July 18, 2019, 04:51:54 PM

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Re: The Uninteresting Protagonist Problem But you do get a problem when the story keeps saying "This is the story of A", while what is actually happening is A being a sidekick to character B who does all the most interesting and entertaining things. There is nothing wrong with making it "This is A who experienced first hand how B did lots of interesting things". But then you can't make it seem like everyone is looking towards A to do the important things and make the important decisions.

I remember one time where a story played with this, which was the videogame Final Fantasy 10. It even opens with a flash forward to part of a monolog at the lowpoint right before the big showdown, which starts with the words "Listen to my story..." And he is incedibly arrogant, ignorant, and straight up obnoxious, so many people don't like him as a protagonist. But the joke is that he is the only one who thinks he's the hero of the story. The way everyone else acts around him (or just completely ignores him), they seem him only as some annoying tagalong that their leader allows to travel with them because of her endless compassion and there's a good reason they let her have her idle fancy without objecting to it. And in the end his ignorance and complete lack of respect for customs leads to an important revelation that no sane person had ever considered. It's his arogance that saves the world.
When seen like that it's actually quite clever, but to a lot of people he was still just very annoying and stealing all the thunder from the actual hero of the story whose journey is much more interesting.

May 27, 2018, 06:51:12 PM
Re: Favourite black or light humour lines
I sprang off my left foot, caught the roof ledge with my fingers, and pulled myself up. Dabir urged care; I do not think he heard my response, as I was too busy not falling to answer clearly, and my words do not bear repeating.
From The Desert of Souls.

June 02, 2018, 06:37:34 PM
Re: Favourite black or light humour lines
It's not Fantasy, but I love this exchange from the Western 'Unforgiven':

"You just shot an unarmed man!"
"Well, he shoulda armed himself."
"I don't deserve this...To die like this."
"Deserve's got nothing to do with it."

June 06, 2018, 07:18:59 PM
Re: Greatest battles in fantasy For me it's easily Cold Light by Karl Wagner.

The meanest and most ruthless bastards in all the lands have banded together to get their revenge on Kane, a man who everyone considers to be evil incarnate. They track him down and set an ambush, but they really don't know what kind of creature they are dealing with.

Kane is not in danger. He is the danger.

June 07, 2018, 08:09:46 PM
Re: Fantasy names I always start with picking a language that has interesting sounding names, look up lists of common names in that language, and write down any that I like. These serve as my references for common syllables, length of names, and male and female endings. To create my own names, I simply make up new ones that somewhat follow those patterns.

It gets you names that sound like they could be actual names, and even more importantly help with making up numerous names that all sound like they come from the same culture. (Because they do.)

In addition, apostrophes are cheesy, but hyphens are classy.  :D

June 08, 2018, 07:17:47 PM
Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world Schrödinger's Immigrant:  Simultaneously steals jobs and gets unemployment benefits.
June 10, 2018, 11:05:09 AM
Re: Plots without twists and payoffs other than surprise I've been trying to write down the important plot points of several stories with very simple plots that still worked to be interesting, and I think generally speaking there is some kind of pattern that shows up repeatedly.

Often, at the surface, simple stories are simply go from place A to B to C to D. When the characters reach place B, they get the information that points them to place C, where they get information that leads them to place D. This is rather boring but becomes more interesting when they simultaneously also get more information and better understanding of what is really going on and what they are dealing with. One of them can be a twist, but it doesn't need to be. And the new information does not even have to be an amazing surprise. Just learning new stuff can already be sufficiently interesting, even if it isn't anything that goes against previous expectations.

When you read Lovecraft today, none of the reveals are ever surprising in any way because they all have been copied a thousand times. You know what kind of story you are reading and you have a pretty good idea what the reveals will be. But they can still be very entertaining to read.

I think that it might actually be possible to write stories and perhaps full novels that consist basically of revealing setting and revealing character this way. Of all the Clark Ashton Smith stories I have read, I can't remember a single one that really had much resembling a plot. A character walks along a path and sees curious things that are part of the strange setting. Not necessarily amazing stories, but they do have some entertainment value.

If the world is interesting enough, then a story might get away with very little in the way of conflict. Man against Nature could almost always be used as the external conflict and the internal conflict wouldn't need to have a great amount of depth or an elaborate resolution.
However, the biggest challenge I see is how to properly end such a story. Smith almost always ends with the protagonist suddenly getting eaten by a suddenly appearing monster. Lovecraft always tries to go for the big reveal at the end, but at least now it's never actually amazing. Or surprising.

June 10, 2018, 05:18:33 PM
Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world I remember a headline from Trumps first visit to Berlin:

Leader of the Free World meets Donald Trump

June 10, 2018, 07:55:48 PM
Re: What is it with brothels and the fantasy genre?
It has its roots in reality. They don't call that world's oldest profession for no reason.
That, and farming. And they both use hoes.  ;D

June 20, 2018, 08:27:44 PM
Re: Most satisfying character arcs you’ve read? The best character arc I didn'r read, but it was Zuko in Avatar. That's one really damn great character that changes so dramatically while simultaneously staying consistent from start to finish. He's so well conflicted that he can jump around between extremes and still remain true to character while doing it.

Imagine that emo guy from the new Star Wars, but done really, really well.  :P

June 22, 2018, 08:41:43 PM