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Re: To Describe or Not To Describe Personally, I don't think the level of detail in your description is as important as the mood that description sets, and what that description says about the scene, or the characters involved. For example, if you're writing in a limited third person and the character is very analytical, heavy detail would make sense, as it ties in with who that character is as a person. On the other hand, a character who is flighty and terse, might have sparse descriptions. In a bitter scene, your character might notice only the most negative aspects of what's around them. In a happy scene, they might appreciate the beauty around them.

Tie in to emotion, and what the character, and the scene are supposed to convey, and I think your readers are more likely to be swept in by the prose, and the mood it sets, than they are to focus on whether it's too sparse or too wordy.

In other words, I don't think you should have a template for description, but rather, match the amount of description to the specific instance, just as you would manipulate your sentence structure to short, biting sentences in order to build tension in a scene that is supposed to be quick, and jolty.

July 13, 2015, 01:52:49 AM
Re: To Describe or Not To Describe I think the trick is finding a happy medium between the two. In my opinion Jordan over described everything, he started off with fantastic detailed and vivid descriptions that really did bring the world to life, then he went too far. It got to the point in later books where not only did I know the style and type of dress a character was wearing, I knew the names of the seamstresses who sewed it, the people who made the cloth and the individual silkworms that wove the material in the first place. It also depends on your setting. If it's totally new and alien to the readers, then they need more description so that they can see what you do. If it's likely to be familiar then it doesn't need to be as complete. It also depends on what you're describing: a place, a person, a thing. I'm rereading The Lies of Locke Lamora at present and Lynch often drops in these great descriptions that give you a real sense of what he's talking about. He described an officious woman as being shaped something like a sack of potatoes, but perhaps not quite as warm or sympathetic. Now there's not a lot of words there, but it is a great description of a minor character. The reader knows what she looks like and largely how emotionless she is, so he's given both a physical and internal character description in one line.
July 13, 2015, 02:09:08 AM
Re: To Describe or Not To Describe Call me crazy, but I enjoyed Robert Jordan's description. Like mentioned above, its hard to please everyone. The wierd part is that I tend to limit description in my own writing. I vote for adding as much as necessary to show the scene as you imagine it, but still allowing the reader to find their own way. Look up the pyramid of abstraction sometime. Tons of discussion about the tug o war between abstract and concrete description.
August 08, 2015, 01:29:12 AM
Re: Annoying things done to books by other people Do you know how you can share a paperback with a friend even though you have not finished it yet?

Give them the first half and keep the other until you finished it.  :D

August 25, 2015, 03:40:25 PM
Re: Annoying things done to books by other people
Do you know how you can share a paperback with a friend even though you have not finished it yet?

Give them the first half and keep the other until you finished it.  :D

August 25, 2015, 03:45:56 PM
Re: Adventures in Writing
So where am I at. Despite having some early successes a few years ago and getting two shorts published in anthologies in the US I've been having a barren time of things of late. Had four shorts rejected from various outlets and been tied up working on a novel which has taken me away form the shortform.

Four rejections is par for the course, and probably low even for experienced writers. Don't let that shake you. Short story rejections are incredibly common if you're doing things right (sending them out as quickly as they come back). I've had seven stories published in various markets (sold an eighth, too, but the anthology got dropped by the publisher before it was published) and I have four rejections just this month. Just because you've published a few doesn't make the rest any easier. :)

Publishing short stories is as much about carpet bombing markets with them as it is about writing good fiction. So long as you're working with a writer's group to get your stories critiqued (and make sure they're solid) you should expect a story to get rejected a few times (or many times) before it lands. Different editors are just looking for different things on different days of the week.

Take the rejections you've gotten, dust them off, and send them back out. One story I got published last year (in a mag called Inaccurate Realities) piled up 12 rejections before it sold.

August 31, 2015, 07:22:48 PM
Book Smugglers Publishing: Open Call For Short Stories Submissions Summer 2016
Book Smugglers Publishing: Open Call For Short Stories Submissions (Summer 2016)

We're looking for original short stories from all around the world as long as they are written in English. Our goal is to publish at least three short stories, unified by a central theme. Each short story will be accompanied by one original piece of artwork from an artist commissioned by us separately.

For the publication period between June and August 2016, the theme is:


Recently, we announced that 2016 is going to be the Year of the Superhero and we have quite a few things in the pipeline. To supplement the awesome projects we have in the works, we are also looking to add short stories to our Superhero calendar! When it comes to superheroes, we think of sweeping themes that deal with the central issues of heroism and, of course, superpowers. As usual, we welcome authors to subvert these sample themes, to expand upon what “superhero” means, and adapt the prompt to other possible connotations and genres under the Speculative Fiction umbrella.

What We’re Looking For:
•DIVERSITY. We want to read and publish short stories that reflect the diverse world we live in, about and from traditionally underrepresented perspectives. We more than welcome stories featuring LGBTQIA characters: PLEASE SEND THEM TO US. It should go without saying that we’d hope for a respectful and responsible approach to creating diverse worlds and characters.
•Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult audience submissions are welcome. Good speculative fiction is ageless!
•We are VERY keen on receiving Romance stories – or stories with strong romantic elements.
•We are VERY keen on receiving Horror stories – or stories with strong horror elements.
•Creativity & Subversion. We love subversive stories. We want you to challenge the status quo with your characters, story telling technique, and themes.

•Submissions are open now, and will be open through December 31 2015 11:59PM PST. Any submissions received after that date will not be considered.

More information here

ETA Thanks @ScarletBea and @Nora for need to highlight the closing date.

September 02, 2015, 04:02:54 AM
Re: Anyone know of a Fantasy Thesaurus?
... or I could just run sentences through the Jmack-translator...

For only 30 Likes per month.
Interweave results, Interweave currency.

November 14, 2015, 02:43:29 AM
Re: One Sentence writing advice BACKUP YOUR DOCUMENT.
November 29, 2015, 10:33:05 PM
Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions I finished Night Winds, which I really enjoyed a lot. Even more than the other Kane books I've read this one has very little action and has the strongest horror influences, which is what Wagner at the time used to be best known for. Kane also often plays very minor roles while someone else is really the star of the show. But since Kane is being Kane, having him around or simply knowing that he is going to enter the picture at some point is enough to have him have a major impact on each of them.
Lynortis Reprise is possibly my favorite story out of the book. It's by far the most grim and horrific because there isn't really any supernatural involvement. It's all human made horror. And has one of the nicest and most surprising twists I've yet seen in a book. There are plenty of clues which you might all dismiss, until you suddenly make the connections, remember the things you thought insignificant a few pages back, and then woah!  :D

I also started reading Time of Contempt, the fourth Witcher book. Feels like a very good start.

And something that I noticed, which makes both the Witcher stories but also many Conan tales feel more natural than many other fantasy books, is that almost all minor characters are treated as if they are complete people with their own full backstory. I sometimes see it in Kane stories as well. It's very rarely just an inkeeper, a thug, or a guard, but very often these are people who have names and know the protagonist or are known to him. This creates an impression that all these adventurer and bandit types are living in their own close society where everyone is somehow related or has a history. Maybe not entirely plausible, but within the telling of a story it does often feel very natural.
And it's not a technique that is particularly difficult to use.

December 20, 2015, 07:56:01 PM