July 07, 2020, 07:13:42 AM

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Messages - J.R. Darewood

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Inky, are you reducing it on the advice of a doctor?
It's important not to do it on your own...
When I was reducing my antidepressives I didn't go straight to half, the reduction had to be much slower, so please be careful.

And you know, why can't you take them forever if needed? Most people living with an illness have to take daily medication for ever (my mum has a ton of tablets and pills, about 20 different ones, although not all are daily).
It's not a question of "being dependent" or a show of weakness, it's need for a good life.

Don't feel you have to stop taking them, and have a worse life as consequence :-\


Thank you so much for your support, Bea.  :D My doctor had actually been trying to talk me into reducing my meds for a while now, since it had been actually a really long while now since my last symptoms and that I was showing really good progress with my condition. It was me who was afraid to reduce it myself, hahah. I've recently have a new plan for the future which would be dependent upon having a rather psychiatric medication free history (well, in addition to the cost of the meds I guess), so I'm starting to try to reduce them. Don't worry, if things got really worse I'll switch the full dosage back on immediately.  ;)

congrats on taking the step man!! Good luck with it!!!

My little brother has been on Adderal since he was very little (suggesting he's amped up and that it might not be good for him is NOOOOOTTTTTT the thing to say to him--he goes into a rage). He's also on suboxone for addiction, which is basically more expensive methadone-- they use it for opioid addiction. He did oxycontin and heroin for like a year-- he was still the guy I knew, but the treatment... suboxone is basically legal heroin you can get a prescription for and he gets it from this shady-ass scottish dude that i swear never does so much as an assessment and is more of a drug dealer than a psychiatrist.  So the treatment has been going on for 10 years, and his personality is crazy fucked.  Like when he hasn't had his pill he's psychotically screaming then he takes it and he's fine until the evening then he's a dick again, and when he drinks (which is every day) he starts off nice and turns evil after he's had enough. (he's why my phone is always on silent: first message at 1am is very sweet about how I'm the best brother ever then about 20 messages later he's all caps about how much he hates me). I've offered to help him do a 18 month detox, even found some secret clinics out of country for him to do ibogaine treatments, but he never wants to do it (probably b/c of the alcohol too). Anyway that shit is EXPENSIVE and over 10 years.... yeah thats a lot of money.

Anyway your situation is 100% different but I just wanted to say I might not have every been on anything myself but I relate to the struggle of chemical dependency and you're really brave for giving it a go! I guess one my only advice I can think of is: failure is okay, you just go from where you starting from, step by step, and if you fall, the stairs will always still be there for you to walk up again whenever you feel ready to do it.  Good luck man!

Sad to hear that, Inky, I hope things manage ok with your family.

And I wish I could connect your dad with @J.R. Darewood now, hehe

And thanks, you all x


to me it just feels like American humor without the U  ;)
It's funny you mention that, as I recently explained my problem with British humor in fantasy to my wife.

What don't you like about British humor?

It's far too biting for me to write anything like British humor, but I really do enjoy reading it. (British drama on the other hand.... pass.)

Picard is awesome

Writers' Corner / Re: Unrepentant Characters
« on: February 16, 2020, 09:23:14 AM »
I think Skip has pretty much hit the nail on the head with making the character multi-dimensional and human, but here are a couple other ideas:

1) Humor. Doesn't matter how much of a dick a character is, if they're funny, most readers will like them. That doesn't necessarily mean they have to have a one-liner for everything. Their situation or circumstance can be funny too.

2) Get the reader invested in the character's plot or backstory. Think this one's self explanatory. A good story can keep some people reading, even if the character is unlikable. Think this one's harder to pull off with some readers, especially those who have trouble caring about the plot if they don't care about the characters.

3) Mystique and Fascination. Adding to Peat's point, if you've ever read Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, it's probably the biggest shithead book of shitheads, but it's fascinating because the characters are so evil you can't look away. Add in the fact the primary villain is mysterious, possibly omnipotent, and possibly satan himself, and it keeps you reading.

I think the last one can be strong, if you can hit the right tone and the right audience. There's a reason some people love true crime and serial killer lore.

As another thought:

I've used the bad vs. bigger bad myself, and it does work, but I think it needs more than just a conflict existing between two characters. To me it's a framework that lends itself to the elements which really make a character shine; it's a catalyst for emotion and action. The big-bad is really just pressure put on the character to act and emote, no different than any other call-to-action, but the value in it is that it necessarily is a joint relationship between two characters, and personally, I think it's the interaction between characters where you really see who a character is and start to empathize with them.

One thing I particularly like about it, is that it sets up contrast: Why isn't my protagonist like my antagonist? What makes the two different? What in my character's backstory makes him stand up to the big bad, rather than try to join him? Again, it's a mutual relationship that provides a framework to build both characters; each the other's foil.

I think these are all great, and Justan is actually great at writing fascinating characters just because they're so batshit and you are like "what are they going to do next???"

What springs to mind immediately is the Netflix series You about a stalker and Hannibal.  I don't have any insights of my own but I bet @Nora does, as a Hannibal fan.

Writers' Corner / Re: Adventures in Writing
« on: February 15, 2020, 12:47:17 AM »
Hey, considering that those contests usually have thousands of entries and looking at all the way you could gain/lose points, being second is really good! Congratulations @J.R. Darewood :D

What was the theme on that story's month? I want to check if I voted for you but don't want to trail through 3+ years of contests hehe

Yeah but I think a lot of it had to do with how you fit into their algorithm and readers are... fickle. The feedback I got wasn't exactly the most intelligent. I put Tasfins Trade up and it got TONS of readers.. I also put the Killer 10 in and it got..  1 reader... They gave it a 10/10 but yeah maybe it was too long or didn't fit their categories.

It has a dragon in it so it might have been dragons? I think I lost to jmacks brilliant wish granting mountain dragon that time.
You can also find it on my website

Writers' Corner / Re: Adventures in Writing
« on: February 14, 2020, 07:24:43 AM »
Hey so there was this contest by this platform called Fresh.Ink where people submitted short stories novels or whatnot and they were testing out algorithms to connect to beta readers, the winner of each category got like a 1000$ or something.

It was anonymous--your name wasn't on anything-- and you got data on what percent of people saved your story after reading your blurb, how many people decided to start reading, how many finished, if they stopped where they stopped etc, and they ranked you too on a 1-10 scale.  Then based on all this stuff, you got contest points. It was sort of complicated.  But at any rate I entered Tasfin's Trade, a story I wrote for the short story competition here on FF (and lost) and.... I got second place!!! Which wins me... nothing.... but they did mention me in their email to all the contestants announcing the winners so that's cool.

So yeah it wasn't really a win or anything but I feel pretty validated since that's the only time my writing has ever at least come remotely close to being financially compensated in some way.

Writers' Corner / Re: What makes a good story if its not the plot?
« on: February 14, 2020, 06:36:06 AM »
I tend to see a story breaking down into three main parts.
-Plot: What happens?
-Setting: Where?
-Characters: To who?

If you want a more detailed breakdown, you could easily add:
-Theme: Why this story now?
-Prose: How is it described?

The last two I think are less important. For my money, Sanderson and Rothfuss are equally good prose writers, but one favours a direct approach while the other takes their time to draw you into the world. I don't think I'll ever pick up a book just because it's well written. Theme is something bets left in the background or subtext. bring it to the fore and you risk alienating the audience or being preachy.

I tend to favour plot and setting over character when looking for a good story. I can meet real people any day, but fantastical settings and events tend to be fictional.

Once you combine all these features, then you've got a good story.

Man if Sanderson and Rothfus could team up, and Rothfus's prose could be written over Sanderson's plotting.... I think I'd actually like that!

Writers' Corner / Re: What makes a good story if its not the plot?
« on: February 14, 2020, 06:34:14 AM »
Kingkiller - Nobody knows what the plot is. Superpowered protagonist, annoying part time muse and a bunch of forgettable supporting cast....yet a brilliant read. All due to wordsmithing, I suppose.

...maybe that's part of why I didn't like it. The whole time I was reading the first book I was like, "but why do I care??" :D

Plot is one of those tricky words that means different things to different people. "Many things happening" does not mean great plot (IMHO). Strong ineluctable character-and-setting-based links between the events happening, such that the chain of events interrogates those characters and setting... ah! that means great plot!

What's that EM Forster quote about plot? "The king died and then the queen died is a story. The king died, and then queen died of grief is a plot." Plot is about why and how, more than what.

(Though I will note that, for me, wordcraft is essential to my enjoyment of reading. A book could have a rollicking plot driven by solid characters and world, but without that extra level of beauty, I won't really feel it.)

Yeah a friend bought me a copy of the two Kingkiller books. I sort of read the first one but eventually got bored and started skipping around to try to figure out when something happens.
I discovered:
Spoiler for Hiden:
Spoiler alert: nothing happens.

Write what you know authors are always telling us  ;)

Hmmmm, I know toilets.
And former prostitutes
And gang members
And dragons
And plenty of sorcery
And obviously I live in a castle.

General Discussion / Re: Art vs Artist
« on: February 07, 2020, 08:53:20 AM »
I have not watched a Star Wars Film since the 4th one, and don't have a great deal of interest in whats doing so. A number of people I know contend that the hardcore fans were shut down by incomers supported by certain online journalists who looked to gatekeep the narrative and determine what was going to be said. They may not have much interest in star wars per say but control and shutting down people whose love of the franchise spanned 40 years was the primary objective. Esports has seen a simular landgrab with support by the likes of Gawker group, Kotaku and vice and theose involved for the last 20 or so years are equally as pissed off.

You might find this very very interesting. The implication of this WIRED article is that Star Wars just happened to be released at the same time that Russia was interfering in the US elections, and it became an opportunity to weaponize the social media puritanism of progressives against each other, as part of their larger strategy with Sanders and Clinton


Why would online debates put someone off from watching a movie? Surely we can enjoy a movie without needing to participate in online debates.

Movies aside, there are quite some nice books in SW world, Thrawn is spectacular. Plagueis gives a super psychoanalysis from Sith view, Bane is good.X-Wing is nice if you like adventure.  Mandalorian is a fun watch in TV. Rebels, Clone Wars are very good too. You are missing out on a lot of good stuff that don't necessarily need to be debated with nutcase fans.

I can't say I've really participated in online debates much, but the Star Wars is pretty much the most extreme example of my feeling that "fan" is short for "fanatic" would I be a happier person if I'd never seen the horrors of Star Wars fans at each others throats? Absolutely, but it's burned into my memory. You thought the casino subplot made no sense in the middle of a space chase HOW DARE YOU YOU RACIST. Nevermind the awfulness of the actual racists. I feel the same about Marvel fans and DC fans. At one point someone insisted that if you just thought Captain Marvel was "okay" that you were clearly sexist. It's all repulsive and I'm just sick of superheroes and Star Wars and all of it.  Its not out of some sense of social responsibility or trying to punish an industry or an artist. It just has this stain to it now, whether logical or not, I see something star wars and it's hard for me to get over the knee-jerk revulsion I feel because it reminds me of all this grossness and all the ways social media has made us all stupider as a species. I've managed to almost completely get off facebook and I'm much happier because of it, but somehow I still find my way into this stuff. I'm curious about something before it comes out (aka the witcher, WoT) I read up on it. Sometimes that makes me love it more, sometimes I'm revolted.  So yes, I *want* to be able to view art as art on its own, but its just so rare that I'm ever able to keep the blinders on effectively.

Spoiler for Hiden:
I get the exact same vomit in my mouth feeling I get when I see an academic cite Nietzsche: he might not have been a Nazi himself but the stain is still here of being a proto-Nazi whether I find a logical reason for the connection or not.

@J.R. Darewood on a seperate note I came across the concept of disgust as a survival trait. Still trying to get my head round that as its not a context I had considered it in so I thought I would ask the expert.

There are at least 2 different theoretical strands that would lead to this concept.  One comes out of sociobiology (looking people as animals first and foremost, who's behaviors are adaptations that (whether useful or not today) enhanced the viability of ones offspring at some point in time). Whether it has to do with sanitation or identifying allies and enemies, disgust can play a role.  Personally I find sociobiology a bit hard to swallow.

The other line of thinking is likely one that comes from Mary Douglas's Purity and Danger released in 1966. I'm not entirely on board with Mary Douglas either, but her ideas have been incredibly influential both within anthropology and outside of anthropology.  She looked at the historical production binaries of sacred/profane and clean/unclean, comparing taboos in different cultures.  Its a bit more abstract, but one of her ideas is that its very much about the need to produce categories. We need things to fit into one category or the other, and that liminal, unknown, uncategorized space distresses us so many societies link it with the profane, the dangerous.

There's a whole strand of work in anthropology on categories. Categories give us a sense of "knowing" things we can't possibly know-- through categories we essentialize, misrepresent, presuppose, and interpolate all of these ideas, in effect making categorical thinking often less accurate, rooted in false binaries, a tool for the propagation of all sorts of -isms.  Think of it as the (much-maligned) Meyers-Briggs concept of judging vs. perceiving-- social categories are about judgement, which impedes understanding. And what is unknown is judged as taboo, or what is known but associated with the Other, or with outside groups.

Here's a poem-- kind of a polysemy of disgust


Slate did a great anthology of essays on online outrage awhile back, I found some of them to be very insightful:

General Discussion / Re: Art vs Artist
« on: February 05, 2020, 11:08:55 AM »
Good grief. We may as well start picking what we read based on what football team the author supports.

That too!!! If you aren't rooting for... the sportsing I like to sports then it's OVER!

Do/read/decide whatever you like, Skip. For some people, myself included, stuff I know outside the artistic work can't help but seep into my mind during the consumption of the artistic work, colouring my enjoyment of it.

Exactly what cupe said. It's not outrage, Skip, its that.

In an ideal world, the art would be just the art. If I'm able to keep the rest of that baggage at bay, then that would be great. But my brain is porous and stuff seeps through, whether I want to or not.
Like the Joker movie.  I read some interview with the director and I couldn't stop being revolted by him enough to go see the movie.

The Witcher was a hot mess.  Interviews with Lauren Schmidt made her sound like just an awful person to work with. But Henry Cavill's nerd-enthusiasm for the show was really endearing and that made me want to watch it even though the plotting was a mess and the magic was random and illogical af, the music was god-awful pop music like something out of "high school musical" and they made Yennifer petulant instead of powerful, I still found myself enjoying it.

I can't watch anything Star Wars related because the whole viciousness of the online debates over the movies makes me ill and watching a Star Wars movie reminds me how repulsed I am by both sides of the fandom, even if I actually liked the writing and direction (it's not bad but, it still feels written like fanfic with cosplay extras, choreographers and costume designers)

I have a hard time reading Heinlein or Orson Scott Card b/c of their politics. In those cases it actually bleeds through into the work-- it would be like reading a militarized Ayn Rand in parable form. The unrepentant fascism of Bennet's City of Blades made me ill by the time the book was over and unable to finish the trilogy.

I love everything about Ursula Le Guin, in part b/c of who she is and the insight it affords her writing.

All that said, I totally plan on reading Mists of Avalon one day, regardless of the stain there.

General Discussion / Re: Art vs Artist
« on: February 04, 2020, 04:54:12 AM »
I thoroughly enjoyed a lot of Steven King's stuff, but he just came out calling to oust the Senator from Maine for simply voting to see the evidence in the impeachment trial, and now Steven King is dead to me.

My WIP's dragons are pretty much like dragonlance dragons but more into eating humans and in charge of their own agenda in their own right without human interference.

GRRM's dragons were actually pretty cool. I'll give him that.

I'll make a case for riding dragons though (which to be fair did happen in dragonlance): Falkor.

Hmmm what about "cad"? Actually, this one is more upper class.


Hmmm that might be more on the 'bad' sense than 'stupid'.
For stupid:


I feel like there's something that could be done with swine...

Also, another word i was told was too modern is "okay".
Is that something a lot of people agree with?

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