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Hello there my name is Drew.  

I have been an aspiring writer for years, but I have struggled with actually sitting down and putting pen to paper.  I love creating complex plots, worlds, and characters but I never seem to be able to put it all together.  I do love reading and have limited experience with critiquing.  I work a night shift watching a desk and am able to spend my evenings reading and writing, so I plan on being consistent and reliable with my critiques at the very least.  I am hoping that seeing other people's work helps to inspire and motivate me to finally sit down and put my ideas on paper.  

My greatest weakness in writing is that I have always tended to unintentionally take cues from whatever I have been reading recently.  As I have looked back at previous attempts I have been able to tell what book I was reading or show I was watching.  I have been working on my current world for quite some time and I finally feel confident enough that it is at least not an obvious clone of another body of work.  I realize that this is a failing that many new writers share and hope that you will all bear with me as I push through it.

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Suppose I will introduce myself after a week on this forum.

My name is Jake, my middle name is Orville(now you know the secret of my user name). I have been actually writing things off and on for about 5 years now, after some encouragement from my wife. I really enjoy thinking of stories and often disappoint myself with how little time I actually spend sitting down and writing. I recently transferred from sea duty to shore duty with the US Navy so I am hoping to kick myself in the pants and actually get som stuff done.

So far this community has been really cool and have enjoyed being here.

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My hubby, JOrville, is lying. It's been like 5 centuries of listening to him talk about the book he continues not to finish and publish. I swear (Often, I'm working on it).

I already introduced myself in another forum, so I will keep it short here.

I'm a digital artist. Nobody pays me, so I guess I'm a hobbyist more than anything. I rather enjoy it though. I do enjoy reading, and writing a bit so I was intrigued to hop in here and see what hubs was making a fuss about. I signed up to do some reading and criticism. Prepare your egos, Grandpa is here (seriously though, I try to keep it helpful and uplifting unless you are JOrville...then its just me making him suffer).

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9 hours ago, QuirkyGrandpa said:

My hubby, JOrville, is lying. It's been like 5 centuries of listening to him talk about the book he continues not to finish and publish. I swear (Often, I'm working on it).

Lol. Hopefully, we can help with that.

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In the non-internet world, people call me Sara. I prefer they/them to she/her, but most people who know me in-person don't realize that.

I write and publish speculative fiction. I've had moderate success with short story publishing, working my way up from non-paying markets to the semi-pro world. I've had a few pro paying sales, but not to officially recognized SWFA markets. If you google my full name, Sara Codair, you will find my website and too many short stories that were published places that didn't pay me, and also a good number of  short fiction publications I did get money from. The most successful one is a story called Melanoma Americana, which is published in Alternative Truths anthology.

My user name, ShatteredSmooth, comes from an obsession I once had with sea glass, but it may also be an accurate metaphor for my mental health, or occasional lack thereof.

I often claim to be awkward and lack social skills, but I'm a writing teacher and tutor at a community college, and unless they are lying to try and get higher grades, my students really seem to like me. And the students who tell me I'm a good teacher are usually getting A's anyway, although, my best writers tend to think they are the worst writers, so maybe they don't realize they are getting A's. 

My short fiction tends to dark and adult, while my novels, still a little on the dark side, are generally YA. NineStar Press is publishing the fist one (Power Surge, YA urban fantasy) and have already published a novelette set in the same world. 

I try to write two novels a year -- one in the summer and one in NaNoWriMo.  

When it comes to critiquing, I am flexible. If you want sentence level feedback, I can talk editing for way longer than I want to. It may not be apparent in my writing, but I am great at teaching and explaining grammar. If you want big picture, character, plot, or world-building comments, I enjoy discussing those way more than grammar. 

I'm looking forward to reading your work and getting feedback on mine. 

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3 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I'm looking forward to reading your work and getting feedback on mine. 

Welcome Sara. Very interesting to read your introduction, and I look forward to reading your stuff. From what you say, I'm sure you will be a great asset to RE, and hope you find us an easy going, but committed bunch :) 

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7 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Says the guy who just submitted his first work in December... ;-)

1 hour ago, Jorville said:

Hey, that means @Robinski is farther along then I am, so I'm not judging.

Okay, okay--I need to quash these scurrilous insinuations before it gets completely out of hand!! :lol:

While I have only ever submitted one novel to a publisher (in red), I have written the following pieces, the ones in blue being completed: 

# Type Genre/style Words Started Draft 1 Draft 2 Draft 3 Draft 4 Draft 5 Current
11 novel fantasy 223,811 1984? 18/03/07 03/07/07 14/10/09 04/03/11 15/07/12 15/07/2012
12 novel fantasy 101,656 1990? 14/10/09 21/07/12       21/07/2012
13 novel fantasy 46,263 2007? 28/11/10         28/11/2010
16 novella supernatural 24,600 16/06/05 12/03/02 10/07/09 04/01/10     04/01/2010
15 novelette supernatural 17,370 17/06/05 12/10/08 10/10/09       10/10/2009
17 short story supernatural 1,157 24/06/05 13/09/09         13/09/2009
18 novel supernatural 63,858 14/10/08 02/01/09 01/12/12 14/03/13     14/03/2013
19 short story supernatural 967 14/10/08 24/09/09         24/09/2009
20 short story supernatural 0 02/01/09           02/01/2009
21 novella fantasy 34,998 2003? 24/03/08 14/10/09 16/06/13     16/06/2013
22 novel fantasy 91,600 01/10/13 12/07/14         18/02/2014
23 novel fantasy 500 2013           18/02/2014
24 novel fantasy               18/02/2014
25 short story SF 5,585 01/04/14 01/06/14 22/02/16       22/02/2016
26 novel fantasy 167,000 13/07/14 14/01/16         14/01/2016
27 novelette fantasy 8,892 05/04/16           05/04/2016
28 novel SF 88,616 01/09/16 01/04/17 28/05/17 29/12/17     29/12/2017
29 novella SF 1,141 16/04/18           16/04/2018
30 novel SF 56,000 01/05/17 14/05/18         14/05/2018
31 novel SF                
33 short story fantasy 3,394 15/08/17 01/09/17         01/09/2017
34 novella fantasy 1,000 21/05/18            
32 short story fantasy 1,498 20/07/17 26/08/17         26/08/2017
14 novel fiction 100,358 24/06/05 17/09/12 31/03/13       31/03/2013


So, there you have it. Five novels finished. Okay, my first took me 23 years to complete, but I think I've done quite well since then :P 

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6 minutes ago, kais said:

I am definitely not filling the board with enbies. Nope...

Well, doing so made my stories more interesting already, so I'm sure it will help here too!

2 hours ago, Robinski said:

Okay, okay--I need to quash these scurrilous insinuations before it gets completely out of hand!!

Lol--sorry! I meant that you'd finally submitted to a pub for the first time, not that it was a first book!

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8 hours ago, Jorville said:

was that enough a's, or should I have put up a few more?


6 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Lol--sorry! I meant that you'd finally submitted to a pub for the first time, not that it was a first book!

I know, I know--pulling your leg. It was the finishing thing, not the publishing; you've got me bang to rights with submitting to publishers ;) 

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1 hour ago, shatteredsmooth said:

but I keep getting a spam error code. :-/

Blame the board gremlins? 

ETA: are you highlighting text and waiting for the 'quote' button to pop up? Or are you using the quote text button?

Edited by kais
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  • 7 months later...

@aeromancer pointed me to this Very Old Thread for introductions, so I might as well introduce myself! 

I hail from Reddit r/fantasywriters, where I critiqued quite a bit but very rarely posted because, while I've nothing at all close to publication or indeed simple completion, ambition oft exceeds ability, and I'm positively paranoid about letting cats out of bags.  

I write mostly relatively dark, low-magic fantasy, as well as some historical fiction set in the Later Roman Empire and Barbarian successor states. My main project -- which is nowhere near a full first draft, but which I have been outlining and drafting random bits of for a good while now -- is a two-part epic about the ruling family of a crumbling empire who live in a particularly strange palace. I've also got several other stories set in that world, which takes cues, like most of my work, from 5th-6th century A.D. Europe and Central Asia, and which may best be considered a sort of Late Antique Dying Earth setting, with magic substituted -- per Clarke, backwards -- for technology.

Oh, I'll also dabble in science-fiction occasionally, though as science is for me -- see above -- essentially witchcraft, it's usually just an excuse to write something modern and fantastical.

Being as I am relatively tired of historical and fantastical fiction saddling its characters with -- aside from, occasionally, a new twist on a current political issue or a thorny custom or two that gets in the way of certain characters marrying or shaking hands properly -- modern western worldviews, most of my fantasy elements center on moral systems. Our fantasy worlds, after all, ought to have developed completely different philosophical traditions than our own world.  It's a simple matter of convenience that most authors choose to copy and paste; I can't fault them -- they choose to focus on things like elaborate magic systems, detailed history, or brilliant new species, and this is not a lesser choice  -- but I do see some potential for expansion here. Though the religion is a descendant of an old magic system I made back when this was a high fantasy story and so can get ludicrously complicated, my main project doesn't explore this effect as much as I'd like, but some upcoming stories set in the Merchant Republic down the road certainly will. 

(Open for book recommendations for books that do this: I don't encounter enough of them. I'm certainly no philosopher, so -- though thankfully taking a broad philosophical tradition and filtering it down to popular moral belief doesn't necessarily require the wisdom of the ancients -- I'd love worldbuilding tips when I do wade deeper into this). 

Aside from Sanderson, my favorite fantasy authors are Gene Wolfe, Mervyn Peake, and Robin Hobb. I also love Tolkein, particularly his battle descriptions -- I'll often turn to a random page in Return of the King if I need to get out of Academia Mode and jumpstart my creative side -- but I'm afraid I can't go toe-to-toe with hardcore fans who've delved into the deep dark depths of the ChristopherCanon. 


What I can help with: Prose Nitpicks (kinda), character details (need a character to stand out? I'll come up with something weird). 

What I need help with: Even plotting, writing non-climax scenes that aren't just fluff (I write two kinds of scenes: strolling down the street yakking about Big Cahuna Burgers, or fighting to the death against mortal enemies), PACING. 


Edited by Severian4Scadrial
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39 minutes ago, Severian4Scadrial said:

I write mostly relatively dark, low-magic fantasy

Ooh, sign me up for some of that, please :) I tend to struggle getting Magic into my stories. For me, characters bring the magic, if you want actual explosions, meh, the Michael Bay Annex is down the hall (through the fire escape, turn right at the trash compactor and keep going far beyond the point and which you should have stopped).

41 minutes ago, Severian4Scadrial said:

Late Antique Dying Earth setting

Refer to my earlier answer: when can I read some of this, please? (I mean, when I see the words 'Dying Earth', I dare to hope that I might have stumbled across a fell Vancian...)

42 minutes ago, Severian4Scadrial said:

but some upcoming stories set in the Merchant Republic down the road certainly wil

Again... when?

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@Severian4Scadrial Thanks for posting so I actually saw the thread. I don't know why, perhaps nerves, but I completely missed that there was an "introduce yourself" thread over here.

I'm sure some of you have seen me on the other side of the Shard...you know, the crazy mental health advocate/#1 Shallan fan who writes huge posts. This introduction is a little different, because you're going to get more of the core of who I am, rather than an eccentricity about what I like.

First and foremost, I'm an artist. I do 3D artwork mostly (modeling, texturing, environment work), but I'm hugely vested in the video game industry and have been working toward utilizing my skills as an artist and writer to create my own game.

I write as a hobby. In dealing with depression, writing is a stress relief for me, but that doesn't mean I don't take it seriously. I've been building things out for over ten years, developing characters, refining ideas almost constantly while going about the various other aspects of my life. I don't know that I will ever publish--but I have stories I want to tell, and I hope that, in some small way, maybe eventually those stories will help someone else out, even if it's just to show that someone out there "gets it".

I can't say my writing is light or simple--my current project is a psychological horror/epic fantasy novel set in a fictional post-medieval world, combining the two genres I really love most. Psychological themes are a huge part of why I write, as well as the hope that I can create a world for my daughters to live in and love like Tolkien and other authors have done; I'm fascinated by a horror concept I call "the horror beneath normality," which is a fancy way of saying that underneath that friendly smile you see everyday might lie some dark and frightening secrets. My writing may not be scary, but some may find it disturbing at times. Fair warning on that.

As far as books I read, well, aside from Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson being two of my all time favorite authors, I've read Dan Wells (love his John Cleaver series), Tolkien, RA Salvatore, Terry Brooks, Terry Goodkind (never again), Sabaa Tahir, Steven King, Shirley Jackson...I mean, the list goes on and on. If I were to pick my current favorites, though, I've really enjoyed Sabaa Tahir's Ember series, and am currently reading It (it's really good--pun intended). The most important thing in a story to me, is the character development. How characters change and mature over time. The plot can be boring, or even a little nonsensical, but the characters are truly what make or break a story for me. And along that line of thought, I appreciate those books where character development is interesting to read, where you're unsure which direction a character will go. I love peeling back the layers of a person's mind and seeing the paths they take--perhaps this is why psychological horror appeals to me, why I gravitate toward epic fantasy settings and their politics more than the adventures of high fantasy. Perhaps this is why my own writing is the way it is.

Anyway, introspection aside, it's nice to meet you all. Hopefully I don't bore you too much.  :)

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28 minutes ago, Robinski said:

Ooh, sign me up for some of that, please :) 

Coming right up :)

Submission #1 is the first chapter of Part 2 of that project (I'm working on both simultaneously). It is a bit different from what I normally write (Part 1 is more of a low-magic Intrigue-Fest, but the recent outline revision wiped out most of my previously-drafted chapters). 

29 minutes ago, Robinski said:

 I dare to hope that I might have stumbled across a fell Vancian...)

I actually haven't read any Vance -- I'm getting to it already! -- but Gene Wolfe's New Sun series is basically Vance 2.0, so I can at least count myself a fan of the genre.


On 5/23/2018 at 5:47 PM, Robinski said:

I have written the following pieces, the ones in blue being completed: 

By the Forgotten Gods, man! That's a lot of writing! 

Gets on knees. Bows repeatedly. 


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