August 22, 2019, 04:23:37 AM

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Topics - Eli_Freysson

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Writers' Corner / Viking mystic ritual - opinions?
« on: August 17, 2019, 09:52:21 PM »
(Or rather, "Norseman mystic ritual, because 'Viking' is a job title, something pop culture misses, but whatever")

I'm writing my Norseman fantasy, and there is a chapter where a young woman has to seek help from a coven of sorceresses (or seiðkonur) who are pretty miffed with her. So they make her prove herself worthy of help through a weird, psychedelic ordeal.

I'm torn between a few different ideas, and would appreciate some gut reactions to these different scenarios:

They make her walk off a cliff into the ocean, where she sinks and encounters Ran, the Norse goddess of the drowned. I have several different ideas for this:

-They throw an item into the sea which she has to fetch from the bottom. Meanwhile Ran comes and tries to tempt her away, and the challenge is to cling to life and make it back to the surface.

-She has to actually deliberately meet with Ran and win an underwater wrestling match.

-She has to meet with Ran and give her a polite peck on the cheek, which a mortal is normally not expected to survive.

2) A more brutal approach: She is given a knife and sent into a darkened forest where she has to fight a wolf that may or may not actually exist. Possibly while magically blinded, as a test of courage.

3) She has to journey for a bit before finding a colossal wolf, and putting her arm in its mouth. It bites down and tears the arm off, and she staggers back. Fortunately, it was an illusion and the arm is fine: It was a test of her courage, willpower, and willingness to sacrifice.

4) She is sent on a strange walk that leads her to the bottom of Yggdrasill, where dwells the primordial dragon Níðhöggr. He chews on the roots of the world tree and on dead oath-breakers. Her challenge is to meet his gaze without losing her mind. There's also some pointedness here, as she arguably broke an oath she'd made to the sorceresses.

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Writers' Corner / What do you think of this premise?
« on: July 22, 2019, 06:14:48 PM »
I really wish I had some way to balance out my "story ideas/free time" ratio, but whatever. I have a new seedling for a different kind of fantasy story, and I'd appreciate some thoughts on it before I start to put any deep thought in.

*Ahem*

I can think of several works were those born with magical talents are either regarded as dangerous by an ignorant public, or flat out ARE dangerous, simply due to how magic works in that setting, and are either killed or imprisoned and their magic suppressed somehow.

I'm thinking of doing an entire standalone novel around that idea.

Magic manifests in random individuals around puberty, and while they can perform amazing feats they also tend to attract demons and/or go violently insane. This traditionally leads to them either being killed or imprisoned in horrible conditions. Now there's a recent effort, spearheaded by a single person, to try something new:

Mages are taken into custody, their magic suppressed, and they are held in a camp well away from civilisation. But the warden makes a very dedicated effort to be humane and treat the mages as victims of an unfortunate condition rather than as criminals. There would also be an effort to see if, with training, mages can use their powers safely through the suppressing effects, for the good of the realm.

The story would be set in the camp, starting with its initial opening, and the main character would be a strong-willed teenage mage who is less than happy about the whole thing, and whose interactions with the warden are a core element of the story.

I'm interested in doing some morality exploration here; the mages are for the most part innocent, but simply by their nature pose a potential threat to the public. And the warden tries to find a balance between enforcing discipline and not slipping into cruelty. In fact, one idea is that the warden is female, as are all the guards and the mages, specifically to prevent sexual abuse (the male mages would be a separate camp).

My current idea for the ultimate conflict would be an attempted uprising led by a mage willing to kill people for the sake of freedom, which the main character ultimately can't bring themselves to do and so sides with the guards. His/her character arc would be to accept the situation as the lesser evil, given the factors at play, and rather than rebel they would seek to work with and try to change the system from within.

What do you think?

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Writers' Corner / Ethics in my setting. Could use some thoughts.
« on: July 11, 2019, 11:03:56 PM »
My new space opera setting will include as one of its main characters a warrior space mystic; one of an order of wandering peacekeepers in the wilder reaches of space.

Rather than worshipping a deity they are all about balancing themselves between fundamental forces of the universe.

I want to give them a strict ethical code, and my first thought was to make deeds a cornerstone of their ethics. That is, it is a deed that is good or evil, completely independent of circumstances or the people involved. Torture is evil by its nature, and it doesn't matter if the victim is a horrible criminal. Mercy is good, again regardless of who is receiving it.  Lying is evil, honesty is good, regardless of hurt feelings.

You get the picture.

But then I get to killing and I'm less sure of what to do.

They're definitely willing to kill in combat if absolutely necessary, but still put themselves through a ritual cleansing afterwards. I envision them preventing defeated villains from being killed by vengeful people, the same way they'll prevent any other kind of murder.

Buuut they're in large part active on backwater planets and out in the depths of space, where there is no real law to turn captures pirates or slavers over to. But letting them just walk away to continue plundering and murdering doesn't do any good.

So do they take it upon themselves to be executioners? It's certainly a very risky right to assign yourself.

What do you think? Escorting a group of vicious pirates to a faraway civilised planet is a risky endeavour when you're operating alone, and upon arrival there is the issue of evidence.

As I said, I want their code to be firm and strict, but strict in what way? Where does one draw the line? How does one design an absolute code that allows both for turning criminals over to the proper authorities, and vigilante executions?

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My new writing project is up. As of now I am experimenting with using Wattpad as my creative outlet, among other things so I can interact directly with readers.

The First Run is my entry into the "colourful crew of misfits travel the seedier areas of space" subgenre of sci-fi, and the first in a new setting I will definitely make more use of in the future.

I will be updating every Friday and Monday.

https://www.wattpad.com/story/185175889-the-first-run



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Writers' Corner / My next cover - ideas
« on: March 30, 2019, 11:04:17 PM »
I'm three chapters into my latest novel, and I think once the fourth is done I'll be about ready to start putting them up on Wattpad. But I do need a cover. I'm going to fish for a reasonably priced artist on Deviantart, but there's the issue of what kind of outline to give them.

It's a sci-fi action/adventure story about Gaylen, a semi-criminal freelancer starting up with his own ship and crew and getting into way too much trouble during the first job.

Here are the ideas I have for now:

1) Gaylen sitting at a small café table, with a drink in front of him and hiding a pistol under the table. It's a scene from early on when he's talking to potential crewmembers.

2) Gaylen seen from behind, in a dimly-lit underworld beneath a city, hiding a gun behind his back. It's a scene from the first chapter, when he's meeting a crime boss for a job.

3) Gayle in a firefight, using a spaceship hallway corner for cover, plasma shots whizzing by.


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Writers' Corner / Wattpad
« on: March 03, 2019, 09:17:20 AM »
Yes, I move between options quickly, don't I?

Anyway, it has been suggested to me to simply release my next novel for free online, chapter by chapter as I write them, for the sake of feedback and hopefully some word of mouth. I would then release the finished version on Amazon.

The more I think about this option the more I like it. It would let me actually interact with readers.

But there's still the question of which site to go with. I'm aware of Wattpad, and I've done some minor reading on it. But I'd love to hear someone who's more experienced with the site than I am. Are there better options out there? Does Wattpad have some glaring flaw I'm not aware of?

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Writers' Corner / Patreon
« on: February 24, 2019, 11:04:48 PM »
My agent-seeking skills are proving about as potent as my book marketing skills, and i'm considering my options. Someone suggested Patreon to me, a system I've never gotten to know.

Is anyone here more familiar with it? I know some authors use it to finance publication, but what about just setting up a subscription system, and regularly releasing chapters and short stories?

I'm about to finish a trilogy, AND get started with three different standalone novels, so I would certainly have material to last. But I suppose this all runs into the same problem as my self-pubbing on Amazon: My low social media presence.

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Writers' Corner / Making villains pathetic
« on: January 27, 2019, 10:29:24 PM »
Don't get me wrong; a villain needs to be dangerous, or the hero's victory doesn't mean much.

But I'm piecing together a new space opera setting, and I'm thinking about my resident evil sorcerers. I want to avoid the "Evil is Cool" trope. Just look at the Sith in Star Wars. They get to wear all black, cut loose with destructive powers, and have no few apologists among the fans. But I want their opposites to be the cool ones.

Real-life villains, for all the damage that they do, aren't cool or impressive. Aside from the evidence we see every day I used to watch a lot of documentaries about dictators, mobsters and serial killers. None of them impressed me in the slightest. Dictators are paranoid inadequates, mobsters are brutish, semi-literate parasites, and serial killers are disgusting, pathetic morons.

So while my evil sorcerers who have given themselves over to horrible elements may wield all sorts of murderpowers their minds and bodies warp from it. They're not cool and collected, they're petty and angry, their skin and teeth suffer, and they gather various physical ailments as they go further along the path. And rather than wear all-black or cool armour I'm thinking of putting them in really gaudy, ostentatious outfits, because they're ultimately empty narcissists trying and failing to fill themselves.

I'd like to hear some thoughts on this. What do we think of villains who aren't fun, just loathsome? Clarence Boddicker, the Scorpio Killer and Commodus, rather than Hannibal Lecter, the Joker and Hans Gruber?

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Writers' Corner / My latest story idea - South America
« on: December 28, 2018, 07:44:00 PM »
Yes, I have yet another story idea. Though thankfully this one fits within a standalone. I'd like to get some opinions on the basic idea, which is another effort of mine to jam a bunch of different things I want to explore into a single book.

The setting is a fantasy counterpart of South America, and fantasy counterparts to Conquistadors are doing their thing: Brutal exploitation, slavery, forced religious conversions and just generally acting with astonishing imperialistic arrogance.

Then they push into the wrong goddamn land. A land inhabited by Amazons with superior weapons, technology and other neat tricks, courtesy of special materials that fell from the sky in ages past. Much of the expedition is slaughtered, while the leader and a few others are taken captive and brought to the capital.

What follows is a meeting with the Amazon queen, and the Conquistadors getting a taste of their own medicine; mocked and mistreated by a superior nation. I only got this whole idea a couple of days ago, but I think the main plot would be about the leader ransoming the lives of his men by being sent on a solo mission deep into the jungle, where he faces terrible horrors.

While there is obviously some wish-fulfilment in play here (since I can't time travel and punch Christopher Rapist Mutilator Slaver Columbus in the face), I'm not planning to portray the Amazons as morally superior or as heading some kind of utopia. They do their own exploitation of surrounding, less developed nations, and in fact take advantage of the chaos created by invaders to spread their influence. Such as offering a cure for smallpox, but at hefty prices and general submission to the queen. Because that's just people for ya.

I'm a bit hesitant to get serious about writing a protagonist who represents several things I despise, but then there is the prospect of having him emerge from jungle hell traumatised and with some actual perspective, and a quest to save his comrades from the sacrificial altar would at least serve as a sympathetic motivation.

Thoughts?

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Writers' Corner / Social media - I would really appreciate some advice
« on: December 04, 2018, 08:13:13 AM »
I'm... frustrated. I suppose that's just a part of being an indie author, but it's a specific issue this time.

I've come to believe that getting noticed as an indie is largely a matter of blind luck. I've tried basically everything an indie is suppose to do: Goodreads ads, Goodreads Giveaway, Facebook ads, Amazon ads, various forms of paid mass-mails, a paid-for book blog tour, interviews on various blogs, I kept an English-language Facebook page going for a while... NONE of this EVER coincided with a blip on my sales chart. Ever. The only thing that's ever worked a little bit is to an Amazon Kindle Countdown, and mentioning that fact on the r/fantasy page.

I got tired of throwing money out the window, and have long since given up on anything other than the Reddit thing. No one pays attention to "Notice me!" in a field absolutely jam-packed with desperate indies. I do keep an author webpage up; I was for a while not going to renew the fee, except that Romanian guy noticed me through it... due to blind luck.

I'm writing this because I just got yet another rejection from a publisher. There was no mention of the actual quality of the manuscript. They're only complaint was that they require "an established web presence such as a website, social media along with noticeable effort to engage potential readers prior to publication".

Social media. Goddamn social media. I have never gotten into it, as I think it is a weird, depressing activity, I've never really understood how it works and I refuse to get a smartphone. I tried keeping a blog going for a while, but weeks went by without me thinking of anything to say to the faceless hordes of the internet. Apparently a big following is what an indie needs... and now a lack of it is stopping me from becoming a trad as well!

I'm writing these next words with a sense of dread and hopelessness, but maybe I need to at least look into getting involved on social media. I don't have any hope for it. The problem is that I don't care. I don't have the slightest interest in spending hours each day approaching strangers about this and that, and I'm too isolated and weird to have much to say.

But it often seems that I HAVE to, so now I'm asking if anyone here with a better grasp of this awful, proven-to-induce-anxiety activity is willing to advise me.

(Sorry about the negative tone. I just despair at times.)

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Any books on Amazons?
« on: November 29, 2018, 03:10:18 PM »
I find the basic idea of a pre-industrial all-female warrior society interesting, and have done some thinking exercises wondering why such a society would exist and how it would function. However, I'm also a bit vary, as the concept seems ripe for the kind of gender war nonsense that doesn't help anyone.

Can anyone think of an interesting take on Amazons?

(Besides Wonder Woman)

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Writers' Corner / What triggers your ideas?
« on: November 14, 2018, 05:41:12 PM »
Do you think long and hard for something to tell a story about, or do ideas just plague you?

I'm asking because... well, it takes so very little to trigger something in me that then proceeds to blow out into an entire narrative. And I honestly don't know if it's a good thing or not. Not all of my ideas endure the test of time and badger me enough for me to eventually write them down, but it does mean that I'm constantly carrying way too many of them around.

I'm writing this post because, since SFF is the realm of speculation, I started thinking about the idea of a specifically engineered servant species. As in, they were created to be servile and really only satisfied when doing someone's bidding. Like really needy pets, kept by the aristocracy as servants, bodyguards and status symbols. I started wondering how in-universe characters might see this practice; some would no doubt look askance at it and feel that creating them in the first place was a really creepy thing to do. But on the other hand the species' basic nature can't be changed.

I got the idea that only 10 percent of births would be male, for the sake of making their population easier to control. I then started wondering whether the aristocrats would use them as sex slaves, or if that would be considered degeneracy. The idea formed that individuals of the species might run away in case of bad treatment or frustration with their own ingrained nature... but would inevitably find a cause, organisation or individual to be slavishly loyal to. I envisioned some good drama that could be built around a character grappling with this: Angry and strong-willed, but unable to cope without something to tether themselves to.

And what started all this?

Yesterday I watches the first episode of the She-Ra reboot. The titular character is best friends with a catgirl alien, which at one point is seen sleeping curled up at the foot of She-Ra's bed, despite being the size of a grown human. And my mind just went off on a tangent, because it seemed oddly servile.

And this is just one example. These sparks come out of nowhere, from any direction. I just wanted to know if this sounds familiar to anyone.

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General Discussion / If you could meet ONE historical figure
« on: September 21, 2018, 02:10:43 PM »
I once asked my father this question. If he could have a conversation with one human being from history, what would his choice be? He said "Hitler. I would want to understand how a human being can be this evil."

My own choice is Abraham Lincoln. I would be curious to see how the real man lived up to the legend that has sprung up around him. I would also be curious to see how someone can deal with two dead sons, lifelong depression, public scorn, years of a horrifying war and a lunatic wife, and still keep on functioning.

What about you?

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Writers' Corner / Anyone interested in reading my new WIP?
« on: August 24, 2018, 06:12:46 PM »
In between longer novels I'm now making good on an idea I've mention previously, and writing a fantasy novella. It's my chance to explore some ideas I've been wanting to cover, such as mind control and benevolent dictatorship.

In short the story opens with a character being freed from mind control by celestial beings who have taken over a country, and is trying to make it to the border, while reflecting on what was done to her and whether it was good or bad.

I'm already two chapters in, and it all has my trademark fast pace.

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Writers' Corner / Idea for a standalone novel. Mind control is fun.
« on: August 11, 2018, 11:59:16 AM »
Because the creative part of my brain never gives me a moment's peace and seems determined to overload my backlog with story ideas, I've recently gotten one for potentially my first ever standalone fantasy novel. It would be my chance to get certain ideas out of my system, such as mind control and the idea of a benevolent dictatorship.

I'd appreciate some first impressions of the basic outline:

During a time of great crisis the mystics of a kingdom summoned helpful entities from another plane of reality. I'm using "Bright Lords" as a placeholder title. Anyway, they are highly magical being with an instinct for order and kindness... but as it turns out not much concern for individual freedoms nor patience for humanity to sort its own problems out.

Rather than leave the Bright Lords stay and take over, establishing a classless society of even distribution and no prejudice of any kind. They are aided in this by humans who have proven strong and resourceful (such as by opposing the Lords), whom they subject to magical slavery. These slaves gain some of their master's power and exist in a constant state of satisfaction, with any thoughts of discontent or anger at their situation being quickly brushed away by the spell.

Meanwhile the Bright Lords do face opposition, such as by the expat ruling class, religious authorities, people who just plain don't want to live under firm control, and neighbouring nations who want more land for themselves.

The story would kick off in the moment one of the slaves is ambushed by a resistance group and freed from the controlling spell, then take off by the group to give advice in dealing with the Bright Lords. This character would be confused, having to deal with the chaos of normal human thought again and the loss of purpose, while being hunted by their former comrades, who want to bring them back into the fold and act genuinely hurt over the escape. The main character would feel quite conflicted.

The general idea is very fresh and therefore vague, but there would be cloak and dagger stuff involving attempts to retake control of the kingdom, as well as musings on whether happiness is worth less when induced. The climax would be about averting war, and the main character having to willingly enter the magic bond again in order to have the power to save innocent lives. They would then reflect on how whether right or wrong their servitude was at least a decision this time, and that it meant something.

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