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Re: Your favorite book titles To throw in a short story as well: Pigeons from Hell.
March 27, 2015, 04:23:43 PM
Re: Your favorite book titles
What sayeth you, foul heathen? Hater of 10-year olds' books?
Spoiler for Hiden:

March 28, 2015, 10:21:38 AM
Re: A thousand years here, a thousand years there "In America, 100 years is a long time. In England 100 miles is a long distance."
March 28, 2015, 04:43:29 PM
Re: Plotting backwards At the very least I think it helps when you know what kind of resolution you want to have at the ending. Working your way towards a goal instead of leaving it open ended until you get there.

Open ended writing probably works best when your story is about just one or two characters and their attempt to solve a personal problem. If at the end you discover the character screwed up even worse and will never find the resolution he was searching for, that's still an ending. If we never learn who was the real killer or how the battle ends, it's only a problem when that is what the story was about. If that question was only the background in front of which the protagonists personal story takes place, never giving an answer to it can actually be quite effective and enhance the themes of the story. Though to some extend that is just my personal preference that lots of people don't seem to share.
In a story about events or a conflict with multiple involved parties, I think its actually very likely to write yourself into some corners.

March 28, 2015, 10:38:28 PM
Re: Limited 3rd person POV and detailed descriptions
Personally I prefer it when it's strictly limited. For one thing it makes it easier to get into the mind of the character, for another it tends to cut out unnecessary details - pretty sure the majority of that passage could be replaced with just a couple of details that stand out, and the end result would be a lot stronger.  :-\
That was also my first impression.

It's no secret that I favor short format and focused fiction and Erikson is the absolute extreme opposite of that. But a description like that seems like pretty pointless and needlessly drawn out to me. When I read it, what of it really sticks? By the end of the sentence, I will probably have forgotten that his boots are green because the moment I read it, it seems like a completely irrelevant and meaningless detail. My ADD certainly makes it worse for me than for other people, but by the end of the paragraph the only thing I took note of was "big knife". The rest blurs out completely as my brain is constantly and automatically trying to sort out important information from irrelevant.
I very much love evocative descriptions and always find it disappointing when they are absent, but I prefer the descriptions to be what the character takes note of, not so much the author describing a photograph of the situation.

March 30, 2015, 06:55:51 PM
Re: Bear in Sheep's Genre
Interesting article:

Do people still whine about this? I thought this had been put to rest 20 years ago.

"Oh no, some book snob who only likes depressing books makes rude comments about the books I really love!" Wha, wha... Why are people still trying to get the love of people who seem to have a clear disdain for entertainment?

March 30, 2015, 07:20:35 PM
Re: Miscellaneous Musings 68 is pretty dead.

All the world learns to write like you, and your spelling is a total trainwreck. It's really not so hard to learn to count like the rest of the world. Which, also unlike your counting, is not a total trainwreck. With your feets and galons.... Ts! 8)

March 31, 2015, 07:16:51 PM
Re: Experiences with worldbuilding One thing that always fascinates me that there are some places in the world like in India and Africa, where people actually live with the knowledge that outside their villages there are actually huge creatures that can easily kill you and occasionally even come to villages at night to eat people. By pretty much every definition, tigers, lions, and nile crocodiles are monsters, except for the fact that they are real.
Tigers can see and hear you when you are practically blind during night, are almost completely silent and can be three to five times your weight with huge teeth and claws. And crocodiles hunt by swimming in muddy water to suddenly jump out, grab you with their giant jaws, and drag you down below the water within a second. In some parts of Europe and North America we do have bears who would be very dangerous to get attacked by, but generally can be safely avoided and don't go hunting for people. But the idea that there are actual places on Earth where millions of people are genuinly worried that they get back home before nightfall or they might be eaten is very hard to imagine.

There is nothing unusual or supernatural about them. They are just ordinary animals, and I've seen all of them in zoos many times. But encountering them in the wild would be a completely different thing. They would still be horrifying monsters.

April 02, 2015, 09:21:08 PM
Re: Experiences with worldbuilding Yesterday I was once more thinking if I should try to read Gödel, Escher, Bach. (And concluded, no, that seems to exhausting.) And that got me thinking that for ages there have been big collections of educational texts, ranging from philosophical to theological and the entire range between them. And that had me wondering if it might be worth to have such major texts exist in the background material for a fantasy setting. You would not need to have any actual text for them or create any information on who wrote them in what place in what situation and how big they are and what their internal organization is. But simply a name for each body of teaching and a general outline for one philosophical argument or point of view it presents for the readers.
Within the story, you can then simply have characters mention those texts and perhaps recite some lines which you can just make up at the moment. Stuff like "Confuzius says..." or the Ferengi Rules of Aquisition.

Of course you can always make things up as you go and invent new philosophers and text on the fly, but I think spending an hour or two on considering what the four or five most important and well known educational texts are and what they deal with and which values they promote could possibly be quite valuable when creating a larger work in which questions of values and ideals come up on a somewhat regular basis. For a simple Heroes Journey plot I don't see much use for it, but for something like one of those multi-character, multiple connected plotline epics or serials, I think it might really add some interesting depth and texture to the whole thing.

April 04, 2015, 03:24:25 PM
Re: Experiences with worldbuilding I believe I somewhere read recently that potatoes are the crops for anarchists, because it takes lots of people a lot of work to destroy a potato field, while wheat fields can pretty easily burned down to subjugate the population. Potato farmers can simply flee into the forest and wait until the army has passed on and they won't be missing the next harvest.
April 04, 2015, 06:41:31 PM