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Alderant last won the day on March 6 2018

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    Character Analyst and Theorist
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  1. So, I'm posting this here because I want this place, specifically to understand; because out of this entire forum, I feel like this place is the closest I've been to who I am, apart from some interactions with specific members of the 17th Shard community. I want to explain myself in a genuine capacity, so everyone here can understand what to expect from me going forward. If this makes anyone uncomfortable, or moderation feels that this post isn't appropriate for this forum, then please feel free to delete it. Please be forewarned that this post contains a lot of very personal experience, and so if that makes you uncomfortable, then it's probably best to stop reading; that said, I have always thought of this place (Reading Excuses) as more understanding and accepting of diversity, which is why I am making it here. History A long while back, I submitted a series of chapters before kind of falling off the face of the planet. There were....a lot of things going on. For most of my life, I was raised Mormon, and conformed to a certain set of beliefs. Three + years ago, I'd begun questioning that faith and belief system. Some things happened, my depression was at one of its lowest points, my marriage was pretty rocky, and seemed to be flipping back and forth between love and support, and antagonism and hostility. I felt out of place almost every place I went, and among every group of people I interacted with. Fast forward to when I joined this group back in late 2018. I honestly loved my time here. I loved participating in the discussion, and I loved reading everyone's stories. However, there were a lot of things going on in my life, and this was an escape for me. I didn't realize it at the time, but I now know that's what I was doing. In 2019, I started trying to submit a story that I was working on. At the time, it was a very cerebral (I thought) endeavor, and I thought I was approaching it from a specific standpoint, that of creating a story for my daughters. However, there were things in the narrative that weren't satisfying me, and things that people brought up that really bothered me--not in a way that anyone said anything wrong, but in a self-reflective manner that I didn't understand, and the constant running from my own problems, combined with the exhaustion of what I was experiencing, quickly caused me to burn out and stop posting altogether. For those that were burned by this that expected my feedback, I am deeply, truly, and terribly sorry. The past year and a half have been a very rough journey of self-understanding and discovery for me, and all of this came to a head late 2019. In the course of less than three months, the following life changes happened, and I'm honestly not sure if I've mentioned any of this here or not: I was diagnosed with severe ADHD-inattentive type, for which I am now on medication to treat. I discovered I was demisexual. My wife and I decided to leave the church I was raised in, which is Mormonism. As a result, I suffer from many similar symptoms cult survivors exhibit when they escape their oppressive environments. My wife informed me that she wasn't heterosexual. I discovered I was transgender. This, combined with the above, put tremendous strain on our marriage, and resulted in the following: I was ostracized from my family and forbidden to speak to my younger siblings. My marriage almost ended in divorce--we sought couple's counseling, and are still together, though the dynamic of our relationship is completely different than before. Since all of this happened, I've been forced to reevaluate pretty much my entire life and world view. Where I am currently I now identify as a Gaiaist--which is my own brand of belief system, not really based on any existing thing except through cursory connections. Feel free to ask me about it, but the cliffnote is basically that I am now an adeistic theist. I no longer believe in the Mormon church nor do I view it as a good thing. It has caused me a lot of harm that I am still learning to work through, and because of this, a lot of my former guards and walls are now nonexistent, though I am still learning how to walk, so to speak. I am demisexual--this is a real sexuality on the asexual spectrum, and essentially constitutes asexuality except in specific circumstances where emotional connections are formed, after which sexual attraction is possible. As such, I truly don't understand sexual attraction the same way most allosexual (non-asexual) people inherently do, and this will more than likely come out in anything related to sex that I comment on or post. ADHD means that I can get exhausted by things I consider work or difficult--more so than the average person. Things that involve a lot of effort on my part usually take a lot longer as a result, and I really struggle with not internalizing criticism. I am transgender. I identify as female, she/her pronouns. There are a lot of markers throughout my life that were evidence of this, but due to my conservative and oppressed upbringing, a lot of those things were either severely repressed, or actively danced around in my mind, usually manifesting throughout my life as severe depression. I suffer from some pretty severe dysphoria, and that combined with my undiagnosed ADHD appear to be the major sources of my twenty-year depression. I am taking steps to change that and to be more genuine with myself and those around me, and I do take hormones. Things are still strained with my family, though my brother (who is also transgender) and I have mostly been able to patch up our differences and disputes as a result and are closer than we have been in at least twelve years--five of which were spent basically not speaking to each other at all. What to expect from me There are a large combination of factors that have resulted in the person I am today. I did not have a traumatic childhood by most markers; my parents were loving and kind, and are some of the kindest people I know. However, this combination of factors, taken individually, would have been difficult for any person to grow up with on their own, and in me they are all combined. This means that while I may not have had a traumatic childhood, I have a lot of internal trauma related to my sense of self and my own identity, and I will more than likely bring one or more of these points up when I feel it necessary--this is not an attempt to gain sympathy or pity, it is an attempt to explain myself and where I come from. It is also not an excuse--I am now aware of most of my issues and am working to correct them. Going forward, my main goal is consistency; due to my ADHD, this is extremely difficult. I am trying to put systems in place to manage this, but a side-effect of the way ADHD (which is a neurological disorder) affects my brain, I never learned proper executive functioning. Things like forming habits and routines--that may seem perfectly simple and manageable to another--can be monumental tasks for me. Please understand this about me and be patient, I am trying my best. Being on the asexual spectrum means that both in my writing or in my comments, there may be unintended assertions or insinuations. A good marker comes from a while back, when I submitted a post and was informed that a character I hadn't intended to come across as lesbian was, and was taught about male gaze/lesbian gaze, and female gaze. This was a great lesson for me, and one I've been able to extend to others since who weren't aware of these things as I wasn't. If I am taking the time to ask about something related to sex or sexuality, please do me the courtesy of explaining and not assuming I will understand what you're talking about or referencing. For example, if I comment on a character's physical appearance, chances are likely that I'm literally just describing the character's appearance, and there is nothing sexual behind it in the slightest. I don't even understand the concept of random people being "hot" or "stormable". And no, demisexuality is not just "normal" relationship behavior, even if it sounds like it to you. I discovered that when I was writing before, what I was really doing was trying to explore myself, without admitting to myself that that's what I was doing. There was a large part of me that was repressed, and seeped out through "seemingly innocuous" manifestations that I now recognize for what they were: gender dysphoria. As a result, that story is being completely rewritten from the ground up with different focus. Eventually, I may submit it again, but I really want to get out of the mindset I was in before in writing it, so I will be approaching it differently from now on. I don't have much good will toward religion in any form. My own "theology" is a very "hands-off", adeistic belief in simply doing good and having that good go out into the world. In this respect, I've pretty much pivoted to the opposite position of where I was before--religion and theology have always been a particular fascination of mine, but I now approach it from a very cerebral standpoint as opposed to a spiritual one, as an extension of culture and human history, rather than as an existence of a higher order. I have taken great strides in trying to understand things like privilege, intersection, and targeted groups. As a transgender woman, I have gone from a prime position of privilege (white & male), to a targeted demographic (transgender). That being said, I fully acknowledge that there are situations and demographics that I will never understand what they feel, though there are some that I now do, and others that I understand only a little. I am not fully out in public yet. I still present as male at work and more fluid in public, and this is due to my work situation requiring regular interaction with people I am unsure of, including my father. Thus, I have become more aware of problems and am more likely to participate in reasoning and discussion involving these topics then before, when I tried to be simply open-minded. In closing Again, my point of this isn't to make anyone think they need to walk on eggshells around me or worry about "triggering" me or anything of the sort. I really just want to explain who I am now, because it's a stark contrast to who I was before, and I feel like you all are owed the service of knowing up front what you're getting with me. In many ways, I'm still the same. I still love the medieval period, still study it fanatically. I still approach literature discussion from a character-based perspective. And I still plan to give my all to whatever critique I am working on. But I also don't want to lead anyone on or let someone think they're getting something different with me than what I have said. I figured it was better to lay everything out and let you all judge, instead. But know that I really did love this community. I feel like I failed you all before, and that was a failure that I really took to heart. I don't want to do it again, and I hoping that by being honest with myself, and with all of you, I can be a better participant this time around.
  2. Could I have an email address change? I'm not getting these emails and things are quite...different than they were before. Sorry if I'm breaking protocol...it's been a while and I'm just kind of starting to get back into the swing of normal life.
  3. To those wondering where I am--I've had a lot of pretty big life changes in the last couple of years, and I'm not confident or comfortable in participating in theorizing discussions here. I have always believed that characters are at the heart of Brandon's storytelling, and I will continue to love discussions related to the characters of the Cosmere and elsewhere. However, I have been historically largely disappointed by the level of discourse on this forum, particularly with respect to analytical sincerity and nonpartisan moderation, and I have very little desire to return to a place that, despite the best intentions of the moderation staff, made me feel less for not conforming to the popular, espoused ideas.

    If I have offended anyone in saying this, I apologize. My purpose was not to offend. More to give an insight into my state of mind.

    At this time, I am basically maintaining this account for the purposes of participating in Writing Excuses when I have the mental and emotional stability to do so, but I don't intend to participate much on the greater discussions of the forum as I once did years ago.

    I have made many great friends on here, people who, for all intents and purposes, I consider family, and for that I am grateful to my experience here. But for those who are hoping my comment on "Tactics to making a good post" means that I'm going to become active once more, I sincerely apologize, but that's not the case. Above all else, I have to consider my own mental and emotional health.

    1. Alderant


      EDIT: Reading Excuses, not Writing.

  4. As someone who had a fair amount of praise for content...well thought out posts, with references and calm, observational analysis tend to do well no matter the subject. Don't be dispassionate, but try to assert your position in a way that is contributing something new to the discussion, rather than reiterating points someone has already made (and possibly rebutted), or contains some new insight that hasn't been seen or talked about much. When in doubt, sit down and ask yourself "Would someone who doesn't share my view believe what I say based on what I've presented? Do I give them the opportunity to do so?" If yes, your post will be much better received than if not. Lastly, use Wheaton's law. No one, no matter how good your arguments, will read and like your post if you're antagonistic every time you talk to some one who disagrees with you. Be supportive of discussion and encouraging of viewpoints alternative to your own, rather than dismissive and discouraging. Critical discussion doesn't equate to antagonism, and if someone pokes holes in your theory, try to incorporate those criticism into your ideas rather than outright refusing to acknowledge their view and if all else fails, agree to disagree.
  5. Yeah, I've noticed that as well. That's going to need some revision, because part of the problem is that that's the way I talk. Jettying is a type of construction used commonly in medieval building construction, where the upper levels overhang the street as a way to improve the amount of space one could have despite limited floor space within the city. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jettying Yeah, this didn't work for me either on a couple more read-throughs. I'll probably switch back to imperial. Noted. This has more to do with world-building. It's an error I'm working to fix in the next draft--basically, soldiery isn't a well-looked on profession, so people that put care into things made for soldiers are kind of supporting an undesirable business. Working on this in the rewrite. L's hair is actually a very, very dark blue. There's probably a better word I can use...part of this just comes down to my personal color palette. Again, this goes to the world-building. Legs are supposed to be hidden, so soldiers often wear slitted skirts over trousers to have the appearance of modesty while freedom of mobility...not that that's really understood given the current text. Working on fixing this. That's intentional. Thanks, that's a good bit of advice. Half the problem is just knowing if I've hit the situation thoroughly enough. I'm glad it reads well. That's a good suggestion...I think I'll take your recommendation here. Yes. Typo. Lol. I'm actually mimicking the way my daughter speaks, so it's more phonetic than proper. This might be an American idiom...but it's a way of describing an accent that sounds a bit thicker and less precise than one might be used to. I might have phrased it the wrong way here though, because it's usually described as a "mouth stuffed with cotton". Mm. I'll think about this. Part of it grammatically is that I'm slipping through L's mental voice instead of my own, but it's a small change. That's good to hear. <phew> I.D. is correct that this is actual metal wire woven/embroidered into the skirts. Also, I need to mention this in the chapter, because gold is less valuable then silver here. Silver is...quite expensive, last time I looked at my coinage spreadsheet.
  6. Glad the prose works. And yes, the idea is to avoid those pacing problems. WoT is an influence, but it is not the influence. There are no singular influences to the writing of this story. ( ) I didn't see this in my draft, so it's possible some formatting got wonky between scrivener and word. Thank you. That's a helpful comparison. I could tell you everything in chapter one, but then where would the mystery be...? At this stage, it's more along the lines of asking "why is steel hard?" or "why is the sky blue?" I could explain, but it would be pretty banal, and I don't want to take pages to explain why glowstone and necrite exist and how exactly they operate. They're just part of the world. Midnight is a deep shade of blue. Black is black. Because of propriety. And it's not under her authority to do so. That's probably something I could include, thanks for the idea. Noted. Sounds like you have a hard time enjoying a story from a noble's perspective--which means it will be interesting to hear your thoughts throughout, because the idea of 'life as a noble is easy' is something I'm working around, conceptually. As for this: I'm working this out. Probably going to split at the scene break, expand the opening scene for the sake of world-building, and have the rest happen in the next chapter, which will allow me to include a scene I'd left out for a later chapter. I think you're right on the incident needing more punch, I've been toying around with that inevitability. Will consider. Thank you! That's helpful insight. I'll add that to my rewrite considerations. Good point. I'll take that into consideration. Perfect. (Ehehe) By the way, it's usually called an epigraph. I'm okay with prescriptive suggestions. I'm an assimilator, I take ideas and if they work, I incorporate them, and if they don't, I discard them. Never be afraid to offer a suggestion on what you think would improve the story--I'll choose whether or not I want to use it. Thanks for your thoughts!
  7. L is straight, so clearly I had a problem here. I'm trying to go back and rewrite it accordingly. I think the problem is just that I was so focused on including description that I used the wrong kind. HOWEVER, If you wouldn't mind helping me do a rewrite so I can better understand the principle, that would be awesome since I actually do have a character I want to be writing from a lesbian gaze in this story, and I want to make sure I do it the right way. Your experience would be incredibly valuable. I'm doing a pass on this chapter to try to bring this out more, but the society is definitely a topic of address within the novel. I missed some points that ultimately communicated the wrong thing, I think. The standards of dress, for example, aren't gender-specific--they're imposed on both genders (which is why both genders wear skirts), but I didn't indicate that very well. There's also a bit of gender-flipping in the prominence of genders in public society--this is something I also didn't portray very well. Yes. Working on making this more evident. This is one of those things that's going to be addressed over the course of the novel. Your second idea is closer to the truth.
  8. Thank you @Mandamon & @industrialistDragon, those are both very helpful bits of feedback. I'll go to work on what you've mentioned--some of those fixes should be fairly easy, but some will require a little bit of work. Thanks for your patience and understanding...a lot of it is definitely unintentional, so pointing out how it comes across and alternative things to consider is very, very constructive, even if it hurts a little. If you could...I could use some help with 'oppositional' writing. I'm not even 100% sure where I'm doing it or what's making it come across (I might have an inkling), so if you could continue to keep an eye out for this and give suggestions for improvement, it'd be greatly appreciated.
  9. Okay. Here's chapter one for the epic fantasy previously mentioned and submitted. Prologue is still under personal consideration, so rather than resubmit with something I'm not convinced I want yet, I'm just going on to the main story. As a reminder/bit of information, this is an adult-level epic fantasy (like Wheel of Time or Stormlight Archive) written ultimately for my daughters to have female characters to look up to and admire. I'm playing a bit with some tropes and ideas, but at its core it's a fantasy written for women. With that out of the way, I hope you enjoy it! EDIT: I know it's a little long--I'm sorry!
  10. Sorry for the absence, some things kind of went sideways in the last few weeks. I'm going to get back into critiques (I'd really like to catch up, I missed doing this), but can I also have a slot for next monday? It's a little long, but I wanted some early feedback before I go too far. Sorry, I know its not entirely fair to ask to post when I've not been critiquing. I can wait if necessary.
  11. Two things--one, this is from Shallan's perspective. Keep in mind she's the epitome of an unreliable narrator, but also that in this scene she was much more concerned with the fact that the chasmfiend fell on Kaladin and possibly ate him than its eyes burning. Second, We don't entirely know what "burned out eyes" looks like--no one ever really takes the time to dwell on or describe what they look like after. It's possible that Shallan's description of the eyes afterward as is what the eyes look like afterward, or--equally possible--she's just not paying much attention because she's more concerned about other things. It could be a simple error, but either way it isn't completely story shattering. We don't entirely know how fabrials/spanreeds work in the first place. It's likely Dalinar wasn't talking about replacing the ruby itself, but rather that he was worried about running out of the currency that makes the spanreeds work in the first place. That said, however, it's possible that the spanreed could have the ruby swapped out if the replacement was also conjoined to a different spanreed in Urithiru. Theoretically, so long as you had other rubies that were connected to a separate spanreed, you could take one "reed" and swap out the rubies as needed. This one actually doesn't seem weird to me at all--remember, spren like Syl can choose who they let see them. The only exception to this rule seems to be not Rlain, but Rock, who can see all spren regardless of if they want to be seen or not. There's no reason to assume that this rule of choosing applies only to humans, so the fact that Rlain doesn't see the spren and is unaware of Lopen's spren in general isn't weird in the slightest to me. Also, Lopen's spren is male: I think this one's been covered enough, but old is relative. Dalinar's in his fifties--so "an old general's trick" more than likely indicates recent history. I believe the wall itself is a "fabrial" that only needed stormlight to function--keep in mind that Urithiru had giant columns of gemstones that were meant to power everything from the lifts, to the plumbing. It's not unreasonable to believe that the wall of drawers served a similar function, and that's why it popped open when Renarin infused it--Renarin wasn't using the surges, per se, just turning the power on.
  12. Gotta have clean clothes when you're flying at hyperspeed.
  13. I do try to get proper knowledge before I write. But I might miss some things by virtue of ignorance (that it's a thing I should be concerned about). So, I'll ask forgiveness in advance, and if something comes up be sure I'll be asking about it.
  14. Whew. This is great feedback. I'll try to keep this in mind as I go, but part of the problem is simply I don't know what questions to ask. Thanks for the support. These are really good questions. Thanks! That's also a good question, one I hadn't fully considered. I've tried to reduce and fix this in the revision. I got used to using certain terms in the plotting/drafting stages and forgot to properly introduce all of them. Yeah, I've discovered I have some issues with setting the scene properly. I have trouble recognizing scenery in real life, so I'm working to fix this in the revision. This is probably more likely a failing on my part. But that's a good question to consider. Noted. Though, I'll ask: what defines "medieval-like speech"? That seems to be the most interesting part so far. Trying to fix this in the revision...I feel like the focus is off here. Sorry, I'm not sure what that means? P is MJ. A is Warden. But yes, that could distinctly be clearer. I'm wondering if I should write this segment from A's viewpoint instead. It'd take out the use of the magic system in the prologue, but it might be a little more of an engaging intro. Thoughts? I draw inspiration from many places. The lifestream is one of them, though the similarities end here. You'll probably pick up on a few little nods to my influential sources throughout the novel. Thanks! Probably next week or the week after. I think I'm going to do a test run of writing this same scene from A's perspective, P is clearly not working at this stage for a number of reasons.
  15. Good to know. I've tried to adjust this a bit in the revision. Noted. I've tried to make this more clear, so let me know what you think when I send the revision. Good bit of advice. I'll try to keep that in mind as well. Hopefully, this ends up being an epic fantasy you actually enjoy. Prevalence of men vs. women in fantasy is a direct trope I'm working against. I've constructed the entire world around this concept. Primarily, this is an epic fantasy I'm writing for my daughters, so one of my forefront thoughts is female characters they can identify with and look up to as they get older, and it's an epic fantasy where mostly women are the heroes. I'm also trying to play with some gender dynamics and sexuality, though since stretching my comfort zones means that it's probably still a few steps behind what others might be used to, some patience might be in order. Yeah, I'm trying to fix this in the revision. Cool. Thanks. I think this means I'm on the right track, at least.
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