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Messages - AshKB

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Writers' Corner / Re: What's the point of romance in fantasy?
« on: April 19, 2016, 04:02:04 AM »
Historical Romance has always been popular - right now, as it has been for a large number of years, the most popular is Regency Era. If you wanted a good idea of what romance fans actually read? Go to a romance website. Read their reviews. Smart Bitches, Trashy Books is an excellent example of a group of fans who know what they like, and aren't shy about the flaws in the genre. And a lot of what people like, when something isn't labelled erotica? Is character. Because if the aim is the Happily Ever After, then you have to work hard to make it interesting.

(And do I even need to state the numbers that the genre makes? If you don't think romance isn't popular, you really aren't looking.)

As for romance integrated into a large work, what @Nora said. It's realistic. Humans fall in love. We fall out of love. Love dominates our culture, our music, our media. To not include romance at all? Is not to portray our species at all realistically. And given the current emphasis on 'realism', there could stand be far, far more thoughtful treatments of the subject.

I'm honestly a bit disappointed in the thread-starter. We don't really have to indulge in genre-snobbery, and looking down on emotions - do we? :-/  Particularly given fantasy has been has been judged. Particularly given emotions and romances are seen as so much in the female sphere. Particularly given emotions and love are some of the most powerful driving forces in our species.

I also wonder if this 'oh no I can't explore this relationship in detail, what if I devote too much time to it, then it will be A Romance' attitude leads to romance being done badly in fantasy anyway.

It's been said that Game of Thrones, if someone had to pick a particular time in history to compare to how the world is portrayed in the show (architecture, art, clothing, etc.) it would come somewhat close to late renaissance. Not sure how accurate that is but it might be a potential reference. I think this pertains to Westeros and in particular King's Landing.

Late Renaissance? I'd disagree with that entirely - it's not even hitting the mid-Tudor era. Early Renaissance in the armour and some of the clothing, though, I can see aspects of. Which makes sense as the harkings back to the War of the Roses, which was just before the start in England. Needs more gunpowder, though, although given they don't have canons already in Westeros, it looks like they are skipping that part of technological advancement.



What is the rest of your setting? Early Italian-esque? Later northern European? Climate will factor in a lot as well. Clothes-wise, you're talking about a period of time running from...hmm, I'm a little rusty, but latter 15th century to early 17th century. There were huge amounts of clothing changes within that time. Is there an equivalent of a New World with the new foods? Or new trades routes? New economic centres?

Do you mean 'Renaissance' as in just the vibe of the era or the surface look, or do you mean also to echo the 're-birth' aspect (...however exaggerated some may find it. Welcome to history, there are lots of arguments).

Google and libraries are going to help you a lot more than we can, and that research also allows you to view things as a whole and pick and choose more easily so you aren't lifting from one time and place so much.

Writers' Corner / Re: Question on this bit,
« on: March 12, 2016, 10:37:27 PM »
Well, I was actually thinking OF that initial response - and from RL, not from any cop-show. Such as prostitutes going missing (the exact situation I was thinking of happened to be American, but they were victims of a serial killer and in a book by a pioneer of forensic anthropology), or the issues in Canada of Indigenous women. A white suburban mother of three might get a large immediate response, but not everyone.

So, I think we are somewhat agreeing, @Nora.

Back at the topic - I also think with a 'missing princess' storyline to include women in the rescue party. That also lessens the damsel in distress vibe, because it's not "only important female character is the one needing help" just "character needs help, other characters are helping".

Writers' Corner / Re: Question on this bit,
« on: March 12, 2016, 05:53:22 AM »
As an aside, I never said all Princesses are bad. Or nobody needs rescue. Not sure where I implied that.

Anyway, I might avoid it altogether then. I know in my first book had one, but I think I prefer other plots then. Thinking of a more futuristic fantasy then.

It seems like it be would difficult to write someone worth saving who isn't depicted as purely good

That seems to be saying if someone WASN'T depicted as purely good, that they aren't worth saving. Or that it'd somehow be difficult to write it.

I'm with Nora, in that's a very odd view point to have - although, sadly, a lot of people do have it. Look at how many missing people are deemed lost causes because they aren't the 'perfect victim'. Unless that's not what you meant, but in which case, I'm not sure what you meant. But that's where people were riffing off other ideas from, as far as I read the thread.

Writers' Corner / Re: Cliches??
« on: February 20, 2016, 10:27:47 PM »


For serious and honestly, if you can't label some fantasy cliches off the top of your head, you really should sit down and read a bunch of fantasy novels. Current ones and past ones, classics and not. And read essays by authors (use google, and the resources on this site). Otherwise you are going to be retreading tired ground, not just in plot but also in characterization.

Additionally, the cliches people are mentioning here? I... don't actually see them any more, really. Sometimes ghosts of them in YA books, but then there's usually a twist there or something new on an accepted plot-framework dealing with young people.

You probably don't see them because :

A) You pick your books better now that you're tired of these sort of obvious cliches.

B) A lot of authors/editors now realise it won't sell to have a farm boy follow the prophecy and save the Lion-man race from the all evil mwahahaha laughing dark lord. If it's written any more, it probably doesn't go past an editor.

I've been assuming a lot of 'B' outside YA circles, or the occasional thing like Eragon when it came out that hits a lot of non-fantasy readers and gets them in. If I go browsing a bookstore, I don't see those kinds of books on the shelves - that's what I was basing this on, rather than what I'm reading.

Definitely depends what you're reading. For example, the series I'm reading right now - The Faithful and the Fallen by John Gwynne - includes tons and tons of the stereotypical fantasy tropes, and they're not even twisted that much. Despite that it works - the writing is good, the characters engaging, and the story feels fresh despite being very familiar.

A case of 'been unpopular for so long it seems newish again'? The tropes WORK, when written well, and sometimes it's nice to go back and breathe life into old things. And pretty much anything can work when well-written.

As I mentioned above, it's less what I've been reading (which let's face it, is mostly non-fiction and romance currently, but now my depression-haze is starting to clear, I hope I can get back into my fantasy TBR pile) and more what I see when I browse bookstores and reviews.

Writers' Corner / Re: Developing Races?
« on: February 20, 2016, 09:43:22 PM »
I find an idea that helps is to toss 'race' outside the box unless I'm talking about different races within a humanoid species. Automatically, this reframes what I'm doing - I'm creating a species AND a culture, if not more than one culture. From there, you look at two different things, which tends to make it all much more complicated and grounded in reality IMO.

Writers' Corner / Re: Cliches??
« on: February 20, 2016, 09:31:13 PM »


For serious and honestly, if you can't label some fantasy cliches off the top of your head, you really should sit down and read a bunch of fantasy novels. Current ones and past ones, classics and not. And read essays by authors (use google, and the resources on this site). Otherwise you are going to be retreading tired ground, not just in plot but also in characterization.

Additionally, the cliches people are mentioning here? I... don't actually see them any more, really. Sometimes ghosts of them in YA books, but then there's usually a twist there or something new on an accepted plot-framework dealing with young people.

Writers' Corner / Re: Humanoid Animal Races??
« on: February 18, 2016, 12:46:21 AM »
There could be a sliding scale of ratty-socialism. The Soviet-style communists show it can't work on a big area where you have to industrialize as you are dividing up the property, while others might be in smaller groups and managing to get it working.

Which would ALSO introduce a layer of complexity and individuality to the homo rattus, which generally isn't seen in 'this race is all [X]'

Writers' Corner / Re: Humanoid Animal Races??
« on: February 17, 2016, 10:43:21 PM »
Poor rats :(

They get such a bad rap in these things :(

Homorats.  That's what confused me.  Is every homorat born a kleptomaniac?  How does their economy work when they are all pinching off each other?

I guess maybe they are far more socialist? And so there is cultural confusion between Homo rattus and everyone else: they have no sense of property, so just pick up things they like, and everyone else goes OI, THIEF.

Writers' Corner / Re: Humanoid Animal Races??
« on: February 17, 2016, 10:33:32 PM »
Poor rats :(

They get such a bad rap in these things :(

So, animal protests aside: ehhhhhhhhhhhh, c'mon. We can't give you the names for everything. This is your world. This is your story. It's not ours. I know names are hard - hell, I have awful trouble with them and have been thinking of making a post asking people their methods of creating names* - but it has so much to do with the culture and languages and vibe of your world.

If I may? And this is not just about this question, but all of yours.

Go and read.

Go and read fantasy books. Go and read history books. Go and read memoirs of different cultures. Go and read language books - there's a few really interesting ones for laymen. Go and read.

You can't really write and create worlds without reading. It helps give you ideas, helps train your mind for narrative, and it might help give you confidence to start creating your own world without having to constantly ask strangers if things are good ideas. Good ideas are a dime a dozen, what matters is the execution. And that isn't something people can really help with until there's more of a foundation.

*The fact that I am terrible at languages doesn't help here. But in this case, it's how my brain is wired, so I just have to find ways around it

Revenge is an instant narrative turn-off for me, but so. common.

So, other ways:

Pay. I actually don't see the problem with this - money is important. There's a common view of anything influenced by money being crass, but, no? We need money. It doesn't make a person mercenary, it can mean that they are professional, that they are desperate, that they are trying to provide for themselves, trying to provide for a family, wanting to work towards a goal (which could be: independence, to purchase a farm or a house, to fund a business, to fund their own expedition, etc.)

Call of adventure. Maybe they get involved because they, and here's a shocking idea, want to. Maybe it's just because I've been listening to audiobooks of explorers recently, but you know what? It's FUN following people who actually want to be there. Who WANT to go on an adventure, who WANT to go exploring, who WANT to take part in this for whatever reason. People who want the glory and people who want the excitement and, sometimes, people who just really really want to go and study strange rocks or take pictures.

Duty. Duty to a lord, a ruler, a country. It's a big motivator for lots of people. Follow a request, follow a liege lord, protect a village.

Justice. Different from revenge in subtle shades, and not seen nearly enough.

Because it's the right thing to do. It's the hero, right? Well. What's wrong with them deciding that this is the right thing to do? Sure, it's unfashionable currently, but people can be decent. People can even be good. So, maybe just purely and simply, it's the right thing to do.

Because, literally, they are kidnapped. There may or may not be a prophecy, but these people believe there is, and they kidnap people to make out the rest of their party, or to kidnap the appointed Chosen One. And then that Chosen One has to survive not only the quest, but the party itself. That could be fun.

Writers' Corner / Re: World Building??
« on: February 09, 2016, 09:39:39 PM »
Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions, by Patricia C. Wrede

That should give you some help. Also, read cultural history books, and studies into cultures and societies. That gives you an idea of how things function or might evolve.

Writers' Corner / Re: A Humanoid Lion Race??
« on: February 09, 2016, 09:29:03 PM »
A) I agree with everyone else, buuuuut in the interests of trying to give you some starters:

B) Look at lions.

This sounds obvious, but, really, look at your source animal. Then look at humans. Look at weight and build, social structure (- with humans, it'd be worth your while to look at books/articles on the evolution of humans, particularly the differences between Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal, but there were other big humanoids before then that you could use. If you want a quick/layman's terms access, then the chapter(s) on human evolution in Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything are very accessible.

Now, how do you combine these?

I'm not going to answer this, this is a choice you have to make on your own and then maybe ask a friend later if things make consistent sense. Socially, there are lots of interesting things you can explore.

As for names, I'm actually t e r r i b l e at them, so my advice for now, honestly? Use square brackets and red text and put {Lion people} where you need the name. You don't need the name to start, it might come to you later. Then you can search for Lion people and replace later.

[FEB 2016] Fanfic / Re: [Feb 2016] - Fanfic - Discussion Thread
« on: February 03, 2016, 09:00:17 PM »
Oof, I think I'll stand myself out of this one. [...]  but I don't read nearly enough of what is popular in fantasy currently.
Please don't. It's not a rule to use characters from bestsellers and using somebody cool from a lesser known book/series may even get some people to read that book. :)

Eh, I have a lot on this month (including starting a new medication), so there are other reasons to sit this one out. Fanfic DOES involve a lot of 'needing to know the canon', which makes this kind of thing hard. While there are works which can work as separate to the source, they are much harder to pull off, and certainly with the word-limit. But mostly, from a fanfic writer's POV, if I can think of a pair of canons to crossover that have enough name-cred to work within this short word-limit, AND a pair of characters I can actually write (not all fanfic writers can write all characters, and my headspace for this area is very firmly in a fandom already), I can put it on AO3 and have far more people come over and read it. And if I'm going to finish a fanfic this month, it's going to be one of the ones already on my computer, because oh gosh, do I need to clear out the backlog there.

So, yes. Sitting this one out. Hopefully March, though!

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