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Messages - Shadowhand

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Perfect short story length?
« on: January 15, 2016, 03:22:06 AM »
Most paying/professional markets range from 2-7k. I've always struggled writing S&S/fantasy adventure stories under 7k. Most of mine range from 7-10k.

I tried D&D Online and Neverwinter, but the only MMO that really grabbed me was City of Heroes. Maybe it was the customization that allowed me to create the superheroes that were in my head, which then transferred to the making of my own stories as I played. Or maybe it was how hard I found it (as a personality trait, not as a game mechanic) to team up with others, which made the others not "feel" like D&D, which has always been a form of group storytelling to me.

For me, video games are storytelling to me, whether I'm immersed in the story being told or creating my own. They don't replace books, but I have found the medium much more accessible and engaging in recent years. I have found this the case in both reading and writing. I'm not a programmer, so writing is my default for storytelling, but I have spent a lot of time envisioning (and sometimes documenting) my stories as games rather than novels.

Writers' Corner / Re: Trends in Contemporary Fantasy
« on: March 14, 2015, 03:20:39 AM »
As Kristin Nelson explained in her blog, there are two different ways to compare your novel to another published work. One is to say the writing is of the same quality as (or better than) [insert well-known author]. This is a quick path to rejection.

The other is to demonstrate a knowledge of what is currently in the marketplace and how the setting, conflict, themes, or characters of your novel might compare or contrast. For example, you might mention how your high fantasy novel features violent political intrigue in the same vein as Song of Fire and Ice.

Writers' Corner / Re: Trends in Contemporary Fantasy
« on: March 13, 2015, 05:07:11 AM »
I'd echo the mantra "write what you like," as I've heard it numerous times from authors (Paul Kemp, R.A. Salvatore,  to name a couple off the top of my head). I did recently read a blog from Kristin Nelson, a literary agent who does accept fantasy, and she recommended being able to show an awareness of where your novel fit in the current market when you query agents:
  • List other titles that would be comparable to yours.
  • Add a line that readers who enjoyed X title, Y title, and Z title would also like your story.
  • Clearly designate your novel’s correct genre or type of work.
Read the full blog for more explanation and reasons why this is a good idea.

Writers' Corner / Re: Realistic setting, magical embellishment?
« on: January 19, 2015, 06:07:06 PM »
There needs to be some element of magic or the supernatural to qualify as fantasy. Your Arthurian animals sounds more bizarre or alien. Throw in Excalibur and some spells from Merlin or Morgan Le Fey and you're set.

That said, magical realism is a pretty popular sub-genre in short fiction. Real world settings with just a touch of magic or supernatural. Fantasy Magazine favors magical realism stories.

Writers' Corner / Re: Does a Fantasy story have to be action based?
« on: December 30, 2014, 06:34:39 AM »
Jordan's Wheel of Time novels involve a lot of political intrigue, much moreso than combat, especially as the series hits its midstride. Beneath Ceaseless Skies, a fantasy e-mag, features a lot of fantasy short stories that have little or no combat. I've found high fantasy stories tend to be more about the journey (physical, spiritual, emotional) than actual combat. Robin Hobbs's Assassin series, Brooks's early Shannara novels, Tad Williams's Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy, and of course Tolkien all fit this mold.

If your specifically looking for fantasy courtroom-drama, I'm afraid I can't think of any examples off the top of my head.

Table Top & RPG Games / Re: Favorite tabletop RPG that isn't D&D?
« on: November 17, 2014, 11:05:30 PM »
TSR's Marvel Super Heroes (aka FASERIP) was my second favorite RPG. I played it a lot in junior high, and it is the system that birthed most of the heroes in my own universe.

Writers' Corner / Re: So many ideas, but no stories
« on: November 15, 2014, 12:52:14 AM »
Start asking questions about your characters, like what would he/she do in situation X? As you explore the answer, perhaps one will blossom into a story idea.

You can do something similar with setting. What events have shaped the people or the land? How did that event begin? Who were the major players? Why were they involved? Again, these answers can lead you to some possible story ideas.

Writers' Corner / Re: Writing Tools - Revisited
« on: October 28, 2014, 12:26:12 AM »
Word and a laptop with Dropbox.

General Discussion / Re: Hemingwrite: typewriter for a new age?
« on: October 28, 2014, 12:20:59 AM »
I've resorted to taking my laptop to the public library, but not asking for the wi-fi code, in order to be at my most productive. I like the concept, but the small screen and having to take the extra step of importing it into Word later for editing make me hesitate. If I'm going to have to use my laptop later, anyway, I might as well stick with it.

Writers' Corner / Re: What Makes a Great Story?
« on: October 14, 2014, 05:48:13 AM »
What makes a great story? I do. Or would that be "who makes a great story"? Does that mean I'm trying to say grammar makes a great story? I hope not, because we all know that it's relatable, dynamic characters that make a great story.  ;)

Writers' Corner / Re: Why prologs?
« on: October 07, 2014, 02:23:21 AM »
Prologues are the literary equivalent of an introduction or preface. One of my most popular blog posts is on the purpose of prologues in fantasy fiction. It's unfortunate that their function has become distorted and abused.

Non-Fantasy Books / Re: Best Non-Fantasy Book you have read?
« on: September 27, 2014, 09:03:05 PM »
My definition of "best" being the ones that have made the biggest impact on me as a person and influenced how I perceive the world (the fact that they were good reads is a given), I would have to say The Jungle by Upton Sinclair and The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.

Writers' Corner / Re: So you got yourself a wizard. What does he do?
« on: September 25, 2014, 06:08:10 AM »
In my Chronicles of Jord setting, mages are archivists and researchers of the magic and artifacts used by the dragons that invaded their world. Practicing dragon magic is against the law, but there are those that believe it a mistake not to learn about the weapons of the enemy should they ever return.

Writers' Corner / Re: World building question,
« on: August 17, 2014, 10:32:01 PM »
A good rule of thumb is to start with what is most relevant to the plot/story you are writing. I tend to start with factions, cultures, civilizations that the main character(s) will interact with/be immersed in the most. Geography is usually a close second. Gotta have a setting to make it a story, and half of setting is "where". The other half being "when" might also be a good place to start.

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