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Author Topic: Annoying Reading  (Read 6302 times)

Offline Rostum

Annoying Reading
« on: June 30, 2015, 07:00:27 PM »
I am sure someone has done this before but what causes the in drawn breath, the clenching of teeth, the sigh, eye rolling or just giving up on the book down and not picking it back up.

I really get wound up by strange noises described by arrows hitting well just about anything, but what really annoys me are descriptions of characters drawing swords from back scabbards. this is unforgivable to my mind unless the sword is actually a large knife it doesn't work. Looks cool in artwork, and a great way of carrying a sword you are not going to use but useless if your life depends on it. Yet it is the stock cliché in every sword and sorcery type fantasy.

 Take a deep breath and think about it before committing to paper the physical impossibility you are describing.
Still don't believe me take a broom handle outside. (Do not try this indoors folks unless you have 4 meter  ceilings) place the finger and thumb of your left hand in a circle around the handle and draw it through them with the right. How far can you get and did you just hit yourself in the ear?

I know this is silly but the sometimes the detail can destroy a good story.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2015, 10:57:20 AM by Rostum »

Offline JMack

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Re: Annoying Reading
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2015, 08:21:05 PM »
OK, a few things.

1. Resort to violence due to simple anger. I found this in recently in a self-pub. Characters would be bothered by something and immediately jump up and put a knife to another character's throat. And the other character just shrugs it off. OK, maybe you could come up with the right conditions for this, but as a knee jerk, it's ridiculous.

2. Unnecessarily gross imagery. I just ran into this this morning listening to "A Crown for Cold Silver." A character was so scared he felt his guts would fall out of his
Spoiler for Hiden:
taint
. Maybe I'm a prude that's just not useful language.

3. The romanticizing of assassins.
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
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Offline Rostum

Re: Annoying Reading
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2015, 08:53:54 PM »
Violence should always be the last resort unless it is unobserved and by surprise. Killing violence seems to be a bad idea in pretty much any society unless you have nothing left to lose.

I had to look up
Spoiler for Hiden:
Taint
not a use of the word I have heard before and anatomically incorrect to boot
Spoiler for Hiden:
seems to refer to the Perineum, an area of skin between the vagina or scrotum and anus
so how did that get past an editor?

Best served cold has a most interesting assasin who is a terrible, flawed and pathetic person, you will feel no empathy to him at all. I also don't get the you're a cold blooded killer so that makes you cool and sexy.

Offline Eclipse

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Re: Annoying Reading
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2015, 10:26:17 PM »
American spellings in medieval fantasy books like bangs, I just prefer British spelling but that's just me.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2015, 10:30:28 PM by Eclipse »
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Offline Raptori

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Re: Annoying Reading
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2015, 10:28:12 PM »
This. Once is enough to make me sigh and roll my eyes, many times just gets increasingly irritating. Can't think of what else bugs me right now...  ;D
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Offline cupiscent

Re: Annoying Reading
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2015, 09:32:03 AM »
Replying delayed by ongoing laughter caused by Rostum's original post...

OK, now that I'm back in control of myself: the first thing that leaps to mind is the first time my husband and I saw Wanted in the cinema. The movie opens with a prologue-text screen that made mention of... I can't remember the details, but I remember the was an order of monks and something happening a thousand years ago. And we said in unison, "Oh come off it." Quickest ever eye-roll: approximately ten seconds.

Things that are too neat, too grandiose, too rhetorical and too unrealistic are the things that get me snorting every time. Sometimes this is just the difference between what makes good oral-storytelling-myth and what makes realistic history (f'rinstance, "the kingdom endured in peace for thousands of years until..." makes good rhetoric, but it's unlikely to happen in reality).

But I can be won over despite the snort - Princess Bride springs to mind, because it makes it clear that it's consciously walking a line there.

Offline CameronJohnston

Re: Annoying Reading
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2015, 10:08:49 AM »
...but what really annoys me are descriptions of characters drawing swords from back scabbards. this is unforgivable to my mind unless the sword is actually a large knife it doesn't work. Looks cool in artwork, and a great way of carrying a sword you are not going to use but useless if your life depends on it. Yet it is the stock cliché in every sword and sorcery type fantasy.

Take a deep breath and think about it before committing to paper the physical impossibility you are describing.
Still don't believe me take a broom handle outside. (Do not try this indoors folks unless you have 4 meter  ceilings) place the finger and thumb of your left hand in a circle around the handle and draw it through them with the right. How far can you get and did you just hit yourself in the ear?

I know this is silly but the sometimes the detail can destroy a good story.

Well it might be be historically accurate but it's actually pretty easy to quickly draw big swords from back-scabbards, just not too elegant, and I wouldn't want to have to rush it while begin attacked:
1 - Scabbard is not a solid length of leather, but instead has a long slit on the top(draw) edge, or only covers the tip and a foot of steel, with hooks at the top for the hilt. Lift the hilt a foot and then pivot blade up and over.
2 - Belt is loose and yanked round until sword is horizontal on the shoulder, then draw, other hand pushing back the scabbard. Clumsier than method 1 though.

Of course, that's never portrayed in the writing or artwork...so...yeah...

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Offline Rostum

Re: Annoying Reading
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2015, 11:06:47 AM »
Quote
Well it might be be historically accurate but it's actually pretty easy to quickly draw big swords from back-scabbards, just not too elegant, and I wouldn't want to have to rush it while begin attacked:
1 - Scabbard is not a solid length of leather, but instead has a long slit on the top(draw) edge, or only covers the tip and a foot of steel, with hooks at the top for the hilt. Lift the hilt a foot and then pivot blade up and over.
2 - Belt is loose and yanked round until sword is horizontal on the shoulder, then draw, other hand pushing back the scabbard. Clumsier than method 1 though.

Of course, that's never portrayed in the writing or artwork...so...yeah...

1- I can see working but I think it lacks a certain elegance
2- I would expect any back scabbard to come up horizontal (I pity the fool stood behind you) on the draw but still cannot see 32" of blade coming free unless your arms reach to your ankles.

Online ScarletBea

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Re: Annoying Reading
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2015, 01:24:18 PM »
At the moment I don't have anything to add here, but I'm loving the technical sword discussions :D
Last summer, or maybe the one before, I went to the local park and there was a group sword fighting there, so cool! Some were learning, others were going for it.
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Offline JMack

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Re: Annoying Reading
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2015, 01:36:53 PM »

Well, this is interesting. Back draw of Japanese sword. Relies on pulling down on the bottom of the scabbard with one hand while drawing with the other.

https://youtu.be/TBcpirMVu0Y
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Offline ClintACK

Re: Annoying Reading
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2015, 02:18:08 PM »
Honestly, I'll forgive almost any eye-rolling fact error (How tall is that wall of ice?  And they're getting up with a hand-cranked wooden elevator?  How old is that protagonist?) as long as the characters catch hold of me.

What loses me in a heartbeat are characters who do things because the plot demands it rather than because it's what they'd do.

Offline Rostum

Re: Annoying Reading
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2015, 07:56:01 PM »
@ScarletBea if they were reenactors they tend to be creatures of habit and will be there every week at the same time unless they have a show. Leeds armoury has it's own branch of Arma but they dont tend to fight in public places as the police get called. They really don't play nice.

@Jmack thats pretty cool but he thows the scabbard away you couldn't do that if it was attached by a baldick or sash. As in carried on the back. he gets a nice snap to the blade on the draw as katana scabbards are rigid the curved blade also helps the draw. I think I would stick to drawing from the hip at least the sword is across your body while you do so. BTW the reason the sword he is using is so heavy is because he is then really fast with one weighing 2lb.



Offline Francis Knight

Re: Annoying Reading
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2015, 08:24:33 PM »
One of my fave books deals with "carrying a sword on your back" with a slip ring that releases it from the back so it slides to the hip -- pretty sure I've seen that in a museum somewhere too. Seemed pretty logical

Most people will get antsy about authors getting things wrong that they know about, but an author can't know everything! And sometimes you'll get pulled up for things that aren't actually true, but what someone/most readers thinks is true.

My personal bugbear is horses. Get them wrong at your peril.
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Online ScarletBea

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Re: Annoying Reading
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2015, 08:30:39 PM »
See, I'm much more conventional and boring: spelling and grammar are my bugbears ::)
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Offline Rostum

Re: Annoying Reading
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2015, 08:33:24 PM »
Quote
What loses me in a heartbeat are characters who do things because the plot demands it rather than because it's what they'd do.

Have ground my teeth quite recently about that.