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Re: Scene & Chapter Length Personally I feel like I've short changed the reader if a chapter is too short. Or perhaps that is more to do with feeling like I haven't sat down and written enough that day.
Either way I seem to end up at about 5-6 A4 pages  (let's say 3500 words). I'll frequently change to a completely different POV or scene mid chapter, which could easily qualify as a reason for a new chapter, but I guess my TV influenced mind works on a 1 Chapter = 1 Episode premise at some level.

Scene length? I wouldn't put more than three scenes in a chapter, so we'll call it ideally 1250 words.

March 18, 2015, 03:40:57 PM
Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Discussion Thread "Meat's back on the menu boys!"
March 19, 2015, 05:49:43 PM
Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Submission Thread Here we are then. First time I've done something like this. I found it kinda hard to stay in the limit (but it came out at 1483 words)

Going Down

Spoiler for Hiden:
His knees were killing him. Not that he had asked for much more than a spirited hobble from them, but it seemed any request was a demand too far for his failing joints. He wheezed away, looking around the concourse for a hiding place. There were plenty of people about, but the way they parted around him left little chance of using them as cover. To his left was a glass fronted shop, the latest styles flickering across mannequins that posed in aspirational scenes. One moment they laughed heartily, back slapping paragons of sporting bonhomme. The next they sat swaddled in chunky exploring gear, eyes narrowed in an attempt to convey the brooding depths of their non-existent souls. Arty slipped past the shifting diorama and looked for where the forest of clothes racks was thickest.
A young man, almost a mannequin made flesh, was turning about in a suit as his equally attractive girlfriend pronounced judgement on it. The pair noticed Arty at the same time and their smiles fell. He was used to the reaction now; sometimes it even gave him a perverse pleasure. Today though he felt like hissing at them, but there was no need to scare them off. The couple feigned interest in another area of the shop and wandered away, suit tags dangling from the boy.
His heart, already pounding in his sparrow chest, jolted when someone behind spoke to him. He jerked round, but it was just a shop assistant, her arms folded defensively in front of her.
"Can I help you with something, sir?" The way she pronounced the sir made it clear that she meant anything but respect.
She was a beautiful girl, Arty decided. Not the indetikit beauty so sickeningly common up in the spires, but a carefully crafted one. Her features had been laid out by someone with excellent taste. Her mouth was a little too wide, her cheekbones higher than was fashionable. Whoever her parents were they had known their stuff. He flashed his smile at her on reflex.
"Oh, you could help me with so many things."
Her long nose wrinkled in distaste. He caught a glimpse of his weathered face in the mirror behind her, saw that his once roguish grin was now just thin lips stretched back across yellow teeth. It made him wrinkle his nose as well then frown. He held up his liver spotted hands.
"No. Nothing. I'm fine, thank you."
The assistant looked doubtful but beyond her Arty saw something else in the mirror. Two cops jogged past the front of store, one hand on their sticks to steady them. They had not even glanced into the shop. His eye flicked back to the girl.
"In fact. I was just leaving."
She nodded, but did not move. Probably thinks I'm going to steal some of this multimart rubbish, Arty thought, she hasn't even noticed I'm wearing thousand dollar shoes, the pretty little philistine.
He turned away, his heart still trying to find its resting rate, and shuffled back out of the shop. He went the direction the two cops had come from, turning the corner he had fled around when they had spotted him. The nearest D-train terminal was only a few hundred yards up the next concourse, which is why he had been coming this way in the first place. It seemed to take an age for him to reach the doors. When he did so without shouts of accusation from behind, he felt a surge of familiar excitement. He might actually get away with this.
He reached out with a shaking hand to hit the down button, the same shaking hand that had failed him not an hour ago. The same shaking hand that had set off an alarm which would never have been a danger before. A precision tool which had become a feeble, loose cudgel. He cursed its quivers and his frustration turned to delight when the capsule appeared almost at once. At last, he thought, some good fortune.
He stepped inside, the only occupant of the diamond fronted elevator. There had been others waiting, but this was the express unit to the base. The locals liked to call it "The Drain". Until recently Arty had too. Now he found himself waiting for the doors to close, keen to find his way back to ground level. He turned his back on the view and looked down the concourse, willing the doors to shut.
"C'mon. C'mon.” He muttered. The gleaming metal was not to be rushed however, waiting in case some other rubbish needed flushing from the affluent shopping arcade. Ahead, rising on their toes to survey the crowd, Arty saw the two cops come back onto his thoroughfare.
"Close, you bastards. Close." He swore at the doors. As if they had heard him they began to hiss together. At the last second Arty thought one of the men might have looked his way, but his eyes, like everything else, were not what they were and he could not be certain.
The elevator began to drop smoothly away and he turned to gaze out of the window. The underside of the bottom tier, all pipes and blocks, shaded the D-train from the weak sunlight. In the distance the spindly mushrooms of the other three towers rose out of the ramshackle sprawl. Appropriate shapes really, Arty considered, mushrooms do well growing out of shit too.

Under their transparent domes he could make out tiered gardens like the ones rising above him. Their colours were diffused by distance and the thin atmosphere, but he knew there was every hue of bright flower amongst verdant greens. He could almost taste the clean, thick air of his old hunting grounds. He lifted his satchel free over his head, his shoulders complaining, and flipped it open. Inside was his ticket back. He lifted the cylinder of metal slats out and smiled at its ancient grooved surface. He would return to defraud, debauch and deflower the brainless rich again. He was certain of it. This was not the end for him. The elevator jerked to a halt. The doors began to open without warning. Shit, he thought, this is the end for me.
A female cop stood waiting in a residential corridor outside, one hand up at her ear.
"Yep, got him now, thanks. I'll check it out and get back to you."
She stepped in to the elevator, her eyes immediately on Arty's prize. She took the artefact without resistance and jabbed a probe id stick into his neck. He felt the tell-tale burn of his skin cells being scraped away and the machine bleeped. She looked at the display.
"Arthur Schivare." His name was a statement, not a question. She examined his other details. "26?" His age at least got a reaction from her. "Two counts theft, one count embezzlement. They stuck 15 years on your clock for each one."
She looked him up and down, shaking her head. Arty looked around her and thought about running. The thought was enough to make his knees hurt again.
"Why the hell would you keep at it?" She asked. He was surprised to look into her face and find her in earnest.
"You try looking like this. Nobody hires an ex-con. Even in the geri-clubs I have to sit down, the real old timers can tell from how I move otherwise and they steer clear too. That was my only way out." He pointed at what she held. "It's a wheel from the Sojourner rover."
"I know that." She hefted it in her hand. "The museum on the top deck is going ape shit."
He started to become acutely aware that she had not gone straight back to her com-link.
"I've got a bunch of neo-earth nutjobs lined up to pay me a small fortune. Enough to get me back to how I should be." He gestured with one crook knuckled finger at the id stick's screen.
The cop looked at his grinning, aquiline face on the screen then back to the decrepit one before her. She sucked in one cheek.
"How much is a small fortune then?"
The old squirming excitement began to twist Arty's mouth into a smile.
"More than I could spend on my own." He waggled his unruly eyebrows.
The cop stared at the wheel for another few seconds, biting her lip. Then she sighed and reached for her earpiece. Arty's mouth fell.
"Base. Two seventeen here. I checked your man in the drain. Nothing doing, just some geri from the ground on a sightseeing tour.... sure... will do. Good luck anyway."
Her hand dropped down and her smile mirrored Arty's as she hit the elevator button without looking.
"Going down?" She held the wheel back out to him.
"Not on these knees." Arty smirked and turned back to enjoy their descent, physical and moral.

March 20, 2015, 07:51:55 PM
Re: Guns and Dragons… It's a-comin' It's gratifying to see so much stuff being written and read on this site, as a newcomer it makes me want to put fingers to keyboard, which is great.

I love the idea for the anthology, I'm guessing it's just submit and cross fingers like the monthly comps right? I'm guessing nobody has a clear idea when or where we submit stuff...?

I think I may have to add this to my list of distractions from my day hustle (3 Kids. 2 jobs. 1 course.)

Edit 5 mins later: Arrgghhh! Not now brain! I'm at work.... Stop throwing ideas up and making me stare out of the window.

March 25, 2015, 12:28:23 PM
Re: Trends in Contemporary Fantasy It was a thread like this on another board which spawned the bit of writing Jmacyk kindly critiqued for me.

My thoughts were that, given the pendulum swing of all things, people might like something lighter than Grimdark stuff soon. I doubt we'll return to a world where we don't have grey morality though, that's here to stay. I also reckoned we hadn't seen much in the way of heist stuff (plenty of detective fantasy out there) so that might make an appearance, as well as renewed interest in traditional fantasy tropes ('cos people love 'em).
Historical stuff might be popular as well.. lots of Abercrombie's has an almost historical feel to it (could be the well rounded characters I suppose, or the military detail).

With that in mind I penned the first few chapters of what I decided should be  called #Grimlite (let's be clear, as I'm new hereabouts - I'm taking the piss a bit. This was all very tongue in cheek).

There was a great quote  here about "Don't marry for money. Go where the money is and marry for love."
I see nothing wrong with that but I for one find it hard to write about something I'm not interested in.
Sounds like we should try and predict trends we like then write in that, sort of the best of both worlds. Do what you feel but keep an eye on it's potential market.

After all... it's fine to have you head in the clouds as long as you have your feet on the ground.

March 25, 2015, 12:50:04 PM
Re: Scene & Chapter Length Interesting stuff.
As a novice writer my first attempts have been more freeform, less constrained, and they produced some good results. My next ones have been more tightly plotted and planned, they too had their strong points.

Now the thing is, the first ones are better stories, but I learnt more as a writer from the second.

Working within constraints and using the well trodden advice is a better way to find your feet as a writer I think, before then taking those training wheels off and using them to beat the constraints to death.

Picasso could paint conventionally long before he began his adventures in cubism.

March 25, 2015, 05:36:48 PM
Re: Curing Impotence Plenty of people seek out this ancient chalk man in Dorset with his impressive.. er.. club.
It's supposed to be fertility cure to get jiggy  halfway down the hill if you get my drift. (How could you not?)
Sounds like a fantasy fertility cure to me...

Spoiler for "Hidden as potentially NSFW":

updated by mod to add the NSFW disclosure. Plus, it lets you unveil the picture for more impact ;)

March 25, 2015, 05:54:03 PM
No lovelorn Vamipres here... move along.. move along I must admit. I was glad it was an April fool. It got me.
I was thinking maybe I could do a version of the old woman who swallowed a fly involving a girl, a lycanthrope and a haemovore.
But... plot twists are much more fun. So here's mine (getting in early I guess)..

No Twist In The Tail
(1488 words @badDayHappenin)

Spoiler for Hiden:

"I never told you how I ended up in your world." Stamford wheezed.
The creature passed over the ditch, unable to overcome its momentum. Yalri looked up from where she had landed on Stamford's chest, wide eyed in disbelief.
"You really think now is the time?"
"Funnily, now might be just the right time." He replied, helping push her to her feet.
"The only time you mean, before we die." She kicked him in the side.
"It's coming back!" Estra shouted though no one could fail to miss the screaming beast as it gouged great trenches in the earth.
"Get to the edge." Yalri slapped him into motion down the ditch and the holy man stumbled into a run.
She reached down, pulled Stamford to his feet and they set off after him. Ahead they could see nothing but the stumps of ruined temple masonry marking the end of the trench.
"It was the damndest thing really." Stamford yelled. "I was about to get ..caught, by a kind of lawkeeper."
"Always knew you were a bloody thief." Yalri collided with Estra's back as the man teetered on the edge of the cliff. Stamford stopped too, he rested with his hands on his knees, watching the beast twist in long loops as it gained height and turned for another pass.
"Don't think I ever hid it be honest." He straightened, reached to the pouch at his back and pulled forth a box, no bigger than his palm. "Thing is, I had taken this from a museum."
"A what?" Yalri snapped as she leaned over the cliff, checking the hundred or so foot drop to the lake below.
"A museum. It's like a place where valuable artefacts are kept in my world."
The creature gave a shriek as it turned, sighting on its prey.
"Mother of the creator, what do we do?" Estra pawed at Yalri. She batted him off and looked at Stamford.
"Like a bank?"
"No, not like a ... look that's not important." He flustered.
"I'm assuming something you're saying is though? Otherwise we are about to become a bloody smear in one direction or another."
He pulled her hand out and shoved the box in it. Trying to keep her attention from the beast which was diving toward them.
"It's a twist. Open it."
Yalri had no idea what he was talking about, but that had been a familiar sensation sense they had met six months ago. She had learnt just to go with it instead. She snapped the tiny box open and suddenly laughed. Then she grabbed the two men and yanked them both over the edge.
As they fell towards the lake a sizeable section of the cliff followed them, smashed free by the screaming creature which was enraged at being denied a second time. They all knew they would die when they hit the water. It would have the forgiveness of a boulder from that height. Then Yalri stuck out her hand and began shouting in her native tongue. The gittering surface bloomed into a mist and rose to meet them. A great, soft fountain broke their descent and slowly lowered into them lake. They still plunged beneath the surface, but not so far that they could not make it back up with a few wild strokes. When Estra recovered enough wits to look around he saw Yalri was spluttering laughter, treading water with the box in one hand.
"I just remembered the water raising charm from my village." She smiled. "I used to hate the old hag for making me do that a dozen times a day. Never thought it would save my life."
Stamford did not seem as surprised as his two companions and plucked the box from her grip before nodding his head toward the cave, lying between two of the hundreds of moss covered pillars that rose from the lake where the ancient city had once stood.
"Come on, before it works out where we went." He struck out arm over arm to the entrance and the other two needed no encouragement to swim for its safety.
The cave floor was a sloping shelf, letting the three wade clumsily both out of the lake and into the shade. They stood for a few dripping seconds, looking at the doors they had seen so many times in dead Bethran's book. Outside, the howls of the guardian could be heard as it searched the cliff for its escaped prey.
"This is it." Stamford said at last. "We've made it."
"Fat lot of good it does us." Yalri said. "Without Bethran we can't open the doors. Only a princess of the lost line can. All we're doing is putting off the bit where we become dinner."
"Oh yea of little faith." Stamford replied and held up the box again, wiggling it.
Yalri found that she could not remember what had been inside. Only that it had been unexpected. She frowned and bit her lip.
"It's a twist." Stamford reminded her. This failed to dislodge any recollection and Yalri reached out for it.
"What the hell do you mean, a twist?"
He pulled his hand back, waggling his free finger at her.
"No, no, my dear. As far as I can tell it only works once for each person that opens it. For me, it revealed its nature as a magical artefact and brought me here when by rights I should have being doing a ten stretch at her majesty's pleasure right now. That was my twist. Yours is that your, much despised, upbringing as a water server should now come to your aid and save us all when, frankly, our bacon should have been fried."
The phrase brought back images of Bethran's corpse smouldering on the crystal altar. As if to add weight to the memory the creature screamed again outside, only this time closer.
"It twists people's fates?"
Stamford screwed up his sunburnt face. "You could say that I suppose. In my world we'd have probably called them plot twists. Though I daresay some clever fellows from Trinity would give you a load of nonsense about quantum."
He tossed the box at Estra, who fumbled it to a rest against his holy cloak with both forearms. His eyes looked back through the slit in his mitremask expectantly.
"Open it." Stamford beseeched with both hands as the looping body of the guardian tore past the cave entrance, its tiny feathers scattering into the lake below it.
Estra shrugged and opened the box. He turned it upside down and shook it but nothing seemed to happen.
"What the hell?" Yalri rounded on Stamford. "That was your great plan? Open an empty box? We don't need your empty promises now. We needed Bethran, we needed the last princess of the lost line."
Estra coughed and Yalri looked back. The holy man was doing something none of his order was permitted once they had taken their orders, he was pulling off the gold embroidered mitremask. For a moment Yalri thought she should look away, to save her pious friend's dignity. Before she could avert her gaze though she almost choked and stared in amazement.
"I am the last princess of the lost line." Said the tall, copper skinned woman in front of her.
Yalri sputtered and turned back to Stamford who was nodding with a smug smile.
"Of course you are old boy... or girl. Probably been hiding your identity all these years to escape persecution?"
Estra nodded and tossed the box back. Yalri gawped at her again, then back to Stamford.
"That's just not possible." She managed.
"Not probable." He corrected. "But not technically impossible. Be a dear Estra and open up the temple, I think our friend has got our scent again."
It was true that the guardian had made its twisting way out across the lake but had now looped its snaking trunk round to bring it face on to the cave. Estra bustled past Yalri and pushed on the intricately carved granite doors. They swung open without any of the ceremony and lights that Yalri had expected and the three rushed in to the cavern beyond. Estra turned to grin at her friends but was torn from the floor as the guardian smashed through the cave mouth and into the temple, jamming itself in the entrance and bucking ferociously. Rocks smashed next to Yalri and Stamford, forcing them closer to the creature's feathered tail.
"The box." Yalri yelled. "Open the bloody box."
Terror stricken, Stamford clawed the box open only to have it crumble to torn paper in his hands.
Yalri was slammed back by the garish tail of the guardian as it started to roll on to them.
"What does that mean?" She screamed.
"No more twists." Stamford's face was stricken as the leviathan began to crush them, he took his last look at her. "This story is over."

April 01, 2015, 11:21:04 PM
Re: [Apr 2015] - Werewolf, Vampire, Girl - Discussion Thread Posted mine last night - it's Easter holidays in my house and that was about the only time I'm going to have before I stuff my face with my kids' chocolate and we all run around on a sugar high building stuff and knocking it down again.
April 02, 2015, 10:28:07 AM
Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Discussion Thread Just checked in on this thread this morning. Now concerned my story isn't were-goaty enough, so I 've mocked up some supporting material for the guardian creature in it - it looks like this.. hope that meets the threshold?

April 07, 2015, 10:39:29 AM