July 04, 2020, 11:08:51 AM

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Re: Elf Preservation - Can we twist elves and other races? I love, love, love new twists on the familiar - and I don't see enough of it with elves and dwarves. I suppose this is partly the result of spending my formative years with Warhammer (I still have some of the key pieces of my Wood Elf army over in storage) as opposed to Tolkien; when one reads about Wood Elves, High Elves, and Dark Elves, and what armies they may form, the idea of them being aloof, ethereal and wise beings makes one double-take a bit. I also tend to feel that as a genre, fantasy as done elves (and dwarves) as the same, as the same, as the same, and it's become....tired. What I'd really love is to see how far they can be stretched and twisted, and yet still able to retain that 'dwarveness' or 'elfness'.

(I don't see a problem with tall dwarves, either - and certainly have no problem with demons being 'good', or at the very least, shades of grey).

I guess I'm curious, though, about everyone who is saying 'don't ignore tradition' - do you guys have any examples of elves that have been twisted and pulled until you wouldn't call them 'elves' any more? Or an actual line in the sand where you can see 'this is not an elf?' Or is it more of a 'I know an elf when I see it' thing?

(I should admit to being biased on the subject of playing around elves, as I've spent the past month forming my own take on them, which involved going back to the Norse mythos and starting over from there again. So, yes, I'm very curious as to what people would say is 'too much fiddling'.)

February 09, 2012, 09:51:16 AM
Re: Romance/Relationship in Fantasy
Is the hero really the hero if he doesn't get the girl? I think not.

What if the girl wants someone else? Sorry, that's a silly means of measuring heroic-ness without context. :P A hero can still be a hero and not get the girl. Or boy. Or whatever.

Exactly. If there's a love interest, I really don't think they (frequently 'she', because being an object to be fought over seems to be par the course for female characters here, and NATURALLY the hero of the piece is a guy) should be "got". They get together, or have a relationship, which is very different.

Back at the original question....hmm, at the moment, I'm just all for healthy, perfectly consensual relationships with no abuse or rape-y overtones. Not here for "twisted" or "dark". I also don't mind the level of romance - sometimes, I just want to read a romance. Sometimes I want to read something that has only background pairings. It just depends on the mood.

(If anyone has any recs of books that have healthy, equal relationships in them, I'd be glad to have them.)

December 18, 2013, 10:10:02 PM
Creating a Religion This month's writing contest topic reminded me I never got around to posting this (and that I need to get back to work at worldbuilding...)

I was curious as to how you guys worldbuild the religions for your stories. Religion is obviously a highly important aspect of culture and characters within that culture - even the lack of it has implications. But when I went to look up articles and posts to help generate some ideas, I ended up not finding much that was actually helpful. A lot of posts on how to create pantheons - with the assumptions that  a) the world is polytheistic and b) that the gods are real/characters in their own right - and not a lot on how to think about creating a religion as an actual belief-system.

So! What do you guys do? How do you start? Do you think it's important to work out if the god or gods actually exist? Any books or posts to recommend to help generate thoughts and ideas, or novels that pull off a believably organic and complicated religious aspect?

June 14, 2014, 02:59:49 AM
Re: Creating a Religion I read those articles ages back, actually! While pretty useful as a series of broad overviews (and way more balanced than a lot of other articles), they weren't quite what I was after. Hence posting this ;)

But thanks for going and finding those links anyway :)

June 15, 2014, 12:06:49 PM
Re: For blackberry, read Blackberry I'm more with Chuck Wendig, and I'll also go a bit further: word-choices reveal character. An adolescent soldier recruited from her town's orphanage isn't going to have the same vocabulary as her superior officer, who is a noble who had tutors and academies, is not going to have the same vocab as a sixty-year-old merchant is not going to have the same vocab as a sculptor or a botanist or the king's magician.

If you shove old-timey words everywhere, for everyone, then everyone sounds the same, as if they have the same background.

And also, there is the issue of 'does this word convey what I want, or does it just sound pretty'.

To use Wendig's example, the soup is good vs the soup is delectable. There is so much character and background you can reveal with good vs delectable, you can show so much with the setting and intent ('delectable', the countess says, looking at her companion through heavy lashes). But if you just chose it because it's pretty, theeeen your audience can read into it more than you wanted.

A more obscure word is more 'huh? what does that mean?'

November 30, 2015, 10:51:14 PM
Re: Balance between Good v Evil If things were actually balanced, I'd be enjoying fantasy a lot more. Unfortunately for my tastes, the books that get talked about and recommended seem mostly firmly fixed in very dark grey, or black/evil vs black/evil.

Balance would be wonderful.

And exploring what balance between good and evil. actually means would be really innovative - Recently I saw this on some musing on Star Wars (prequels), with Anakin destined to bring balance to the Force. Given the rule of the Jedi for so long, it seemed in his actions he actually did precisely that.

I do hold that white/black/grey is on a bit of a different spectrum of ideas to good and evil, but... More exploration of an actual balance of good and evil would be fascinating.

December 27, 2015, 07:50:50 AM
Re: How important is a state of disorder in the world? I'd adore more fantasy where the world itself was fine, or normal, and the plot was driven by something else. More natural disasters, more murder mysteries, more character-driven plots set not about the end of the world or the fate of kingdoms, but the politics of a small town, a school, the dreamweaver's guild, a merchant's travels, a naturalist's explorations.

That'd be really, really interesting, actually.

January 04, 2016, 10:29:32 PM
Re: What's another word for...? A dead wood to me could also be pale. No leaves, those have long since gone. The trees are bleached pale, pale grey and white by the sun, the ground is cracked. The only sounds, maybe, is the wind and the creaking of dry, dead wood.
January 04, 2016, 10:56:10 PM
Re: Using social media First, if you find promising advice, use it. Sure, it doesn't work for all people and people are going to say that it doesn't work for them - that's okay. That's the nature of advice.

For a list of things to think about, I find 25 Things Writers Should Know About Social Media by Chuck Wendig useful. He has follow-up post here.

For a game-plan, he has:

    10% self promotion

    30% signal boosting

    20% me talking about writing stuff

    40% who the fuck knows just gimme the mic

The engaging people is hard, but it's the SOCIAL part of social media. Twitter, I think, is more where it's at, twitter and a blog as your homebase where you can type longer posts and give people things to mull over. A blog might also help with it being more longform, and so you can also talk about writing and narrative tropes which might help ease you into engagement?

If it helps (not sure, might or might not), the twitters I follow or check in on for authors are Chuck Wendig, John Scalzi, Seanan McGuire, over in Romancelandia, Courtney Milan and Cara McKenna, and then Jenny Lawson who is a presence unto herself. Also note that aside from the last three, I don't actually read tons of the author's work, but I do find their media presence both twitter and blog interesting enough that when a book comes around I might like, I'm more inclined to be aware of it and buy it. They also all have blogs, and I check in on them as often, if not sometimes more so.

Authors whose blogs are pretty much the sole things I check: Ursula Vernon (although she also comments regularly at another blog I follow), Jim Hines, Cat Valente, Sarah Rees Brennan.

I know that John Scalzi, Chuck Wendig, and Jim Hines regularly host 'guest posters', usually talking about their books and/or writing journey. That kind of post is a great way for me to find out about new people, as are book reviews. I'm not 100% sure how you go about asking for a slot, though. And also, there is the Fantasy Faction! Commenting around here, maybe hosting a post or two?

Ideas, anyway. And good luck.

January 05, 2016, 10:12:02 PM
Re: Top 10 SFF Movies of 2015 @Jmack all aboard the 'ridiculous tropetastic GLITZY PRETTY in SPACE' train? ;)  I didn't mean to suggest that ONLY teenage girls or those who used to be them would have tons of fun with this movie, just that there's a lot of it which speaks to an adolescent geeky girl's id brain. Before we (generic we of this type) learn to tone it down and police ourselves out of wish fulfilment. So. It was GLORIOUS to see a movie just give no effs about it like that.

The Martian is closer to a comedy, I think, than a drama. The movie makes things a bit more serious, but it was also very funny. Just because it's a comedy doesn't mean it didn't hit serious points or have a serious, thoughtful message in it.

January 11, 2016, 08:36:00 PM