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Tutorial Writers' Wretreat or Crytics' Crypt? (love needed)

Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by spawning of Bob, Apr 10, 2015.

  1. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Carnasaur

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    *Continues talking and questioning one's self incessantly*

    How would you write magic? I'm primarily concerned with how a character casts spells and what their bodies/minds go through. Would some spells exhilarate their senses and provide them with newfound zeal (fire spells and other spells that augment combat ability)? Would the fire spells, in a self-explanatory way, increase the internal body temperature of the caster?

    What about heavens magic? What does the caster feel when he/she casts harmonic convergence, and what about those on the receiving end? I'm guessing that the rest of the spells from this lore would probably drain the caster's physical energy as if they're placing strain on their bodies, and perhaps even mentally as well.

    What would the caster even go through when trying to cast a shadow construct (lustriapedia)? Would he/she utilize their imagination, and/or would it take both skill and experience to reliably utilize shadow magic to create constructs all the while placing massive strain on their minds? Death magic is also interesting to question too.

    Just asking these, because it isn't made clear as to what the caster goes through when casting spells. Or at least i don't know.
     
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  2. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    There is no rule as to what a caster feels or doesn't feel. Write whatever is interesting, but you should keep things consistent although consistency is relative with magic. A Skink with lore of Heavens probably casts Heavens magic different than a Celestial Wizard in the Empire.
     
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  3. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    There is no rule as to what a caster feels or doesn't feel. Write whatever is interesting, but you should keep things consistent although consistency is relative with magic. A Skink with lore of Heavens probably casts Heavens magic different than a Celestial Wizard in the Empire.
     
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  4. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    This video was intended for creating NPCs in roleplaying games but this is a good set of guidelines for creating interesting minor supporting characters in fiction with a minimum of effort.



    Probably not a good idea to use this for major characters, but a useful tool. It goes along with what Kurt Vonnegut says. Every character should want something, even if it's just a glass of water.
     
  5. Warden
    Slann

    Warden Tenth Spawning

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    Very useful tool.

    I do like this guys' channel, lots of good ideas.
     
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  6. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    This video contrasting Eastern Versus Western Storytelling is a little long but I think it's worth it.



    I was aware that Eastern stories tend to favor clever heroes over strong heroes but the other stuff was pretty new to me.
     
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  7. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I like to say that most writing rules are guidelines, not rules. You can break a guideline, but you should always have a purpose in mind when you break a guideline, you shouldn't break guidelines just to be subvert expectations.

    Here's an interesting video on writing characters with flat arcs. Usually you want a positive arc where the character grows wiser, stronger, or more ethical while a negative arc where a characters goes the opposite direction.



    In theory, because Lizardmen and Seraphon are more rigid in their outlook than most other beings, they would be especially well-suited to flat arc characters. That said, I cannot name any examples from L-O stories off the top of my head. I came name lots of stories have very subtle positive or negative arcs, but I cannot come up with a flat arc character story.

    Worth thinking about though.

    To make a compelling story with a flat arc character, focus on the character changing the world around them.
     
  8. thedarkfourth
    Temple Guard

    thedarkfourth Well-Known Member

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    I'd love to see a story about lizardmen convincing another culture to embrace the dedication to order and the great plan.
     
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  9. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    Funny that you mention that because I have something very much like that in mind, too, and in fact something vaguely similar in the works already.

    I'll just have to continue writing. I am stuck a bit in my current chapter.
     
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  10. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Carnasaur

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    I've been imagining a saurus warrior gradually fearing his death with every battle fought. Sort of the direct opposite of that idea. More so disillusionment with the great plan :p
     
  11. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    It fits the world you build in your stories (those with the Skinks and Skaven).
     
  12. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Carnasaur

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    Pretty kewl article on how to write a story without conflict or at least one of many ways of doing so.

    The structure that's talked about is Kishōtenketsu - a method of structuring stories with a twist of logic in mind rather than conflict. I'm pondering how this structure can be superior to the one we've been ingrained with since childhood. Not completely superior in the sense that one or the other should be completely forgone, but more so their strengths and weaknesses over the other in conveying feelings and messages an author would like to convey in specific circumstances.
     
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  13. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    This is something a Youtuber I like called Literature Devil sometimes looked into with an extensive video.



    I enjoy Eastern stories that follow these (to us ignorant Westerners) unorthodox story patterns but I have not yet had the urge to try my hand at creating these kind of stories, but as of yet it's just to alien for me to attempt.
     
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  14. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Do you guys use outlines? Apparently George R Martin does not.



    I find my writing is a lot better when I make an outline. I've been listening to a lot of his interviews and I think George is the exception that proves the rule on almost everything for good writing.

    It is possible to over outline something. I find broad outlines are best that way I can still have my characters develop spontaneity as I work out the details. I find my writing is best when I have about 100-200 words outline to 2000-3000 words of story.
     
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  15. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Carnasaur

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    I usually write 1000-2000 word outlines for short stories, and only brief paragraphs or bullet points for chapters for my other story. I find that since you cannot go over 2,400 words for every short story in these contests, knowing how to pace the piece is pretty pertinent if you don't want to go over the word limit imo. And outlines can help with this by meticulously planning what details or elements within the story should be explicitly expressed or prioritized more than others.

    For longer forms of writing such as chapters in a novel or a novella, I go for brief outlines since there's no limits or pressures to consider.

    I don't think you can over outline something. Or rather, I think that you can trust an outline too much. At least with me, there's always a new idea or a new approach to a problem that usually props up in my head that I haven't considered beforehand when writing an outline. If I think it's better than something i wrote in the outline, i'll usually just ignore whatever I wrote in the outline and use the new idea instead.
     
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  16. Warden
    Slann

    Warden Tenth Spawning

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    That is good to know, I definitely use them in the past. Sometimes powerpoint to make a flow chart too.

    I can also see how it stifles creativity a bit too. Now that the outline is made, I find it really hard to fill in all the words that flesh out the story! :D
     
  17. Infinity Turtle
    Chameleon Skink

    Infinity Turtle Well-Known Member

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    The issue for me when writing (particularly longer stories) is in over-planning. As I plan, I become increasingly familiar with characters, setting and plot, which means I'll have thousands of words of notes/plans/descriptions, character design sketches, maps, etc. and then I get to writing and I forget that the reader knows none of this.

    Sometimes it makes me think I should just hand over my ideas to someone who actually has the time and motivation to write stuff, but then I'm afraid that the characters and setting that I know so well would be butchered.

    Particularly in fantasy writing, plans are essential. Often there are so many interconnected points that a good story could be ruined by poor planning and seeds that were planted in book/movie/episode one will never be nurtured and resolved.

    One of my favourite book series is a young-adult fantasy (so I'll let you draw your own prejudices) and there were so many carefully laid plot points that made the series come together in an interesting, exciting and satisfying way. However, this author had made each character unique, relatable and likeable and in the final showdown it became evident that the author had no idea who to kill off. In the end it seemed to be a bit of a hat draw, but in a way that prioritised the survival of people with love interests (because YA fiction). I don't think it was a particularly bad ending by any means, but it was very obvious to me it hadn't been planned out.
    (Throne of Glass, Sarah J. Maas)

    In contrast to this, one of my favourite TV/web-series managed to nail the planning in a couple of different ways. In the final showdown/conflict of the third season, there was an absolutely devastating character death, and yet it wasn't in any way unsatisfying. The reason for this is that the guy who created the show had planned out everything seasons in advance and knew exactly what needed to happen to alter the paths of characters and for emotional growth as well as moving the plot forwards. This character had done what they needed to to complete their arc and their death needed to inspire others into action.

    Sadly the shows creator has passed away, and the continuation of the series though controversial, is quite well done. The show has begun to stray away from the initial vision for the path ahead and I believe the team is running out of the original notes, ideas and arcs left behind, and ultimately the newer material is less rich. Now that the plan is less rigid, the arcs of characters is no longer clear and they often exist without purpose.
    (RWBY, created by Monty Oum)


    I think from these examples and countless others, it is important - not just in books - for authors to have at least some idea of where they want to go or they risk losing their own relationship and knowledge of the material, but over planning can also reduce any reader-character connection that must be developed for a story to be enjoyable.

    If the MCU hadn't been planned the way it was, then my goodness would Infinity War/Endgame be a hot mess.
     
  18. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Forgetting that the reader doesn't know everything that you know is a trap most writers have to deal with, but I don't see it as a problem to have more for a character in your head than goes on the page of your story. I find characters are more nuanced and real when they are made with this extra knowledge. Writers should pick the best and most poignant information to put on the page.

    I ALWAYS plan my character deaths in advance. :vamp:

    Or more accurately, I plan who lives in advance. It's probably a good thing that I don't write in love interests very often because I"d be more likely to use death to break up couples, not less. Character deaths are more emotionally gripping if someone is mourning them.

    That's a much nicer way of phrasing this than I was capable of given that I'm a sadist.
    cough cough Game of Thrones cough cough. Though at the same time, I don't believe George R. Martin has a plan for his series.

    Aka, Justice League, but that's a topic for another day.
     
  19. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    That's pretty much clear since a couple of book ago and, even more important, i don't think he has a real will to go on with it. I'm almost sure he won't finish ASOIAF.
     
  20. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I hadn't considered that he didn't want to finish the series. In interviews he certainly lights up whenever someone asks him about any of the non-GoT stuff he wrote. He wants to move on, but it's likely if he published too much else his fans will turn on him.

    I have a lot of unfinished fluff pieces which I plan to get around to but I'm taking my first fumbling steps into writing a novel in MY setting, not Games Workshop's setting. While novels are not the same genre as TV, I will take a cue from Bruce Timm who keeps making animated series that I like.

    Paraphrasing. "The industry is so chaotic, I never know if the season I'm doing is the last or if I'll be asked to do three more seasons, so I plan for both. I wrap up the major loose ends at the end of every season but leave hints for new plots each time."

    That's my plan. Wrap up the major loose ends but throw some new plot threads towards the end.
     
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