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Topics - J.R. Darewood

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Writers' Corner / Naming a country conundrum
« on: November 15, 2017, 03:43:05 AM »

So originally my WIP took place in Ara Valon b/c I wanted it to be a riff off of Avalon, but in retrospect Ara Valon is too much like Tar Valon so I think i'm going to change it.  I like that people from there are called "Valonians" tho, so I figured if I changed it to something-Vale or Vael, I could still keep the Valonian adjective.

GRRM already has a place that's just "The Vale", Terry Brooks has "Shady Vale".... but there's room here. The place is full of temperate forests and greeness and castles and whatnot, so I want to possibly consider that. The problem here is that Something's Vale can sound too folksy and not like a whole country's name.

Option one: adjectives
The Golden Vale (the Golden Vael?)
The Emerald Vale
The... Royal?... Vale..
The IDK Vale

Option two: proper names
Aran's Vale
King's Vale
Olbion's Vale

Option three... ????

any ideas?

General Discussion / Help! Indecision!
« on: November 14, 2017, 09:55:29 AM »
I need a middle initial for my pseudonym.

Bradley A Darewood? (BAD), Bradely J. Darewood? (BJ Darewood?) X, Y, Z, Q, M, N, R?  THERE ARE SO MANY LETTERS I CAN'T DECIDE!!!

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Can Bradley finish a Sanderson Book?
« on: October 23, 2017, 11:18:25 AM »
Ok I'm gonna have some free time starting in Nov to read some of the stuff on my list.  I'm (with extreme trepidation) thinking of possibly cracking AMOL once again to try my hardest to finish it... Will I succeed this time? Can I *actually* finish a Sanderson novel?

(so yeah I had more success with A Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight, but to be fair I skipped and skimmed huge chunks of them so I'm not sure if it counts as finishing per se.... but AMOL has been really really rough going)

...which one would you be?

I'm not sure if I'd be Lust, Gluttony or Sloth. Given my nature prolly a combo of all 3. Lusgluloth

Writers' Corner / To Con or not to Con
« on: October 06, 2017, 03:14:58 AM »

So after reading the Sean Grigsby thing on the main site about how he really got started meeting an editor at a Con... Are Writer's Con's worth it?

I tried to find some, but they're not cheap

The San Miguel writer's con sounded like the funnest but it's like  700$ or more or something

This one in San Diego is like 450$

It's like something I could probably afford once in a life if I saved up... is it really worth it to go to one of these things?

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Weird SFF Books
« on: August 26, 2017, 11:40:12 PM »

So I wasn't sure where to put this "List of SFF Books No One Will Understand" so I went ahead an made a new thread for it.

So of all the books on this list, I'm particularly intrigued by The Book of the New Sun, by Gene Wolfe. Anyone read it?

Writers' Corner / Farmboy of Destiny
« on: August 21, 2017, 04:43:50 AM »
So the ever-brilliant @cupiscent humored me some valuable advice in a message and I thought I'd open part of it up here in case anyone wants to throw down.

Quote from: cupiescent
First up, though, let me make a sidebar caveat about the Farmboy of Destiny. A big part of my issue with this trope and its common depiction in fantasy is that it lacks agency.… I prefer a hero who demonstrates the potential for extraordinary from the first chapter.)

First off, let me say that I don’t have the trope allergy so many others do.  I have nostalgic love of the tropes i grew up with, but I do break away, and when I do it’s because I want to *say something*.  Ultimately this means my current WIP subverts tropes, meaning people who hate princesses getting saved and etc etc are going to write me off without realizing that I do turn that on it’s head by the end. 

But back to the Farmboy of Destiny— I think you hit on something important here.  When Harper Collins reviewed my WIP, they weren’t feeling my MC.  He was missing something.  He doesn’t have anything extraordinary— even less so than a Farmboy of Destiny!  He’s not special by nature— he’s just trying to survive.  He’s hearing stories about knights slaying dragons and saving princesses, and it’s something he can never be.  The book (which is really the first act of a 300k book I wanted to write, but since 300k isn’t kosher….) leaves him responding to situations he’s thrust into (because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time) until the very end, when he finds his agency at one pivotal moment in the second to last chapter (ironically in deciding *not* to be the “hero” and becoming a rebel and an exile instead).  In subsequent books he *becomes* extraordinary— as he rises to meet challenges and learns what he needs to of his own volition and initiative.

This presents a problem for me— It’s great in theory but I need something to hook the reader to the character, and I don’t think I’ve successfully accomplished that.  I’m still wrestling with this problem.

Quote from: cupiescent
This is not necessarily a problem by itself! I mean, Scarlett O'Hara has the most mundane of motives: she wants to never be hungry again. What makes her an amazing and compelling character is what she's prepared to do in pursuit of that motive. That's the extraordinary.

The flipside is a book I read that I was so unmoved by I can't even remember the title. (One Goodreads check later: it's Giant Thief by David Tallerman, and now that I actually look at that surname and that title side by side, all I can say is: seriously, dude? Sure, the book is about a thief stealing a giant, but TALLERMAN?? ahem. anyway. My point is...) Throughout the majority of the book, the main character's primary goal is getting out of this situation, while the situation itself is the main plot. While his desire to escape to safety makes sense, it and the main plot undermined each other, instead of one-upping each other.

I think this probably boils down in essence to: give the reader at least one compelling reason to care about this character in this situation. Whether it's because s/he is capable (meta/physically or emotionally) of incredible things and you want to marvel at their audacity, or whether it's because the situation is so damn important/fraught/hilarious you need to keep watching it unravel, have a Reason.

(If your reason why I should hear about these adventures is because of what the character does after them, then perhaps this is not the story you really want to tell.)

With your guy, trying to survive is a fundamental and compelling and above all relatable goal. We can all understand it. But because it's something everyone feels, the question is why we should care about this guy surviving. Why is his story compelling and deserving of being told? And the two big questions that jump out for me as having the potential for an answer: what is he prepared to do in order to survive? and why is it important that he survive? Somewhere in there is - or can be inserted - a strong hook to keep the reader engaged.

General Discussion / What's your personality type?
« on: August 09, 2017, 05:44:04 AM »

What's your Myers-Briggs? Your Enneagram number? Your spirit animal? What Hogworts House did it say you belonged to on that buzzfeed quiz?  Who ARE you?

*Bradley just spent the day at a work retreat so now faux psychology has taken his brain over

General Discussion / THE LIKE THREAD
« on: July 28, 2017, 04:39:02 AM »


So clearly we need shoot out all those pent up likes we've had all month I swear I've been liking every post I see. Put stuff you like on this thread... then LIKE the hell out of it!!!!

General Discussion / Bradley's Memoir July 12
« on: July 13, 2017, 07:04:14 AM »

July 11th

Why does my room smell so bad?
I've done all my laundry, scrubbed the floor and toilet, but still there's that stench as soon as I open my door.
I already sealed all of my shoes in plastic containers, and while they are certainly foul, this is a different sort of foul.

July 12th

I took my backpack with me to work today, and i noticed something.  The backpack just reeked.  At first I thought it just smelled bad from having been in my room, but at the end of the work day I got curious.  I dug through the papers, my laptop, my gym clothes and found something surprising: a half eaten chicken sandwich.  Who knows how long it had been rotting there in the bottom of my backpack.  But it smelled AWFUL.  I almost gagged when i pulled it out of my backpack.  I rushed it to the trash can in the break room of the office (i didn't want it in *my* office!) then ran back to my office and shut the door.

Writers' Corner / Brandon Sanderson Appreciation Thread
« on: June 21, 2017, 07:26:11 AM »
So it might be known to some on this forum that I'm blind to Brandon Sanderson's genius.  Maybe I'm a bit too unforgiving when i try to read his stuff and then complain about it on the forums. He *does* seem like a really stand-up guy in interviews. Brandon, if you're out there agonizing over every one of the 100,000 times your name is mentioned each day on the internet, combing over every letter of these forums, as I'm sure you are.... sorry if I've been a bit harsh!

The man is certainly beloved by the masses, so I'm making this thread for the masses to celebrate all the things they love about his writing (and maybe educate us 0.00001% who are missing out).

Writers' Corner / Pain and the Pen
« on: June 19, 2017, 05:55:15 AM »
Pain is what drives my pen
  the ache in my heart that pulls me out of the present moment
   and awakens sleeping Titans my mind
  dormant in the day to day.
The hamster in the wheel
   --that soulless thing that works and eats and watches TV--
  is put on pause
  as I sit by the well,
  my heavy heart
  the empty bucket of my mind
  deep into the reflective recesses
where depth and wisdom dwell.

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