industrialistDragon

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  1. YES. IT IS. Tropes that were kind of dated and cringeworthy in the '70s when it first came out and have progressed to today largely unexamined. Be very careful pulling from D&D. While it can be a great jumping-off point for stories, it is also riddled with pitfalls if used without adequate examination. This would help bunches to avoid a lot of the associations specifically tied to katanas, that I doubt are what you're looking for in the work. "generic Asian land" comes off as primarily Japanese to a lot of Westerners for Important Historical Reasons, and also for the more prosaic reason that other Asian countries haven't exported their media (comics, novels, and TV shows (though k-dramas are getting pretty popular nowadays)) as heavily as Japan has done, and so haven't had either the length of time or saturation level to get really ground into the cultural zeitgeist. If you're looking to base a secondary world country on an existing country, I would highly recommend picking up at least a "history in a nutshell" type of book on the country AND an etiquette book on the country so you can get an idea of how things actually work. Also, just putting this out there, but there are a lot of "asian" countries with rich cultures and histories that aren't Japan or China! If you do a bit of digging, you might find all or part of somewhere else that fits your ideas better than "generic asian land" does. There's a lot of world history to look through and it's all full of great story ideas. Then show it! I would MUCH rather see/hear/read about Annabelle's ACTUAL issues than have her pretend to be pseudoreligious and hide it. It would be much more interesting to see her reacting to things, working through them, trying to hide them and failing like people do when they try to hide things, whatever, even if it's not from her POV. If Hen's been traveling with her for some time, he's certainly been picking up on things about her, making assumptions about her (rightly or wrongly), and teasing her story from her over the long walks to where-ever-it-is they're going. Working out how to show what's up with Anabelle without either annabelle or Hen just outright SAYING it might be more difficult to write, but it will be a much more interesting read and will go farther in differentiating your characters from their archetypes than simply subbing in more archetypes (like being all Zen) would.
  2. Possibly. Anime is, of course, animation from Japan, and it has its own set of cultural stereotypes and tropes baked in to it that're different from Western ones. The point I was getting at was that the use of specifically a "katana" along with the vaguely-japanese names, plus the generic fantasyland setting makes this feel to me like an anime. I did a light run through TVTropes and these are the ones that look like they'd apply here: (standard TVtropes disclaimer: TVtrope is a sucking black hole of the internet and will devour all of your free time. Use with caution!) Ghibli Hills in Hollywood Medieval Japan A Protagonist is Ryu Rei Ananami Expy edging into a possible Phlembotinum Girl (and, honestly, you have The Smurfette Principle going on right now, but I'm willing to withhold final judgment on that until I see a few more chapters. Two chapters just isn't a whole lot of room) Katanas are Just Better (which is the only reason I can think of for their use, since IRL there are tons of better behaving, more interesting swords out there in the world, including other swords from Japan) The young magic user's combination of friendly evilness and lack of description except for his similar age to the hero and name (which I *think* is a usually-female name. I think. Maybe?) puts him for me into the Rival role, and, when I pair that with "magic user" and the rest of the vibe from the piece, I get a pretty typical white-haired Bishounen role. When there is a dearth of in-story descriptions, readers will use the tropes they're familiar with to fill in the gaps. The thing to remember here is that Tropes Are Not Inherently Bad. They're also not inherently GOOD, either. They're tools, and shorthand, and some are far more problematic than others. They can be deliciously subverted, or comfortingly met. They can be horrifically overused and terribly written, too. Any way they are used, though, the author should be aware of them in the work. Is this what you intended with the piece? Is your story best served by these tropes, or would others do what you want better, with less (or at least, different) baggage?
  3. isn't that what normal spirit houses do? That the spirits who are in the ground normally get ticked off that you're building on top of them so you make them a spirit house by way of appeasement/apology then massage their egos by putting it up high above yourself so everybody knows they're important?
  4. Spirit house!! (though, it's on the ground? isn't that a little... irreverent? for spirit houses?) Sorin's monologue... It's good, and it does address an issue that's been a theme of the book with some nice analogies, but it doesn't really deal specifically with what went all pear shaped with M in the prev chapter, imo. So in that regard, I guess it sort of fails? At least, I'm assuming you're meaning the monologue at the beginning at the spirit house. If it's another one, it's gone completely over my head and I've missed it (much like that nightgown analogy last chapter. sorry.). It's a very Sorin monologue, though. 2nd-to-last paragraph on pg 1: "I fell to my knees"; 1st paragraph on pg 2 (there's one intervening paragraph between these): "I sagged to my knees" *mentally chopping up wordiness and rearranging awkward sentences next pass next pass la la la* "neither did she dismiss." dismiss what? moms is a real piece of work innt she? oi. >_< "before me spotted in drops of moonlight" this needs a verb I really want to see this unbound guild stuff pop up earlier. if it's coming through all the way to ch16, then I want to know why it's such a big deal that witches and alchemists are unbound. why is it different? why do moms and sorin care? "Thuja seeping across my vision" seeping is usually a slow process, which doesn't seem to fit with the tension here. ". I raked my palms over the tree bark" who's doing the tattooing and who's holding Sorin down? i'm having a hard time figuring out who's where here. also, Sorin's hands were smashed against a tree trunk just a couple paragraphs back, are they still? i guess if W is doing the tattooing then no, but I thought moms had the needle last? in which case, W would still be confining Sorin, and therefore Sorin's hands would be free to react? no? yes? It's a good tense scene, but I keep getting knocked out of it trying to figure out who's where doing what to whom. "bite to the air fell to a chill" i don't understand this line. "the right thing to do, for you" ha! rationalizing much, moms? "My choice had been made." this would be a great end of chapter line. the stuff after would probably fit into an intro to next one pretty well too. I"m missing too many interevening chs to really get a feel for where this is going, but in the short term, i would expect the queen to be all *headpats* "Aw, widdle Sorin thot all this silly billy things, here have some MAJOR PLOT BOMBS to screw up your life some more"; the witches be like "yo these be bestest heel-face turns around, yo!"; and magda will be all "SDFHLDS!2#!@!! I WILL BURN THE WORLD TO FIND U SORRRIIINNN! NOOOOOOO" *dramatic music zoom out shouty pose* but how you're going to tie a bow around all that, i couldn't say.
  5. Do I remember this? I don't know if I remember this. This isn't the first chapter, no? Argh, this half-remembered itch is going to bother me, but that's all me and none of the writing. Anyway! Since I don't remember any of what happened before, I'm finding the opening and beginning page or so a little tough to get invested in. "white robes in loose coils" white robes AND in loose coils? Otherwise, I'm confused as to what's coiling, the dress or the roses. I'm really unclear who is being referred to on pg 2. The characters keep saying "they" and "them" and never mentioning anything by name, and I know, it's the not-the-beginning of a thing, but still. A name or a brief description as a reference point for more than a page of referrals wouldn't go amiss. The whispers are really interesting! but again, I had some trouble getting around the way the passages are written. There's some awkward sentence structures and passages that could probably be refined a bit for clarity. I'm not clear quite on what's going on, at this point, either, but I'm not sure how much of that is the way this is written and how much is that i'm pretty sure I've missed the intro chapters. Hmm... I don't think I've read any of this before, thinking on it now. But while i am interested to read more, I can't really get a good handle on the characters from just this bit. it's definitely a middle part rather than a jumping on point and i feel like I'm missing... most of everything I guess. I'll just have to read the next one to see how it goes, i suppose!
  6. ch1 A good interesting start. not all interesting starts have to be action-filled slugfests and you've got a nice little scene here. Not digging "psych" as a generic catchall curse word. "Let’s head into town" -- this is a great end-of-chapter line. the rest after it just feels superfluous. Overall: Both of the characters so far seem a little bland, but it is just the beginning. I wonder at the use of a katana rather than a different kind of sword, since katanas invite all kinds of samurai, ninja, and weird oriental fetishistic tropes that, other than H's name and the aforementioned sword, seem to have very little to do with the rest of the setting or story. ------------ ch2 "look" is used 4 times in the first 3 sentences.... I kinda thought the two of them were staying in the town, or at least in the near vicinity since they were talking about selling crystals (or the inability to do so) in the area, so it seems odd that they're so very unfamiliar with the tower. (the inside i can understand, but the outside?) "going to die soon, then let’s die sooner" ...... >_>; this is... not a great sentence formulation. I'm confused. How did magicboy get a key to a place his army invaded/conquered AFTER he'd separated from the main group? if the general was already ensconced in the tower, why did they need to "invade" the town in the first place? i'm assuming the tower is in the town (is the tower in the town?) Things are getting pretty abrupt here talking with the general. I don't have enough background to follow any of this. I really don't know enough about our protags and the relationship between them to be invested in their capture and/or potential use as hostages. I'm really feeling the lack of description, I have no grounding; these interesting little bits of plot are just untethered to anything and floating away like bubbles and whenever I try to latch on to one they pop. I don't understand the conscription at all. I feels like a really unsound decision. H is clearly antagonistic to the general, on basic principal to say nothing of the other stuff (i'm not sure what the other stuff is though), so why would the general turn around and go "you get to be sheriff here i'm not really going to monitor you either byeeeee?" Hanging a lampshade on the "girlfriend as hostage" trope does not in fact obviate the cringworthiness of the "girlfriend as hostage" trope... ( I mean, she is the girlfriend right? i'm assuming. But I could totes see them as brother-sister too) Overall: I like the start of the story, but the left turn into the invasion is very confusing. There are a couple of places, especially in the second chapter that have distracting doubled words or unintentional alliteration, but technically this is a well done piece! It is probably a bit too dialogue-heavy, as you mentioned, but I think that's a very fixable issue. I would not have pegged H & A as itinerants from the text, and I am slightly worried about the use of anime-like names. It feels like a surface treatment and I think the story would be better served by making up an entirely new culture and naming system to go with the entirely new country names rather than falling back on stereotypes that are easy to misuse. As @rdpulfer said, I think the story is just jumping the gun a bit here, and giving the plot some more space to rev up will likely help a bunch. but overall I liked it and I want to see what happens next. keep going!
  7. *squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee* (that is the sound of enjoying guilty pleasure fanfic) Funfact: magda can in fact benchpress 1.325 quirks. :3
  8. I think this more comes up with authors who have an established body of work, where readers then go back into the canon and try to figure out the author's private life from what they've written. Specifically, they were talking about readers who look at a body of work and say "this character is actually the author." Lindskold was saying that it's impossible to find the real person inside what you're describing (the use of one's own experiences to lend realism to their characters) because of all the filtering the real experiences go through to be able to fit into fiction. The other opinion was that, in certain cases, the author is so blatant in the use of incidences from their lives that it's impossible NOT to make assumptions from the texts. Personally, I like being able to see some firsthand experiences in the stories I read. I enjoyed the medial portions of the Stardoc series by SL Viehl (other major issues with her work aside) because to me they were clearly based on her experiences working in a trauma center, and I find that insider perspective really compelling. Julie Czerneda was a biologist before she started writing scifi and it really shows in her awesome aliens, especially in her Species Imperative series. This kind of "seeing the author show through the work" can really backfire, though, and I'll find myself getting distracted from the story, or even stop reading all together if it's too blatant or not worked into the text well enough. I also agree with Lindskold in that I think it's impossible to really know an author just through what they've written, precisely because an author only puts portions of themselves into a work. A real person is always going to be more multifaceted than a fictional character, no matter how many points of connection the two have. Assuming you "know how an author really is" just from the stories they've written is like assuming you know what someone is really like based only on what they post to Facebook. It's a curated experience. You can see some things, but it's never going to be the same as getting to know them in person.
  9. Yes, that's much closer to it, I think. Well, knowing M, I'm sure she could learn to leer slightly less. Now I'm thinking of M and Quirk in a bar together just commenting on EVERYONE's EVERYTHING, and it would be horrible and snarky and amazing. XD
  10. Yes and no? THere's a difference between being okay with something intellectually and with your clothes on, when there's room for the thinking brain to go "S is enby, and enby is a thing and it's all cool," and put a check on any hormone-driven habitual reactions; and naked sexy funtimes when it's hormones driving the bus, reactions are primal and habituated, and thinking reactions are packed away in a corner somewhere. Sorin's making a fine distinction and expecting a lot of thinking from a red-blooded lusty lady, but by the same token M really should know better than 1) to think sexytimes with S will be normal, and 2) to treat S the way she's treated previous lovers. It's M's reaction to S's boobs *AS WOMEN'S BOOBS* that causes the initial problem. When S's parts engender the same look as the flirty female barmaid's parts, that's M -- however unconsciously and inadvertently! -- showing that she hasn't really absorbed the "S is enby, enby is different" idea beyond a surface understanding *despite howevermuch she might care in other circumstances.* S being awkward and inarticulate doesn't help matters, either.
  11. In case anyone wanted to put their wordcount to a good cause... http://clarionwriteathon.org/
  12. Because I read a lot of author blogs and thinkpieces and I'm sure @kais gets tired of my constantly spamming PMs sometimes. So, to start off, the thing I keep chewing on at the moment is the idea of "seeing the author in their characters." It was brought up in these posts by Jane Lindskold (whose Firekeeper series is amazing and whom others might know from being Roger Zelazny's partner, coauthor, and biographer shortly before he died). https://janelindskold.wordpress.com/2017/06/01/tt-is-that-the-author/ https://janelindskold.wordpress.com/2017/06/08/tt-a-question-of-identity/ https://janelindskold.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/tt-is-he-in-there/ I think Lindskold brings up a very good point, in that no matter how much people want to say "this character and the author share X traits and history therefore they are the same!" it is still taking certain specific aspects of a person and running them through a fictive lens -- by definition fictional characters are too limited to really "be" the author. What do you all think? Is it possible to see what the author is like by looking at the characters they write? Does it matter? Do you care? When does "writing what you know" become a distraction to the readers (who always seem to want to go "aha! gotcha, that's real!" with a character or event). (*NOTE: I'm still compiling links for a Mary Sue post, so this IS NOT ABOUT MARY SUES AT ALL. The blog posts touch on self-insertion (by way of cameos), of which Sues are a subtype, but the issues around Mary Sues are different. This is talking about readers sussing out the author from their characters, not the author consciously hiding themselves in their work)
  13. Oh you poor thing.
  14. O.O For serious?! Geez, they must grow their coyotes meaner up in Canadia! I went and wiki'd coyote attacks before I mentioned it, and wiki has some absurdly low number like 40 attacks over like 15 years. My personal experiences with coyotes have involved losing a couple pet cats to them -- probably. The cats just disappeared, and all the neighbors just nodded sympathetically and went "Well, we have coyotes in the area" and conspicuously resumed walking their medium/large dogs.
  15. Sorry Michel Moorcock, the winner of the Scary Basement Old Summer Scifi Reading Adventure is Cordwainer Smith! I'm calling it now. I'm finishing up "Norstralia" and it's been amazing. So dense with ideas yet still very easy to read and fun and a sort of droll dark humor. he manages to explain nothing (why are underpeople? irrelevant, so it's not addressed) and have it work wonderfully. If I have one quibble, it's in the awfully dated descriptions of the females in the cast, especially the lead, C'mell. I know it's like 1964 to 1968, but James H Schmitz published in that same time frame with a similar corporate/lawless space universe (if not quite so posthuman) consisting mostly of short stories with one full novel to pad things out and managed not to be an utter cad about his female characters. But it is '60s-era space adventure, so to quote another imaginary personage of the era, "I knew the job was dangerous when I took it." :[ I have another book of Cordwainer Smith's short stories (Norstralia was his only novel) and I'm having a really hard time trying to force myself back to finish up Moorcock's trope-dripping edgelord Elric when I could crack open more in Norstralia's crazy epic timeline (even if they are all short stories so the ending is uniformly "And everybody died the end!!" grumble)