February 27, 2020, 07:17:36 AM

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Messages - Nora

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Edinburgh has a Candlemaker Row. A street that goes along the ruins of the historical wall of the city, where all candlemakers were forced to operate, because if their shit caught on fire, then it'd be over there by the kirk graveyard and the wall, as far as possible from the rest of the city.

Also, yeah bath houses were very often brothels.

Look at this 15th century King checking out this establishment!

Writers' Corner / Re: Unrepentant Characters
« on: February 18, 2020, 10:24:00 PM »
I have nothing to add to this topic at all. I think it has all been said. End of the day it boils down to homework. You want to write an anti-hero character, study good anti-hero characters and take notes. The one key thing with Hannibal though, is that he's not the main character. The main character is a poor dysfunctional lad.. End of the day the fanbase is rooting for him, and not for Hannibal. Hanni is impossible to empathise with, he can't help himself being a total menace. No one is actually team Hannibal, for all that we're watching him with a lot of interest. It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion, and the train does fantastic train wreck jokes as it goes too.

Hannibal does a lot of jokes only you and him get, it's part of his charm and the horror of the watcher. You know, he knows, and you can't tell any of them. It makes you more invested in the other characters.

But I don't think this show is a good example, since the gorgeous cinematography and sound design are a big part of what makes it good, besides the stellar cast. In a book, you can't have your characters charismatically played by Mads Mikkelsen.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Murderbot series: who’s a fan
« on: February 15, 2020, 04:55:58 PM »
I really love Murderbot. Read the first two. Managed to get them in my shop once but I think my manager chicked out of re-ordering because they're so damn expensive. It's a shame.

Jennie and Geoff post the main site articles on twitter, and sometimes some other things too.

I'd love to become the big link between the forum and the main site, but things seem to move at glaciar speed (although now I've got Marc involved too!)

Is there anything stopping any of us from posting on the FB page though? Posting threads there, saying "hey, we've been discussing this over there, come and join"? or even subtler, just start a conversation on fb saying "on the forum we've been arguing about this (link) what is your opinion on it?" even if unprompted a few people are bound to end up browsing the forum?

If done often enough, especially around the contest, then people will get to know the forum?

edit : as for answering your question. No. I don't tell people about this forum. Mostly because I don't talk to many SFF lovers anywhere. I've told my colleagues, especially around the time I won the erotica topic, I was checking on the vote results at work and having fun letting my friends read samples. I know they'd both completely lack the motivation to come and stalk me here and neither are a writer.
On the internet I simply don't interact with potential writers that much. Besides here, only on reddit.

Monthly Writing Contest / Re: Contest Theme Ideas
« on: February 07, 2020, 11:30:57 AM »
May I suggest "twist at the end" as a topic for next writing contest. It'll be judged by story ofc plus how surprisingly unexpected the twist at end was.

Was going to point out we already did plot twists... and checked. Sure enough it was my second entry ever... in 2015 though.

Whatever happens however, I think you best temper your expectations Bender, the contest seems to be on hold until things are decided, and usually there is a pre-arranged list. Looks like it might change, but please don't expect the next topic to be Twist at the end.

Monthly Writing Contest / Re: What to do about the writing contest?
« on: February 07, 2020, 11:25:59 AM »
Since this Thread is still going, I'd like to argue against everyone who has offered to make this a flash fiction contest.
The rules stipulates a maximum of 1,500, but nothing stops anyone from doing an 800 or 1000 submission. I've rarely managed to fit my stories under 1500, and I'm not good at flash fiction. I genuinely feel that if the maximum cap fell down to 1k I would simply stop participating. It would be too much of a struggle as a writer.

I think keeping it a free format with a minimum and maximum word count is the best option. Others may disagree, it's just my opinion on this specific matter.

Monthly Writing Contest / Re: What to do about the writing contest?
« on: February 06, 2020, 02:42:30 AM »
I personally dropped out of the forum for a variety of reasons. Some people I didn't get along with and put me off entire threads, I reached a point where I felt I didn't have much else "to say" in talking about SFF in general, and have never been one much to talk about books in specifics.
This has been wildly accentuated by my job becoming an SFF specialist bookseller. I talk about books with book lovers 7h a day and have tended to come home wanting to think about something else.  I've also decided to teach myself 3D art as a way of making my work situation bearable throughout Xmas, and this new hobby has pushed writing to the corners of my creative time (and what little I write these days mostly goes to a Star Wars fanfic I'm doing for kicks and giggles with a mate as a pissoff middle finger to the end of the trilogy).

Now there is nothing that can be done about any of that.

However, a few of the topics also did not appeal to me, and that will always be the case, but I do agree that either voting on topics or releasing 4/6 months of topics ahead of schedule might be refreshing. It'll let people who need more time plan ahead on topics they like.

There is also the lack of goal. I get frustrated when I see that some writers post yet don't vote, which carries a ton of weight when there are 5 voters tops. The stories aren't posted on the website, they're not getting exposition, so in the end 4 people read me here, I may never get feedback. So if I don't get an official publication, I may as well post the story on the sf writers subreddit, where I'll get dozens of reads and a handful of reviews. (spoiler alert, I don't do that a lot, I'm too busy animating weird shit these days, but I have done so in the past instead of writing here).

The forum does feel a bit tumbleweedy. We're far from the glory days where Jaymack recruited out new writers the breath after welcoming them to the forum. I don't have any ideas about that. I came to this place on a feverish quest for human company and help at a weird, dark time in my life when I was going insane having a bunch of horses for main company for days on end.
I highly doubt that's the main stream of newcomers. But yeah, if the fb people don't know about us, then what gives? It'd be nice to have the winning stories posted on fb too!! It's sad but true, there is no perks in winning besides patting oneself on the back and the gratification of beating someone else by a single vote.
I can't wait for Bea to get a hand on the staring wheel in that department. She's been relentlessly helping with the contest and always ready to step forward for more while other mods did less and less (for perfectly natural and justified reasons), I'm just chagrined that she hasn't been offered more sooner. The contest has been let to fade from the main site for years, so I suspect this is a negative feeding cycle where the neglect from higher up drips down to lower down, where all the main party involved decide to all go do other things somewhere else.

Which is why I voted for the first and last entries both. It'd be ideal imo for Bea (or anyone, at this point), to work the backlog on the main site, and the powers that be to beat the drum to remind our apparently large community that the forum exists and has a cool contest that is officially back on track.
The contest itself could use a little revamp, with either a thread for topic votes (maybe through likes, each person submitting an idea, and we simmer the best down to a pol, establishing the next 2/3 months that way?) or an open list.
This of course has the perk of being temporary. We could go back to a month by month system if the other doesn't stick.

I have to point out it's something I'm really behind. Sometimes I know from day one I have zero interest in trying the topic and I despair because I have the writing juice but really dislike the topic (like every single fanfic month), could have seen me instead spend two months polishing the next topic if it's more to my taste.
Of course I realise participation might end up even patchier than it is if 5 writers are each writing for a different month... Which is why getting fresh blood is number one.

Erff. Sorry. Might be rambling a bit, it's so late!

Don't take my words or advice too much to heart. I don't feel like I've been participating enough to get much weight in the topic.

My last word is this : please don't stop the contest if there are other options! It is fantastic and is what kept me writing all these years and I'd never have fucking guess I could write a compiling romance in 1500 words in all my life if it weren't for it, and for you guys making this fun. This is just a bump in the road. Please stay strong.

Links, Competitions and 'Stuff' / Re: The Peat's Blog thread
« on: January 04, 2020, 06:58:56 PM »
A review of Marie Brennan's Turning Darkness Into Light - https://peatlong.blogspot.com/2020/01/turning-darkness-into-light-by-marie.html
Yay, I've been looking at this book for ages, so glad to see that Marie continues to write great books :D
Hey @Nora, have you read this one?

Nope! haven't yet! Hope you enjoy it, and hope it holds up to the original series.

[DEC 2019] Tardiness / Re: [Dec 2019] - Tardiness - Discussion Thread
« on: December 07, 2019, 10:02:27 AM »
I assume he has clear beats, with a chunk being the final confrontation and resolution. If he hasn't even reached writing that, then yeah he's not even halfway in.

Time to make tough choices  :P

[SEP/OCT 2019] School / Re: [Sep/Oct 2019] - School - Voting Thread
« on: November 29, 2019, 11:12:45 AM »
@Jonathan Ryan don't forget to vote too!

I read it and really enjoyed it. Also read and enjoyed the second one. They are in a similar universe to The Vagrant, it ties in somehow. But there is a lot more dialogue and a lot more plot.

Don't know why you'd read it if it doesn't sound like your thing though?

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: never Heard of this award before
« on: November 05, 2019, 01:07:54 PM »
I see Nora's point of view and I agree with it, but when I read the article it felt a lot more like what Rostum and Dan said: any book that didn't have violence against women, regardless of quality or if the plot made sense, could enter the contest.

As Skip and Cupiscent pointed out, anyone can enter a book award if it is open to the public, so why judge the quality of entries before a shortlist is out, or a winner even? I assume an award is best judged by the quality of what it selects over some years.

I'm sorry if I came across as angry, it certainly flusters me to see people challenging why women should have anything that's free and doesn't take anything away from anyone, and I've been dealing with more sexism than usual IRL recently.

Overall I just don't understand why we're discussing the legitimacy of a new award, as we should all be pleased it means one more type of entry for a potential writer, and some truly silly topics exist out there, with plenty of room and freedom for writers who like their women raped and dismembered.

[SEP/OCT 2019] School / Re: [Sep/Oct 2019] - School - Voting Thread
« on: November 04, 2019, 08:11:58 PM »
Yep, voted too!

This only thing La Belle Sauvage does for me in the end is justify why Oxford looks almost more like Venice, and why they can boat literally anywhere. God I was so disappointed by that book.

And btw if you remember they're not even following the scene as it was in that book either. Belle Sauvage isn't canon!! Yay!

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: never Heard of this award before
« on: November 03, 2019, 09:54:43 PM »
One of the shortlisted books is about a 15th century murder of a man. Does this not make it hypocritical? I think I would have more time for this if it was no one instead of no woman.

Sorry for double post, but reading this makes me unhappy.

Seriously, it's the exact same argument people had when Ann Leckie brought out a scifi book where everyone was she/her regardless of biological gender, and half the male readership lost their minds saying "boo, why not everyone he/him?!"

A work that is meant to not bring violence to "women" doesn't have to do the same for men. Men aren't the topic. Men don't need protection. Two men don't die each week at the hands of their current or former partner in the UK, but women do.
Books featuring men certainly don't feel the obligation to make their work egalitarian. Will you propose every crime novel from now on should always have either no death/beatings or deaths/beatings of both men and women, in perfect ratio? No. Of course. It's fine for men to write about women being raped and cut in pieces by men, and a man catching that man, so the girl's dad/boyfriend can feel better, unless he's the culprit! But if a woman writes a book in which a man dies and no woman does, for an award that refuses titles that show harm done to women, that is worthy of note, of discomfort, of a forum post.

What if someone decided to bring out a book prize that says "Gay people don't die or have a sad ending in these books". Will you come out and say it's bullshit that a straight person dies? That a straight person has a sad ending?

Please tell me no, because that would simply be reactionary. And I feel like this "dubious reaction" to a prize that no one forces any of you to read is a knee jerk reaction. It doesn't affect your lives. Other people will read the books and other people will finance the award. You don't have to care. You don't have to even know it exist, just like you may not know about this award :

"The Stonewall Book Award is a set of three literary awards that annually recognize "exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender experience" in English-language books published in the U.S."

Have you heard about it? read from its shortlist? cared? Has it affected your lives as writers or readers?

Is it something to complain about too? Because a minority wants to showcase itself and to offer a shortlist of good works to people who can identify with them?

Maybe that new award that protects women isn't for you, but I sure am grateful for it, and apparently so is Lady T.

Let's not start a war on hypocritical behaviour related to prizes and awards and gender, because trust me, men wouldn't win it.

Edit: and if you wanna educate yourself on "book awards and women" and feel why challenging female representation is in bad taste, you can read this fascinating article : https://qz.com/838175/the-national-book-award-and-other-top-literary-prizes-seriously-under-represent-women/

Pretty damn shocking to see these numbers. 90% of awards going to men in massive awards in france, spain, international. Awards existing for over a hundred years barely giving away 12 spots to women!
And then you have us, with the Hugo, leading the world for fairness in representation with a shitty 30% going to female authors.

And the closing words :

Of the 17 women who’ve won the National Book Award, seven did it in the last 15 years. But as well as the gender gap in prizewinners, the literary world has to also contend with the gender disparity in the winning authors’ main characters. Novels in which the main character is female win far fewer prizes than novels with a male main character.

So yeah, dissing on small, female driven prizes is in real bad taste. Let us have something to enjoy please.

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