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Re: Romance/Relationship in Fantasy I like having a variety of romances and relationships in novels because otherwise I get bored. I'm okay with the ill fated lovers trope, but I don't want it to be the be all end all. I'm okay with the protagonist finally getting their dream lover, but it doesn't have to happen all the time. I want it to be an important character building subplot, not a prize.


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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.

December 18, 2013, 09:42:11 PM
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Re: Am I Sexist?: Males reading female authored fantasy I too found the book hard to get into--there's a lot of info thrown at you and you have to get used to very different worlds with a lot of different cultures, which is a big change from the rather comfy (European) history based fantasy that is a lot of what's out there and doesn't require a lot of brain-stretching.

I think a point that needs to be made regarding complaints that the book is overtly 'preachy' or political, is that writing the status quo is in itself a political act.  So all those writers portraying a world that is either strongly representative of current societal norms or some supposedly-historical social situation are (perhaps unconsciously) supporting a system that many people find problematic.  Yes, some present it in order to examine it, subvert it, etc, but others try to pretend it's 'just the way things are'.  Just saying we shouldn't present that as a sort of 'neutral' position.

March 14, 2015, 06:10:58 PM
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Re: Goodreads Troll - Words of Radiance
I love Brandon Sanderson and have read all of his works (I think). That said, I think this book had a bit too much filler for my taste. I felt like the world started expanding and he lost control of some of his characters. (It's disturbing when they take off on their own like that!)

But maybe it's because I like some characters more than others and lose interest when it isn't their chapter.
I've always felt that too, I think his shorter works are often at a higher level than his longer ones because he cuts out a lot of the rubbish. Somehow the characters feel a little more realistic as well - in his novels they occasionally act out of character for the sake of the plot, which happens less in the novellas.

March 23, 2015, 03:46:13 PM
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Re: Am I Sexist?: Males reading female authored fantasy Ah, damn, here we go...

I really don't think it's sexist to dislike a book on those grounds because the author is female. If you dislike rape and eternal gloom, you um, sound like quite a nice chap really.  But, as many others have pointed out, part of what the book is doing is making a political statement that these things are uncomfortable, that the world, especial the female part of it, can be a thoroughly painful and uncomfortable place and we should realise that and try to confront it. Reading a nice safe book where those kind of questions aren't raised is arguably more sexist, to be extreme about it - it's a failure to confront the world as it is, a reluctance to engage with the reality of a lot of people's lives.

Most of my favourite female fantasy authors do engage with issues around male violence towards women to an extent - Le Guin in The Tombs of Atuan and Tehanu, Elizabeth Moon in Sheepherder's Daughter - and the overly violent, stylised world of fantasy allows for this in a way genres like chick lit just don't. Female crime fiction, too, is heavily preoccupied with these issues. And there are fairly obvious reasons for that in both cases. The fact that it's fiction allows us to ask these questions in a safer way, and play with possibilities and outcomes. 

Personally, I found The Kingkiller Chronicle, and especially The Slow Regard of Silent Things, far more problematic and uncomfortable to read as a feminist than a lot of 'rape and ultraviolence' grimdark novels. The character of Auri, in particular, I find profoundly voyeuristic - here's this damaged, clearly mentally ill young woman, and we're supposed to find her, what, kookie and appealing and romantic. The descriptions of her in Silent Things are clearly highly sexualised and objectified, yet somehow we're asked to assume it's fine to read lengthy descriptions of her naked because she's a child of nature. Not because she a vulnerable hotty in a very short dress, oh no. 

All writing cannot help but be political - writing interpolates the world, so it cannot not be ideologically charged. And all writing will on some level be about gender politics, because we're all trying to navigate gender identity and interpolate that too. And then the reader interpolates that interpolation, with their own ideological framework and gender identity.....

But no, disliking a book and its author being female doesn't make you sexist.

March 25, 2015, 08:55:40 PM
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Re: Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley
Am I the only person here who really enjoyed this one?

I enjoyed it! I just didn't think it was worthy of the "Will be the Best Book of 2014" hype it was getting (also felt that was setting an unfair bar for the book). I loved the second one! :)

I don't think I'd so far as to say it was the best book of 2014. One of the best debuts, yes. But there were a lot of great books this year.
De gustibus non est disputatem.
And I'm am finding the book entertaining.
But so far my 4-word critique would be "Princes/ess do tedious things".
I hope it picks up soon.

March 29, 2015, 12:25:30 PM
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Re: Bear in Sheep's Genre
But can't people looking for sword and sorcery just look under the "sword and sorcery" subgenre...?

I don't consider swords and sorcery to be a sub-genre of Fantasy, they are the genre.

Start spending $2.00 a click for ad space and you might find yourself a little less willing to share a genre.

See, this is your problem. S&S is not Epic Fantasy. S&S is not Dark Fantasy. S&S is not Urban Fantasy, but they're all encompassed under the same title. Thus, it is a sub-genre. Fantasy denotes "the Fantastical." If that happens to involve a little love with a bear, so be it. The market is bloated with genre-defying monstrosities (especially in the ebook market), and yes, it does get a bit taxing when paranormal romance gets all the love. But you need to remember, it's still a part of the Fantasy spectrum.

You're paying money for ad space that I can assure you won't compete with a brand spanking new Starz "original" series (Outlander). Which strikes me funny because it's obviously Science Fiction, not Fantasy but eh.

But all in all, cordoning off "Romantic Fantasy with a Bear" will get you nowhere. People are still going to buy it. Does having #1 on a chart of some off the wall sub-genre matter at the end of the day? No. People buying your book matters. This is called competition. Genre labeling should not matter in marketing, only through personal reviews and recommendation, but that's an entirely different debate.

March 30, 2015, 06:05:00 PM
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Re: Am I Sexist?: Males reading female authored fantasy
Personally, I found The Kingkiller Chronicle, and especially The Slow Regard of Silent Things, far more problematic and uncomfortable to read as a feminist than a lot of 'rape and ultraviolence' grimdark novels. The character of Auri, in particular, I find profoundly voyeuristic - here's this damaged, clearly mentally ill young woman, and we're supposed to find her, what, kookie and appealing and romantic. The descriptions of her in Silent Things are clearly highly sexualised and objectified, yet somehow we're asked to assume it's fine to read lengthy descriptions of her naked because she's a child of nature. Not because she a vulnerable hotty in a very short dress, oh no. 

I haven't read Mirror Empire, which is the original book up for discussion here, but I wanted to chime in that I found The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller book one--I haven't read The Slow Regard) problematic in a lot of ways too. My particular issue was with male main character Kvothe positioning his love interest, Denna, as this distant and unfathomable perfect creature, even in the "present" when he's been through his whole story and is relating it all to Chronicler. This concept that men can never hope to understand women seems harmless, but creates a lot of problems, such as contributing to the dehumanizing and objectifying of female characters.

This is not to say, of course, that male characters who view women this way shouldn't exist, but I think this is where the point of view of the novel is crucial. The bulk of Kingkiller is Kvothe telling his own story, obviously, so he's not going to critique his own misconceptions--but Chronicler and Bast are both given POV time, which could have been utilized to at least question Kvothe's "oh I could never begin to understand this woman" posturing.

This is also why, coming at it from an author's perspective, choosing an unusual POV to write from can do a lot to distinguish one's story from others in the genre; and why branching out to those authors who are from or write characters who are from marginalized or uncommon POVs can be really rewarding to readers.

March 30, 2015, 10:12:59 PM
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Re: Hugo Awards 2015 Controversy & Sad Puppies Hi, @AzWingsFan.
I'm not going to weigh in too much on this or that author's behavior etc.
But, since we're all here to discuss and debate  ;D

Have to agree that Ancillary Sword is not nearly as good as the first, which I think was pretty brilliant. Though I did find the gender stuff much less interesting than the clone mind stuff.

emperor's Blades? Really? I'm listening to it now, and it's got a lot of good qualities but a lot a lot a lot of writing problems. Plus, I guess I'm really tired of the whole "assassins are cool" shtick in SFF and any other genre.

So I'm not ready to torpedo a long standing award over inclusion of a flawed but fascinating book or the exclusion of a flawed but exciting book. It does make for great debate candy, though, doesn't it?  ;)

April 11, 2015, 01:05:23 PM
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Re: Plot structure and pacing
This is a skeleton. It gives me the absolute core, which I can then hang with the muscles, skin and clothes of a whole story.
But isn't that the case even with the (simple) three act structure? I mean, that is just the starting point and doesn't necessarily define the pacing or even the final structure of the story once you start to flesh it out with sub-plots, twists and whatnot.  :-\

Absolutely. But as I noted, I find it easier and more meaningful to approach the construction of the story this way. It's not about what's "right", it's about what gets the job done for you as a writer. :)
:-[
I should learn to read the post I'm replying to, and then really think what I'm going to reply. The thing I tried to point out was precisely that there is no one right way to do it. Or something like that, I think. ??? It was in no way my intention to question your preferred method or praise the three act one.

As it is with so many things, "whatever works for you" is the way to do your writing. Of course that isn't to say there couldn't be a better way than your current "whatever works". That is why it's nice to read other people's ideas and opinions; you just might find a new and better working way of doing things.  :)

Personally, I start writing with having a beginning, a turning point of some kind, and an end in mind, but generally I don't give too much thought to the structure beyond that; if it feels good, it's probably all right. And the structure isn't a thing that draws my attention in books, films etc., at least not if the plot is decent, the characters are good, and the pacing or rather the general feel of the story is somewhat enjoyable.

So, I'm easy to please, I guess. And I don't think about (important?) things. Should I?  :o

April 28, 2015, 02:21:37 PM
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Re: Phrases that only exist in (poorly written) fiction See, I tend to think that any phrase can work in the right context.

However, I read a book a few years ago where the writer used the phrase "full breasts" at least five times to describe the boobs of various women (do you really need to do that, anyway?) and now whenever I see it elsewhere it makes me twitch. Full breasts? As opposed to empty ones? HOW ABOUT LOOKING AT HER FACE INSTEAD, YOU CHARMER.

May 04, 2015, 10:18:18 AM
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