September 18, 2019, 06:27:40 AM

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A fan of minimalist covers but a lover of fantasy I made a "book cover" suited to my tastes (and likely no one else's) for the duology I'm working on. I'm a fan of minimalism and it's easier for me to read white text on a black or grey background so I took that knowledge and ran with it.

I know it's hilariously unlikely for me to have a say in what my book cover is (especially because I want to sell this manuscript), but it was fun to make.

(If anyone is curious, I also drew and hand painted my avatar. She's one of the duology characters).

Here's the link: http://i.imgur.com/5MzbTS3.jpg?1

June 16, 2017, 05:25:48 PM
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Re: Say Hi, I'm new thread
Hi and welcome, @ThiefofHope!

The captch thing only happens during the first 5 posts (I think!), just to avoid spammer bots, hehe

Browse, read and post at will! We're all very nice, and a little bit crazy too ;)
How did you find us?

Alright, thank you :D

I got fed up with another forum that wasn't fantasy-specific (they were awfully anti-speculative fiction for an "all-genres" forum) so I made it my mission to hunt down a fantasy-oriented place and found this :) I like it so far.

June 16, 2017, 06:08:06 PM
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Re: Say Hi, I'm new thread @Eclipse I've certainly got the first bit down, as well as using mostly English spellings for words--especially the U. I'm not familiar with the Great Goat God of the Forums, but I'd love to be enlightened.

A famous author I couldn't get into is Paolini. I just couldn't do it. I like dragons and stuff but it was just...boring. I need more going on than what it offered.

June 16, 2017, 07:02:10 PM
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Re: Say Hi, I'm new thread @Jmack Thank you!

This is the best reception I've received in any writing forum I've been to, including the one I run. I really like it here :D you're all so nice.

June 17, 2017, 06:26:50 AM
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Re: How much did you write today? 2530 words. Not the most I've done in one sitting, but about 1000 more than I've done daily in the last week.
June 17, 2017, 10:23:54 PM
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Re: Recommendations for places to look for reliable beta readers @Lady_Ty Someone who read for Michael J Sullivan read a chapter of my work; he also sent that link to me. I made a form based off what Mr. Sullivan put in his with slightly different questions and that worked out perfectly. I don't just hand them the book (anymore, at least XD) ^^;

@cupiscent Critters is a bit...hawkish about how they want their critique-givers to write their critiques in my opinion. I signed up but realised I'd be booted fairly quickly because I'm not always the best at wording feedback the way they want it worded.

I've tried Scribophile and sort of forgot about it. Maybe I'll go back to it. I've had multiple bad experiences on Critique Circle so I refrain from participating there.

Thank you both for your suggestions!

June 18, 2017, 04:40:11 AM
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Re: Rape and other sensitive issues in Fantasy novels I don't mean to necropost, but I came across this whilst falling down a thread rabbit hole and think this issue is important enough to add one more thought to. Even if no one reads/responds to this reply, it will at least put my mind at ease to have replied in the first place. I wanted to speak about some of the other points made in this thread, coming from a rape survivor who has a scene depicting rape in my current work. I will discuss my reasoning for including it at the end. I've never read Prince of Thorns, so I'm not going to speak about it at all.


On Others' Comments (from the bottom up):

"I think it is important for authors to be aware of the fact that...a rape victim [might read] their book. If they do represent this horrible crime in any way, let it not be gratuitous, but important for the plot, for adding layer to the characters (either the perpetrators or the victims)."

This 110%. A rape victim might read your book, as might a family member or friend of a victim/survivor (or even a rapist or their friends/family members). While it's important to be aware of this, the next point made about not sacrificing your craft to suit others is also important. Yes, you might lose readers for it; however, you can also lose readers for basically anything else. Treat it with an appropriate amount of caution and don't be reluctant to research if you have questions. However, the more gratuitous the scene, the less I'm personally inclined to believe it's really for the good of the plot and not merely there for shock value. Sometimes, less is more.

"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."

Couldn't agree more. Write what you want, how you want it, but I feel the need to make certain I stress that in situations like and regarding sexual assault, the author should research as much as they possibly can about it, especially those who haven't been assaulted in that way, and they should take care to portray it as what it is--an act of depraved violence--while also maintaining character.

"When people say they're having trouble with [an author's] work because of it, [the author] shouldn't be dismissive about it....I think we all have a responsibility to consider how our behaviour - including the stories we tell - might implicitly condone other behaviour we wouldn't explicitly condone."

I switched out specific pronouns in this because I don't want to accuse someone of doing something in a situation I have little knowledge of. In my opinion, if one writes something disturbing into one's work, one must be ready to explain why if asked. This is my own personal rule when writing about sensitive topics because I don't like to speak of things I can't defend bringing up. We also very much do need to consider the social impact we have as creators. There's an interesting few articles about this here: http://www.springhole.net/writing/responsiblewriting.htm

"Rape is often the lazy, go-to trauma for female characters."

Well-said enough that I don't need to add anything more.

"Adult male characters are rarely raped..."

This as well. I've met men who were abused, assaulted, etc., and it does happen. This makes me feel (and this is purely my opinion) that rape is generally seen as something only women can go through or the most egregious thing anyone could ever do to a woman, in fact so bad that you can't do it to a man. It also can paint a very wrong, very gross picture that all men are violent, aggressive, unable to help themselves, etc., which is also just not true. Women can rape men. Women can rape other women, men can rape other men. It isn't an exclusively heterosexual, male-dominated act.

"Rape is often used to motivate a male character....The victim is just a plot device."

I also agree with this. I believe that if you're going to depict a crime as heinous as rape (or any other form of sexual assault), you need to take the appropriate measures to make sure it's necessary, founded in need rather than desire for shock value, and doesn't solely serve as a motivation for the victim's lover/best friend/parent/child, especially of the male variety, to complete their quest.

Rape is about control. It is about punishing the victim. It has nothing to do with love gone desperate and sour, it has to do with the rapist attempting to gain control or leverage over their victim and nothing more. It is not sexy, titillating, naughty, or romantically tragic. It is painful, debilitating, and absolutely one of the most horrific things I think can happen to a person, regardless of who they are. It is literal torture.

I agree with Roxxsmom's final comment about disturbing things being beneficial if they create an opportunity to discuss sensitive issues. I personally am also sick of reading stories in which women fall in love with their abusers, sexual or otherwise, or in which any of the above points are steamrolled over or ignored in the name of shock value.

On My Own Work:

One of the POV characters, Seryll, is being hunted down by a man named Sverok. Sverok, who doubled as her boss for a long period of time, arranged her marriage to him without her knowledge. When she found out, she went into hiding. He spends the majority of the book exhausting his resources in an attempt to find and force Seryll to marry him. He does not love her; he flat-out tells her this. He sees her as a prize and a thing that needs to be broken and owned, and wants to her to remain with him always.

A bit about Seryll, to add clarity: Seryll is neither pretty-faced nor the kindest woman you'll meet. She is a sardonic bounty hunter, master marksman, survivalist, and a healer. She has no interest in Sverok, the leader of the bounty hunter group she left, and is in fact spending most of her time in hiding from him and his vast network of lookouts, hunters, and informants.

He does catch her near the end of Part One. When he does, he eventually rapes her. Why? Partly because it's just a logical progression of events; he's tried to force her into marrying him against her will already, he wants her to give in to him, and he desires the utmost power over her, the "object" he sees as being purposefully defiant just to anger him. Of course, doing this backfires horribly on him, and only serves to fuel Seryll's already burning rage and hatred of him.

I don't show it "on screen", but I don't just hint at it. I also don't say it outright. Forgive me if this is chilling, but I want it to be like passing a set of glowing eyes in the bushes on a dark road at night, alone: gut-wrenching, terrifying, and absolutely unromantic in the most glaringly obvious way possible.

I chose to green-light this scene after months of thinking it over and avoiding it because I think it is my responsibility as a creator to write narratives that are accurate, responsible, respectful, and do not sacrifice logic in the name of tip-toeing around plausible events, no matter how harrowing they can be.

Furthermore, and I think this is just as important as the rest of what I've said: the single most "interesting", horrifying, or often-discussed thing about Seryll is not her status as a rape survivor. It is not her only defining trait. She reacts to it, and she keeps reacting in different ways to it for a long time, but it does not define her. I think that's another mistake some writers make when depicting sexual violence: making the victim's rape the only "intriguing" thing about the victim.

In Closing:

Yes, it disturbs me to write it. No, I don't particularly want to write about it. But at the same time, it is somewhat and oddly healing. It makes me feel less alone, less "othered", I suppose you could say, and I'm ready to defend my choice to whomever wishes to attack it.

I apologise for this inordinately long reply. I have a lot to say about this and not many places to say it.

June 19, 2017, 11:08:02 AM
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Re: Women Write Fantasy (The Giant 'Women in Fantasy' Database)
I don't care what gender the author is as long as the story hooks me in.

Maybe some readers don't try female fantasy authors is that there might associate them with books like Paranormal romance

I can't tell you how many people assume I'm writing YA, Paranormal Romance, or Urban Fantasy if they find out I'm female. It's annoying. I'm thinking about querying under a male name because of it.

I've actually had someone tell me I shouldn't write in the genre I write in because it's not "womanly"--despite the fact that all five of my current point-of view characters are female. I don't get it. Someone online has also said to me, "Women write YA, men write lit". ¯\_(?)_/¯

I just tell them, "If you don't like it, don't read it."

June 20, 2017, 04:47:41 AM
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Re: How much did you write today? Two chapters :D I'm so excited. My current word count stands at 85,390 words total out of an estimated endpoint of 105-110,000 words.
June 23, 2017, 02:05:19 AM
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Re: [Jun 2017] - Gangsters and Crime Lords - Submission Thread The Shepherd

1452 Words

Edit: forgot my twitter handle. @TheChromaBooks

Spoiler for Hiden:

The Shepherd

Divchena stood at the heart of her well-kempt sheepfold, crook in hand and a modest smile on her black lips. That morning, after she led her rams and ewes to the mountainside and her lambs to a low meadow on the banks of the River Polikni, which wound along the flower-laden floor of Zelchat Valley, she bound a miniscule orb to her thigh, underneath the pleats of her grey shift, in preparation for her debt collectors' arrival. The tattered hem of her skirt grazed her knees.

When the sun hovered overhead, three Senkcha Family representatives arrived at the southernmost edge of Divchena’s pastures, each riding a hillwalker—an enormous, gentle beast far larger than a yak and hardier than cattle, with ribbed horns as thick as the trunk of a young tree.

“Divchena Maluk.” Podim, the head of their triplet, stopped his mount with a yank of its leather reins. He climbed down the knotted fur dangling from the creature’s side.

Watching him with attention keener than an owl’s, Divchena brushed the side of her thumb from the pierced bridge of her nose to its petite tip; she flicked her wrist to show Podim and his companions her empty palm.

“She I am.”  With luck, the early display of respect might ease the tone of their conversation.

Podim returned the gesture. He approached the sheepfold on foot. “You have some things to explain.”

Divchena smirked. She shifted her weight onto one leg, free hand on her hip. Her fingers, sore from tearing off hangnails in boredom while she was waiting for their arrival, brushed against the night-blue wool of her capelette as she leaned her crook the tiniest bit nearer to her side.

One of his companions, a dishevelled woman clutching a sling—Podim’s wife, Zelina—dismounted. She ran halfway to the sheepfold and paused. The bitter-faced man who arrived with them carrying nothing but deep-set creases on his brow remained atop his hillwalker, arms crossed.

Divchena owed the married pair a fair sum, to say nothing of the grandiose amounts she had stolen from their new family. To Podim alone, she guessed at least a ram’s weight in tadril and an extra hornful for interest. Zelina had claim to a fresh silk headscarf and three master-wrought rings inlaid with her pick of precious gems. Since Divchena didn’t recognise the old man, she supposed a peck on the cheek for his good humour and cooperation would suffice. To their detriment, they sacrificed their right to compensation months ago and knew why. Divchena had no intention of repaying them, now or ever.

Podim, tight braid of mint hair swinging in the slight wind, leant over the wooden sheepfold gate. A thin rod of hard candy drooped from the corner of his mouth. “I reckon you owe us lots more tadril than I suspect you have left. Bet it felt good to think you got away clean, yeah? Thought you had my whole family fooled? Well, sezha, you ain’t fooled me.”

“You were one of my most intelligent,” Divchena conceded. Had he and his wife not left, this wouldn't have happened. This, however, was the path they wanted, so they had to live with their choice.

“I know.” He took the sweet out of his mouth to spit. “Get on out here. Ottnik’ll be easy on you so long as you don’t try nothing violent.”

Divchena chortled. Ottnik, called the Badger by locals, skinned thieves alive if he caught them, and the loathsome horde of brigands he governed would watch her skin peel off with glee. Those who stole from the Senkcha Family rarely escaped their labyrinthine camps with time to enjoy their earnings, much less returned—and came out again, and later repeated once more for the story before fleeing for good.

She did not deny her penchant for tasteful revenge. Sneaking into the Sankcha Family’s main camp and robbing them blind, mute, and lame hadn't been done out of irreverence, but policy; they stole a bit of her flock, so she took a chunk of their goods. Thus, the trade was fair. By the measures of the pure and lawful, they had merely… transacted.

Shaking her head, Divchena yawned. “I’ll stay right here. As you guessed, I have nothing to give you.”

Podim rattled the gate. “I've got a family to defend, and our biggest threat is you. They barely've got enough for a week of food up in the main camp after your little heist. A week. For seven hundred ren. That’s cruel.”

“It’s business,” Divchena said.

“I suggest you come out before I drag you out.”

“I can't leave my flock to starve, much like you can’t let yours.”

Podim lowered his gaze.

No matter that she really was just a shepherd with a moonlit past now, Divchena demanded respect. Even the Senkcha Family, feared by anyone with proper sense, was not exempt from this rule, thousand members or not. The Shepherd bowed to no one.

Podim rolled up his sleeves. “Well then. I guess I will drag you.” He hopped the gate.

Before his first footfall hit the loamy soil Divchena had seized her orb, crushed it, and drew from it shards a snarling, vulpine spirit. It charged Podim, fangs bared and jaw snapping. It latched its maw around his ankle, undeterred by his kicks and yelps of pain.

Was it disrespectful to play with one’s fears when they became violent? Divchena thought not. She raised her crook, veins aglow with her Essence’s soft orange light, and aimed it above Podim’s wife.

“Call it off or I loose it,” Zelina demanded, voice trembling. She fumbled a rock into her sling’s pouch.

Divchena shook her head once, slow, methodical, and smug. Posturing did not frighten her. Zelina wouldn’t loose her sling. The only violence in the young woman’s past had been done to her, not by her. Such was the life of a pickpocket.

“I said call it off,” Zelina said.

Podim shrieked like an infant any time the spirit came near.

Divchena opened her mouth, but instead of shouting back at Zelina she chanted a high-pitched, ghostly call. It ricocheted between the mountain slopes guarding the Valley, three or four echoes reverberating in each syllable before the words faded.

Bells tinkled in the distance.

Wincing, Zelina looked back at the old man, then glanced at Podim, and finally stared at Divchena with helpless eyes. “Please. Let him go.”

Again Divchena called a haunting melody, this one brief and steeped in urgency. A host of clinking bells flowed quicker than an avalanche down the mountains, but it was not sheep that ran.

It was family.

Three hundred ren or more charged the Valley, wielding their own slings as well as bows and knives. Some carried armfuls of rocks to chuck. Arrows, stones, and throwing blades hailed down, pelting the Senkcha representatives with the ire of those who launched them.

“Kvilela’s sight,” the old man swore. He tugged the reins fastened to his hillwalker's horns. It reared and bellowed. The ground quaked when it planted its feet back on the dirt.

The spirit, unbalanced by the shivering field, released Podim for a moment; he seized his chance and sprang over the fence, arms shielding his head. He snatched his wife’s hand and dragged her toward their hillwalkers.

“I am the Shepherd, and this is my flock,” Divchena yelled, arms outstretched as if to embrace the sky. “Tell your matriarch my name. Sow fear and sense into your siblings and children and warn them off hunting my flock!”

Her family, all the ruffians, street rats, and luckless miscreants who had come to her sheepfold in search of sanctuary and nourishment, the thieves and pickpockets desiring better roads to scavenge, roared along with her.

The Senkcha representatives wheeled their mounts around to meet a wall of Divchena’s family members quick-footed enough to have made it down the lower slopes in moments rather than whiles.

Divchena tucked a strand of her burgundy hair behind her pointed, downturned ears. The spirit shattered; distorted space wobbled where it once stood until the shards warped back into a tiny orb. With it vanished the light in her veins. She plucked it off the ground and pocketed it.

Slipping between shadows, creeping in the absence of light, taking what did not belong to her: it never failed to enthral her. And when someone caught her? Well, that’s what family was for, and they always took her side.

“Strip them, search them, and send them away,” Divchena said to her flock. Satisfied with the conclusion of their meeting, she wandered off to fetch her lambs from the low meadow by the River Polikni. It was time for them to rest.


Quick note: I say "ren" at least once in the course of this story. I don't mean "men" or anything else. This takes place in the same world as my main story, and ren are the only sentient/sapient species to inhabit it. My avatar is an example of a ren. They look like elves, but they are not elves. Just for reference ^^

June 29, 2017, 07:18:29 AM
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