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Messages - zmunkz

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Fantasy Resources / Re: Brandon Sanderson Writing Lectures at BYU
« on: November 02, 2017, 01:32:41 AM »
I know this is an old thread, but I finally finished a project I undertook some time ago, and have collected ALL of the Sanderson lectures into one place. This includes the 2010 JordonCon, 2012 BYU, 2013 BYU, 2014 BYU, and the 2016 BYU.

They've helped me immeasurably and are definitely worth checking out of you are a newer writer. (Oh, and I didn't monetize anything, this is purely meant to be a resource for people).

My blog has the separated links to each series:

Or, you can check out the whole set using this playlist:

Writers' Corner / Re: Multiple MC deaths
« on: April 10, 2017, 01:48:24 AM »
I think @Peat hit some excellent examples of where it works. They key is looking at the examples and understanding how the author "earned" betraying the reader in that way, and make sure you take cues from this. Essentially this will have to do with tonal promises and foreshadowing.

Just to take two...

Martin was careful to establish the tone of his series in book 1 with Ned. In addition to this, his prolific cast made it so he was really telling "the story of westeros" not "character XXX's story" which gave him a lot more license to interchange who was relevant to the big picture. This was clear well before characters started dying left and right.

Rowling earned the battle for Hogwarts by taking us through seven years of the characters' lives and slowly building the stakes over seven books until it was inevitable that not everyone could come out on the other side. If she had ended book 1 in a similar manner it would have been a disaster.

Back to your case, some last general thoughts are: If you are killing off four characters really just to try and squeeze more emotion from a scene, that is a bad reason to do it. If these deaths are shocking but-in-hindsight-inevitable, then you are good to go.

Writers' Corner / Re: Breaking down a story - parts and chapters
« on: December 10, 2016, 04:39:31 AM »
In your particular example, the breaks and parts seem a little erratic and not serving much purpose. In Epic Fantasy, this kind of thing is par for the course (though executed more coherently than in the book you mention). When it is done well, and the parts break up significant movements/chunks of the story, then I'm fine with that. The Stormlight archive books are all plotted as trilogies, and so when he divides each book into three parts, the part breaks feel very natural and fulfilling.

Changing characters between chapters can be annoying, but it also builds world and culture and adds scope that really is impossible with just one. As with anything else, if it is done poorly or for the wrong reasons, the results are jarring and abrasive to readers. Done well, I find character changes quite a delight, as different POVs do their dance and eventually collide.

Writers' Corner / Re: A poem to share
« on: December 08, 2016, 11:39:42 PM »
Wow, that was cool. Very dark, but very beautifully written.

Writers' Corner / Re: Magic Council
« on: October 13, 2016, 10:37:33 PM »
If your magic divides into logical categories, maybe put someone in charge of each category. It might also help if you zoom out and think in terms of big picture. Why does there need to be a counsel? What story-telling value do you intend to gain from this counsel? Answering those questions might help you form something that serves the story.

Less planing, more writing. Things'll come to ya.

Good advice in general, though a little world building can also help. The key is not to tumble down the rabbit hole for its own sake.

Writers' Corner / Re: Writing better dialogue?
« on: October 07, 2016, 05:52:33 AM »
I second the Sanderson lecture referenced.

In my own writing and crit'ing, I find that sometimes when dialogue feels off, it is because there are too many beats around the talking, trying to describe every facial expression, every tone of voice, every secondary movement, etc. This tends to break the flow of natural speech, and often it is made better by stripping things down to just the dialogue and leaving more to the reader's imagination.

Not sure if that applies to your writing, but just a suggestion to consider.

Writers' Corner / Re: Book Series
« on: September 10, 2016, 03:34:44 AM »
Honestly, see if you can put all that into one really awesome book. Saving things for later is more likely to backfire and make the first book dull... that is unless you have a good deal of experience writing series.

Writers' Corner / Re: Chapters: Named or Numbered
« on: September 01, 2016, 03:23:11 AM »
As a reader, I enjoy chapter names when they are clever, but it doesn't impact the reading experience much. It is worth noting that a titled chapter does add a tiny bit of narrative distance, because it reminds the reader they are holding a book and being told a story by an author. Still, that doesn't bother me much personally.

As a writer, I have to say it is hard to keep titles relevant and clever without becoming overworked... I think it would be better not to do chapter titles than to do them poorly, but if you can pull them off to add something, definitely go for it.

Introductions / Re: Hi fellow fantasy fans!
« on: August 30, 2016, 04:12:52 AM »
Welcome and congrats on your achievement!

Writers' Corner / Re: Cutting the page.
« on: August 16, 2016, 04:58:38 AM »
That is a pretty cool idea, although it would translate poorly into ebook and audible.

Writers' Corner / Re: How much did you write today?
« on: August 15, 2016, 06:16:42 AM »
2,400 today. I've definitely noticed increased output since I got this Scrivener iOS app... having my manuscripts with me on the go makes a bigger difference than I would have thought. I used to just make notes in the notepad, but for some reason this changes things for me in a big way. Hope it keeps up, because I have a long way to go!

Writers' Corner / Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
« on: August 13, 2016, 06:41:30 AM »
Uggg ... great thread, but depressing subject, lol. This happened to me three times recently.

1. I love the idea of a forgotten technology that is still running things, and characters encounter or even live with it it in a post-apocalyptic world, not really knowing what it is or who made it or how it works. It was inspired by the ST:TNG episode "When the bough breaks," which explores a different side of that idea. Maybe eight or nine months after jotting this down in my notebook, I read Prince of Thorns, and had to strike this from my idea list.

2. In my first novel, I had a kind of sci-fi magic that would interact with character's emotions and thoughts, manifesting things in reality. Humans could alter the world by thinking about it, en masse, on a subconscious level. I read Black Sun Rising while I was half way through the story. In this case I had read the book when I was very young but completely forgotten what it was about... or so I thought... so I suspect there was some subconscious concept-osmosis going on. Had to go back and entirely gut that theme from the novel.

3. I had a different sort of overlap that I can't explain without spoilers, but I had a sequence written and less than two months later I read The Great Rift and found pretty much the exact same event as I had written, which then induced the same sort of plot twist I had written. Not exactly, but as I was reading the book it was like, "This sounds familiar... no please don't let this happen next... oh no, but surely it won't do this next... bah!"  Decided to ditch the scene and re-outline.

Related to the thread topic are the ideas that grow organically, but when I step back and look at the result, it reminds me of stuff I've read. In my current NiP I have a naturally occurring sort of magic medicine that shows up in specific places of the world at specific times. It is valuable stuff, so different countries/cultures compete to harvest the substance when it appears. It plays an initial role, not a recurring role, and the idea came together very organically from totally non Way Of Kings concepts... but thematically the end result is very similar to the battle for chasm fiend chrysalises found in Way of Kings. For this one I want to get peer feedback to see if it is problematic.

Writers' Corner / Re: How much did you write today?
« on: August 13, 2016, 06:12:00 AM »
1,994 today, bring my WiP to exactly 72,000 words. Half way there!

4900 words.

Wow! Epic day my friend.

Writers' Corner / Re: Is There Room For Yet Another Tolkien Clone?
« on: July 31, 2016, 07:28:19 AM »
I wouldn't worry about fashion so much. New fashions are set when someone writes a great book about something. If you have a good and original story to tell, it doesn't matter if it pulls in some well worn tropes. There is always an audience for Tolkien-esque fantasy, and it sounds like you are adding some additional layers as well.

More religion that Tolkien? *raises eyebrow* The Lord of the Rings has a fairly heavy hit of Tolkien's theology and it's not that far beneath the surface.

Not compared to his contemporary and friend C.S. Lewis, lol. But yeah, they both definitely played with Christian symbolism. Not sure if the OP means actual religions or fantasy religions.

HBO have confirmed S7 will be seven episodes and will not air until later in the, slate as June possibly. Part of the reason is filming will not start until later this year so some of the locations used for northern locations are in winter themselves so the look is more authentic.

And also S8 will be the final season with 6 episodes. I wonder if we will have any new books by then...

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