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A hapless crow lands.

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Nimue, Dec 16, 2014.

  1. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    Hello! I'm Nim, I'm working on the second draft of a story I've been working on for a couple years (medievalish fantasy, involves witches and fey and curses and such). I would of course love some peer pressure to help me along with that, but I'd also like to sprout and develop some other ideas. It's easy to get stuck on one story, you know, and wear the threads thin. Hopefully this will be a fertile place for the imagination. :)

    What else... I do some digital painting very intermittently, which can be seen here if you want. I have an abiding love for fantasy art that my own output can't possibly satisfy. A couple favorite authors, to give an idea: Lois McMaster-Bujold, Robin McKinley, Sarah Micklem. I love pretty things and pretty words. Maybe more of a magpie than a crow, I guess.
     
  2. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    Willcommen, Nim! Hope the seed of your imagination has found a place to sprout and grow here.

    I'm a magpie as well, and a big fan of Robin McKinley. My WIP (which I need some arm-twisting to finish) also features the Fey, and I draw, though unfortunately my budget has no room for digital painting supplies at the moment. Sigh...

    I'm sure another member, CupofJoe, will be along soon to second my welcome. He's the unofficial welcoming committee around here, but I beat him to you. :D
     
    Sheilawisz likes this.
  3. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    Hey! I represent that comment! *
    Hail and well met Nimue
    Imagination we got...
    Enthusiasm we got...

    And there is nothing wrong with Crows or Magpies...

    * And for the record, I tend to get up early and it MS or the news feeds... It's not like a compulsion or anything...
     
  4. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    Oh ho, we got a rivalry going on now? We'll see about that!
     
  5. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    Hohoho! Well, thanks to both of you :D

    (There is certainly nothing wrong with crows...until a flock of hundreds migrates to your town, and it looks like the trees have leaves in the winter but it's just BIRDS. Very Hitchcock.)

    Sounds like we have a lot in common, Tom-- and part of your name, too! We can be Nimmish buddies :p I reckon I could use some help with the fey in my story, it's hard to write around the all the "fairy" archetypes.
     
  6. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    I just go with the archetypes. The sinister tricksters of Celtic legend are some of my favorite creatures to write about, and I try to stay as true to those legends as I can. (But with some adaptation. My Fey don't have recognizable types like you see in folklore--banshee, pooka, kelpie, etc.) I'd be happy to help you with your Fey.

    Huh, I guess you're right about our screen names. That's cool! Is there any significance behind the name Nimue? It sounds like it has a backstory to it.

    Crows are cool birds, though they can be jerks. I liked them until I camped out in crow-infested woods and realized that they hang out in the trees around your campsite for the sole purpose of screaming you awake at four in the morning. Feathery little pranksters.
     
  7. KC Trae Becker

    KC Trae Becker Troubadour

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    Welcome Nim, I've also been obsessing on one fey story for years and would like to percolate some new ideas that will captivate me. Though the single minded approach is probably more effective at actually finishing the book.

    My advice for working around all the "fairy" archetypes is go back to the old folklore and legends and reinterpret them for yourself. You'll still have some things in common with other people's material, but you'll also have your own unique perspectives that will give your characters and cultures a fresh feel.
     
  8. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    Pretty sure it was Merlin's girlfriend-- (pronounced in three syllables)
     
  9. Philster401

    Philster401 Maester

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    Yes I am pretty sure it is, and welcome Nimue.
     
  10. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    Well, more precisely she decided not to be Merlin's girlfriend--can't exactly blame her since he's usually depicted as an old beardy guy, but at the same time, using him for his magical secrets and then trapping him in a tree for eternity is probably overkill... Anyway, I've used that name on a few forums, was pleasantly surprised to see it was still available here, seeing how it's not exactly original.

    Celtic lore has some fascinating stuff in it. I had Sidhe in a previous story that went nowhere (that was in high school, so that's probably for the best) and I'm still very partial to them. Selkie stories have always been a particular favorite of mine.

    Heh, there is that. I think I'm pretty dedicated to the idea I have at this point, though!

    That's definitely the approach I'm trying to take. Since the setting is medieval Gothic/Frankish/Germanic, I am trying to do my reading on Germanic myth, while trying to avoid...the elves and dwarves because God knows that's been reworked by better hands. Trying to keep it things sort of simple and low-key.

    This could probably be a worldbuilding thread of its own, huh...
     
  11. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    Ah, Nimue. Now I remember. It's been a while since I read my Arthurian legends, mostly because I can't find any retellings that are faithful to the legends' Celtic source. I don't like how the Normans twisted the original stories. Guinevere never cheated on Arthur in the original tale, and there wasn't all this business about courtly love and other stuff.

    As is obvious, I love Celtic folklore. Selkies are also one of my favorites, though I haven't done anything with them yet. However, I do have a short story about a pooka in the works. Pooka. Heh. I can't get over how funny that name is.

    How's the Germanic mythology going? I sometimes feel bad that I don't know more about my ancestors' beliefs, but then I remember why I haven't done much more than scratch the surface. It's so...convoluted.
     
  12. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    Heheh, pookas. Some names anglicize better than others, eh?

    Germanic mythology is...tough, because I'm trying to steer clear of Nordic and Teutonic elements, and focus more on medieval lays and folktales, the roots of the fairytales we're most familiar with today, which are largely French and German. Which works, because I'm writing about two kingdoms, the larger based on French/Frankish/Latinate culture and the smaller based on Gothic/Germanic culture. At the same time, I don't want to go anywhere near recognizable fairytale retelling.

    ...And I realized halfway through my first draft that I wrote in a nixie who's in love with a king and turned human(ish) for him, and that's literally the plot of the Little Mermaid, what am I doing really. Kind of worry that's going to jolt people out of that subplot entirely.
     
  13. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    Hah, yes, pooka certainly doesn't sound at all intimidating. Then there's its alternate names, phooka, and...puka. *snicker* I prefer to use its Gaelic form, púca.

    I focus more on the Nordic and Teutonic elements, mainly because I prefer hard mythology to folktales. The kingdoms in my WIP are an amalgamation of Celtic and Viking/Norse, with some Greek, German, and Native American influences.

    I'm also writing a novella that's essentially a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with inspiration drawn from the Arabic, Roman, and Scottish/Celtic cultures.

    I wouldn't worry about jolting readers with fairy tale elements--as long as it's handled subtly and you present it in an original way, they won't care if it has faint echoes of a fairy tale. Ever read Cornelia Funke's Mirrorworld series? Great dark fantasy, with steampunk and Asian elements, set in a world where all the fairy tales are true. And I mean real fairy tales, the dark, violent, magic-laden fairy tales of centuries past, not the sterilized versions we have today. Excellent books, though the English translation is a little stilted in places. It might help you figure out how to present folktales in an original way.
     
  14. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    To each their own! Wow, I'd be very interested to see how that mixture of mythos would turn out...

    I have a giant soft spot for Beauty and the Beast retellings. Blame Robin McKinley for that one, for sure. I guess the reason I'm trying to avoid direct fairytale illusions is because the main story has no direct parallel to a fairytale, and I wouldn't want to make a reader look for something that isn't there. Although if there are witches and fairies in a story, there are allusions being made already.

    Real fairytales, though-- Rape and murder, horrible things happening to children and red-hot iron shoes...

    I haven't read Cornelia Funke, but I've definitely heard of her. I'll see if she can be found at the downtown library.
     
  15. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    Which of McKinley's Beauty and the Beast retellings do you prefer: Beauty or Rose Daughter? I enjoyed Beauty much more, simply because I loved Beauty's character. So wry and stubborn and brave. My version is flipped--my beast is "beauty", and my beauty is "the beast". She's a cold, arrogant snob who has a chip on her shoulder, and it's (ironically) up to the beast to help her find her humanity again.

    Oh yes. Fairy tales were not nice stories. When I was ten or so, I read the original version of Snow White, and when I told my mom, all innocent and excited about it, she was appalled when I mention the red-hot iron shoes. I guess she thought it a little too much for my young, impressionable mind to handle...

    Cornelia Funke is a great author to get into if you like fairy tale retellings. As I mentioned before, though, she writes in German, and the English translations of her works are a little stilted. Readable, and still enjoyable, but you can tell they're translations.
     
  16. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    I loved Beauty when I was younger--but I actually prefer Rose Daughter for its beautiful description and deeper world building. The language, the atmosphere of the castle, the characterization of the Beast, and Beauty's gardening... Not everyone's cup of tea, because it is so slow and quiet and densely descriptive, but I love it.

    Speaking of brutal fairytales and Robin McKinley, have you ever read Deerskin? It might be my favorite of her books, and I think it's an extraordinary retelling. (Of the Deerskin/Donkeyskin/Many-Furs fairytale). It has its flaws in terms of plot and depth, but it creates this mythic but realistic world, like truly living in a storybook. It also has some disturbing scenes, be warned...

    Hmm, I should probably actually post an example of my writing as I'm joining in here... What is the difference between the Portfolio and the Showcase exactly, besides their separate locations?
     
  17. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    To be honest, I loved Beauty for the protagonist's strength and spirit. I didn't like Rose Daughter as much because its heroine was just missing that...spark. She didn't have to be the bonfire that Beauty's heroine was, but she did need a bit more fire in her spirit. Speaking of spirited heroines, have you read Spindle's End? That's another of my favorites.

    I haven't read Deerskin, but I did read The Hero and the Crown. Have you read that one? It's more high fantasy than most of MnKinley's books. Dragon-vanquishing lady knights with swords, yeah!

    By all means, post some writing! In my thinking, the Showcase is for sharing your work to get feedback and critique on writing that you think may still need some work, while Portfolio is for showing off the best of your writing. Those are just the ways I use the two features.
     
  18. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    Being a quiet and slightly overlooked child myself, I think I appreciated the Beauty of Rose Daughter, who was quiet and slightly overlooked. :p I do like stronger characters who will argue and stand for something, but sometimes it seems that there's "spirited" and "spunky" girls everywhere in female-oriented fantasy, and not much actual characterization between them. I don't mean to make any aspersions towards Beauty in particular though, as I don't remember her being that way and it has been a long while since I've read that book.

    The Hero and the Crown and the Blue Sword were some of my favorite books growing up, next to Sabriel. I pretty much wore the covers off of those! Spindle's End I read ages ago, I should really take a look at that again. I think I was a little confused by the plotline of that, but then again I think I was eleven or so?

    Hmm, I suppose I should put it up in the Portfolio then? What I'm working on currently is unedited and definitely in need of work, but I'm going to try not to think too hard about feedback and editing until I'm farther into this draft...
     
  19. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    Haha, I was the loud, bold, strongly opinionated eldest child. I guess which version we like suits our personalities. I don't like a lot of the "spunky" heroines out there. Most of them seem to be lacking any personality besides the spunk. I'm trying very hard to give my female characters diverse personalities.

    Spindle's End sort of...loses its plot a bit toward the end. Robin McKinley has a problem with that, unfortunately. Her books usually start out so beautifully plotted, but near the climax seem to get a bit derailed.
     
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