."

I have a pet peeve with writing advice, and it kind of goes back to my self deprecating joke, and it's this: There's so much advice out there on the internet about how you should write (a lot of it, imo, just people trying to justify their own actions, hence the irony of this entire post), and a whole lot of it is, I feel like, nonsense. A lot of it is quality, but the vast amount of it, is nonsense for a simple fact: these people haven't read your work. Yes, there is general advice that works. Certain things make sense, things like, avoid redundancy, avoid things that might confuse the reader, (aka, be clear and concise), but if you set yourself up with a list of other people's rules before finding your own style and voice, you might never find it, for the simple fact you're, (in a sense) trying to be them, rather than discovering you. Another part to this, you really don't understand good writing advice, until you break the rule down enough that you see what it actually means.

For example. The "no -ly adverbs", is advice I hear all the time, but I hear it so often without the context that makes it meaningful advice, that it's actually advice that I feel is a detriment to a beginner. I can only speak for myself here, I might be entirely wrong, and it's a completely subjective thing, but on its own, the statement "don't use -ly adverbs" is just terrible advice, and unfortunately that's the way it's often portrayed. It's terrible advice, because it completely brushes over the nuance of when specifically and why specifically, -ly adverbs can be a bad thing, and entirely ignores the good uses. (You'll notice I used an overload of -ly adverbs in those last few sentence. It's because they are great 'stresser words' they're (to me), a crucial element in creating natural sounding voice for characters.) This rant is overtaking me, I don't remember what my point was.

But my point is: ( ;D) Any advice which outright forbids anything, is probably lying to you. It's probably bad advice, because there is almost always a situation in which that exact thing that is forbidden to you, is exactly the thing you need to make your work better. If you don't play with the rules and mangle the crap out of them, you'll never know what those situations are, and how to maneuver them skillfully. And going back to my actual original point (I stopped and reread what I wrote, what a novel idea), as these people giving this advice have likely not read your work, they don't know what elements your rule breaking might hamper, and which advice might help it flourish. We all have a unique style, and to say there are cardinal sins within writing, which when broken will destroy you, is kind of silly, because there's too much variance from author to author. (of course, I'm going to say clarity is a cardinal rule. Maybe the only cardinal rule for me. The other cardinal rule being: always contradict yourself. In fact my current WIP has a character who I've specifically written to confuse the crap out people).

I don't know if this rant is over. I hope so, because I'm beginning to feel like I need to restructure this whole post into a well structured essay, and that's terrifying. I might be back...

March 25, 2015, 02:26:37 PM