October 16, 2018, 01:05:44 AM

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Topics - JMack

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2
Writers' Corner / Third rail of the Forum: Gender in stories
« on: February 27, 2018, 01:52:43 AM »
So, in my three+ years on this Forum, nothing seems to lead to more argument than anything about gender. It’s sort of a third rail. Should there be more women writers published? Should we read books that have weak female characters, etc.? With full knowledge that I’m stepping on the third rail and might get fried, I pose these thoughts for discussion:

I just finished listening to the “Society of the Sword” trilogy. It was mild fun, and worth my dollars. But the portrayal of women was incredibly backward. Of maybe six female characters, four were or had been whores. Three had to be rescued by the MC. (These two groups overlapped a bit, like a socially backward Venn diagram.)

Contrast this with the tough, complex, grand women MCs in the City of Stairs, City of Blades series. In my view, that series is by far the exception.

What strikes me is that since most Fantasy is set in “olden times”, then even the most empowered women are presented in contrast to their male-dominated society. Breaking past the strictures of their culture is a key part of what we admire about them. (The sisters in Warbreaker, which I’m reading now, come to mind.) Meanwhile, the male characters are heroic for their actions and intents, not for rising above/rebelling against their societal role.

It seems to me we’re moving beyond the second phase of women’s treatment in Fantasy. (as I’ve just now defined these phases):

Phase 1: Women are there only to be rescued and love the hero. A rare few show moxie. They are rarely main characters.
Phase 2: Women can push past their societal limitations, but are still very often whores, love interests, and other male desires. They are more likely to be main characters than in Phase 1, and can be quite powerful.
Phase 3: Women are people who have goals, loves, hates, heroism, cowardice, power, weakness. They are heroic (or evil) on their own merits. See “A Crown for Cold Silver” and those “City of” books.

(I’d be quite happy for someone smarter than I to write a better set of definitions here.)

The thing is, women can also bear children (mock expressions of shock all around!). In “olden times” this mostly led to them tied to the home and exerting influence behind the scenes. It would potentially be unrealistic to ignore this aspect of society if a story is set in anything resembling our olden days. Which means, we’re back to the start of my little essay.

I’d like to see more “phase 3” stories in Fantasy. Which are your favorites in this group? What do you see as the challenges? How do you see motherhood and childbearing in this?

In the end, I’d like my granddaughter (if i’m Ever blessed with one) to love stories of heroic girls who are heroic without any part based on breaking past “traditional” girl roles. I don’t want her comparing herself to boys and seeing her success in the context of the male-dominated society; I just want her reaching for her own best self.

3
General Discussion / JMacksson Hummus Business Brand Name
« on: February 08, 2018, 03:45:08 PM »
Hi, everyone. As threatened promised, here is a poll to help out JMacksson.

Selecting a new brand name for a hummus company:

A tiny food start-up in Ohio is looking to re-brand. The company makes high-quality, all-organic hummus and sells at local farmers’ markets and through a few “roots” retail markets. The hummus is incredibly smooth and light, and is a level above anything you can find in a grocery store. David, the owner of the company, is also the hummus maker and primary salesman.

Here is a list of potential brand names. The order in which they appear is not relevant.

Comments about why this was your favorite, plus which was your least favorite, are very welcome.

4
[DEC 2017] Alien or Eldritch Artifact / Feedback Loop
« on: February 02, 2018, 10:53:33 AM »
A long, long time ago (cue American Pie), we had a thread for every month wherein folks would exchange constructive help for each others’ stories.

There was a standard post that went at the top. It was all very polite. And we stopped using it.

So, meh to the standard form.

 Anyone want some feedback?

5
Writers' Corner / Totally not worth it’s own thread, but...
« on: January 14, 2018, 12:33:51 PM »
I couldn’t remember where to put a question like this.

Does anyone know the right words for the rope end or loop that lifted a door latch, and which could be pulled into the house if strangers weren’t welcome, or left dangling if they were?

I’ve read about this in the context of the pioneer days in the American West, for context.

6
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / My next Audible book? Need help!
« on: October 29, 2017, 11:59:43 AM »
Ok, folks, I need to choose my next Audible.
First off, it needs to be really good.
Second, it needs to be loooong. I’m not wasting my $14.95 a month on a brief 8 hour listen.
Third, it can’t be Robin Hobb, since the reader for Ship of Magic is utterly, utterly awful.

Suggestions?

7
Writers' Corner / Best books on writing you actually use
« on: September 10, 2017, 12:08:22 PM »
Yes, I'm sure there're five threads already dealing with this topic.

Be that as it may, I am tacking out of safe harbor into the sea of writing with three books:
"Scene & Structure" by Bickham
"Save the Cat" by Snyder
and "Million Dollar Outlines" by Farland

What books on writing do actually use when you set sail?
What do you find useful about them?



8
This is the big payoff for me - well, probably for all of us.
What would be the most most fitting demise for the most murderous woman in Westeros?

9
Ok, Fantasy-Faction friends, @Bradley Darewood needs a wonderful title for his book. It needs to be a fantastic title, an amazing title, a title that sell MILLIONS OF COPIES OF THIS BOOK! Because, f*ck, we have no idea if the book is any good. And who can trust the taste of readers anyway? Or the spin-the-bottle romance that is trying to get your book published.

We'll worry about the cover later. In the meantime, what we need is a wonderful title. We want to want to sleep with this title. Bradley should be able to eat off it, and it should willing to take a bullet for him.

So here are the rules. @Henry Dale started off with three possible titles, and we have two versions of a blurb. See the next post.

Each person responds to the post just prior. You get rid of one of that person's proposed titles, keep two and add three. Once we have a bunch of possible titles, we make up something else to do with them. Somewhere in here we'll have an actual poll.

OK, the next post is the blurbs and Henry's three titles.

10
[APR 2017] Scavenger Hunt / Scavenger hunt/Omen Critique Thread
« on: June 02, 2017, 12:04:59 AM »
Anyone who wants a critique for their story posts in here.
Anyone who wants to do a critique for a specific story (whose writer has asked for critique) posts it in here.

- 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.

- Critiques are great to find strengths and weaknesses in a story. What was well executed or not. What people liked and didn't. And most important, why. All great things to grow and learn.

- Specially here, where we have published authors with entire series out, authors with works in progress, authors who've just began, people who sporadically write only for fun and even those who don't write but read a lot. We are also pretty friendly, so fear not.

- Maybe you don't feel confident enough yet to give critiques to others but still want them for your story. That's fine and understandable. I still say for you to try at least, as it does help with your own writing.
Also, you can just point out the things you liked in a story. People will undoubtedly love to know what they did right.

- Do try to reciprocate if others comment on your story, as a form of courtesy.

- You can also just ask for critiques about specific things. Maybe you really liked your characters and just want to know opinions on your plot. Maybe after re-reading later you know the flaws in your plot twist or magic system and don't want/need more people telling that, but you still want to know about characterization.
All free game, we're pretty flexible.

- If you want a critique, I'd recommend asking for it within the first two weeks of the month, if not the first. That's when most people are recharging the batteries from the previous month and are mostly just mulling over ideas.
From the 15th onwards I believe people are either starting, finishing or polishing their next piece. You can still ask, but I'd recommend asking early.

A small guideline:

   
Quote
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.”



We also have a template to help. You don't need to use it, you can critique in any form you like.

Selected Quote:
Something Awesome:
Theme Appropriateness:
Conflict and Tension:
Characterization:
Something Confusing:

11
Anyone who wants a critique for their story posts in here.
Anyone who wants to do a critique for a specific story (whose writer has asked for critique) posts it in here.

- 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.

- Critiques are great to find strengths and weaknesses in a story. What was well executed or not. What people liked and didn't. And most important, why. All great things to grow and learn.

- Specially here, where we have published authors with entire series out, authors with works in progress, authors who've just began, people who sporadically write only for fun and even those who don't write but read a lot. We are also pretty friendly, so fear not.

- Maybe you don't feel confident enough yet to give critiques to others but still want them for your story. That's fine and understandable. I still say for you to try at least, as it does help with your own writing.
Also, you can just point out the things you liked in a story. People will undoubtedly love to know what they did right.

- Do try to reciprocate if others comment on your story, as a form of courtesy.

- You can also just ask for critiques about specific things. Maybe you really liked your characters and just want to know opinions on your plot. Maybe after re-reading later you know the flaws in your plot twist or magic system and don't want/need more people telling that, but you still want to know about characterization.
All free game, we're pretty flexible.

- If you want a critique, I'd recommend asking for it within the first two weeks of the month, if not the first. That's when most people are recharging the batteries from the previous month and are mostly just mulling over ideas.
From the 15th onwards I believe people are either starting, finishing or polishing their next piece. You can still ask, but I'd recommend asking early.

A small guideline:

   
Quote
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.”



We also have a template to help. You don't need to use it, you can critique in any form you like.

Selected Quote:
Something Awesome:
Theme Appropriateness:
Conflict and Tension:
Characterization:
Something Confusing:

12
General Discussion / Give JMack a new Forum title
« on: March 10, 2017, 05:58:45 PM »
Yes, "Clueless Morgan" has run its course.
Time for something new.
I am accepting proposals, and if there are several goods one, it may go to a poll!

Go for it!
Post publicly. Argue. Harangue. Tease.
But most of all, be imaginative and spare the potty humor.

13
[FEB/MAR 2017] The War of the Usurper / War of the Usurper: Ask the Author
« on: February 03, 2017, 12:00:07 AM »
Here is our thread to bother @Eli_Freysson with any question we can think of?

What color is the golden throne?
Is the great sword really long?
And how many nobles are there in this book, anyway?

 ;D

14
Here is the part 4 discussion thread for War of the Usurper.

Have at it!

15
Here is the thread for part 3'of War of the Usurper

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