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Re: How do you keep your characters realistic? I like that, think of them as people.
For me, it's almost like they are separate people living in my head.  I take pieces of people I know or have seen and put parts of their personalities and back histories into a new character, and from then on the character lives on in my head, like someone I could even talk to.  It can be frustrating because I can no longer control the characters, I can only manipulate the environment around them to try and see if they'll go the direction I want to.  Though I gotta say being a DM back in my youth was great preparation for having to learn how to shape my world around character motivations.

May 12, 2014, 03:17:17 AM
Re: Book covers / Illustration & Concept Art Yeah, this stuff is awesome.
October 29, 2014, 11:14:32 AM
Re: Shannara TV show IDK--  I'm really excited to have some fantasy on MTV-- especially if it can displace awful reality television.  I like to think (or hope) that it's a sign that fantasy is reaching a broader and younger audience than before.  I thought MTV did an okay job with Teen Wolf.
April 24, 2015, 11:05:53 AM
Re: Calling All Maps! I"m a little late to the party but here's mine:

The geography is political and magical and religious:  the mountain range, the Fell, housed a city that was once the gate to Heaven (like Shangrila), but it got cast into Ghenna (Hell, sort of) so now it's a creepy-ass place with all kinds of terrible shit and 1,000 years ago and now there are these enormous statues that keep anything from leaving the mountain range (in addition to dragons and ogre-like dudes, anyone who dies there comes back to life as a gollog (like a golem) in 7 days unless you cut their body into 7 pieces and cuts 1/7th off of people to sew onto themselves to replace their rotting parts).  On the other side of the range is a whole other set of countries-- the two sides have forgotten about each other-- and their legends/religion has evolved very differently from the other side.

I used a combination of AUTOmap and photoshop

August 29, 2015, 06:10:54 AM
Re: Anyone know of a Fantasy Thesaurus? ... or I could just run sentences through the Jmack-translator...
November 14, 2015, 01:50:02 AM
Re: Calling All Maps!
I got 5. Ouch, that was difficult. Somehow I even got GRRM's map wrong!

At least I got the Gentleman Bastards and the Earthsea Cycle right...

December 05, 2015, 02:29:10 AM
Re: What are some ways to hinder a seafaring ship that is pursuing your ship?
For those of you familiar with ancient seafaring, how do you stop a boat thats chasing you?

Cut your brother Absyrtus up into little pieces and throw a bit of him over the side every so often so that the other ship will be ordered by the king to stop and pick him up.

December 16, 2015, 07:06:02 AM
Re: When worldbuilding goes overboard (Possible spoilers for ASoIaF) It's weird.  When reading, I actually love all those details but when writing I don't.  Reading them makes me feel like I'm in a fresh, new world, I can really feel what's going on.  But I'm sort of into the visceral experience.  I actually really loved all of Robert Jordan's descriptions in WoT. No one else on this board probably feels that way, but there are a fair amount of other Jordan-lovers out there in the world so I'm not entirely alone.

On the flip side, when I'm writing, my descriptions are pretty sparse.  I'm too lazy to imagine the number of stones in the dungeon or leaves on the trees. I struggle A LOT to come up with cool names for plants and building materials and cultural flourishes that make the world... well my world, because i"m just not that good at it.

It's strange, but I write totally differently from the way I like to read.

January 09, 2016, 11:52:26 PM
Re: Female Fantasy Readers thoughts on Male Protagonists
lol, how sexist :D

You think females can only empathise with other females or something? That's absurd.

Well I hadn't ever thought about it that way before either, tbh. When writing I paid no attention to gender, the characters materialized one way or the other.

I just didn't pay attention to gender when writing at all, until recently. Specifically I'm thinking of when Joss Whedon had to shut down his twitter acct because so many ppl were angry that the Black Widow had been made into a "damsel in distress" in the Avengers-- I hadn't even noticed. So I joined some online groups that critique popular novels and shows and they often pointed out the lack of female characters and I took a look at my own stuff and I was like "sh#t, did I write something masculinist?" I'm always doing my best to become less sexist, if that counts.

(I was also reading some stuff on "finding your audience" and it occurred to me that my positive feedback skewed older and female when I had always pictured it being younger and male. So I started to wonder "what if" the book as a whole is geared more toward a female audience, but they get turned off by the beginning of the story or the damsel in distress arc)

Anyway, I deeply apologize @Saurus if the question was sexist.  I am very sorry, that wasn't my intention.

January 15, 2016, 12:39:14 AM
Re: Female Fantasy Readers thoughts on Male Protagonists
And unfortunately these types of people are becoming more vocal, and trying to nitpick everything. I read one blogger that said if you didn't include any gay characters in your novel you were a closet homophobe.  :o  ::)

I think the best solution is just a greater variety of authors from different backgrounds writing stories and incorporating their own experiences and perspectives into what they are creating.

Out of all the creative mediums out there, writing surely is the easiest to get involved with. Pencil and paper are cheap, you just have to supply the imagination.

It's kind of tricky-- I'm on tumblr so I see this kind of stuff a lot. A lot of anger, about the heteronormativity of books and movies, representation of minorities etc etc. My old roommate was an Asian actor, and watching him practice for auditions it was really clear how he was typecast (and how disturbingly racist the writing is in Hollywood). Moreover, there was a study done by USC that found that: “Across 100 top-grossing films of 2012, only 10.8 percent of speaking characters are Black, 4.2 percent are Hispanic, 5 percent are Asian, and 3.6 percent are from other (or mixed race) ethnicities,” I think whites comprised 75% of the speaking roles while nonwhites comprised nearly half of the ticket sales.

So AshKB makes a lot of sense here:

It's how much Rey and Finn have been clung to in the new Star Wars movie - oh my god, someone like me gets to be the hero*. There was a female Chinese X-wing pilot in that movie, too, a tiny supporting role. But that touched people, too. 'Oh, she looks like me and she gets to fly an X-wing ? '.

Yes, things are political and emotional about diversity, but at the core of it, this is what it is: to tell stories and to reach out to people. And it doesn't take much.

And the insistence of Only If It Suits The Story I think kind of misses that.

Especially if people seek things out, they can find great literature, great independent films that aren't circulating at the scale that a blockbuster is (probably *because* it's appealing to the economic majority) with some really thought provoking representation going on. Its just not as likely in the more cookie-cutter blockbuster narratives, probably because at larger scales, the political and economic majority will inevitably dominate-- Which is sort of the nature of inequality in the first place.

There's a big difference between casting knights of African descent (fully Anglo-acculturated) in the TV show "Merlin" and a movie like "12 Years As a Slave" which addresses instead of erases these inequalities. But both of them seem to be meaningful to audiences dealing with inequality, misrepresentation and a lack of representation in their daily lives.

So at the end of the day I understand all of this, but when it translates into my writing-- sometimes it's tricky. Cuz I'm a white guy and I like writing white male heterosexuals too. I have slavery, I have sexism, and I have classism in my writing, but in the particular series I'm currently invested in, when I open up with a Eurocentric fantasy setting with a predominantly male cast of characters and I contributing to the problem? I'm not planning on changing genders or races the characters present in the opening (it would screw up the plot), but it does leave me a bit torn and wondering if there's a way to convey some sort of solidarity with these issues in that context. Or whether I should just drop that thought and save it for another story...

January 25, 2016, 01:32:52 AM