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  • #134240
    Fitz
    @fitz

    @melancholicwriter

    I want to know what Hot Guy looks like: just how hot is Hot Guy? 😉 Is he a built jock blonde with long flowing locks and eyelashes that make women jealous? Is he a carefree redhead? Maybe a little skinny with ears that poke out just a bit too much for him to be taken seriously, but having a sense of humor that leaves entire rooms doubled over in laughter. Or is he an exotic beauty? with a strange accent that leaves his birthplace unknown and his history a tantalizing mystery. With your character choosing the seat out of the way, and that seat being his, maybe he shares her seeming introversion? and he has nearly black eyes that perceive more than he would dare say and carriers an edge of keen intellect. His descriptions not only pull the reader into what you are saying, but it also says a lot about the main character as we get to see what she finds so hot about him.

    (as a quick aside – and this is just bouncing an idea here – it seems like this guy is responsible for her going into the faerie-tale land. If that is the case, you can add descriptors like ‘her mind being in a fog’ or ‘he seemed to glow’ or maybe she even felt dizzy and slightly queasy. The reader would be all like ‘oh, wow, she is falling for this guy something fierce’ only to realize later that was actually the side-effects of an honest to god enchantment spell)

    Speaking of the MC, I don’t really know her that well before the story starts. I want to get to know her a little, get familiar with what living in her world is like. It doesn’t have to be a lot – as you will have the entire rest of the story to flush her out – but if you had to pick the five most obvious things about her, what would they be? Or, if you were your MC, what would be the five things you would want someone to know about you? As a writer, your get the unique and awesome power to actually let the reader walk in the shoes of someone else for a day, don’t be afraid to use it 🙂

    While I am a visual person, ironically, descriptions are honestly the place where I struggle the most. So many times they feel slow and boring, and monotonous to write. What has helped me is try and remember to have fun. This is your world, your book, your writing, and while you may have to follow some conventions for the real world, you don’t need to follow them for faerie world. Feel free to go wild and crazy in there, maybe the flowers have colors and smells that don’t have a real-world counterpart. Maybe the flowers sing and the bees literally provide a bass note with their buzzing, picking up little bits of the sound to sing their larva. Maybe eating their honey turns your voice into a perfect and intoxicating version of your own. Heck, maybe on their journey Spartan poops and it smells suspiciously like black liquorice. Feel free to use or discard any of these ideas, let your heart play with your imagination and take us along for the ride.

    Anyway, I hope this has been helpful and encouraging, and not overwhelming. Do remember that you don’t have to do this all at once; when I write a scene, I will often just put in the dialogue and fill in the descriptions later, this keeps me writing in a flow as my dialogue and description parts of my brain are different and switching between them can get exhausting, lol. 🙂

    #134244
    MelancholicWriter
    @melancholicwriter

    @fitz

    WOW, just WOW! Thank you soooooo much! That was a lot to unpack and was sooooooo good!! Ok to start with hot guy;) So he is not the redhead or funny type…seeing as she like thought he was hot as soon as she laid eyes on him, it can’t be because of his humor or that he is carefree. So I’m going towards either the dark exotic, mysterious type, or the blond surfer dude…I’m leaning more towards the exotic because of what I will address next.

    You are absolutely right that he is the reason my MC gets pulled into the fantasy land. I love the idea of things to add because of that! I would explain how he is the reason, but I’m too lazy lol.

    I love the idea of getting to know my MC better, I actually was going to have a bunch of stuff before where it starts, but it was just kinda a lot of extra blah. How would you go about adding more about her?

    All that being said, I do think I need to start writing this again. You have given me inspiration to start and I love it! So thank you. Do you want to read it when I add more? If so would it be easier if I just added you to the doc I’m typing it out in? If so email with this address tashavk06@gmail.com

    "Courage is found in unlikely places." JRR Tolkien

    #134249
    Fitz
    @fitz

    @rose-colored-fancy

    Exactly! I’ve noticed the same thing, also in history. No matter how long ago, people have always been people and we’ve always done the same things. Many things were lost to time, but it’s amazing these little human touches you find everywhere, like how medieval scribes used to doodle while testing their pens or how they once found Viking runes high on a cave wall that read ‘this is very high.’ (Honestly, I still think that’s hilarious XD)

    My favorite version of this was along a main road out of Egypt (I don’t remember specifically where). There was a spot that was just covered in etched writings and hieroglyphics from all over the place. They were wondering what cultural or religious significance this bare patch of rocky cliff face just off the road could could possibly have… until they translated it to discover it was the ancient equivalent of a 7/11 bathroom wall in the middle nowhere Kentucky. XD

    You did it really well! They suit excellently! I usually translate words from a language in the approximate same region until I find something I can change into a name. And then once again translate them back just in case, like you said XD I’m fascinated by linguistics and languages in general, but I haven’t tried creating an actual language for a book.

    Oh man, I am actually… about half way(?) through making a language of my own for the dragons in my world. When I first started looking into it, it was like shoving my brain through a sieve learning all the OTHER ways language could work. I have a lot of the raw and fundamental rules done for it (such as phonemes, ergativity, classes [genders], and syllable structure), but haven’t worked much on the lexicon. I want to finish at some point before I publish, but even if I don’t it was a fascinating journey.

    You guessed all of them correctly! The MC’s tribe is the nomadic horse-riding culture (So much fun to write!), there’s a naval merchant tribe (They don’t feature much though), and I have a city and two tribes that are strongly based on Alexandria and classical North-Africa. The city is aesthetically closer to Jerusalem, but the tribes’ cultures are closer to classical.

    haha, what do I win? XD For real though, that sounds really cool; it is such a rich and storied part of our own history. How much does the MC go traveling through the different tribes?

    Well… both, in a way. It’s the primary driving force of the plot at large, but my MC is usually pursuing a more personal goal that is linked to the war. The personal goal and more general goal do usually tie together though, so she does end up influencing the war. (Often accidentally XD) Here’s the one-sentence summary of the first book (Oh, dear, here we go, I hate doing these XD): The king of a nomadic tribe is captured in a raid and his younger sister has to rescue him before it turns into an all-out war.

    Ok, it sounds like you are going for a high adventure story-line, are you aiming for a YA audience or older?

    That’s an amazing answer! Those moments are fun to write, but they’re really hard to get write. I often end up agonizing over them endlessly and then messing it up anyway XD Though writing something badly is always better than not writing it at all and since I’m that much closer to getting it right, I don’t actually mind.

    Honestly, those moments have so much tension and build up to them that I find it best if the final delivery is simple. There comes a point, in those moments in real life, where words utterly fail to capture the magnitude of the reality in which we find ourselves, even if we can very easily objectively describe them. Death is a perfect illustration of this, what happened physically is plain and simple, a lot can be said about the grief and grieving the process, but that moment when it happens, when it impacts and flips your world on its head is so often beyond the power of a few words to truly describe. Trust in the weight of the situation – in that bridge you have built between the characters and reader through hundreds of words or pages, and the long hours the reader has spent traversing those bridges bonding with all you have built – to carry itself.

    What’s your favorite part of your current WIP?

    Probably the moment where Glenesh (the first books MC, and advisor to the king) has a discussion about choice face to face with the Sire (God), and then Andauryl (Satan). There is just so much packed into there, and is really the core of what this story is about.

    I’d say my favorite would have to be my main character, Liorah. She’s the most chaotic character I’ve ever ‘met’ XD She’s sarcastic, stubborn, and reckless. Let’s just say she has a lot of room for character development, LOL. She’s still my favorite character since she’s actually really kind and caring deep down, she just hides it well XD

    I love those characters! Mostly playing them in D&D, lol, so much opportunity for shenanigans…

    So, I have a question for you: it seems like this story is really resonating with you, what is it that keeps the story going for you? What makes you keep going back to it?

    For me, a big part of it is the fact that these are the kind of questions I want to have the answers to. A lot of philosophers apply themselves here, trying to discover the answers. And while philosophy is a fantastic thing, it fails to deliver that sympathetic perspective that helps us understand ourselves in our own humanity.

    #134272
    Fitz
    @fitz

    @melancholicwriter

    You are very welcome ^_^ inspiring someone else to write is a very high compliment.

    As for where to start… I would start with reconnecting to what ever drove you to write this story in the first place (this might sound weird, bear with me a moment). It could have been just for fun (nothing wrong with that), or maybe it was for something a little more specific your heart wanted to do. Connecting with your heart on what it wants to say or do helps create a sense of direction for both the story and your MC.

    Lets throw out some ideas: In your story, her getting home seems like the big priority, that might seem plain or obvious, but there is a LOT you can do with that! Maybe she is taking care of a very sick family member, which gives the story a sense of urgency and drives home a feeling of familiar care. Or, by contrast, maybe she rushing to get back home to escape having to take up  responsibilities in faerie-tale land (a fun ironic twist) or needing to establish a place/life of her own there. In the first example, when you take her through a day in her life, you can see her being resentful of having the extra burden of taking care of someone, even if she loves them; this gives her the central struggle and room for character growth. In the second example, maybe you see her out partying all the time with a group of less than healthy friends, or maybe she is simply not able or willing to see her own potential and lacks confidence; this means that her comfortable world shatters when she is no longer in her world, and through the trials she endures in faerie-tale land, grows in both capability and confidence.

    The above are just two examples. The important bit is to figure out what it is your heart wants to say/figure out. This will help give your MC a life of her own, and make the story satisfying to write. If you are having trouble with that, a good trick I found was to think about what other story/movie/show resonates with me and watch/read them again with a critical eye. The big moments in those stories are flashy and fun and easy to remember, but it is so often the quiet moments that give them the depth and truth (even in simple fun adventures) that lands them in my heart. Cinderella escaping her home, for example, wouldn’t be so significant without her first suffering her sisters and mother. And the prince wouldn’t have fallen in love with her if she let the cruelty of her mother and sisters change who she was.

    Again, I hope all that isn’t overwhelming, lol. And again, the most important bit is to have fun. I guess the point I am trying to make is that your heart knows what it wants to do and is smarter than we give it credit for; watching the good stories that other people have done simply helps our brains catch up.

    Honestly, between slowly getting familiar with the forums, my own WIP, and real life, I’m a little overwhelmed. But feel free to post more if/when you write more 🙂

    #134283
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @fitz

    They were wondering what cultural or religious significance this bare patch of rocky cliff face just off the road could possibly have… until they translated it to discover it was the ancient equivalent of a 7/11 bathroom wall in the middle of nowhere Kentucky. XD

    Oh, my goodness, that’s hilarious! XD I studied some Latin texts and I still think it’s one of the funniest things how many of the great ‘classical texts’ are basically fanfiction (Aeneid was literally fanfic of the Illiad) XD

    Oh man, I am actually… about halfway (?) through making a language of my own for the dragons in my world. When I first started looking into it, it was like shoving my brain through a sieve learning all the OTHER ways language could work. I have a lot of the raw and fundamental rules done for it (such as phonemes, ergativity, classes [genders], and syllable structure), but haven’t worked much on the lexicon. I want to finish at some point before I publish, but even if I don’t it was a fascinating journey.

    Oh, wow! That’s amazing! I’ve never attempted it, but I can imagine how much work that is! When I need variations on language, I often just take small elements of languages I know and just state that one of the languages works like that.

    Example: “Why did you just use a double negative?” “Why didn’t you?” I’ve never actually used that one specifically, but I could XD

    I also think it’s fascinating how common languages would work, especially in the cases where it’s a blend of several languages instead of just one language like ‘If you want to trade with us, you speak our language.’ That’s also a big part of colonization and doesn’t make much sense outside it.

    A real-world language that worked like a blended language is Afrikaans, which is a blend of old Dutch, French, English, Malaysian, and some of the Bantu languages. I love how you can still pick out literal phrases and grammatical things and trace them back to the language they stemmed from. It’s kind of one of my fascinations XD

    haha, what do I win? XD For real though, that sounds really cool; it is such a rich and storied part of our own history. How much does the MC go traveling through the different tribes?

    Thank you! Not a lot actually. She visits six of seven tribes at one point or another, though, but there isn’t that much traveling. I incorporated the different cultures by using different characters. The main cast of characters are each from a different tribe. (Except for one tribe, because of geographical reasons, they’re just too far away.)

    The tribes are kind of split into two main groups, the southern tribes, and the northern tribes. The northern tribes are near the sea, where all the fertile land is, and the others are scattered through the rest of the country, so there are big cultural differences between north and south. The northern tribes had a larger amount of immigrants so they had more cultural drift than the other tribes, who were more isolated because of the geography.

    And when the two cultures mix, you get some funny mishaps. For example, differences in names for constellations: “Okay, you need to follow the Bear.” “Where am I supposed to find a bear? Oh, you mean the Plow!?”

    Okay, that was way more detail than you asked for XD I tend to get carried away with worldbuilding XD

    Ok, it sounds like you are going for a high adventure storyline, are you aiming for a YA audience or older?

    It’s a YA. There is some violence, but so far I’ve managed to keep it from being too graphic. For some reason, my plots always tend to work out that they’re not that actiony until the midpoint, then there’s usually a plot twist and everything collapses, leaving my characters scrambling to stay alive. It’s happened twice already XD

     Trust in the weight of the situation – in that bridge you have built between the characters and reader through hundreds of words or pages, and the long hours the reader has spent traversing those bridges bonding with all you have built – to carry itself.

    I definitely agree! It’s important to leave some of the story for the reader to fill in. If you explain everything, there’s nothing left to think about or imagine, and a reader’s imagination is much stronger than the writer’s power of description. This is something I still struggle with. I either over-explain or leave it completely unaddressed. That’s pure practice though, and it’ll get better in the later drafts. (I hope XD)

    Probably the moment where Glenesh (the first books MC, and advisor to the king) has a discussion about choice face to face with the Sire (God), and then Andauryl (Satan). There is just so much packed into there and is really the core of what this story is about.

    That sounds like an awesome scene and it has a ton of potential to illustrate your theme!

    I love those characters! Mostly playing them in D&D, lol, so much opportunity for shenanigans…

    Totally! I’ve never played D&D, but I currently have her in a Character Castle (A roleplay to develop your characters) here on SE. She’s just so much fun and causes all manner of havoc XD

    I distinctly remember a moment when she was doing backflips in zero-gravity while arguing with her brother. That just about summarizes her personality XD Yeah, it was exactly as weird as it sounds. Many of the other characters were freaking out and Liorah was doing backflips and having the time of her life.

    So, I have a question for you: it seems like this story is really resonating with you, what is it that keeps the story going for you? What makes you keep going back to it?

    Well, my primary inspiration was a combination of boredom and frustration XD It was at the start of lockdown last year, and I was getting extremely annoyed because I had to return most of the audiobooks I started, either because they were just plain boring or because they turned non-christian somewhere in the middle.

    Eventually, it got so annoying that I, who hated creative writing up to that point, actually decided that if I couldn’t find a good book, I was going to write one. Oh, and I was really bored. XD So, I guess that’s when it started but when I actually started writing I just got really, really attached to my characters. It actually feels like spending time with friends at this point XD

    For me, a big part of it is the fact that these are the kind of questions I want to have the answers to. A lot of philosophers apply themselves here, trying to discover the answers. And while philosophy is a fantastic thing, it fails to deliver that sympathetic perspective that helps us understand ourselves in our own humanity.

    That’s an amazing answer! I think I do that to a smaller degree. A common theme I find popping up in my writing is how even the people who have good intentions may do awful things to accomplish their goals and how even the evilest people think they’re doing right. (Usually) It makes for an interesting narrative since my villain’s goals do actually make sense and are objectively good. (He wants to unite the tribes so there will never be civil wars again.) Although his methods are definitely completely wrong and he’s still an evil person. He believes in ‘the end justifies the means’ too much.

    I don’t know, I didn’t consciously choose it, it just keeps popping up. It just feels very shallow to me when some stories entirely dismiss all the horrible things the heroes do because their goals are good.

    "Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark." The Tale of Despereaux

    #134351
    Bethania Gauterius
    @sparrowhawke

    @fitz

    Okay, I haven’t read all the posts here since there are a lot and they’re pretty long, but I just wanted to tell you that your story sounds fantastic and your names for all the different people groups suit them very well. Names can make or break a story for me, and I think you did a very good job with them.

    (You can call me Sparrow. I’m a fan of dead languages, books of most kinds, and Oxford commas. I haven’t written much, but my two biggest projects/WIPs are realistic contemporary and high fantasy. In fact, the contemporary WIP involves a group of RPGers.)

    Semper ubi sub ubi.

    #134354
    Fitz
    @fitz

    @rose-colored-fancy

    Oh, my goodness, that’s hilarious! XD I studied some Latin texts and I still think it’s one of the funniest things how many of the great ‘classical texts’ are basically fanfiction (Aeneid was literally fanfic of the Illiad) XD

    HA! we all need inspiration from something, right? Or how about all those mid to late medieval paintings are that are just monks taking out their frustration with their gardens being eaten by snails by depicting them as monsters being slain my the local knights.

    Oh, wow! That’s amazing! I’ve never attempted it, but I can imagine how much work that is!

    It is weird. Learning about languages was a seriously brain melting experience (cramming most of the information in my cranium within the span of about two weeks miiight have had something to do with that, lol). Once you kinda understand it though, the grammatical and phonetic structure becomes more a matter of having fun and just being consistent. It opens so much thought about how a different people (or race, such as dragons in my example) think and operate, which helps inform the language which itself circles back again towards culture. It is a fun and wonderful thought experiment
    Of course, it becomes a hassle again (imo) when you work on the lexicon. You create a batch of core words, figure out some naturalistic way of them growing into a full dictionary while throwing in the ways languages morph… and iterate that a few dozen times… bleh. Of course, that is only if you want to ensure that hardcore linguistics wont be offended by your made up language in a made up story in your made up world, lol.

    Speaking of blended languages, I LOVED the idea of mandarin being mixed with english in firefly! if only someone told another certain someone that mandarin is a tonal langauge… lol. still, it did a good job creating that feeling for an english speaking audience which, up until very recently, is a language that has avoided many of those sort of idiosyncrasies.

    Okay, that was way more detail than you asked for XD I tend to get carried away with worldbuilding XD

    Don’t apologize, that is awesome! It’s those little details that really help the story to come alive.

    For some reason, my plots always tend to work out that they’re not that actiony until the midpoint, then there’s usually a plot twist and everything collapses, leaving my characters scrambling to stay alive. It’s happened twice already XD

    Honestly, if that is an indication of your first half being actual character development in a YA novel, you have my endorsement, lol. A read a seven-book series (Saga of the Seven Suns) that spent the first 150 pages of the first book almost ENTIRELY introducing characters, but the author wrote it in an interesting way, and each character served a part in the unfolding plot, so I was hooked. Action, imo, can only be as good as our investment into the involved characters.

    That’s pure practice though, and it’ll get better in the later drafts.

    Again, honestly, with the time and effort and love you seem to be putting into this project, if I had to hazard a guess, I would guess that you will do fine 🙂

    That sounds like an awesome scene and it has a ton of potential to illustrate your theme!

    At first, I thought it might be a little on the nose, but at this point, I make no allusions that this story is allegorical. Heck, I am taking it past allegory, if at all possible.

    Totally! I’ve never played D&D, but I currently have her in a Character Castle (A roleplay to develop your characters) here on SE. She’s just so much fun and causes all manner of havoc XD

    .

    I just joined and made my first post in one of those. Not 100% sure how it works, but it looks like good practice. And she sounds like a ton of fun.

    I was getting extremely annoyed because I had to return most of the audiobooks I started, either because they were just plain boring or because they turned non-christian somewhere in the middle.

    I know what you mean. I am reticent to try anything new because I don’t know if it is just going to turn… gross.

    Eventually, it got so annoying that I, who hated creative writing up to that point, actually decided that if I couldn’t find a good book, I was going to write one. Oh, and I was really bored. XD So, I guess that’s when it started but when I actually started writing I just got really, really attached to my characters. It actually feels like spending time with friends at this point XD

    haha, I read that part aloud to my sisters (she was in the room) and she says THOSE are the kind of books she likes to read, and I agree. Also, as someone who also didn’t like creative writing for a long time, I’m glad it is bringing you something good 🙂

    I don’t know, I didn’t consciously choose it, it just keeps popping up. It just feels very shallow to me when some stories entirely dismiss all the horrible things the heroes do because their goals are good.

    I walk away from those stories (and there are far more of them now than they used to be) feeling very dissatisfied, even if I do not catch it in the middle of the experience. I think it comes from, fundamentally, the human condition of pain and resentment that feeds a power fantasy and tries to justify subjective morality. Which is just a bunch of big words that basically say that our first instinct, when we are hurt, is to hurt the other person back with the same evil and say it is ok when we do it. That choice to subject ourselves to a higher objective authority, to give up our own standards no matter how justified, is ultimately what makes the difference between the hero and the villain; and our inability to do it (or do it well) is what makes us human. idk, it sounds like your heart working out something really good.

    #134360
    Fitz
    @fitz

    @sparrowhawke

    Thank you very much! ^_^ Yeah, a lot of posts here only sorta talk about it, if you are interested in reading a little, I posted the prologue in the Fantasy forum.

    I’m a fan of dead languages, books of most kinds, and Oxford commas.

    Literally laughed out loud at Oxford commas. XD

    In fact, the contemporary WIP involves a group of RPGers.

    Oh, fun! Tabletop or videogame?

    #134377
    Bethania Gauterius
    @sparrowhawke

    @fitz

    I’ll have to take a look at the prologue! And the RPG thing is tabletop, so I’m gonna have to write like two stories XD

    Semper ubi sub ubi.

    #134378
    Fitz
    @fitz

    @sparrowhawke

    Very cool. Reminds me of the Gamers movies (made by Zombie Orpheus/Dead Gentleman Productions). If you haven’t seen them, I would HIGHLY recommend them, they are hilarious.

    #134402
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @fitz

    HA! we all need inspiration from something, right? Or how about all those mid to late medieval paintings are that are just monks taking out their frustration with their gardens being eaten by snails by depicting them as monsters being slain my the local knights.

    YES! I saw those! That’s honestly one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, especially since it didn’t happen just once or twice, apparently, a whole bunch of people did it.

    Oh, did you know that the ancient Greeks actually have vases with dinosaur skulls on them? They found the skull, were absolutely stumped, promptly decided it was a monster of some sort, stuck the skull on a black blob since they couldn’t be bothered to design something more interesting, and drew a bunch of guys fighting it. I mean, what else would you do with a dinosaur skull?

    (Btw, you can look this up if you want to see the vase. It’s an actual thing XD)

    Speaking of blended languages, I LOVED the idea of mandarin being mixed with english in firefly! if only someone told another certain someone that mandarin is a tonal langauge… lol. still, it did a good job creating that feeling for an english speaking audience which, up until very recently, is a language that has avoided many of those sort of idiosyncrasies.

    Oh, I’ve never heard of that, but that’s such a cool idea! I’ve found that languages often have these really fascinating nuances to them and it’s just so cool to study!

    Action, imo, can only be as good as our investment into the involved characters.

    Definitely! I feel like books tend to focus on plot over character, but personally, I couldn’t care less about the plot. If the characters are nuanced, conflicted, and deep, I’ll enjoy the book, even if the plot is cliche or slow. Of course, this will detract from the story, but my point is, I read books purely for the characters. If the plot is cool, that’s a bonus XD

    At first, I thought it might be a little on the nose, but at this point, I make no allusions that this story is allegorical. Heck, I am taking it past allegory, if at all possible.

    Go for it! If you have a point you want to make, don’t back down on it! I’ve found that authors can get away with nearly anything as long as they do it wholeheartedly. (Basically, the entire philosophy behind Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, which was just grammatically correct nonsense.) I’ve found that authors who seem uncertain generally don’t write as interesting a book as someone who is wholeheartedly writing something that will offend a whole bunch of people.

    This is very much a case of ‘do as I say, not as I do’, though XD (What’s my theme? Who knows? Not me!)

    I just joined and made my first post in one of those. Not 100% sure how it works, but it looks like good practice. And she sounds like a ton of fun.

    Yes, the character castles are awesome! I’m in two, currently, one for villains and a regular one. I can honestly say it’s improved my writing dramatically. I get to know my characters much, much faster, purely because I write about them often and in strange situations. This is especially useful for side characters, who don’t get much screentime but who I still want to have personality.

    I know what you mean. I am reticent to try anything new because I don’t know if it is just going to turn… gross.

    Definitely! Before buying any new book, I always squint suspiciously at it for quite a while. (Both literally and metaphorically.) I’m usually on my guard throughout the entire book so I enjoy rereading a lot more than the initial read, honestly.

    Which is just a bunch of big words that basically say that our first instinct, when we are hurt, is to hurt the other person back with the same evil and say it is ok when we do it. That choice to subject ourselves to a higher objective authority, to give up our own standards no matter how justified, is ultimately what makes the difference between the hero and the villain; and our inability to do it (or do it well) is what makes us human. idk, it sounds like your heart working out something really good.

    That’s such a good way to put it! You definitely have a point!

    What’s a part of writing you’re trying to improve on?

    For me, that would definitely be descriptions, themes, and generally slowing down and deepening the story instead of rushing through it.

     

     

    "Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark." The Tale of Despereaux

    #134425
    Fitz
    @fitz

    @rose-colored-fancy

    Oh, did you know that the ancient Greeks actually have vases with dinosaur skulls on them? They found the skull, were absolutely stumped, promptly decided it was a monster of some sort, stuck the skull on a black blob since they couldn’t be bothered to design something more interesting, and drew a bunch of guys fighting it. I mean, what else would you do with a dinosaur skull?

    I actually didn’t know about that before, lol. I don’t know if it was more or less creative that they just stuck the skull on a black blob instead of creating some goofy looking monster to try and make it work (like the rest of humanity since forever XD )

    Oh, I’ve never heard of that, but that’s such a cool idea! I’ve found that languages often have these really fascinating nuances to them and it’s just so cool to study!

    Oh, man, then you might really like this video/channel, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7koz0CzA3Kk (if that doesn’t actually create the hyperlink, just copy-pasta, lol)

    Definitely! I feel like books tend to focus on plot over character, but personally, I couldn’t care less about the plot. If the characters are nuanced, conflicted, and deep, I’ll enjoy the book, even if the plot is cliche or slow. Of course, this will detract from the story, but my point is, I read books purely for the characters. If the plot is cool, that’s a bonus XD

    That authenticity of character can make the entire difference between a story that is a cliche Franken-trope and something that is really enjoyable. And as for plot, I think its primary goal should be to fuel character development. Most plots are very simple when you break them down, which makes sense since life is usually straightforward from that perspective. Moreover, even clever plots feel convoluted and contrived rather than intricate when disconnected from the characters that should be the driving force of the plot. When you boil it down, why we tell stories, and why we listen, is because of the change their example makes in us. It’s the human element.

    Go for it! If you have a point you want to make, don’t back down on it! I’ve found that authors can get away with nearly anything as long as they do it wholeheartedly. (Basically, the entire philosophy behind Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, which was just grammatically correct nonsense.) I’ve found that authors who seem uncertain generally don’t write as interesting a book as someone who is wholeheartedly writing something that will offend a whole bunch of people. This is very much a case of ‘do as I say, not as I do’, though XD (What’s my theme? Who knows? Not me!)

    (“So long and thanks for all the fish…” XD ) But in all seriousness, your right, thank you 🙂

    Well, you already mentioned ONE theme already! “A common theme I find popping up in my writing is how even the people who have good intentions may do awful things to accomplish their goals and how even the evilest people think they’re doing right.” Honestly, you will probably find more and more themes popping up as the work continues. The truth is, in so much of life, we play catchup with what our heart is doing. You can think of it as a journey of discovery ^_^

    Yes, the character castles are awesome! I’m in two, currently, one for villains and a regular one. I can honestly say it’s improved my writing dramatically. I get to know my characters much, much faster, purely because I write about them often and in strange situations. This is especially useful for side characters, who don’t get much screentime but who I still want to have personality.

    Yeah, that is kinda what I am hoping for. Trying to write characters who haven’t fallen is… really challenging, and I am hoping this helps, lol.

    Definitely! Before buying any new book, I always squint suspiciously at it for quite a while. (Both literally and metaphorically.) I’m usually on my guard throughout the entire book so I enjoy rereading a lot more than the initial read, honestly.

    lol, I just pictured staring at a book like a disobedient pet “are you going to be a good book? are you going to behave? don’t make me through you in the trash…” XD

    What’s a part of writing you’re trying to improve on? For me, that would definitely be descriptions, themes, and generally slowing down and deepening the story instead of rushing through it.

    That’s what drafts 2-999 are for, right? XD

    Descriptions are hit and miss for me. I feel I can write them really well when motivated, in the mindset, or just have a really clear image; but that part of my brain just feels different from the dialogue/character side of my brain so it can feel really draining. I often stay in the movement of the scene, writing all the things the characters say or do, and then put in the descriptions later.

    But in all honestly, I would say motivation and confidence. To look at my work with an objective eye, to both not blow the critiques out of proportion and to let the praise be a celebration of the reality that it is good.

    On a similar note, what do you think is your greatest strength as a writer? Mine is probably the characters, dialogue, and themes, lol.

    #134428
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @fitz

    I actually didn’t know about that before, lol. I don’t know if it was more or less creative that they just stuck the skull on a black blob instead of creating some goofy looking monster to try and make it work (like the rest of humanity since forever XD )

    LOL, I can just imagine a bunch of Greek artists staring at the skull like “Now what do we do?” “Minotaur?” “We have one!” “Cyclops?” “We have one!” “How about… a black blob?” “Genius.”

    That authenticity of character can make the entire difference between a story that is a cliche Franken-trope and something that is really enjoyable. And as for plot, I think its primary goal should be to fuel character development.

    Exactly! Now I’m a writer, I can actually tell when a writer is literally just creating an ‘arena’ for character development. “The Westing Game” comes to mind since a large part of that plot was just there to force the characters to interact. (Though it did feel a little complicated to me and I had trouble keeping everything straight.)

    Most plots are very simple when you break them down, which makes sense since life is usually straightforward from that perspective. Moreover, even clever plots feel convoluted and contrived rather than intricate when disconnected from the characters that should be the driving force of the plot. When you boil it down, why we tell stories, and why we listen, is because of the change their example makes in us. It’s the human element.

    Definitely! No matter how twisty or ingenious a plot is, if I don’t engage with the characters, I just don’t care. I actually quite enjoy simple, straightforward plots, as long as the characters are interesting and complicated.

    (“So long and thanks for all the fish…” XD)

    LOL! I actually quite enjoyed how weird that book was. I distinctly remember one scene where Arthur Dent (I think that was the MC’s name?) and Ford Prefect were chasing down a red chesterfield couch. That was literally the weirdest thing I’ve ever laid eyes on XD

    Honestly, you will probably find more and more themes popping up as the work continues. The truth is, in so much of life, we play catchup with what our heart is doing. You can think of it as a journey of discovery ^_^

    Oh, yeah, finding a theme isn’t my problem, it’s picking one of the four thousand that swarm over the pages. Like, when I was reading my first draft, one of the notes I made is literally “Booo! Pick a theme!” Along with “MeLOdraMATic MEloDRama.” (I think I’ve improved at that since XD) It’s kinda hard, but I tried to pick what went with the character arc the best. I think it’s working out so far, but I’ll see after the second draft…

    Yeah, that is kinda what I am hoping for. Trying to write characters who haven’t fallen is… really challenging, and I am hoping this helps, lol.

    I can imagine! So far for me, it’s also helped with improvising scenarios. Never in my life did I think I would have to write a scene where one of my villains, a ruthless, highly skilled assassin, gets chased and bitten by a goose.

    lol, I just pictured staring at a book like a disobedient pet “are you going to be a good book? are you going to behave? don’t make me through you in the trash…” XD

    That’s literally exactly what happens XD It always involves a lot of squinting and rereading the blurb several times XD

    Descriptions are hit and miss for me. I feel I can write them really well when motivated, in the mindset, or just have a really clear image; but that part of my brain just feels different from the dialogue/character side of my brain so it can feel really draining. I often stay in the movement of the scene, writing all the things the characters say or do, and then put in the descriptions later.

    Same! For me, another big element is character voice. My second book is written in dual POV, and my ‘main’ MC (Liorah) isn’t very wordy. She’s quite straightforward when it comes to descriptions and voice, even though it’s often detailed in other aspects. And the other one…. Well…. Faye can’t describe anything without a simile and two metaphors XD Her voice is far more detailed, dreamy, and poetic than Liorah’s. So, my descriptions do tend to be a bit better from her POV, since under-describing is my biggest issue.

    But in all honestly, I would say motivation and confidence. To look at my work with an objective eye, to both not blow the critiques out of proportion and to let the praise be a celebration of the reality that it is good.

    I totally get what you mean! More often than not, critique can end up feeling a lot like “This is all awful and terrible and why did I start in the first place?” And praise can feel like “Yeah, but what if it’s actually trash?” At least to me, I still tend to fall back into that mindset, though I’m trying to improve.

    On a similar note, what do you think is your greatest strength as a writer? Mine is probably the characters, dialogue, and themes, lol.

    Hmm, I’d say concept, setting, and structure. My initial concepts are often far more interesting and vivid than when I’ve edited the daylights out of them. For structure, what can I say, I really enjoy formulas XD Personally, I use Save the Cat, and it’s transformed my plots.

    I’d say my dialogue and plots are passable. There aren’t any glaring flaws, but they aren’t amazing strengths. I’m not entirely sure about my characters in general and character voices in particular. I haven’t received any negative feedback, but not much positive either. Personally, I like where it’s headed, but it can always use more work XD

    What is your biggest writing goal for this year?

    My aim is to get the first draft of my second book done, and at least get a dent in the second draft of the first book. (Yes, I’m working on both at once. Nope, it isn’t working out well.) Both goals are…. optimistic XD (And I probably won’t manage both, but it’s more a loose aiming point than a concrete deadline. “I love deadlines. I love the sound they make as they whiz by.” XD)

    Since the first draft is only about halfway (50k but I’m only halfway through my outline.) And for the second draft, I’m completely rewriting with the first draft as an outline since it was my first attempt at creative writing and it’s genuinely awful.

    "Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark." The Tale of Despereaux

    #134431
    Neasa
    @irishcelticredflowercrown

    @fitz

    Pleased to meet you 🙂 I’m very new to this forum, and am excited to be here. The premise of your story sounds AMAZING! So thought-provoking and imaginative. The names are very cool, I myself am terrible at coming up with unusual names haha.

    So Marissa Meyer and Francine Rivers are among my favourite authors. Currently I am reading the Narnia series (I waited until now to read them, I know shocker).

    At the moment, my WIP is a young adult speculative fantasy based on Irish and Celtic mythology. In this story, magic exists as a form of science that abides by the laws of physics and chemistry, and is divinely gifted to people for the purpose of using it for good. The world is controlled by an authoritarian military faction, who are in fact Fae, but they are no longer gifted with magic because they used it for evil, so they obtain darker, more powerful magic by committing evil deeds. My protagonist is a human teen lackey of a criminal mobster who is suddenly divinely gifted with unusual powers after she saves a stranger’s life. She seeks to get rid of this power, but soon realizes that she has been given an opportunity to redeem herself and become a hero. Basically the main theme is that even those with great darkness in their hearts are called to be warriors of God, no matter what we’ve done in their lives.

    That’s it I suppose… It’s lovely to meet all of you 🙂

    #134432
    Fitz
    @fitz

    @rose-colored-fancy

    LOL, I can just imagine a bunch of Greek artists staring at the skull like “Now what do we do?” “Minotaur?” “We have one!” “Cyclops?” “We have one!” “How about… a black blob?” “Genius.”

    HAHA “Well, you see, we don’t know what that skull is, so the black blob really is just our fear of the unknown which we must confront with courage and logic.” – that potter trying to get his piece sold, probably.

    Exactly! Now I’m a writer, I can actually tell when a writer is literally just creating an ‘arena’ for character development. “The Westing Game” comes to mind since a large part of that plot was just there to force the characters to interact. (Though it did feel a little complicated to me and I had trouble keeping everything straight.)

    Never heard of that book, is it any good?

    LOL! I actually quite enjoyed how weird that book was. I distinctly remember one scene where Arthur Dent (I think that was the MC’s name?) and Ford Prefect were chasing down a red chesterfield couch. That was literally the weirdest thing I’ve ever laid eyes on XD

    I only ever read the first book, and it was so long ago I honestly don’t even remember that much about it; mostly just the parts that people already quote, lol.

    Oh, yeah, finding a theme isn’t my problem, it’s picking one of the four thousand that swarm over the pages. Like, when I was reading my first draft, one of the notes I made is literally “Booo! Pick a theme!” Along with “MeLOdraMATic MEloDRama.” (I think I’ve improved at that since XD) It’s kinda hard, but I tried to pick what went with the character arc the best. I think it’s working out so far, but I’ll see after the second draft…

    XD Reminds me of my notes as a DM for D&D, and I mean both the notes taken during the session and the prep-work for the session. I’m decent at improv so it usually worked out fine… usually… lol.

    But it sounds like you may be able just to write it all out and then trim down whatever doesn’t work. I find trimming down to be easier (and better looking) than needing to add content.

    I can imagine! So far for me, it’s also helped with improvising scenarios. Never in my life did I think I would have to write a scene where one of my villains, a ruthless, highly skilled assassin, gets chased and bitten by a goose.

    hahaha, Untitled Goose Game anyone? Seriously though, how did that happen to your character?

    Same! For me, another big element is character voice. My second book is written in dual POV, and my ‘main’ MC (Liorah) isn’t very wordy. She’s quite straightforward when it comes to descriptions and voice, even though it’s often detailed in other aspects. And the other one…. Well…. Faye can’t describe anything without a simile and two metaphors XD Her voice is far more detailed, dreamy, and poetic than Liorah’s. So, my descriptions do tend to be a bit better from her POV, since under-describing is my biggest issue.

    If you are doing first person POV, have you tried describing things from a third person POV in a separate space? So, spend your time writing it out in a different page or document, almost as if you would put it in the book, but that becomes the reference for what your character actually sees? That way, you can focus on just imagining the thing itself and play with different words while not feeling pressured by the rest of the scene. (I write mostly on computer, but spending time outside with a pencil and paper just describing things has been very helpful).

    I totally get what you mean! More often than not, critique can end up feeling a lot like “This is all awful and terrible and why did I start in the first place?” And praise can feel like “Yeah, but what if it’s actually trash?” At least to me, I still tend to fall back into that mindset, though I’m trying to improve.

    Yeah, and then you are hit with the fear that if you actually start to admit that it is good, you are going to come off as some arrogant blowhard, lol. This is honestly where a lot of my actual work with writing goes into, looking at God and allowing him into the underlying cause of the feelings.

    Hmm, I’d say concept, setting, and structure. My initial concepts are often far more interesting and vivid than when I’ve edited the daylights out of them. For structure, what can I say, I really enjoy formulas XD Personally, I use Save the Cat, and it’s transformed my plots.

    I have never head of that phrase before, what does it mean, exactly? Also, sounds like you do/work on a lot of outlining, I’m honestly more of a pantser (is that how you spell it?), and if so, what is your process for that?

    I’d say my dialogue and plots are passable. There aren’t any glaring flaws, but they aren’t amazing strengths. I’m not entirely sure about my characters in general and character voices in particular. I haven’t received any negative feedback, but not much positive either. Personally, I like where it’s headed, but it can always use more work XD

    You know, if you would like some feedback, I would be interested in reading some of what you have written.

    My aim is to get the first draft of my second book done, and at least get a dent in the second draft of the first book. (Yes, I’m working on both at once. Nope, it isn’t working out well.) Both goals are…. optimistic XD (And I probably won’t manage both, but it’s more a loose aiming point than a concrete deadline. “I love deadlines. I love the sound they make as they whiz by.” XD) Since the first draft is only about halfway (50k but I’m only halfway through my outline.) And for the second draft, I’m completely rewriting with the first draft as an outline since it was my first attempt at creative writing and it’s genuinely awful.

    From an outlining perspective, it certainly makes sense to get that done for the series before seriously putting pen to paper. Again, as a pantser, I have a plan (and we all know how well plans go, lol) to basically write the whole series as one draft, and then rewrite. I know I have a problem with letting the work and the process be messy, even while most everything in LIFE is messy; even cleaning is usually more messy before it is finished.

    I love that deadline quote. Another one I really like is: “Sucking at something is the first step in learning how to be kinda good at something.”

    What is your biggest writing goal for this year?

    That is probably the hardest question you have asked, lol. My writing is first and foremost about my walk with God, and that has already subverted my goals and plans. I had to put my WIP down for a year or so, only picking it back up now, but that time was necessary and really good, but certainly not what I had planned. So, honestly, idk; I want to get this draft down by the end of this year… but yeah, we’ll see.

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