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Topics - Peat

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Character Driven vs Plot Driven
« on: May 27, 2020, 04:55:03 PM »
In my blog thread Bea had this to say


Can't we just talk about plot-driven vs. character-driven?
I keep thinking about this, and I think it was you who mentioned it, and I think I'm moving towards character-driven, meaning I need to care about the characters to care about the plot.
In Priory of the orange tree I loved the characters and was heavily invested - and I still love it, despite having read a few reviews highlighting plot problems. I contrast that with Weeks' Lightbringer series, this gave me the words to explain why I really liked the first 3 books but found the last 2 very meh: I cared about the characters in those initial books, but then he changed their personality, some more than others, and I didn't really like them anymore, and that really brought my enjoyment down...

And I thought it'd be interesting to talk about character and plot, how we see them interlinked, and where our preferences lie (beyond both).


For me, when I talk about Character Driven/Plot Driven, I'm thinking mainly of the sort of writerly definition - https://nybookeditors.com/2017/02/character-driven-vs-plot-driven-best/ gives a good description. The TL:DR version of that article is:

Most good works have a lot of both because one feeds into the other, but there's usually a primary focus. Plot is about What the character does and How they do it - Character is about What the character becomes and How they come to the decision.

It's a kinda woolly definition but I do find it useful (if nothing else than for starting arguments) and think when you try looking at a lot of books, you start to see it.

Using this definition, I'm not sure what I prefer other than, well, both. A common sign of good fiction is when impressive feats of prowess have unintended results that cause a lot of soul-searching. However, I do find that when I'm talking to other people about books, I'm most likely to talk about the characters, so it's probably the character-led part that's slightly most important to me.

I guess the other part is that if we're looking at things that kill my interest in a book then after prose, bad characterisation or characters I don't care for is the biggest killer.

So maybe I am sure and it is character. I need a good plot for the book to feel right, but character does seem to be more important to me.

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General Discussion / If there was a brand new Fantasy TV show
« on: February 24, 2020, 02:05:36 AM »
What would you want it to look like?

Got curious about this idea because most Fantasy TV talk seems to revolve around "What series do you want adapted", "Who would you cast as X" etc.etc. And I feel like that's kind of a shame as there's a ton of stuff you could do with a brand new page.

So if there was a brand new Fantasy TV show, what would you like it to look like? What storylines and territory would you want it to cover? Any writers you'd want associated with such a project? Etc.etc.

Me, I think

a) The genre doesn't have much Portal Fiction at the moment and the difference between our world and a secondary is something the screen can really give an extra dimension.
b) I'd love to see some Fantasy shot in some of the more out-there locales around - jungle, desert, what not.
c) I'd love to see some genre-bending shown off to a wider scale - most of the series getting made are pretty standard trad fantasy, and I love trad fantasy, but why not show some fantasy with more of a mystery or war bent?

What does everybody else think?

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Fantasy Movies, Comic Books & Video Games / The Rise of Skywalker
« on: December 27, 2019, 01:03:04 PM »
Surprised there's not a thread for this already. Anybody else seen it? Saw it yesterday and thought it's the best of the series I've seen since the original trilogy (bar Rogue One).

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Links, Competitions and 'Stuff' / The Peat's Blog thread
« on: December 09, 2019, 09:32:34 PM »
She Who Reigns Over Us All In Crimson Cheer recently suggested that I should post more of my blog here... so remember, its her fault ;) Starting a thread to keep it contained (for now at least)

On Violence and Fig Leaves

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Favourite Groups in Fantasy
« on: January 16, 2019, 01:44:34 PM »
Weird Question maybe. But which Fantasy groups do you most enjoy reading about? Did the Aes Sedai tickle your fancy, or are you heavily invested in whether you're Gryffindor or Slytherin, or are you all about that Night's Watch?

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Wotcha peeps, did an interview with our own Cam recently and figured people might like a gander :D

http://peatlong.blogspot.com/2018/09/i-wanted-high-magic-and-hideous.html

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Writers' Corner / Post-disaster first chapters
« on: January 08, 2018, 10:56:27 PM »
(warning - this is a kinda thinking aloud post)

I've been playing around with first chapters recently and noticed I'm frequently going with the aftermath of a disaster for my first chapter.

Now, I feel this is slightly unusual. Most books seem to start with either

a) An "action" sequence; usually either with a disaster happening, or something seemingly good but eventually catastrophic happening.

b) Everyday reality into which a disruptive element is dropped in.

Its not that I don't think post-disaster can't work or anything like that. Every murder story that starts with someone at a crime scene is post-disaster; every story that starts with someone waking up on a battlefield or in jail.

But I am wondering whether its harder. Whether the reactive nature of the situation makes interjecting a hook more difficult. I'd have thought that it would make it easier - he's in a jail! Be hooked! - but it doesn't seem to work that way. I mean, obviously it doesn't when you think about it. Being in jail is where he is - the hook is what he does about.

And I feel like that there is a problem here in that it adds to the descriptive burden too much because not only do you have to introduce character, setting, hook, you also have to explain why the hell they're there; what disaster happened.

I do like the idea of it though and its effects when it works. It sets stakes really early and because it features the character thinking more than acting, it introduces the character better. Well, for my money, at least if they're a thinky character.

Does this make sense to people? Can anyone think of some opening chapters that really worked for them in this vein? Is there anything I'm missing about the strengths and weaknesses of this approach?

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Writers' Corner / Article by Ada Palmer on Structure
« on: December 23, 2017, 09:05:09 PM »
I found this article on Tor at the start of the month and fell in love with the way she described the story telling process. I think its the first time I've seen someone separate Structure from Plot - examining When things happen and the mood they're meant to evoke as much as What things happen. I also think what she has to say about Voice and how it shapes a book to be particularly interesting too.

Anyway, figured I'd stick it up here and see if anyone else found it useful, and see whether anyone else finds themselves thinking more in terms of Structure and Voice than Plot and Character. For me it feels like someone's expressed something I'd been edging towards; revealing something I realised I'd always known.

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Links, Competitions and 'Stuff' / Interview with T. Eric Bakutis
« on: December 23, 2017, 07:30:02 PM »
I try not to spam blog updates here, but since its with one of our own, I figured more people might be interested and this seemed the best place for it. So come and read it people - An interview with Eric!

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Mothers in Fantasy
« on: September 19, 2016, 05:16:25 AM »
So this has been kicking around my head for a while but giving birth in a fantasy book's like pogo jumping through a mine field. You're lucky to get a burial, nevermind actually survive.

Now, I know being an Orphan is like +10,000 points on the application form to being a Chosen One so parents often get offed but even so, if just one parent survived, you know its the dad. Mum? She's lucky if our hero even remembers what she looks like!

Am I the only one who's noticed this? Have things improved with modern fantasy? It seems weird to me that something so universal, so revered should be treated so badly by the genre. I guess you could call it a backhanded compliment - "We need to make the little bugger sympathetic... I know, lets kill mummy!"

Or is there a bunch of fantasy with mothers who play meaningful roles (or at least alive) that I can't remember?

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Writers' Corner / The "Its all right" blog post of the day
« on: September 01, 2016, 02:23:13 AM »
So I saw this post by Victoria Schwab and it contains the words that I think all of us need to hear from time to time as we struggle with this damnably stupid business. So here it is:

This book is broken, and other things I tell myself while writing

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Writers' Corner / Short Stories
« on: August 18, 2016, 03:06:40 PM »
So I want to write and submit some short stories.

My problem - I've no clue where to start. Who to go go, what lengths they're looking for, whether there's any particular themes that do well.

Can anyone school this noob on the finer points of getting published for some short stories?

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Fantasy Resources / Story Structure
« on: August 16, 2016, 01:21:08 PM »
So I came across this Pintrest board elsewhere and it contains tons and tons and TONS of diagrams with suggestions of how to structure your story better. Sticking it here in the hope others also find it useful.

https://www.pinterest.com/robingood/storytelling-plots-and-structures-for-writing-grea/

Okay, 17, not tons. :p

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Fantasy Resources / Mr Walks Silent
« on: July 24, 2016, 06:45:25 AM »
People who can walk without making a sound are a pretty common thing in fantasy - but do any of us actually know how its done? I don't. I googled, and found this - https://delamagente.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/16-tips-in-the-science-of-walking-silently/ - which looks really good. But I could be wrong and it could be awful.

So I thought I'd both share it - and ask if anyone had or knew better.

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