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Topics - night_wrtr

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1
Writers' Corner / Sullivan Opening Riyria #4 for Beta Readers
« on: May 30, 2017, 01:56:24 PM »
Thought I would share as I know there are some good critters around here. Michael J. Sullivan is looking for beta readers for The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter (Book 4: The Riyria Chronicles). The beta reading is scheduled around 7/11-8/27. I'll probably be in the middle of my novel during that time, but I might throw my name in the bunch anyway. Looks like they will take several people as betas.

Here is the link to the post on his website:

Riyria Chronicles #4

He also posted what the process would look like here before you decide to sign up.

2
[SEP 2016] Pirates! / [SEP 2016] Pirates! - Critique Thread
« on: November 01, 2016, 11:47:05 PM »
Here is the possibility to get critiques for your stories entered in the writing contest - and to give critiques as well.

So what we're doing is this:
1. Everybody who wants critique for their 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.

* 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.

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.”

If you need help getting started on a critique, our own m3m suggested the following:

Something Awesome:

Something Boring:

Something Confusing:

Something Unbelievable:


*****If anyone has ideas or suggestions regarding this thread or how we could improve the process for giving/receiving critiques, we would love to hear them. Please click this sentence to join in the discussion.

3
I am copy/pasting from previous critique threads, but we can work on this as we go.

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

So what we're doing is this:
1. Everybody who wants critique for their 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.

* 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.

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.”

If you need help getting started on a critique, our own m3m suggested the following:

Something Awesome:

Something Boring:

Something Confusing:

Something Unbelievable:


*****If anyone has ideas or suggestions regarding this thread or how we could improve the process for giving/receiving critiques, we would love to hear them. Please click this sentence to join in the discussion.


4
Monthly Writing Contest / Critique Thread Discussion and/or Suggestions
« on: October 06, 2016, 12:48:30 AM »
Hello all. This thread I have decided to open as a place to discuss or make suggestions for the writing contest Critique threads.

As others have said before, this community is excellent and the writing competition is a great place to submit your work and to grow as writers. A great thing about this competition is that we have regulars and first timers. We are all working on our craft and helping each other is a great way to grow and develop. With that said, we would like to make the Critique Thread for each month's contest a regular thing.

I will be posting the Tread for the [AUG 2016] Potions and Elixirs in a few moments and will link to this thread to direct people here to join the discussion. The more people we get involved the better! This contest is for us writers (and those readers  ;D ), so let's discuss how to get this part of the contest into a well oiled machine.

To get the conversation going, here are a few posts from Lanko and m3m:

I've been thinking something like this:

- We should encourage the winner of the contest to open the Critique thread themselves, as a form of "courtesy" to everyone else. Should as "not obligatory, but it would be really nice if you did it." In time it would become "natural and expected of the winner(s)". Hehe, indirect social pressure for the win!

- Then they also post at least 2-3 critiques to get the ball rolling.

- Of course, some people may not be comfortable offering critiques, so they can just say what they liked the most
in some stories. What matter is that the game starts!

- Anyone can ask for a critique as well or about specific parts of their story.

- Bonus points if the winner(s) (or anyone else) can pick a newbie story to comment. It would help by making the new people feel it's a very friendly place and there's a lot of people helping each other to improve. So they get help, later they end up helping too, and hopefully it snowballs with more people coming in the future and becoming regulars.

- The winner can and also should ask for feedback themselves! Improvement is a constant. There's nothing stopping anyone from starting the thread, but by being the most voted story, the winner(s) would probably have a lot of comments right away about what people liked about their story, at the the very least, just by opening the thread themselves.
Add to that some critiques by the winner, and you can get a lot of people in at once, who would start commenting back (hopefully) and the ball keeps rolling around.

What do you all think?

- Then they also post at least 2-3 critiques to get the ball rolling.

this one seems sort of pretentious.  "i won, so i am going to criticize these guys".

tho, if the 2-3 were requested/cleared by their authors, i'm totally there.  i like the dynamic of "winner responsibilities".


What do you all think?

in general, i love the thought of more structure around critiques.  i think this is a great list to get the ball rolling, but any ideas NEED to come from an opt-in perspective.  some folks don't like their work critiqued in a public forum.

one thing to maybe think about is incentivizing critique participation.  getting the critique thread going seems to have a high coefficient of friction.


p.s.  anyone who ever has any opinion at all -- good, bad, bored -- about my stories?  please, please, please feel free to post it anywhere on the entire internet and point me at it.  i love all feedback.  i've had critics giving me both good and bad feedback on my various professional works for two decades.  i'm completely immune to "hurt feelings" in any way, shape or form.  sorta comes with having a godzilla-sized ego.


Yes, maybe the winner should just start the thread then and people come in to ask for a critique.

I thought the winner simply because we're all happy when they are announced, we cheer and congratulate them, everyone is in a good mood.
And when they open it, people won't be as inhibited when pointing out the good stuff they liked (could be X for one, Y reason for another). Then they return the comments, more people join in and talk about other stories, and the ball rolls.

Of course, it isn't just so we can all feel good and have a cookie, people can ask for feedback on any aspect of their stories. And of course, people may know by themselves what they could've done better, don't want it public, are not interested this month (but may be in the next), etc.

But maybe by creating a structure (the winner opening the thread, in this case) it would eventually become a regular thing, so in time there would always be one, whether a certain month spikes huge interest or not, and it wouldn't depend on one or two specific members to keep critique threads rolling.

Just thought the winner of the month could be this "beacon" for the reasons I mentioned earlier.

5
Fantasy Resources / Body Armor - Linothorax
« on: July 18, 2016, 08:20:30 PM »
I have been hording many materials and books in recent months for my writing and have come across an interesting video from Prof. Gregory Aldrete regarding linen body armor. He has done extensive research and reconstruction of the linothorax that was in use by some Mediterranean cultures, including the Macedonians and Alexander the Great.

Hope some of you find it as interesting as I did.

[youtube]SLBMupbqo2I[/youtube]

tl;dw:
1 - linen body armor seemed to be very strong and held several advantages over other armor, such as being lightweight and cooler.

2 - had a long history despite archaeological evidence of any surviving examples. was referenced many times in literature (since homer and on through 300s), and art such as pottery. it fell out of use when weapons technology advanced and became too powerful.

There is also a book that he has published for further reading. I will probably read through this at some point in the near future. 
Reconstructing Ancient Linen Body Armor: Unraveling the Linothorax Mystery


6
Well, this was my most productive reading month I think ever. Which makes sense, since I have not been writing too much, but that will change soon and my reading will fall back to a crawl.

10 Books in January:

FireBlood - Jeff Wheeler (3 stars)
A few struggles early on, but the story finds traction later. I don't want to spoiler anything, but I don't feel like there was a real conclusion. It feels like a set up for book 2. I'll read the next book because I enjoyed the story, but I think more could have been done to satisfy a few things left open in this one.

The Kick-Ass Writer - Chuck Wendig (4 stars)
A book on writing that is fun to read? If you've read Chuck's blog, you know what you're in for. If not, you should take a spin. His humor isn't for everyone, but he mixes that with great advice for those of us working hard as unpublished writers.

Stormdancer - Jay Kristoff (4 stars)
Great setting with a strong lead character. It was something different, which I loved.

The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction - Philip Athans (3 stars)
Genre specific advice that is pretty basic stuff.

Forgotten Soldiers - Joshua P. Simon (4 stars)
I enjoyed the read. The first half of the book made me angry, but that was due to what the characters were going through. A soldiers life is hard, something we shouldn't forget. I would have given 5 stars, but the ending was not an ending for me. I'll move on to the next book, regardless. Great writing.

Wayward Soldiers - Joshua P. Simon (4 stars)
The story is great, but again with the ending. It feels like this should all be one long book, but instead, it was divided into chunks.

what if? - Randall Munroe (3 stars)
Lots of crazy questions, but most are pretty interesting.
My favorite: "Is it possible to build a jetpack using downward-firing machine guns?"


Dryad-Born - Jeff Wheeler (4 stars)
Better improvement from the first installment, with lots of exciting scenes. I enjoyed the characters and the magic, which is a strength of the book. Looking forward to reading the next one!

Half The World - Joe Abercrombie (5 stars)
Now that was a damn good story. The writing was great. The characters excellent. And let's not forget one of the best fight scenes I've ever read!

The Palace Job - Patrick Weekes (3 stars)
I'm giving credit for creativity and several good jokes, but really the issues kicked me from the story too many times.

The good:
Unicorn shapeshifters, talking warhammers and a bizarre world. There is even a zombie...

The bad? the other?:
POVs all over the place and the characters are not very deep. A couple were memorable, but still not as developed as they should have been. The audiobook helped to keep the characters separate with accents, but I still had a hard time distinguishing one from the other.

The plot was slow to start, then skipped around, which assisted in the confusion of the story. I finished the book, but about 75% through it started to lose me.



I expect to finish Resurrected Soldiers - Joshua P. Simon tonight at some point, so that might make 11!  8) :o

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