Kureshi Ironclaw

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Everything posted by Kureshi Ironclaw

  1. Hey folks, I've stumbled upon a new method for worldbuilding that has helped bypass the blocks in my mind and increase my overall output, so I thought I'd share it to see if others wanted to try it out. For context, I have always struggled with worldbuilding. I get bored and distracted too quickly, so I don't like sitting down and working out accurate timelines, historical events, lineages and things like that. I am far stronger with my character work and find it far easier to present information through the eyes of a character. Enter epistolary worldbuilding. I've found that I work far faster and have more fun by detailing such things in small fragments of text written in-world by various characters. These are usually only a sentence or two long, and I typically don't attribute them to anyone specific or assign a date to them. They're just fun little snippets of character voice witnessing or reflecting on events I'm imagining in my head but am struggling to detail accurately. Part of the fun for me is headhopping through a bunch of different viewpoints and trying to convey a strong sense of character and setting in just a few lines. On their own, each fragment doesn't mean a lot, but when you read a couple at a time you get a larger sense of what is going on in the world that I think feels much more human and character-driven than a dry description of events and dates. Obviously this leaves a deficit of any objective information, as each viewpoint is biased, but I think this is a more accurate representation of history within a world. It can even just help for the original genesis of a sequence of events and then it is simple enough to add dates and create objectivity as needed. But personally it has been a while since I've been worried about objective truths within my writing. So far I've only really used this for worldbuilding history, but I can highly recommend it to others that are more comfortable writing character than doing worldbuilding. I don't think such a process would work to figure out the metaphysics or magic system of a world, but I'm curious to see if it is effective in other contexts. Give it a try. Let me know what you think. We can share examples in this thread.
  2. Glad I could be of help! Yeah the cool thing about doing worldbuilding like this is it makes really good epigraphs for that little bit of extra spice.
  3. I'm glad it helped spark some creativity! As far as feedback is concerned, I'd just say you could try and streamline each entry a bit. Figure out what information you are trying to get across in a particular fragment then try to deliver it in the briefest way while still keeping it interesting. Let's take your first fragment for example. It seems to me that the main thing you are trying to convey here is that dwarhart was thought to be lost forever, but the character has rediscovered it. You're putting a lot of emphasis on the extent to which dwarhart was lost, which is cool, but is belaboring a point that as a reader I was willing to accept at face value. To me it came across a bit redundant. Further to this, these fragments are written from a particular character's point of view, and so the rules of point of view apply. You shouldn't be stating information that is obvious to the character, or information that the character wouldn't feel necessary to write down. Obviously you know your character better than I do, but there are a few things in here that I don't think they would deem necessary to include. In this format, you can always use other fragments to flesh out necessary information, but as a reader I don't need to know everything up front. Part of the fun of reading things like this is gradually finding out new information that recontextualises my view of the world. I could see this entry streamlined to something like this: The institute thought me mad when I insisted the survey had indeed discovered a new source of dwarhart. They insisted that the substance had been lost forever in the aftermath of the Path War, that all possible futures that contained it had been purged by our enemies in their last suicidal attack. Yet my team and I have finally proved them wrong. I've cut out a lot but at least to my eyes the fragment is much more focused. Everything I've removed could work well as its own fragment where the focus is on explaining how dwarhart was lost, but in this fragment I felt that information was extraneous. In the end its up to you how you want it to read, this is just how I'd edit it to make it more focused. I hope this is helpful
  4. Nice stuff! Did you feel like you got something new out of the process, like some element of the world or character you weren't previously aware of? That's if you're basing it within an already pre-built world; but if you came up with all that from my single prompt, good job! Keep rolling with it! I could offer some points for editing/feedback if you're intending to have that published or something, but if you're just using it to make notes or organise your thoughts it doesn't need to be edited. What's more valuable is the process, rather than the final product.
  5. I would definitely describe myself as a soft worldbuilder. I leave all the inconsistencies in to give the illusion of depth, definitely not because I can't be bothered editing. A fair amount of them do end up sounding like they are written by historians so that helps with at least making some things seem objective. Here's your topic/pitch if you want to try it: a planet that has rediscovered a resource thought to have been lost from the cosmos. Feel free to do something else but that was the first thing to pop into my head. For reference, here's a little fragment from what I've been working on.
  6. I'll agree that the original mistborn trilogy has a bit more of an edge to stormlight archive but I don't know if that's just a perception coloured by the darker setting. It doesn't really seem to me like any particular story points in mistborn are bolder than in stormlight, but the tone is very different -- far more bleak and hopeless. As far as alien viewpoints go, Spren have some pretty out there views but again they are very different tonally to the Kandra. Brandon seems to use Spren to inject whimsy into the story whereas there was very little whimsy in mistborn by design. I'd say maybe Brandon has mellowed a little bit with age but stormlight is an older story than mistborn even though mistborn came out first and the way of kings was completely rewritten. It's more that the two series are intentionally written in different styles and I think stormlight is closer to Brandon's natural tone as opposed to the dark-Dickensian tone he affected for mistborn. I do prefer the darker tone though, so if you know any authors similar to Brandon but who don't pull their punches as much shoot them my way.
  7. Fair point. There's nothing wrong with including little things like that to add texture to a character. If your character is that way because they are that way, that means you've already got a clear image of who the character is and probably don't need little tricks to build them. A character wanting to wear a hat is a perfectly valid reason for them to wear a hat (also valid for real people, sorry to use you as an example). I have a character that likes to wear a hat, but he also likes how much his hat annoys everyone around him, and I use this in the story to generate conflict and humour. The danger with this can come with little mannerisms and traits being a stand in for actual characterization and personality. It can turn characters into caricatures and becomes especially noticeable in a cast where you'll end up with "here's the character that is always fidgeting" and "here's the character that doesn't speak with contractions". Really I'm talking about not characterizing a character with a single mannerism or trait. I like to treat mannerisms and traits like effects of personality, rather than causes of personality, so they give a bit of a hint to a character's inner life.
  8. A simple way could be to just randomize some traits and features to get the ball rolling and flesh them out more from there. Or you can think of character archetypes and roles within the story as a starting point and add detail to make them unique. I know Brandon has spoken a few times in his lectures about creating characters that are in conflict with their setting and I think that can work pretty well because it is often a precursor to a strong motivation. For little quirks and mannerisms I think it's fine enough to base things off people you know, but there also has to be a purpose for it in the story otherwise it can come across as a random quirk for the sake of a quirk. I have a character that compulsively adjusts her hair and touches her ears, but she does this because her elven heritage makes her uncomfortable and she wants her hair to cover her ears so she looks human. She's been doing this since she was young so now it's unconscious and can come across as a nervous tick. I also think it's fine to take inspiration from other characters or real-life for things like attitude and temperament. This is especially useful for side characters where you need them to have a bit of personality but don't want to or don't need to fully flesh them out. There's a character in my current DnD campaign whose personality is basically a copy paste of Princess Scorpia from She-Ra and another that is based off David Mitchell. Really it's whatever works to get you started and then depth will come as you spend more time with a character. I also don't like building a character from one single life-defining event because that can come across pretty one-dimensional. It's important to sprinkle in a few events to define how a character behaves and how they see the world.
  9. What works for me is to not do any super specific world building until after I've started writing and the story has a trajectory. From there it is easier to maintain the momentum and it will be easier to tell which worldbuilding elements you actually need to flesh out in-depth for the story going forward. By the end of the first draft you'll have a fair amount of relevant worldbuilding and it isn't too hard to make small adjustments to the earlier parts of the story where you were still figuring things out when you go back through on the edit.
  10. discuss

    Difference tones maybe? High and low with a difference tone somewhere in the middle.
  11. discuss

    Yeah I'm sort of out of my depth now with what I can contribute. I don't know enough about colours to take it much further than what I've conjectured. Maybe there is something useful in the harmonics on particular colour cones and dissonance with different cones, if that makes sense? If there is even a way to define harmonics on a single cone, but that seems like it would account for all the reds working together. On the visual spectrum they're together so when translated to sound create dissonance, but when interpreted from a single cone maybe everything works out nicely harmonically. I really don't know though, I'm doing a lot of pseudo-science here
  12. discuss

    I think the transition from a linear spectrum to a colour wheel happens because our brain fills in fake colours to connect each end of the spectrum. I'm pretty sure that's how we get magenta. There's not actually a wavelength associated with magenta, it's somehow filled in by our brain. Idk for certain if that is correct though. It's interesting as well that our eyes pick up colour based on three colour cones within our eyes, but I don't think our ears have a similar mechanism. Like we don't have a 200hz cone, a 4khz cone, and a 15khz cone that pick up specifically those frequencies and then the brain does brain magic to give the illusion of an entire spectrum. I could be wrong about that too though, it's been a long time since I was in physics or biology classes.
  13. discuss

    Awesome! That's really cool! I don't know about saying that they're not corresponding to consonant chords; that third wheel at the bottom is a suspended chord (although I have no idea whether purple, orange, and green is a 'consonant' colour combination, seems kinda janky now that I think about it). Perception of consonance and dissonance can be quite subjective however. Obviously there are simple mathematical relationships in harmonics that inform that perception but dissonance is something that people can easily build tolerance to and even desire. As a working musician that went through higher education and has a pretty strong ear, traditionally consonant sounds like major triads, octaves and 5ths are a bit bland. What I tend to desire harmonically these days are extended chords, clusters, and interval structures. To relate this to people with higher Hightenings: yeah they can probably perceive more colour dissonance but they also possibly develop a tolerance for it and like those dissonances. Side note, I think 'tolerance' is probably the wrong word here. Dissonance isn't something to be merely tolerated, it is something essential in how music works. Maybe it is better to relate dissonance to something like contrast when thinking about colours. I don't know enough about colours to say. That said, I don't think our traditional ideas of dissonance really work all that well with colours. Intervals like minor 2nds and Major 7ths are dissonant because of the close proximity of the tones or their strong harmonics, but I think with colours you want proximity. You'd paint a scene using a lot of reds or blues together, from a narrow portion of the spectrum, but musically that would translate to a tight cluster with a range of maybe a minor 3rd. I guess that has to do with how we perceive colours differently to sound, but it seems like colour works more based on zones of colour, and I think the interval between those zones informs more of a perception of consonance than anything to do with harmonics. Hence why I think the link to music is probably within symmetrical structures and geometry. Look at the circles with a triangle and a square (augmented triad and diminished 7th). The colours around the points seem to work pretty well together as a basic palette, and you can probably pick colours from a few degrees around the points that still work. But if you go to far along the sides from any point you might run into dissonance with the rest of the pallet. That's my hypothesis anyway. Can we get an artist in here to check? I don't know if Brandon will think along those lines in the future of the cosmere. I kind of doubt it because of the amount of jargon I had to use to draw a usable link. It just wouldn't be practical to explain like that in a story. I think he's more likely to sweep it under the rug and hope nobody thinks too hard about it. He may not even try to draw a direct comparison between colour dissonance and sound dissonance.
  14. discuss

    Thanks! Do you have any insight into how colours work? Like what colours go nicely together and all that. I don't have much of an eye or brain for it.
  15. discuss

    Do you have a rough mapping of colours to the 12 chromatic notes? It could be interesting to apply something like set theory to it and see what patterns show up when taking colour theory into account. I don't know much about colour theory but I think colours tend to work together when they're on the opposite side of a colour wheel or form triangles. So we'd be dealing with things like tritones and augmented or diminished chords when thinking about it musically. The connection between colour and sound might be within geometry and not so much to do with harmonics.
  16. Yeah as @Ixthos said, it's a story within a frame story. The elements you're describing where the story is delivered through in-world scrolls/journals/audio files is called epistolary storytelling (though epistolary technically refers to letters, these days it applies to pretty much any sort of documentation). So what you're specifically describing is epistolary storytelling within a larger frame story.
  17. Yeah Jordan definitely does a lot of the other type and I'm picking up on more of it in my current WoT reread. I'd hesitate to call it 'Sanderson style' foreshadowing as I don't think I could definitively attribute it to him. I think it's potentially more accurate to call it a 'modern' style of foreshadowing, but I don't have a lot of sources to support that. It just seems to correlate more with how foreshadowing is delivered in the current day as opposed to in stories from the last century and before. I'm talking even back to gothic/victorian era literature and myths where dreams and visions seemed to be a primary vehicle of foreshadowing; though again I don't have a bunch of sources. Have you looked at the foreshadowing in Lord of the Rings at all? I'd be curious to see how Tolkien's style matches up to Jordan and Sanderson and whether that shows any trends in the prevalence of different types of foreshadowing in fantasy.
  18. I actually find the foreshadowing through visions and stuff in Wheel of Time (and other stories) to be a bit trite or on the nose. Most of the time they're just vague pieces of symbolic imagery that don't actually give enough information to use actively in riddling out future events. The scene they relate to simply happens and I usually just go "huh, well I guess the author used an outline, good job", but I don't feel as involved with it as much with Sanderson style foreshadowing where you gradually get pieces of information that eventually come together with a punch. I think part of the subtle difference between those two styles is that those visions (when they're not so on the nose that they give away future events completely) only foreshadow that an event IS going to happen in the book, as opposed to the other style which gives you the information to piece together WHAT is going to happen. The issue I have with the first is that it's unnecessary to foreshadow that something is going to happen. It's a story; of course something is going to happen. And knowing enough about how stories are structured means I know pretty much when in the book something is going to happen so it makes it redundant. Which is not to say I think Jordan's foreshadowing is bad, he does plenty of stuff beyond the visions that I really enjoy. My favourite piece of foreshadowing in all of WoT was that Mat would give up half the light of the world to save the world, because it was a riddle I could work on puzzling out before the Tower of Genjei sequence occurred.
  19. Interestingly enough it's the fact that I see so much of myself reflected in Jasnah that I'm not as interested in her as other characters. In this way I relate to @HSuperLee saying her character feels sort of 'obvious', but that is mostly because she doesn't challenge my worldview in the same way other characters that I feel less ethically/intellectually aligned with do. I have enormous respect for her, and I LOVE her reforms to Alethi culture, but I don't find her that compelling to read at this stage. I think we are still in the stages of getting to know her though and once Brandon allows us too see more from her POV she will become truly fascinating. My favourite moments from her so far have been the moments when we see the cracks beginning to show in her, and also the moments of her extreme pragmatism that for me come across with a sense of unease. I'm interested in truly seeing her come face to face with the ramifications of her highly utilitarian ethics. We saw a little bit of that with Renarin, but I also want to see situations where she makes the 'wrong' choice and has to deal with the costs of it. I think a situation like that would truly challenge her and either force her to change herself or stand by herself. Either option is hugely compelling to me, and really comes down to what sort of message Brandon wants to convey about her worldview.
  20. I recall that he posted a breakdown of how he structures stormlight books on either reddit or his newsletter. I found it pretty interesting, but I'm not sure how to find it again.
  21. Thanks, the cucumber consistently makes me laugh too. I did some digging for some more, but didn't find any with Dorian and Eiten that worked without the context of entire chapters dealing with their dynamic. Here are some others though.
  22. This is a fun idea. I have trouble removing things from context because I like to lay setup for a while before delivering a punchline, but here are some (I think) funny moments that work pretty well without setup. If you like my jokes I will go digging for more, and potentially find motivation to write some new ones.
  23. It depends how you weight each POV. Nine equally weighted POVs rotating on a chapter by chapter basis probably isn't going to work because the pacing will feel like its resetting each time you switch POVs, especially towards the beginning of the book when you're trying to establish the characters. A better way to weight it would be to have 1-3 primary POVs that have the greatest interaction with the plot and the majority of chapters, then a few secondary POVs that have a chapter or scene here and there to show things that the primary POVs can't, and finally some auxiliary POVs which are usually one off scenes from a character's perspective to show the reader something plot important that the main cast isn't around for, usually to raise the stakes. You can get away with having more auxiliary POVs because they are usually shorter, action oriented scenes where you don't need to do deep characterization to give the reader any lasting connection to the character. This sort of breakdown gives you the time to give your primary POVs complete and satisfying on-screen arcs within a reasonable word count, while being able to show snippets of arcs for the secondary characters. If you try to do 9 equally weighted character arcs you'll either end up with a ridiculously long book, or a book that doesn't have time to explore any characters in depth. This is the approach Brandon uses to manage his large casts. It's important to remember that a character doesn't need to be a POV character to have an impact on the story and be well characterized. Think about how most first person novels are from a single POV but can still have a large cast of loveable characters. For an example of the above breakdown, my book which is about 300k words has two primary POVs which have around 55 scenes each that are roughly 2k-3k words long. There are three secondary POVs that have about 20 scenes each, then 10 auxiliary POVs that usually only have one very short scene. There are main characters that get a lot of screen time but are never POV characters, but that doesn't lessen their impact on the story. None of these are hard and fast rules though. It is a lot of fun to write different POVs and that's the reason my book has so many throwaway auxiliary POVs. There are plenty of authors that head-hop a bunch through large casts and make it work, so do what you want to do.
  24. Hey all, I recently took a break from writing my current novel to write this short story. I was trying to work on evoking mood and theme with this one, while using a much more poetic and dreamlike tone than I would usually. It is set in the same world as my first novel, Prophecy of the Vengeful, but it is meant to stand alone and be read without needing any context from that book. I would appreciate it if some of you took the time to read it and fling some feedback my way. Spoilered for length, and sorry the formatting is a mess from pasting it in.
  25. I guess a mixture of both. I'm using some horror elements but I'm not trying to make it totally terrifying.