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Topics - Wizard Police

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Writers' Corner / Where fantasy writers go wrong
« on: August 01, 2013, 05:42:02 PM »

I posted an article on my blog on where I thought fantasy writers take a wrong turn at, thought it might help some writers out here and that I fully recommend buying the book Wired for Story. It's to me essential for any writer aspiring to become a writer.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Books with strong camaraderie
« on: February 04, 2013, 08:16:34 AM »
I really enjoyed the latest article on dialogue and characterization. I agree with it 100%. This may be why I've catered to anime this entire time while avoiding "western" TV; anime is comprised of whacky personalities, but the relationships between the characters are so strong, whereas western TV has characters who, while they may be deep, serve the plot more than they do each other. With that said what are some books that if you stripped it from its plot would have the  best collection of down to earth characters and slice of life dialogue?

Writers' Corner / The Emotion Thesaurus
« on: January 16, 2013, 06:13:12 AM »

One of my biggest challenges during writing is finding a way to convey an emotion through an action rather than "telling" the reader what that emotion is. I've found this website that has helped me with this problem. It also has a thesaurus for other things, like physical appearance, weather, etc.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Historical/Educational Medieval books
« on: December 19, 2012, 12:55:47 PM »
Not sure if this is appropriate since this is not asking for a novel, but I'm wondering what are some good books to check out that teaches you about the intricacies of middle age life/society/politics/warfare etc. I'm not expecting a book that would cover all those things in a nutshell, but anything would help. I was thinking about taking some classes in a community college that would offer these, but I always prefer working at my own pace sitting down with a book, and I've always felt that if you put your mind to it you could accomplish just as much reading books as you could in school.

Writers' Corner / Does weather affect your writing?
« on: November 24, 2012, 11:48:08 AM »
I live in a town house on the third floor and my room is always stuffy. Lately I've been going on really bad spells where my mind just goes blank and I can't even conjure up a paragraph without it feeling so lifeless and dry. Tonight though for me it's really cold and chilly in my room and it's taken out that stuffiness that's always plagued my room, and I've gotten to 500 words with ease. There was a time where I even wrote 8000 words one day and I realized I did that when I was at my aunt's house where it was cold at that time.

And not just with writing but reading too. I've read three chapters straight of The Great Hunt where before I was only reading one at a time with me wondering when it was going to end.

I guess for me it has more to do with my room being stuffy than weather, but I'm surprised at how well I was able to function in a very cold environment. It's like all the inhibitors in my brain that causes for writing blocks are unleashed where they were always locked whenever I'm in a stuffy place.

Writers' Corner / Quick way for identifying characters
« on: July 28, 2012, 10:31:37 AM »
As a disclaimer I'm writing this with one hand because the night before I made a drunken mistake that caused one of my hands to get stitched up, so I'm probably prone to basic grammar issues, but anyways...

What I think may be the most important part of introducing characters is for the writer to find a quick way to get an image of the characters in the reader's head. What I see a lot happen in novels is that they'll describe the eyes or their muscle index. Personally that's not my favorite route (even though I've done it quite a bit in my short writing career).

To me the best way to identifying characters to readers is by characterizing them, or have them do things that shows off a bit of their personality. Like if Jimmy was a cheap guy and he and his friends are going to go eat, I would make him asks his friends to pay for him as well as mooch food off of them, lying about how much little money he had.

Doesn't really address the issue of identifying characters, but I think it's related in a way. What is the physical trait on a human being that can be changed the easiest? Hair! Hair tells a story about you as I've learned hanging out with a lot of friends that are girls, and it could reflect a lot of the kind of personality you have. If a man has scruffy and messy facial hair, that says he doesn't care of what he looks like, and that may tell a deeper story, like he went through a life changing experience and stopped caring about his appearance, or he simply just never cared about it ever in his life.

Or fantasy (medieval) related, if a girl has nicely neat hair that is braided, that means she has the time in the day and probably a servant to dedicate to her hair. If her hair is unkempt, it may mean she is a peasant with too many other things to do that keeps her from caring about her hair. Or what if she's a noble girl that has unkempt hair? It speaks even louder about her personality; she doesn't care about what the other nobles think of her (although it may be an unlikely situation since her parents will care and will force her to).

If having long hair is what indicates social value in a society, and suddenly a bald man is roaming around town, it could mean he's not from that city or country. Or the Dothraki in A Song of Ice and Fire, having short or no hair would is basically a social stigma.

Anyways I hope that helped :D

I have a planned series of novels that I would like to release in the future and I decided my anthology entry will be based in the same universe. I never really thought about it now, but if my entry does happen to earn a spot in the anthology, would that create trouble if I decide to publish my novels, whether if I get published by a publisher or self published?

Writers' Corner / Staying Inspired
« on: June 08, 2012, 01:26:41 PM »
This topic was inspired by the article posted Thursday on inspiration. It reminded me of something I learned over the last couple of months of my writing, and that is constantly staying in that "gear" for writing. There are times where I feel so compelled to write that I would write 3000 words a day, either the actual novel I'm writing or just coming up with new ideas, and then others where I would stare blankly into my laptop, coming up with absolutely nothing. I've always wondered why and simply brushed it off as "humans are just like that and we're hella weird."

I'm a huge video game fan and have owned every single Call of Duty game, even the ones before Modern Warfare. I would get sucked into multiplayer games for hours upon hours, many sleepless nights of stacking up on my past achievements. I've always been compelled to better myself.

Around the time I first started devising my novel I was also rewatching Game of Thrones season 1 for the second time after having read the first novel and half way done through the second. During that span I literally came up with my entire blueprint with my world; two weeks of non-stop writing and fleshing out my world. Out of curiosity I checked to see the word count of all that I accumulated in that span and it was 30 000 words of nothing but notes (although there was a lot of overlapping). I realized that all I would want to accomplish may have to be split into two books, then three, and now five. I came up with a rough chapter to chapter plan of the first three books and each of the files for the book had 10 000 words in it. Except for book 3 which is only at 3000, and it still is to this day. That was a couple months ago.

I wanted to time my finishing of Clash of Kings with the last episode of Game of Thrones. During those 2 weeks I couldn't stop writing notes to save my life, and the day after I finished those two I wrote down only 100 words. The inspiration was sucked out of my life. I couldn't believe what happened to me; I was literally distraught. Though I carefully studied myself as well as my surroundings. I'm a life long basketball fan and write for a website for my team the Toronto Raptors and what always intrigued me is why younger players are always so loved and valued to the better and more experienced veteran players. The answer is obvious; they have room to grow and we don't know how good they can become. Their potential is limitless. That's when I first started coming to the realization of why I lost my inspiration.

I came to an end.

The beginning of something is always so beautiful because you don't know what potential the ending holds. You work your way up left wondering what the ending is going to be which ignites your imagination, pondering on silly or logical possibilities, and this, at least for me, is what inspires me to write my own; to recreate such beauty in my own voice. However the end erases that beauty because you get your answers. Curiosity is killed. This happened to me again with the video game Dragon Age; a fantastic beginning that introduced me to this lush world, but when it came to its ending, I felt my inspiration deflated because I became satisfied with the conclusion.

Now the reason why I brought up Call of Duty is that each multiplayer match lasts for 10 minutes or more depending on the match settings you've used. Throughout the match you are inspired to win the game, but eventually it will come to an end with either you losing or winning. Though the timeframe of inspiration is limited to that single match. Eventually you constantly yearn for accomplishment that you feel satisfied when you're done with it. With me after a 2 hour session of Call of Duty I would no longer feel motivated to do anything else. I've used up all my inspiration on that game rather than using it towards something productive like writing my novel.

Since then I've given up playing multiplayer games and am limiting myself only to RPGs or storyline based games like Assassins Creed or InFamous. And now whenever I do come to an end with a novel I make sure to immediately start on the next volume or another book at least. I'm always keeping myself curious of outcomes. Another method I use, although it has to be sparingly, is I watch trailers for movies. Their whole purpose is to keep your wondering. I've watched each of the Lord of the Rings official trailers a hundred times and sometimes they do the trick (although it doesn't always work). Although I have not even come close to the mindless zombie of novel writing and devising I was in that 2 week span of watching Game of Thrones and reading Clash of Kings.

Anyways just my two cents and I hope it helps some people on their own novels :D

Fantasy Movies, Comic Books & Video Games / Best "Magic" systems?
« on: June 08, 2012, 12:32:12 PM »
Partly inspired by previous discussions in the general board. The name says it all. Chakra in Naruto is really deep and I enjoy the laws that restrict certain attacks and moves, or how there are certain methods in using chakra that allow for much better efficiency. It really makes it feel like a "system". Claymore is nothing spectacular but it always amazes me how much it can derive from one simple concept and fork out so many possibilities with how to devise attacks and such. Less is more in Claymore's case.

One Piece's Devil Fruits is simple but I love how it's always introducing new concepts and that all these different systems may perhaps be connected. Such as with Haki and how one who has mastered it, like Red Hair Shanks or Vice Admiral Garp, can take down even the strongest Devil Fruit users. Or how Devil Fruit users who are dedicated to improving their craft can gain new powers, like how Chopper is always discovering new forms of his or that Luffy can achieve a higher level of power gain through gears.

Let me start off by saying there are no dwarves or elves in this book and yet the world stands out on its own. The most interesting aspect of it is the use of magic. They are imbedded within grapes, which the people in the world turn into wine, and anyone can use magic, although only Vinearts are credited enough to wield its power. Winemaking is a large part of the world and the book actually uses real life winemaking into play while infusing it with its own worldly devices and making it seem authentic. The world building is really good and almost seems separate from the fantasy genre because it shares little semblances of fantasy's usual stereotypes or often used laws.

The characters are really well done themselves. One of the themes is coming of age with the main character Jerzey who went from being a slave in the vineyards, where the grapes are grown, to becoming a disciple vineart, to getting involved in some world conspiracy of instrumentality (this part of course felt very fantasy like). One of my complaints is that I'm new to reading books and prefer the fast paced yet steady nature of novels like The Iron Elves. This book felt very slow to me, which may come to no surprise as it basically fleshes out the template of its elusive world and the characters that inhabit it, although I might imagine that a person more accustomed to reading would tolerate it much more than I would. Reading Game of Thrones and its preceding novels as an introduction to the hobby of novel reading may have set my expectations for the genre unreasonably high.

I thought I should have given this relatively unknown series a shout out since it doesn't seem to get much attention (only reason why I bought it was because I'm a sucker for appeal and covert arts and the covert art for the third book looked cool to me, and I got sucked in). I fully expected it to be plain and generic but it's one of the more original fantasies I've read so far, and originality seems to be something that a lot of people wish for most in this elves dominated genre.

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