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Topics - J.R. Darewood

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[JAN 2019] Air / [JAN 2019] AIR - Critique Thread
« on: March 02, 2019, 06:17:04 PM »
I hope you all don't mind me starting this. Here's the critique stuff to kick off if anyone wants critiques:

Here is the possibility to get critiques for your stories entered in the writing contest - and to give critique as well.

So what we're doing is this:
1. Everybody who wants critique for his story posts in here.*
2. Everybody who wants to do a critique for a specific story (whose writer has asked for critique) posts it in here.

If this thread is overrun fast, I'm splitting it so that every story has its own one to avoid confusion.

* I know that critique isn't always easy to handle, especially if you are not used to it. So if you feel more comfortable receiving it in private, people can send it via pm. They can post here that they sent a critique via pm so that others know about it.

At the moment I don't think it necessary that we create a system balancing given/received critiques. However, if it turns out to be unfair and some people are giving critiques without receiving some (or the other way round) we have to add one.

Basic rules for critiquing:

This is just a small guideline for those that haven't done critiques before, stolen from this forum's writing section.
   
       
Quote
Critiquing Other’s Work

            1. Please read what the poster is asking for before you post your critique.
            2. Critique the writing, not the writer.  Never, “You are...” or “You should...” but rather, “The writing is...” or “The story should...”
            3. We all have different levels of writing ability here, keep that in mind when critiquing.
            4. Find what is right in each piece as well as what is wrong.
            5. Remember that subject matter is personal. You don't have to like a story to give it a fair critique.
            6. Remember what your biases are and critique around them.
            7. Remember that real people wrote this stuff, and real people have real feelings. Things you may not say while critiquing: “That’s awful.” “That’s stupid.” “You couldn’t write your way out of a paper bag.”

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Black Leopard Red Wolf
« on: February 20, 2019, 11:32:59 PM »

Is anyone reading this?  In the 90s I never would have imagined GQ doing a piece on a fantasy author!

https://www.gq.com/story/marlon-james-black-leopard-red-wolf-is-an-african-fantasy-epic-for-the-ages

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Links, Competitions and 'Stuff' / Baen SF short story competition
« on: January 26, 2019, 01:34:35 AM »
The deadline is coming up fast (Feb 1) it's an SF contest that's pretty specific.  The prohibition on "Stories that show technology or space travel as evil or bad" sort of disqualifies most of my stuff plus the whole baen mixing of "military" and "adventure" sort of rubs me the wrong way. Maybe this would be a good one for @tebakutis ?

Anyway here's the link:

https://www.baen.com/contest-jbmssa

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Writers' Corner / Deep thoughts and midnight musings
« on: January 08, 2019, 11:29:27 AM »
Sometimes I have deep thoughts in the shower, or when I should be sleeping.

I thought about just adding them to the poetry thread (should I just put this kinda stuff there?) but in case you all want a space to put your deep thoughts, I made this new thread.

JR's deep thought of the day.... errr night:

When you write a love poem, you put your heart and soul into the page in the hopes that that one person will find it beautiful.  Some of us write poems to family, prose poetry to friends.... even a well crafted letter to a stranger can be a work of art.

That thoughtful limerick you scrawled in the wall of the toilet stall might be photographed and immortalized as a meme. Or maybe it's a joke that only lands with one or two people.  Art might have commercial success, or it might not. But so long as it finds an audience, it wasn't in vain. One person who smiles or cries or gasps when they read your work is enough to make it worth it. 

That's what I mean when I confess that deep inside I think of everything I write--a book, an essay, an article, or story--as a love poem.

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Favorite Character in SFF
« on: December 28, 2018, 05:53:52 AM »
Has this been done before?

Who are your favorite characters in all SFF and *why*?

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Writers' Corner / Famous Fantasy All-Time Sales by way of Mark's Blog
« on: December 24, 2018, 02:27:49 AM »
@Mark Lawrence put this up on his blog, and I thought it was really interesting and people in here might wanna talk about it.

https://mark---lawrence.blogspot.com/2018/12/a-sense-of-scale.html?fbclid=IwAR3bhzIi4bfwZ7jhE2mUeSWDlyP_yOBJQu8mg2wwk_bIvkvGXpuVdX0qz80




He's getting his data from here:

http://thewertzone.blogspot.com/2018/12/the-sff-all-time-sales-list-revised.html

I was pretty shocked by where some of my favorite authors placed on this list!

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Licanius Trilogy
« on: November 30, 2018, 07:48:07 AM »
Is anyone else reading the Licanius Trilogy by James Islington?

The last book comes out in February!!!

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Maybe I'm having male PMS, but I read the latest SPFBO update and it sort of made me angry. I put it in spoiler tags because it's a little agro, and I'm not usually like that.  So open the tags at your own peril.

Spoiler for Hiden:
I was pretty agnostic about the books on the list, and the judges listed some perfectly good reasons for not liking the books, but the whole picking on prologues thing really irked me. Some story structures require a prologue.  Others don't.  They're not en vogue in publishing in general right now, but they are an especially common device in fantasy, especially epic fantasy.  And this is frigging *fantasy faction* so having prologue hate here seems akin to wearing a KKK outfit to a Black Panther rally.

LOTR: Prologues
WoT: Prologues
Harry Potter-- She called it Ch 1 but it was a frigging prologue.
Gentleman Bastards: Prologue
Almost every fantasy book I've ever liked: Prologue

If someone doesn't write well, they write a bad prologue.  That's not the prologue's fault. Maybe they're bad at exposition.  Maybe they're bad at plotting.  That's not going to go away if they take out the prologue.  So saying that prologues are "ambitious" or "tricky" really rubs me the wrong way.  If you just don't like prologues why are you reading fantasy in the first place???

It's like when people tell new writers not to use adverbs.  You can't outlaw an entire frigging part of speech. That's just officious. Why don't we write all our novels in 140 characters to satisfy modern attention spans.  Maybe we should just draw stick figures instead of using words. I'm going to go be a rebel and read tons of adverbs by Henry James while snickering angrily at modernity.

Ok, now I'm getting all worked up. Sorry for ranting but that was really bothering me. 

9
Open For Submissions / Anthologies looking for stories
« on: August 04, 2018, 05:26:40 AM »

So this came across my facebook feed... couldn't tell you a whole lot more about it but it might interest some of you guys.

Quote
BLURBS:

Unexpected Heroines:

Why is it always the teenage girl who is the heroine?
These are the stories of female protagonists who are never cast in the feature films. The awkward, the old, the forgotten, the different.
Their adventures were never meant to be. Their save-the-world expeditions shouldn't have happened. They are the ones who stepped forward when no-one else would.
Our unexpected heroines.

Forgotten Sidekicks:

We all know what happens when the hero saves the day, but what about their sidekicks?
Too often the hero is held high and celebrated whilst their sidekicks and comrades are brushed to the side; their own battles forgotten, and their actions airbrushed to nothingness from the tales of victory.
These are the stories of the ones who aren’t remembered; the ones who helped save the day, and got cast aside; the ones who don’t want the applause, and the ones who deserved the applause and never received it.
These stories didn't make the headlines - but they happened, and they're glorious.

Lost Gods:

They have slept for centuries. Buried. Forgotten. Lost.
Until they awake. Or are awoken.
When the deities of old return, will they bring blessings or destruction to a time that no long remembers them?
Should they be left to lie in peace, or used for our own ends? Are they gods, or monsters?
What lies out there in the realms of the lost gods?

Submission Guidelines:

The submission window will run from 1st September until the 30th November inclusive.

Submissions to be emailed to:

Lost Gods – lostgodsanthology@gmail.com

Forgotten Sidekicks – forgottensidekicks@gmail.com

Unexpected Heroines – unexpectedheroines@gmail.com

All fantasy sub-genre and styles will be considered – comedic, epic, grimdark, noblebright etc. We are particularly keen on diversity - think older characters, LGBTQ, ethnic minorities and those with disabilities

Submissions should be (ideally) between 4-7,000 words (10% leeway given either side) and either 1.5 or double spaced and in an easy to read font such as Times New Roman or Arial size 12/14. Please include your contact details at the end of the story, along with a short bio and details of any writing credentials and/or social media handles.

We are aware that this is a long submission window, but hectic lifestyles for both writers and editors means that we must be patient. Editors will be reading submissions as they are received but final decisions are unlikely to be publicised until the end of December 2018 at the earliest. This allows there to be a reasonable amount of time for reading and selecting the final line-up.

Payment will be £15 per story and a physical copy of the final anthology for which the story appears and, should you also wish, copies of the eBook for your own private use and not for resale or lending.

Any questions relating to submission guidelines – please do ask away!

10
Introductions / Nice to meet you all!
« on: July 23, 2018, 06:14:51 AM »
Hi I'm J.R. Darewood.

I like Skyrim and ice cream and I read fantasy bc I miss being 10 and playing Dungeons and Dragons.  Anyway I look forward to meeting you all for the very first time, since this would be my very first introduction. And no my name isn't Redwood I have no idea what that's about

And @ScarletBea if you write out my name it still summons me even if you don't get a cool popup
@J.R. Darewood.

11
General Discussion / Motorbikes
« on: July 17, 2018, 09:50:45 AM »
Thanks all spent the day looking at broken bike working out how its going to get me round Holland in a couple of days time   :( Apart from that a good day will be celebrating in a couple of weeks time too much going on at the moment.

What kind of bike is it?

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If you'd like to exchange feedback / get feedback on your entry this month, drop in here and say hello!

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Fantasy Movies, Comic Books & Video Games / Deadpool
« on: May 21, 2018, 07:05:52 AM »

Best song from the OST:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0pt-hONuSA

Saw it in 4D, moving chairs and all that. The water spraying on your face when there was blood splatter was SO GROSS, but also really fun.

14

I posted this on fb too but I thought I'd also vent here.

Ok so I never read the comics these movies are based on (I was into Spidey but never the Avengers) but even implied science is important b/c there's a lot of f**ed up policy out there.

** The human strain on finite resources is about two things 1) Over-consumption 2) the ratio of population growth rates to death rates. There are plenty of real life disasters that have shown the actual number of people on the planet after some sort of disaster is irrelevant if growth rates are high.

Over-consumption. 1% of the world's population consumes the vast majority of it's resources, so this whole discussion of over-population is actually missing the point. Our environmental crisis stems primarily from rich people in the US, Europe and China decimating the world, not poor people having too many children. A subsistence farmer in an Amazonian village consumes less than 0.04% of their biological environment in comparison to an American, who in a 15 minute trip to the grocery store decimates natural systems around the world via mining, petroleum, plantations and whatnot. But hey, we'll sideline this one for the moment and look at how killing half of everyone wouldn't solve over-population either.

Population science. Stable systems (in homeostasis) have mechanisms to either keep growth rates down or death rates high. Rats have tons of babies. They also get eaten by tons of stuff. Pandas, orangutan, cheetahs, gorillas have low birth rates b/c they don't have a ton of predators. The trick is looking at under what conditions humans have low birth rates.

Human birth rates vary. For wealthy people, or people in secure environments, birth rates tend to increase-- people put more energy into each offspring and try to keep it to 1 or 2. Eg. for the wealthy sub-populations in US and Japan, population growth rates have gone down over time as wealth has increased. In insecure environments (read: deepening poverty, after disasters like earthquakes or hurricanes or war that kill tons of people) humans tend to have lots of kids. Consequently, killing off half of humanity would result in increased birth rates. If long-term insecurity resulted from that shock (wealthy places didn't recover, insecurity remained geographically widespread a generation later) there could be a long-term acceleration of population growth. (side note: keep in mind what I said above are generalities coming out of human biology that can, in practice be culturally mediated)

The environmental crisis is the result of disembedding our consumption from natural systems. Globalization allows Europeans, Americans, Chinese etc to set up infrastructures that lay waste to much of the world, turning ancient jungles into toilet paper, and oceans into a toilet. The natural consequences are felt by the rural poor of the 3rd world who, as a result of being displaced by armed men setting up banana plantations which you purchase in your grocery store, have tons of kids b/c there's a high chance some of them will die. The wealthy, who drive the ecological crisis, are disembedded from the consequences of their actions and thus destabilize what was previously a homeostatic ecological system.

Anyway, when Thanos is like "look your planet is now better off" to Gamora, I know it was a single line in a piece of fiction, but that's simply not what would happen if half the planet died, and the belief that it would is just more fodder for jackasses who promote policies that make our environmental problems worse, not better (which has happened in many places). So even if nature somehow works differently in Marvel's fictional universe, it leaves audiences with a implicit misunderstanding of over-population that makes me really angry.

I guess, what I'm saying is that whether or not it works in the Marvel Universe or not, the movie left viewers with the impression that it might work-- these ideas about overpopulation weren't explicitly challenged and Thanos wasn't painted as being completely misinformed about the long-term consequences of his actions. We get images of Thanos's own planet destroyed from inaction, and an unchallenged narrative about how "bellies are full" in Gamorra's planet now. Fiction is, well, fiction, so anything can be changed, but the thing that upsets me here is that there's tons of people out there that might not want to kill everyone, but understand overpopulation in the same terms Thanos used, and it upsets me to see that misapprehension spread because there are real consequences to people not understanding our current ecological crisis. Choosing to build this in as a character motivation spreads jackassery irl. To me it's just as upsetting as if I saw racism or sexism built into a narrative in a way that left it unchallenged as bad in the audiences mind.

15

So looks like we're getting a 5-season LoTR
https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/how-lord-rings-tv-series-landed-at-amazon-not-netflix-1099213

I've been pretty disillusioned with intellectual properties lately.  I mean on the good side, they did a great job with, say, Harry Potter.  On the bad side, you've got Disney murdering Star Wars, after it had already been bludgeoned to death by it's creator. Don't get me started on spiderman or batman's 3000 film iterations.

I feel like there's some great IPs-- I read shitons of Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms books as a kid and they obviously ranged in quality, but I liked them.  But when you get a studio buying up a recognizeable name to milk it... it just sounds like bad news.  The first 3 LoTR films were great, but the Hobbit trilogy seemed like a preview for what they're going to do.

I feel like TV studios have gotten even more aggressive with the idea that it doesn't have to be good, it just has to have a marketable name to sell.  I wish things were art-inspired... like they would just wait until someone has a good script instead of leading with the intellectual property.

I'm not hopeful. How about you guys?

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