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Introducing myself

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by ecdavis, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. ecdavis

    ecdavis Troubadour

    Well, I've been a member of this group now for about 5 minutes, so obviously I don't have a very good feel for what goes on here, but I thought that since there is an Introductions forum, perhaps this would be the best place to start.

    I found this site this morning while searching for forums for Fantasy writers. I'm glad I did, because apparently there are a lot of you out there. That is comforting to know because I recently learned that my friends are not really big fans of fantasy books, or at least think my writing really stinks and are just too polite to let me know. It was crazy; I used to write when I was a teenager, but gave it up for more adult pursuits such as making money, getting married and stuff like that.

    When I was a teenager, I joined the ranks of nerdy guys by getting heavily involved with AD&D and role-playing games for 4 long, girl-free years. Like most RPGers from the 80s, I read the usual fantasy novels as well as Sci-Fi, but at about the same time I gave up writing, I also gave up reading Fantasy and Sci-Fi for non-fiction stuff such as history books.

    Fast-forward to the typical age of male mid-life crisis (mid 40s) and after falling in love with Peter Jackson's adaptation of the Lord of the Rings (and I know there are many purists that don't like it), I found myself thinking about several fantasy stories I had kept in my head for about 25 years. I'd really liked the old AD&D Drow series (Descent Into the Depths of the Earth and Vault of the Drow) and had an idea about a character that was a Drow slave that led a Spartacus type of revolt in that setting. I even went as far as to outline the story, but as it had been 25 years since I had the idea, and as I knew there were probably a million nerdy mid-lifers like myself that loved the same stuff, I decided to check first on-line to see if anyone had taken my idea.

    Of course I found R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt series and bought the first six books. Even though my idea was somewhat different, I knew upon reading his stuff that my idea would be a pale and pitiful imitation, so I scrapped it.

    But at about the same time (still in my mid-life crisis) I began looking into computer based Fantasy games. Before getting involved with Dungeons and Dragons on-line I found a copy of an older disc based game, either Neverwinter Nights or Baldur's Gate -- I don't remember now-- and was playing the first part where you set up a a character and go through a brief back-story to teach you how to use the controls. I created a Drow girl just to see how the graphics looked and the story line in the game had her as the adopted daughter of a Weapons merchant in a small town. I never went on with the game, but I thought the idea of a Drow girl orphaned and raised in a backwater town was a good story idea.

    At first I fretted about writing my idea, but i decided that instead of trying to make the story fit into molds that publishing houses like, I would instead just write for enjoyment, taking the story where I wanted to take it without trying to get it published. That is exactly what I did, and I found that writing for your own enjoyment is the way to go, at least for me. Instead of trying to fit my story into an existing universe such as the Forgotten Realms setting that Wizards of the Coast has copyrights on (and it is where Drizzt's stories take place), instead I'd create my own world.

    It took me a year and a half and one major re-writing to finish it, but I did last October and hoped my friends, whom I had encouraged in their creative endeavors would at least give me the typical half-hearted approval as friends usually do when they are 'just being a good friend' and don't really like their friend's work. Two of my friends indicated they wanted to read the book when it was done, but after I gave a copy to each of them, they suddenly found no time to read it, or even part of it. I was sure my story was so poorly written that they just couldn't tell me.

    My wife and a relative read it and actually said it wasn't bad. So in a brave moment, I put it on Booksie, and began working on the second book of what became a trilogy. I was thrilled when they featured my book on their homepage for about a month and I received a large number of reads and many positive comments. I thought I had arrived, but I've recently learned that much of the comments and reads are probably people wanting to get more reads for their books and stories as their comments will show up on a featured page. I have posted the first book there, a rather long 'short' story (in the same fantasy setting) and I'm posting -- chapter by chapter-- the second book in the series there now. I'm also working on the third book in the trilogy now and will post it there when I get it done.

    The thing is; I've noticed that my non-featured work placed on Booksie doesn't seem to get many comments or nearly as many reads (which of course I knew would be the case). My point is, I'm not really sure if my series is any good or are just being looked at by other aspiring writers wanting to get links and positive reviews to their work. I don't mind that, and in fact I've reviewed several writers on the site, but I'm still not sure if my stuff is any good. If I had to review it, I'd say it was okay, but somewhat primitive in construction and a bit too old-school.

    I'm hoping, by joining this site that maybe I can see how other, much more talented writers think and write and (hopefully) compare my own stuff to their works. My series, by the way, I've entitled the 'Chronicles of Aurei', the first one is 'Aurei of Westmark' and the second one is 'The Knights of Northmarch'. I don't want to break any rules by posting links to them, just in case that is taboo.

    Anyway, this is my long, rambling introduction.

  2. Impatience

    Impatience Dreamer

    Welcome to the site, I just joined as well a couple days ago. Within a few days of talking to people here, I got the courage to start writing and tonight just wrote my first 762 words. Very supportive group of folks here!

    Feel free to message me, I'd love to take a look at your book. I'm not writer yet, so my feedback may not be the type you are looking for, but I'd be interested to check it out and provide some feedback all the same.

  3. Jamber

    Jamber Sage

    Hi ecdavis,

    I think I know the feeling you're describing. Try not to worry about friends; in my experience, unless they're authors themselves, they're often daunted by the idea that they're supposed to come up with in-depth criticism, or else they worry they won't be able to face you if it wasn't their cup of tea. Very, very few non-writing friends will actually read a book, and if they do (and comment on it) they're worth their weight in gold.

    I also wouldn't worry about whether or not the feedback on Booksie was genuine. It seems to me you put the work there to gain a little confidence, and if the feedback was positive, then don't look the gift horse in the mouth -- that's what you needed to hear. It means you're on track (whether to stay with Booksie or move on to the next thing, e.g. agent query letters, a professional edit, or swap-critique partnership either to polish the trilogy or start something new).

    Good on you for getting so far with your work! Meanwhile if you really want feedback on small excerpts you could always try the 'Showcase' subforum, once you've posted a few times. (I'm there often, avoiding doing my own work by nit-picking others.)

    best wishes
  4. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    Hello ecdavis
    Welcome to Mythic Scribes...
    Leap on in when you have mind...
    Enjoy the craic.
  5. ecdavis

    ecdavis Troubadour

    Thanks, Jennie, I'm not sure my stuff is worthy of publication, and I suspect in today's market, it is much more difficult to get something published. When I was a young man, I submitted a couple of rather poorly done books to publishers and of course received a drawer full of rejection letters. Although I am quite sure my style has improved since then, I still suspect it is not worthy of being published. Really, I'm okay with that as I'm just happy to have people read my work.
  6. ecdavis

    ecdavis Troubadour

    Thanks, Impatience, I'll message you privately later today. I'd encourage you to just keep at it; I used to have a tough time finishing even short stories and it took me a year and a half on my first book, but the second volume I finished in 6 months. It can be done and gets easier once you stick to it for a while.

  7. Welcome to the Scribes Ecdavis, yes the reason I ended up here was because I basically had no one who wouldn't give me a strange look when I say things like: "so what do you think a gnome would like to have for breakfast?". I'm glad you joined, we have a combination of new budding writers and crusty old pro's, so here we have viewpoints of both readers and writers. I would like to point out that the critique here is honest, informed, and very constructive. If you feel like posting your work I hope it will answer a lot of your questions, if something you're doing doesn't work we will tell you, but we certainly won't pour water on your creativity. Remember we're all in the same boat, and the only way to make good writing is to labour over weak writing. Best of luck.

    P.S. Impatience, congratulations on taking that giant step! Knew you could ;). I'd love to know how you found it.
  8. ecdavis

    ecdavis Troubadour

    It's funny Aidan, how many weird things you try to figure out while writing a book. I had several times I got wrapped up in details that took all day. In my story 'Ambush at Orc Pass' the main character is a guard on a Stage coach, but I wanted to learn about Medieval coaches, not the American Western types, so I spent a whole day Googling coaches to learn more.

    I'd love to post my work here, but are you talking about excerpts or the whole thing? It would be rather large, as my first book is over 500 pages long. Are we allowed to post URLs to our work on sites such as Booksie?

    Thanks for your encouragement.


  9. druidofwinter

    druidofwinter Sage

    Welcome indeed. We always love to have another fantasy writer in our midst. I came here for the same reason you did, to find other people who love fantasy, and love writing. I am happy to say i have found both. Make yourself at home! Everyone here is helpful and friendly. Once again, welcome.
    ecdavis likes this.
  10. If you want detailed critique it would be a bit unrealistic to post the whole thing in one go, so you'll want to keep it managable. Some people post 1000 words, some more, some less, whatever works. You can also include a link to the whole thing in your signature, or upload it to your portfolio or something.
    ecdavis likes this.

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