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Messages - Jake Baelish

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Monthly Writing Contest / Re: What to do about the writing contest?
« on: February 04, 2020, 05:35:21 AM »
I fell off on this about 6 months ago, largely due to work and my own writing. I've actually liked a few of the themes, including this month's. I just haven't been able to come up with anything for them  :-\

I will add to bdcharles comment on having the stories appear on the main forum. That is, even if just a bit, a motivating factor in knowing a winning story will appear on the boards.

Lowering the count to 1000 words is also a fair call since that also allows us to categorise it as flash fiction, which is something more common and that people may be more used to.

Getting more traffic is the overall key though, and having 0 tech expertise I wouldn't know where to start.

Writers' Corner / Re: Unrepentant Characters
« on: January 07, 2020, 02:43:12 AM »
I think all the advice above is great, so I've not much to add, but due to interest thought I'd throw in my two penneth worth anyway.

I really love the idea of an otherwise awful character being captivating enough to be hooked by. What I'd add to all the above are:

- give them a killer personality. Justan kind of said this by giving them humour. But generally, even the most awful person can have charisma and charm in spades and still be objectively abhorrent as a person. The Joker arguably fits the bill here.

- give them the usual struggles of a protagonist. People love to hear about those who were determined and had to go through trials and tribulations. The perseverance to fight on despite various difficulties is a large part of what makes a character captivating. This is probably the only thing that made me 'want' to see Jorg succeed!

While I haven't read it, 'The Shadow of the Conqueror' by Shad M Brooks (a prominent Youtube on the medieval era and fantasy in general) apparently has a protagonist who is a completely unrepentant, violent, nasty MCl but is captivating. Might be worth checking out to see how he does it.

[JUN 2019] 2TTDFT / Re: [Jun 2019] - 2TTDFT - Voting Thread
« on: August 04, 2019, 04:44:02 AM »
Well, that’s great fun to get the votes. I chose the Goblin story, but as everyone’s Beene aging, all the stories were really good this month. @ScarletBea, I’ll need an editor...  ;)

Meanwhile, Mrs. JMack and I are going on a moose safari in a few minutes. Google: Moosehead Lake, Maine.

Agreed. It was a tight call, I really enjoyed all 3. But I also voted yours. That treacherous dystopian atmosphere came through well I thought  :) Congrats.

Thanks for the vote too!

This is a really awesome theme, and ideas are already emerging. Last month's was also awesome, to be fair, I just wasn't in 'writing mode' last month  :-\

Should be able to make it this time, and look forward to reading the employment entries we got  :)

[JUN 2019] 2TTDFT / Re: [Jun 2019] - 2TTDFT - Voting Thread
« on: July 31, 2019, 11:12:30 AM »
Voted. Don't recall a month being as diverse as this (in terms of style of stories), despite there being only 4 entries  :)

[MAY 2019] Earth / Re: [May 2019] - EARTH - Voting Thread
« on: July 02, 2019, 05:06:04 AM »
Congrats Nora!

My votes went to Jmack and Alex. Particularly loved Alex's as it reminded me of some of the weird early Stephen King shorts I read in Night Shift  :)

[JUN 2019] 2TTDFT / Re: [Jun 2019] - 2TTDFT - Discussion Thread
« on: June 29, 2019, 09:05:47 AM »
I'm about to finish my attempt, though not sure of submitting it. Still a very crude attempt...

There's only two of us in there right now so please do  :-\ :)

Were those the same people who then complained to the wrong network about the show?  ;D

The OP brings up a really complicated dilemma.

I get not being into old fashion/traditional/tropey fantasy (whatever way you want to term it). If it is the same as you read a hundred times before, or saw in a dozen movies, it does get dull. Some people may love it, all the time, but that is far from a majority.

I feel that way. But I'm also pretty open to the idea of tropes being turned on their head part way through. The problem is 'when' that starts happening.

If I pick up a book, or start watching a TV series, and the first hour or two of that experience gives no indication of this being about to 'subvert' my expectations, then it is going to struggle to hold me. The reason being that I don't know that it is going to unleash this awesome surprise or just finish up as another clone of a hundred other stories.

Sanderson talks about this in one of his lectures. How when he released Final Empire, which subverts a major trope from the off and then more along the way, another author released a book aiming to subvert traditional tropes too. But the latter did it about 3/4 of the way through and his book failed as a result.

It isn't just that people are totally impatient (though many are, an increasingly so), it's just that there are a lot of awesome options out there doing what people want, better. If a story is to subvert, it needs to do it quickly even if only in small ways to begins with (with a massive and still hopefully unexpected subversion later on), just so people know they are getting some of what they want. Done right then the BIG trope subversion can still be earth shattering later on.

For writers it's a major balancing act. I actually like the quiet 'get to know the characters' openings (a la Lord of the Rings or Belgariad) so long as that dies either right at the end of Chapter 1 or immediately at the start of Chapter 2. But I get those openings aren't popular now, so I don't write them that way. Which as we all know is why Chapter 1 is now usually the most difficult to write of all  ::) ;D

[MAY 2019] Earth / Re: [May 2019] - EARTH - Voting Thread
« on: June 20, 2019, 04:16:40 AM »

A lot of decent stories there, but two absolute BELTERS! The two I chose I didn't just like, they were two of the best I've read on here since I started doing this (a year ago already  :o:)

Way to make people sweat for the review thread Jake!

I'm almost done reading too! There are some proper quality stories this month, it's a pleasure. People were properly inspired by these element topics (And I'm totally not saying that because I won the water one!  ;D)

Yeah, I joined in on the Fire one and I've really enjoyed both writing and reading all three of these months  :)

[JUN 2019] 2TTDFT / Re: [Jun 2019] - 2TTDFT - Discussion Thread
« on: June 20, 2019, 04:15:39 AM »
Tough month!

I went with something that I actually enjoyed the idea of; it is bordering on fan fiction so whether it fits or not I'll let people decide  ;D

[JUN 2019] 2TTDFT / Re: [Jun 2019] - 2TTDFT - Submission Thread
« on: June 20, 2019, 04:12:56 AM »

Word Count: 919

Spoiler for Hiden:



The goblin population of the Darrowfell Hills have been left reeling this morning following an unexpected journey into their isolated realm by a coalition of dwarfs and men.

It has been reported by foreign diplomats that a small force of dwarfs entered the hidden domain just after sunset last night. There, Goblin King Charek, who has ruled the subterranean city since the start of the Eighth Age, ordered the trespassers to be apprehended at once – as would any concerned leader in the face of a potential threat within their borders. In the struggle which followed in the Great Goblin Hall hundreds of goblins were savagely butchered: it is not yet known if all those killed were soldiers. The dwarves were aided by an elderly human, who is believed to be the wizard Reza Lamak, based on eyewitness testimony referring to the abettor’s big white beard and pointy red hat. Before fleeing, the wizard, armed with a sword, cut down the Goblin King. The body of the long-time leader was found horribly mutilated in the depths of the caves under the Great Hill.

The historic friction that exists between dwarf and goblin had seen a relative peace in recent decades. Now violence has erupted once again between the two peoples. This attack comes as something of a surprise, as the dwarfs had recently been discovered to have been planning on a treasure hunting expedition to the ancient and long abandoned dwarf mines that exist just south of the Winding River. The hills, themselves also once home to some of the greatest dwarfish cities, have been inhabited by goblins since the start of the Sixth Age; yet relations between them and the outside world have remained indifferent over the past few years. While the caverns and tunnels beneath the hills are understandably hostile to outsiders, it is only in times of hardship that goblins are ever to be seen stepping beyond their darkened realms, usually in the dead of night. This pacifying of the goblin race has been credited to the kingship of their great king, Charek, who, being aware of his subjects’ past failures and the suitability of the under realm for goblin habitation, had acknowledged little need for expansionist invasions into the outside world.

Now, sadly, what appears to be a group of vigilante dwarfs have reopened the possibility of resuming conflicts between the peoples of the known world. Information from an inside source suggests, however, that the dwarfs have no interest in their former home under the soggy hills. The goblin township simply offered the quickest route in their quest to plunder their old haunts to the south.

Perhaps the decision to do so – and callous slaughtering of so many goblins – can be attributed to our own society's prejudice where goblins are concerned. For a long time now the idea of goblins as a smelly, wretched, barbaric, darkness-dwelling, carnal race has been part of our discourse. The dwarfs have consistently pressed this view following the end of the wars between the two peoples, meaning that our world has never come to accept goblins as part of our civilisation. Thus, they are confined to unpalatable alcoves where they grow accustomed to darkness from birth till death, recoiling at the mere sight of daylight. The food they eat is not fit for a dog, yet we cry in horror when some trespasser in their domains is heard to have been eaten by them. Perhaps we ought to consider our own share of the blame: today, the mere sight of a goblin outside their caves in justification enough for immediate execution. Worse still, the thought that others have the automatic right to encroach on sovereign goblin territory without retribution simply further highlights the disregard with which the likes of man, elf and dwarf exhibit toward the lower creatures of our world. Indeed, the dwarf invasion is surely a result not only of an intolerant society that refuses to accept those who are different, but also one which sees the ‘other’ as potential fodder in their pursuit of some perceived notion of destiny. That a wizard would find supporting such acts – let alone partaking in them – appropriate, simply displays how these attitudes are rampant even among the elites in our society.

It is as yet unknown who will step in as leader of the Darrowfell goblins now that their peace keeping king is no more. There are already suggestions of leadership being assumed by the grizzly Grashokk the Grey, who fled defeated from the last major battle between dwarfs and goblins at the start of the age. If true, this would dramatically alter the political nature and relations in the known world for good.

And far from the better. Grashokk is a zealous extremist and is unlikely to maintain a continuity that will confine goblins to the caves.

Whether the goblins respond in a hostile, militaristic manner – and really who could expect anything less – or not, remains to be seen. Whatever the outcome, it is clear that the diverse peoples of our world need to establish an interracial diplomacy that goes beyond historic stereotypes. The passivity of the goblins has been disrupted, and peace once again threatened. It is the dwarfs who must answer for this avoidable act of aggression. It is for our society to answer why this act of aggression could have ever happened to begin with.

Two usually incompatible themes:
Spoiler for Hiden:
1. Modern journalism
2. Very traditional/trope strewn fantasy (OK, so Tolkien)

[MAY 2019] Earth / Re: [May 2019] - EARTH - Voting Thread
« on: June 14, 2019, 01:58:17 AM »

A lot of decent stories there, but two absolute BELTERS! The two I chose I didn't just like, they were two of the best I've read on here since I started doing this (a year ago already  :o:)

[APR 2019] Erotica / Re: [Apr 2019] - Erotica - Voting Thread
« on: June 14, 2019, 01:56:17 AM »
Wow.  :-[

Um. Thanks?

Never thought this is what I'd get praise for.   :P

Congrats. Got my vote. The whole concept was ridiculous, really, which made it absolutely hilarious  ;D

I couldn't get an idea to stick on Erotica - clearly I wasn't thinking absurdly enough.

Too short.
I'd happily kill for more of the original First Law trilogy. I know we're getting a second trilogy this year, but dammit I'd have loved a book on the initial trials following Book 3.
(Really, it was a good time to end it though...).

Too long.
Not fantasy, but Cornwell's Last Kingdom series dragged on so long in a blatant example of milking it. The series was stated to end at 6-7 books and is now at 11. The formula got repetitive long ago (still read them of course).

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Who reads short stories?
« on: June 07, 2019, 01:37:22 AM »
I quite enjoy writing them - reading, not so much. It has to be a really excellent short story for me to enjoy reading it. I think Stephen King's short story compilations are the only ones I've ever paid for (never stolen any but read plenty on crit groups etc).

The point about world building is well made & probably my 'efficient' style of fantasy was born in trying to write fantasy short stories where the world building had to be pulled out of the reader with a small number of well targetted lines. The three short stories of mine alluded to up thread are all set in the real world, which means less world-building and more story. Also two of them are horror, which is again easier in short form (hence Stephen King's appeal).

I have just last week written my first ever short story set in an established world with pre-known characters (a Prince of Thorns short story) and found it a difficult enterprise. Normally when I write a short story the characters and settings evolve with the plot to serve the story. If you start with several things fixed and relatively inflexible... it's harder to make a good short story.

I write them, but shamefully … I never read them.

Looks as if you use words more sparingly now in comparison to eight years ago. ;)

I like short stories but besides those from the writing contest I haven't read many in the last years. Next collection on my TBR is Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman (Smoke and Mirrors is my favorite single-author short story collection).

You're in for a treat! I read all Gaiman's short story collections for the first time last year and Trigger Warning was by far my favourite of them  :)

King is probably the best at it though imo.

That said, didn't know Mark Lawrence had written any, so will definitely be giving them a look!

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