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Messages - CryptofCthulhu

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1
Writers' Corner / Re: Who is writing?
« on: February 15, 2020, 10:24:52 AM »
I'm happy with things being a hobby at the moment, so it's just a lot of research and a lot of planning. I'm not worried about the prose portion of the writing, or the dialogue, I just want the plot to be seamless and things to be logical enough so that there are no unnecessary distractions, as far as worldbuilding ideas are concerned.

The prose and dialogue can be revised until things are just right, even if it takes a few times to get it right. I want the plot points to connect well, the surprises and twists to be foreshadowed enough to stay somewhat below the surface, but also make sense when they happen.

I'm definitely a plotter when it comes to structuring the story.


2
Writers' Corner / Re: Non-linear storytelling and audience retention
« on: February 09, 2020, 06:57:17 PM »

And I'd prefer if Character A's arc is finished and he's given a good ending rather than just dropping off. He can make guest appearances in Character B story arc without appearing as a sidekick.

That's basically what I'm doing, though Character A won't be a tag along sidekick, but he'll have a role still.

While Character B is off in this new realm, Character A and his comrades will be doing some investigating into the phenomenon that caused the gateway to open in the first place. So both of their plots are leading towards the same conclusion, it's just that Character B is experiencing it up close and personal.



3
Writers' Corner / Re: Non-linear storytelling and audience retention
« on: February 09, 2020, 09:05:35 AM »
>(stand alone novels that cover previous adventures that add a lot to character development)
This is the heart of the issue, for this reader. I don't care about a character's development *except* in the context of the story. If I want to read about previous adventures it's only going to be because the current story has made me care about them. So, interrupting the current story is only going to irritate me.

An example of doing it right: The Expanse. The authors (ignore the very good show; TV ain't novels) give us an exciting epic. We watch the four main characters develop over the course of several novels. Yes there's bits of background here and there, but always in service to the story.

Of course there's more to know, and Team Corey knew what to do. They published standalone novellas that are absolutely not necessary to reading the main story. They're there for folks who want more, and probably because those novellas were already half-written in authors' notes. Doesn't matter if the backstory is hundreds of years ago or two days prior to the story's beginning. They're in the past and they're not the story.

As for what you *should* do, just give it a go, whichever way you choose. Chances are high it won't feel right to you, and you'll rework it all anyway!

Good points!

I guess writing the whole story from the very beginning to the end is the way to start. After that I can mess with the order of things and see if any of it actually works.

4
Writers' Corner / Re: Non-linear storytelling and audience retention
« on: February 08, 2020, 04:13:52 PM »

Ultimately as a reader, if an author were to jump back to tell several stories that take place in the past, based on a character that we will assume is popular, before finishing the story as a whole, would this cause you to lose interest and give up on the story? I know execution is all that matters, but if someone told you about this series beforehand and that you need to jump back to some prequels before finishing the end of the series, in order to understand it all, would that be a negative in your mind?

TL:DR Is going back to write "prequel" novels (stand alone novels that cover previous adventures that add a lot to character development) regarding the main protagonist before the main story is completed a risk worth taking? Assuming the current story arc was wrapped up without creating too many questions that would leave the audience disappointied that they weren't address in the next installment.

The Deverry Cycle by Katharine Kerr is based on the idea of following a set of characters through reincarnations, with the result that a lot of the books features long sections about what happened to the characters in previous lives hundreds of years ago. Not separate prequel books, but close.

David Gemmell's Drenai series has a different publishing and chronological order. His first book turned out to be the 9th chronologically. It is preceded - chronologically - by the 10th published book. Now, all the books stand alone, and nobody knew that was the plan beforehand, but it is again close to what you suggest.

Mercedes Lackey did a similar thing with Heralds of Valdemar, and there is more of a narrative arc between her trilogies in the overarching series.

There's other examples if I dig deep enough. I think what you are suggesting is doable.

I think the biggest problem I would run into is leaving the readers with a huge teaser/cliffhanger at the end of the second story arc. If I went from that to a story that took place in the past, it might feel like the rug was pulled out from under them when they were anticipating a continuation of the current story. That's why I'm ending the second story arc with nearly all previous plot questions answers. At the end of the second story arc a magical ritual has unintended consequences that opens a portal to another world that was once part of the human world. We go from a world that is more based in "realism" to one that is full on fantasy.

The other option is inserting a lot of flashbacks, which I'm worried could hurt the flow of the narrative. Character B will reveal information as times goes on, so he won't remain a complete mystery. His interaction with Character A creates opportunities to learn more about him and his past. There's another character that begins to investigate him and slowly uncovers his plot.

Basically I have two options with Character B. I introduce him as a character shrouded in mystery in the present, slowly revealing what he's up to over time and the effects it has on the world. Or I start his story from the beginning, get to the point where his soul is taken from him, leave that as a cliffhanger, then jump forward a hundred years or so, reintroduce him in the present, but try not to give away that it's the same character too soon. Both are doable, the second option would just be a lot harder.

5
Writers' Corner / Re: Non-linear storytelling and audience retention
« on: February 08, 2020, 04:00:16 PM »
Another question is have is, is character A really needed in this story? This sounds like it is the story of character B, and A is off doing something mostly unrelated that stops being relevant halfway through the story. Maybe leave that storyline out or make it a different book. That way you could also tell yhe story of B chronologically and avoid all the issues I mentioned above.

Character A would be a Frodo type character (for lack of a better example) where Character B would be like Aragorn if you crossed him with Clint Eastwood's character in High Plains Drifter. Character A is vital to the plot.

6
Writers' Corner / Non-linear storytelling and audience retention
« on: February 08, 2020, 08:40:47 AM »
This is a question that's been bugging me for awhile as it is kind of the sticking point as to how I ultimately arrange my story.

The story starts in the present and there are two protagonists. One of which is just starting on his journey, which we can refer to as Character A, while the other has a history that goes back several hundred years (which we don't learn about until later in the story) which is Character B.

Character A is the main focus of the first two story arcs, while Character B plays more of a mystery character that is deeply intertwined with the back story of the first arc, but plays a slightly less important role in the second story arc.

The first arc ends with victory over the main antagonist after a big war takes place. The second story arc ends when Character A saves his friends from a supernatural threat that was the initial motivation for him setting out on his journey, and Character B achieves the goal he has been striving for over the past few centuries, which pertains to him reclaiming his soul.

At the end of the second story arc there is a major even that takes place that leads to the beginning of the third and final story arc, which is essentially the opening of a gateway into another realm.

Character B is ultimately the main character of the entire story, which comes to a close after the events that take place in this mysterious new realm.

My intention with introducing him in the present, instead of just starting with his story set hundreds of years into the past and moving towards the present, is that I want him to be a mystery character that is slowly revealed as time goes on because he's the architect of a lot of what takes place during the first story arc. His sole purpose is to reclaim the soul he lost, and he's willing to play the political game in order to force a continent wide war because the main antagonist is the character that stole his soul in the first place.

What I'm trying to decide is whether or not I should finish the second story arc, which is essentially the end of Character A as a main protagonist and his demotion to a side character, and go straight into the final story arc where the central focus is on Character B, or go back to the very beginning, hundreds of years ago, and work up to the present with Character B's back story (as opposed to using flashbacks to fill in this information).

The only comparison I could think of would be Star Wars while using Darth Vader as an example. The prequels come after the original trilogy, so we are introduced to Darth Vader as this dark lord of the sith that ultimately redeems himself in some way, and then we are shown the story that lead up to his giving into the dark side. If the story had been told in chronological order we would have a better appreciation for Vader's redemption arc, but the mystery and interest created by beginning with him as a sith lord would be lost, and his revelation to Luke spoiled.

Ultimately as a reader, if an author were to jump back to tell several stories that take place in the past, based on a character that we will assume is popular, before finishing the story as a whole, would this cause you to lose interest and give up on the story? I know execution is all that matters, but if someone told you about this series beforehand and that you need to jump back to some prequels before finishing the end of the series, in order to understand it all, would that be a negative in your mind?

TL:DR Is going back to write "prequel" novels (stand alone novels that cover previous adventures that add a lot to character development) regarding the main protagonist before the main story is completed a risk worth taking? Assuming the current story arc was wrapped up without creating too many questions that would leave the audience disappointied that they weren't address in the next installment.

7
Writers' Corner / Re: Anthropology and world building
« on: June 22, 2017, 08:52:38 AM »
Thanks all! This will help me get started! :)

8
Writers' Corner / Anthropology and world building
« on: June 21, 2017, 01:06:15 PM »
I wanted to know if anyone on FF could recommend some good resources on anthropology. Either websites, blogs, books, YT channels, etc.

I'm working on a history of humans in my fantasy world and need to get a better grasp on the progress of civilizations, technological advancements, the evolution of governments, religion, etc.

I'm going to use some of our actual history as a reference and then makes some changes here and there since magic is a new variable.

9
Writers' Corner / Re: Are taverns overused?
« on: June 21, 2017, 12:39:51 PM »
I think how they tend to be depicted might be a bit overused, as well as not entirely accurate. Too many end up more like a western saloon than a real medieval inn.

It would be interesting to identify a set of original and contemporaneous sources (Canterbury Tales?) for medieval, Renaissance (Shakespeare) or Elightenment era taverns (Henry Fielding?).

Some inns were simply the homes of locals that were renting out a room or bed for extra money. Cramped, dirty, smelly, etc.

10
Writers' Corner / Re: Brandon Sanderson Appreciation Thread
« on: June 21, 2017, 10:52:31 AM »
His writing instructional lectures are great. Not a fan of his books though.

11
Writers' Corner / Re: Are taverns overused?
« on: June 21, 2017, 10:51:57 AM »
I think how they tend to be depicted might be a bit overused, as well as not entirely accurate. Too many end up more like a western saloon than a real medieval inn.

12
Writers' Corner / Re: Culture in worldbuilding
« on: April 30, 2017, 01:00:17 PM »
Some elements of the cultural appropriation discussion are really disturbing to me--there's a certain nazi-like ethnic purism to it no matter how you slice it. So while I don't think people of color should assault white stoners who have dreds for appropriating rasta culture and not behaving white enough for them, and I'm a-okay with white rappers, I still get uncomfortable when people are actually *hurt* by cultural appropriation in other contexts.  I went to see the pyramids outside of mexico city like every other tourist and there were like a million mestizos and white meta-physical types who probably buy crystals at the new age store or whatever trying to touch a silver spot on the top of the pyramid with one hand while touching the rays of the sun with another hand, all while people with giant phablets were taking pictures of themselves or their friends doing it-- it was a giant clusterfuck.  The part that stuck with me was the indigenous woman-- the sole purely indigenous person on the whole Aztec pyramid, just crying as she watched the circus of tourists.  Idk that just really got to me.  Or in Tucson AZ, where Latinos are afraid to teach their children Spanish b/c everyone's all about the wall and trying to deport everyone, but then a bunch of white people do a giant Day of the Dead parade with organs that shoot fire and it's like a live action version of Tim Burton's the Corpse Bride, but if Wes Anderson had directed it and people who are actually from Mexico have to live in fear and then watch their religious holiday get murdered by white people in some sort of an unintentional parody...  But I digress.

As it applies to writing, I think the same applies.  Some people will get super worked up about stuff for nooooooo damn logical reason (ahem... the angry millenial twitter mob driving Joss Whedon off of social media a couple of years ago).  It's fair to say people are dumbshits. 

On the other hand, some people are constantly burdened with intense stereotypes their entire lives, and it would suck to write something that actually hurts someone by being careless or ignorant or willfully racist (errr... Camp of the Saints?).  Especially w/ some of the way-off perceptions you get here about say... idk all of Asia... then sort of bringing your (completely false, stereotypical) caricature to life in your own thinly veiled Asia-but-with-a-fantasy-name could make some readers understandably upset. 

So I guess I spent a really long time writing this to say... I kinda get where both sides of this debate are coming from and navigating the issue is pretty tricky.

I think some of the time, the actual insulting content, is a result of being clueless about how it comes across, and not necessarily the author being malicious.

I have an entire continent based on Africa in my series that I'm going to be populating with different cultures, tribes etc. Needless to say I'm going to be doing a lot of research to make these cultures feel authentic. It's not going to be a bunch of people in loincloths with bones in their noses carrying spears around. That would just be idiotic and I'd be making a complete ass of myself by doing that.

That being said, I'm not including these "non-European" type cultures becomes I'm crusading for diversity in literature. Given all the fantasy stories I'm interested in writing will take place within this particular world, I don't want to just create a single continent and assume everything takes place there. Interaction with different ethnic groups, cultures, civilizations etc., is a normal part of history. It is just bound to happen when the technology makes it feasible to travel across bodies of water, or mountain ranges, deserts etc.

I'm going to take some creative license as I don't want these civilizations to be a 1:1 with our own world, so that may or may not jive with certain people.

13
Writers' Corner / Re: Culture in worldbuilding
« on: April 30, 2017, 11:36:30 AM »
As far as I'm concerned the language police and the politically correct cry babies can go to hell.  Not worth living in fear over what someone might say about your writing.

On the other hand, if your aim is to get published then it is well worth bearing these considerations in mind, as publishing houses are increasingly reluctant to take on projects that are tone-deaf when it comes to cultural sensitivity. Of course, I'm not saying that you should attempt to write what you think other people want to read rather than what you want to write. But I think there's a difference between trying to write what you think other people want to read, and trying not to write something that you think other people definitely won't want to read.

The thing is, there will always be someone that gets upset by something someone else writes about and will make a big stink about it. It's practically the cultural norm these days in America. Fake outrage is the national sport. I don't think many authors are trying to be malicious and denigrate people intentionally with their writing.

In the series I'm working on I have the prototypical European setting, but I also have other continents and cultures that are based off of African, Middle Eastern, and Asian civilizations. No matter how hard I try to portray these groups fairly, I can guarantee you that someone will call me a racist and accuse me of cultural appropriation because I'm white and I wrote about another ethnic group in my story. I can't worry about whether or not this will happen and become paranoid about every word I type because it might trigger someone's emotions.

Even if it means I have to self-publish, I'm not going to compromise what I do just because a handful of people might get upset and cry about it. That kind of person will always exist and will always be there to give you a 1 out of 5 star rating and write a nasty review of your work, even if there is nothing that is offensive in it.

14
Writers' Corner / Re: Damn You For Getting To That Idea First
« on: April 30, 2017, 11:28:52 AM »
Take the idea and make it your own. Simple as that.

15
Yes you are overthinking this.  ;)

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