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Limyaael's Fantasy Rants

Discussion in 'Writing Resources' started by Ireth, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. Tryns

    Tryns Acolyte

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    After reading a lot of her rants, I think my story is going to have to evolve. Isn't it funny how you think you're being clever and original yet in reality it's mundane?
     
  2. Bruce McKnight

    Bruce McKnight Troubadour

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    The old saying says that every story has already been told and it's more a matter of how you tell it... but maybe how many times it's been told also comes into play.
     
  3. Guy

    Guy Inkling

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    Just read "Female Characters Who Don't Suck." Honestly, did most of this stuff have to be said? Give your character real problems? Let them lose a few times? Make them relatable? This advice seems about on par with make sure you use correct spelling. Are there people out there writing characters like this? More to the point, is anybody actually publishing them? Someone said earlier she's mostly addressing fan fiction, which I've never read. Is this problem particularly endemic to fanfic?

    On a side note, I don't get the whole anti-description thing. Long hair is a better descriptor than long dark hair? How? Why is telling the reader something as simple as hair length and color going into too much detail? Why is using synonyms for color forbidden? There are different shades of color, and I like to know little details like that. As a reader, I want to know what the characters look like.
     
    Jabrosky likes this.
  4. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

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    Oh, you have NO idea. With that said, though, some of her specific targets are published writers, the most high-profile of them being Sara Douglass. (Limyaael was the first critic I ever encountered who hated The Wayfarer Redemption as much as I did.)

    Edit: I should add that in many cases (though notably NOT in Douglass's case), the published authors I've read to whom Limyaael's criticisms have applied best have been tremendously egotistical. Some greatly exaggerated or outright lied about their accomplishments (I vaguely remember one who falsely claimed to have been an Olympic-level fencer), while others were openly hostile to anyone who criticized their work. I'm not sure to what degree authors who'd be willing to listen to Limyaael need her advice. (Or maybe it's just that the authors who'd be willing to listen usually improve their writing and get rid of those flaws.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2013
  5. servenvolley212

    servenvolley212 Scribe

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    Just found her rants today, actually. I didn't know going in that they were aimed at FanFic, though, but it was pretty easy to discern after I read the first few.

    I didn't even realize FanFic was big enough to have someone dedicate that many rants!
     
  6. STBURNS

    STBURNS Dreamer

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    Sorry to necro-bump,
    But I read her rants before I wrote my fantasy novel. It helped me stay away from silly mistakes or easy ways out.
    Not everything she says is correct, but she makes fantastic points.
     
  7. D. Gray Warrior

    D. Gray Warrior Troubadour

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    I love her rants! I wish she would make more.

    Sometimes I go there to rid my boredom rather than looking for advice.
     
  8. JamieMaltman

    JamieMaltman Acolyte

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    First time I've come across her rants, but there's definitely some things to keep in mind.
     
  9. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Archmage

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    Read a couple of them and they were pretty funny. Thanks for sharing. :)
     
  10. JaybieJarrett

    JaybieJarrett Acolyte

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    I think when it comes to descriptions, it's not always how much description you have, it's also how you describe. It's the tone you use. For example

    "“Feeareena Isilandria sighed as she looked into the mirror. She sometimes wished she hadn’t been born with blue eyes that looked like the sky after a storm, or long silky golden hair that gleamed as it fell in soft waves to her shoulders. She supposed that her sapphire dress that hugged her in all the right places complemented her beauty, but it made all the men pursue her, and that depressed her.”"

    A big problem with this example she gave is not just the excessive description all at once, it's also the whole "oh my amazing beauty is such a curse" . It's humble bragging. It's when you TELL that the character is down on themselves for their appearance but still using poetic language to SHOW a character that actually amazingly pretty.

    It's sort of like someone complaining that their fancy expensive new car - that they've namedropped like hell, is SUCH a problem because they feel like they HAVE to wash it themselves everyday to make sure it won't get a scratch and that's such a pain. You don't feel to sympathetic because they're sitting there complaining about something that would be awesome to most people.

    It's a similar problem in Twilight where we are told that Bella is supposed to have low self esteem, but we still get those poetic words squeezed in. Because regardless of what the character thinks , the author still wants US to think she looks really pretty. It's a matter of telling something and showing something completely different.

    Compare this description.

    "Often when I brushed my teeth or brushed my hair, I would try to avoid looking in the mirror. When I did it just sort of dampened my mood. I mean, look at me , most of the time my bangs were greasy and grungy dark brown and sticking together. There's a difference between hair that is dark and natural and hair that is dark because it hasn't been washed in awhile (actually it was washed this morning but that's how my hair is, it just gets sweaty from doing practically nothing in like, three hours) and is coated with sweat. Also it tended to show my eyebrows , which were bushy and thick , with a few hairs in between like a developing unibrow. Sure a few people told me that thick eyebrows were nice, but I couldn't for the life of me see why. They look obnoxious and they're a lot of pain to keep even moderately tolerable, and you have to wait until you're forty til they grow the way you want them to. Also depending on what I was wearing I either looked average or kind of pudgy with a bit of stomach poking out. Ew"

    The writing tells us that the narrator is not happy with her appearance, and the words chosen say the same thing. There's no five word description of the exact color, but a difference is still shown between 'naturally dark hair, and hair that's dark because of being dirty'. You can describe something in detail and not have it come off like the author is trying to say "well she doesn't THINK she's pretty because that would be conceited but she totally is" or "Oh look at her she's gorgeous but she's sad because being this pretty is really hard".

    Contrary to what some people may say, it's okay to have a pretty character. But try to be honest about it and do it within reason. Don't try to justify an 'exceptionally gorgeous character' by having her be moping about the hard parts of being so pretty. Also sometimes a character can be vain, sometimes a character can think they look nice. It won't make them unlikeable so long as there's more to the character than their looks or they have bigger positive sides that weigh out the negatives. Also ...try not to keep REMINDING us how pretty they are and have everyone talk up how pretty they are. If it would be IC for someone to comment on it that's one thing, but if you're forcing people to notice it, it just comes off like shoving it in people's faces.
     
  11. Eve79

    Eve79 New Member

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    Thanks for posting this! (I know it was posted last year, but I'm new) ;)
     
    Ireth likes this.
  12. Ermol

    Ermol Dreamer

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    Ditto. Lots of useful stuff!
     
  13. Starscream

    Starscream Dreamer

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    Can anyone recommend a good fantasy saga i can get lost into for inspiration for my trilogy ?
     
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