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Topics - Raptori

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Writers' Corner / Blogging as a writer
« on: September 09, 2016, 08:55:25 PM »
I've been extremely productive, thankyouverymuch.  >:(

Spoiler for Hiden:

...plus a customised page in our (wip) website for each story which works on all screen sizes (i.e. looks nice on mobile, tablet, desktop, etc). Example:

General Discussion / The Robotics Revolution
« on: June 16, 2016, 03:43:51 AM »
According to the experts, lots of jobs that you might not think of as at risk from automation are actually highly at risk. That includes web design/development (my job), game development, fiction writing, and so on. The general conclusion, iirc, was that anything that does not involve a large amount of human interaction is at risk to some degree.

Does that mean we should halt all research into AI? I just don't see how that can be a justification. You can take into account the implications of a new technology without having to keep the world exactly as it is right now. It can mean upheaval in those industries, and large numbers of people (myself included) will have to adapt, but on the whole progress has been a good thing for quality of life. It's not like the entire world is a perfect and rosy utopia right now, so it's weird that people fight so much to keep things the way they are.

At the very least, on-demand book printing is likely to be far better for the environment than the current situation, with companies gambling on selling x number of copies and generally printing twice as many books they expect to sell.

Wanted to continue this discussion without derailing the thread entirely, so here's a new one!

The points that I couldn't let slide were in @m3mnoch's post, generally because to me they seem like a collection of fallacies that just don't stand up to scrutiny! It'll be interesting to see whether you can persuade me otherwise m3m...  :P

I'll continue referring primarily to the music industry, but the same does apply to other mediums like books as well.

1) the purchasing of music recordings is an aberration of the last 60 years.  musicians have existed for centuries upon centuries before that -- all without the benefit of recording.  they earned their money the old fashioned way -- they performed.
This seems wrong to me on two levels:

At face value, your choice of comparison is illogical. A live performance is a one-off event, and people in the modern world and the past alike have no problems paying for it. Live music is a completely separate concern imo, and is a bit of a misdirection.

On the other hand, a recording is captures the sounds of the music and distils them in a copyable and distributable form, which makes it a fundamentally different beast to live music. Despite what you asserted, such forms have existed far longer than the last 60 years, and people had no qualms paying for them for centuries: sheet music, music boxes, etc. While those forms are not identical to the music recordings of the modern world, in a general sense they had/have the same purpose.

But, to be honest, the other fallacy you're falling into makes all of that irrelevant.

You're appealing to tradition. I hate it when people do that. How can anyone honestly consider "we've always done this that way" a logical argument? A lot of people would argue here that traditions don't apply because the new recording technology fundamentally changed the marketplace, but I think that's irrelevant too, because what people did in the past does not matter, and should not guide our behaviour today.

2) if i spend $100 million dollars, work for decades, and perfect a way to cultivate and bottle the most realistic boogers ever created -- when no one buys them, i can't cry and say "but i spent all that time and effort and money!  i deserve to be paid!"

3) no one deserves to be compensated for work they do.  even in your everyday job -- you don't deserve to be paid.  you are paid based on a contract that you will do the work someone wants from you.  if you work on something your boss doesn't want, you will probably be fired.  just because you do it, doesn't mean someone will pay you for it.  they have to _want_ what you produce.
Those two points are identical imo, and they make no sense. For one thing, your depiction of the other side's argument is a strawman - you don't really think people are saying artists are entitled to be payed regardless of quality or anything like that simply because they created something, right?

However, your argument just doesn't add up. You're implying that because some people don't deserve to be paid for what they do, nobody does. You're essentially arguing that things like music and fiction do not add value to your life. Don't know about you, but I value things that make me feel good. If a song or a book brings me enjoyment, it has added value to my life, and arguably the creator of that music deserves some kind of appreciation - especially if it's an incentive for them to continue to make more of whatever it is I've enjoyed.

If someone's work is crap, nobody will pay them, and that's perfectly fair. If their work is mind-blowingly brilliant, then they have provided value to their customers, and it's in their customers' interests for them to continue creating.

here, we actually disagree.  musicians do not deserve to be paid for their hard work.  totally sounds harsh, but lemme explain.
So, in summary, while I don't think musicians (and artists, writers, etc) deserve to be paid for their hard work - I think they deserve to be paid for the enjoyment their work gives to others. If their work sucks then they don't deserve a thing. If their work brightens the lives of a million others, they deserve something for that.

As to what that "something" should be, or how it should be distributed, I don't know. That's a whole different discussion.

Side note: I'm completely with you on DRM m3m. It only ever inconveniences paying customers. It's just like those irritating un-skippable anti-piracy ads they put on DVDs - you only see the damn things if you've a legitimate paying customer, so they actively penalise you for paying instead of pirating!

Writers' Corner / May 2016 Author Earnings Report
« on: June 03, 2016, 04:24:50 PM »
They've used some new techniques to gather data on over a million books this time, so the statistics are doubly interesting to look at. You can read it here: authorearnings.com/report/may-2016-report

From a writer's perspective, all the charts like this one are pretty compelling:

In short, if you want to earn money from your writing, it's an increasibly bad idea to go the traditional publishing route. That holds true across the higher income groups too - even the $1,000,000 per year threshhold.

Here's a petition on change.org asking the Association of American Publishers to give writers better contract terms. The new terms would include increased royalties, better handling of rights, and reasonable non-compete clauses to name a few. Well worth signing if you want writers to be able to write more!

There's also a blog post by Kameron Hurley about non-compete clauses here, and a discussion about it on reddit here, both of which are well worth a read if you want to understand a little more of the crazy stuff they're talking about. The non-compete clauses in particular just sound insane.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / What do you want from an author website?
« on: December 31, 2015, 05:00:08 PM »
We've been putting together our author website, so we've been thinking about this for a little while now. It seems like the majority of authors these days have a website - which is a good thing - but in our experience their content doesn't necessarily sell their books. They often focus on writing advice, and while that tends to generate an audience for the site itself it doesn't usually generate an audience for the author's books. We have a pretty clear idea of what we think our site should contain, but it'd be interesting to hear some other perspectives.

More established writers seem to focus less on the writing advice and more on progress updates and tour schedules, but in their case they already have an audience. Their sites aren't there to attract potential readers, instead they're largely there for existing fans, so they're fairly irrelevant as a reference for an author just starting out.

So, the question: when you encounter a new author - one whose work you haven't read, and potentially one who has not yet been published - what do you want to see when you visit their website? What content would make you more likely to check out their writing, and what content would make you want to subscribe to their blog?

@m3mnoch should totally have some awesome thoughts on this since he's just started his site.  :P

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / What were your first fantasy books?
« on: November 27, 2015, 06:02:27 PM »
(Following on from the Fantasy Books Gone Mainstream thread, where it was mentioned that popular books which receive a lot of criticism often act as gateway novels, and introduce new people to the genre in spite of their flaws.)

Question: what were the first few fantasy books/series that really hooked you on the genre?

Up until a couple of years ago I hadn't read any fantasy since enjoying a handful of series as a kid/teenager (Harry Potter, Darren Shan, Alvin Maker, LOTR), and I was much more into sci-fi.

In summer 2013, a friend gave us a spare copy of a fantasy novel that he had recommended to us. I blasted through it in no time at all, and loved it to bits. Straight away I went out and bought all the other books written by that author, and loved them too (except for one series, which I couldn't have disliked more).

Since I'd enjoyed it so much, I decided to read some more fantasy - after all, what were the chances that I'd stumbled upon the best one first? I had no clue what was actually good or not, so I took a risk and bought a random trilogy that had a high rating on GR. Yet again absolutely loved it, and quickly read through that author's backlog, and again enjoyed the majority of the other series.

After all that - 30-odd novels which took me about a year to read in total - I was completely sold on fantasy.

That first book was Assassin's Apprentice, and I still feel like that gateway novel (author, really) is one of the best I've read - even re-reading the series now with much more experience in the genre I find them brilliant. The series I bought at random was Mistborn (shortly followed by Stormlight Archive), and again I still think they're brilliant.

So: was I lucky, or do most people still feel the same about the books that they read first?  :P

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / What should Raptori read next?
« on: November 23, 2015, 09:52:25 PM »
Stealing @Jmack's idea.

Writers' Corner / What are you currently writing?
« on: October 20, 2015, 03:06:48 PM »
I'm surprised this thread doesn't exist yet, especially considering how many writers there are around here.

So, what stories are you currently writing? Share as much or as little about your WIPs as you'd like - synopses, elevator pitches, titles, genres, inspiration, anything at all.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Shadows of Self
« on: October 06, 2015, 09:51:53 AM »
Apparently the new Mistborn book, Shadows of Self, is out today!

Shadows of Self shows Mistborn's society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.

This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial's progress in its tracks.

Shadows of Self
will give fans of The Alloy of Law everything they've been hoping for and, this being a Brandon Sanderson book, more, much more.

I had no idea it was coming out so soon. I think after I've finished WoT I'll read this next!

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Was Slytherin Evil?
« on: September 21, 2015, 10:52:12 PM »
From the scene where Professor Binns tells his class about the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2 | Chapter 9 - The Writing On The Wall):
They built this castle together, far from prying muggle eyes, for it was an age when magic was feared by common people, and witches and wizards suffered much persecution.
Slytherin wished to be more selective about the students admitted to Hogwarts. He believed that magical learning should be kept within all-magic families. He disliked taking students of muggle parentage, believing them to be untrustworthy.

That's actually a perfectly rational viewpoint based on what is presented about the times they lived in. The whole point of creating the school appears to have been to hide from muggles, so letting muggles in would be a legitimate security concern. Muggleborn kids could have easily been used as unwilling spies by their parents (or others who could force their parents to do so), and put the whole school at risk.

From what I can remember, the only thing that might seem to prove that Slytherin hated muggleborns was the Chamber of Secrets, but there's no way of knowing what his motives were when he was creating it. Perhaps it was really meant to be a last line of defence against the feared muggle invasion, rather than an evil plan to kill muggle-born students.

[JUL 2015] Flash Fiction! / [Jul 2015] - Flash Fiction - Critique Thread
« on: September 02, 2015, 12:36:53 PM »
So here is the possibility to get critiques for your stories entered in our flash fiction writing contest - and to give critique as well.

If everybody wants and gives critique, this thread will be pure chaos soon, while 2-3 critiques for as many stories shouldn't be a problem. We'll see how it goes and adapt if necessary. :)

So what we're doing is this:
1. Everybody who wants critique for his story posts in here.*
2. Everybody who wants to do a critique for a specific story (whose writer has asked for critique) posts it in here.

IF this thread is overrun fast, I'm splitting it so that every story has it's own one to avoid confusion. :)

* I know that critique isn't always easy to handle, especially if you are not used to it. So if you feel more comfortable receiving it in private, people can send it via pm. They can post here that they sent a critique via pm so that others know about it.

At the moment I don't think it necessary that we create a system balancing given/received critiques. However, if it turns out to be unfair and some people are giving critiques without receiving some (or the other way round) we have to add one.

Basic rules for critiquing:

This is just a small guideline for those that haven't done critiques before, stolen from this forum's writing section.
Critiquing Other’s Work
1. Please read what the poster is asking for before you post your critique.
2. Critique the writing, not the writer.  Never, “You are...” or “You should...” but rather, “The writing is...” or “The story should...”
3. We all have different levels of writing ability here, keep that in mind when critiquing.
4. Find what is right in each piece as well as what is wrong.
5. Remember that subject matter is personal. You don't have to like a story to give it a fair critique.
6. Remember what your biases are and critique around them.
7. Remember that real people wrote this stuff, and real people have real feelings. Things you may not say while critiquing: “That’s awful.” “That’s stupid.” “You couldn’t write your way out of a paper bag.”

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Synonym Books
« on: August 24, 2015, 10:04:10 AM »
Love the two recent xkcd comics on synonym movies - #1563 and #1568. Let's do the same for books!  :P

The second one mentions some books in the title text, answers in the spoiler:

Fun With Chairs
Royal Rumble
Knife Blizzard
Breakfast for Birds
Samba Serpents

Spoiler for Hiden:
A Game of Thrones
A Clash of Kings
A Storm of Swords
A Feast for Crows
A Dance with Dragons

Trainee Murderer
Regal Murderer
Murderer's Expedition

The Witchcraft Boat
The Crazy Boat
The Fortune Boat

Idiot's Task
Yellow Idiot
Idiot's Destiny

Lizard Caretaker
Lizard Refuge
Town of Lizards
Gore of Lizards

Idiot's Murderer
Idiot's Search
Murderer's Destiny

Those should be really easy to guess...  :P

Spoiler for Hiden:
Trainee Murderer = Assassin's Apprentice
Regal Murderer = Royal Assassin
Murderer's Expedition = Assassin's Quest

The Witchcraft Boat = Ship of Magic
The Crazy Boat = The Mad Ship
The Fortune Boat = Ship of Destiny

Idiot's Task = Fool's Errand
Yellow Idiot = Golden Fool
Idiot's Destiny = Fool's Quest

Lizard Caretaker = The Dragon Keeper
Lizard Refuge = Dragon Haven
Town of Lizards = City of Dragons
Gore of Lizards = Blood of Dragons

Idiot's Murderer = Fool's Assassin
Idiot's Search = Fool's Quest
Murderer's Destiny = Assassin's Fate

Just saw on Robin Hobb's blog that the first three chapters (50 pages) of Fool's Quest are available for free online.

I've read the book already and thought it was absolutely brilliant, my favourite Fitz book for sure. By the end everything is set up so well that it looks like the third book might be even better, though I have no idea how she's going to manage to bring it all together in just one book. Well worth a read if you've read Fool's Assassin already.

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