Scoring Central

Full Version: Strands of Darkness
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
(02-25-2019, 09:52 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]Looong time since the last update, and most of that time has been spent coming up with and writing a parallel storyline that is supposed to be interwoven with the existing chapters. So without further ado, I present to you:

Chapter 3b (which goes between chapters 3 and 4 and will, once everything is done, become chapter 4)

I quickly gave up on the idea of having antagonist chapters, since they would reveal too much about the underlying plot. So I'm going with this. In fact, I think this slightly more laid back plotline works quite nicely with the adventuring and pure sword & sorcery elements. It kind of adds a bit of breathing room and contemplation.

Let me know what you think.

I like this! It does a good job developing the character and the world / its goings on. Your POV is very good here. You're already good with POV, but especially here I feel like you're really giving us the world from Lilian's perspective. And with the bit about her from the Rynn episode already in the bag, I really feel compelled to read more about her.

I would avoid the "witch vs wise-woman" thing. You'd probably give a better sense of Lilian's understanding and manipulation of these brigands if you let her let them make up their own minds about her. The bit about how she saved one of them is definitely a key element for her success, as is her reasoning with Haldan.

Maybe Haldan could be a bit more physical with her? I get a good sense of him as a sort of egotistical oaf, but maybe he can grab Lilian's wrist or violently swat her hand away during the scene where he sees the echo? Lilian's coolness can really be contrasted with Haldan's brutishness here. I think he's good already with the lewd behavior, the young girls, and the "cattle" speech, but I think there can be more. When he sees that vision, that is not something an ordinary person is expecting, especially not a hungover bully who probably regards magic as something he can smash with a club.

I feel like the below is still a bit too much on the side of "telling" and not "showing":


       "The  Ulvar  scrambled  backwards  with  a  shout  of  terror  as  she  withdrew her hand and let the vision fade.
      “Witch!” he exclaimed with fear shining from his eyes. “What did you do to me?"

I know this is just a draft, of course, but maybe you'll want to emphasize the quickness and severity of this change. a "sudden fear" shining in his eyes. Really try to convey how powerfully this vision effected him and how fast and startling the change was.

Something like:

"His eyes, until now expressing only an amused, slightly annoyed, curiosity, lit with sudden terror."

And I like the birds. Very "League of the Scroll" Smile
Nayrb:

Trade-speak is not a bad name! This is what my world docs say:

Quote:Common tongue is the lingua franca of north Aeon. The language originated in eastern Northreach in Imperial times, and since it has strong elements of both Uldan and Brennish, it is very easy to learn for both Easterners and Westerners. It is a plain language derived from the needs of merchants and diplomats. Some call it crude, but what Common tongue lacks in subtlety and flowery vocabulary it more than makes up for with straightforwardness and ease of use.

Melchizedek:

I dunno... both Pidgin and Creole are two terms I closely associate with our world, and would feel a little out of place, I think.
(03-16-2019, 02:40 AM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]I like this! It does a good job developing the character and the world / its goings on. Your POV is very good here. You're already good with POV, but especially here I feel like you're really giving us the world from Lilian's perspective. And with the bit about her from the Rynn episode already in the bag, I really feel compelled to read more about her.

Glad you like it! In fact it's really fun writing from Lilians perspective as she's very different from the other characters. Plus that I'm enjoying the opportunity to sort of zoom in closer on this remote part of the world that is basically just a backdrop in the other chapters.

(03-16-2019, 02:40 AM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]Maybe Haldan could be a bit more physical with her? I get a good sense of him as a sort of egotistical oaf, but maybe he can grab Lilian's wrist or violently swat her hand away during the scene where he sees the echo? Lilian's coolness can really be contrasted with Haldan's brutishness here. I think he's good already with the lewd behavior, the young girls, and the "cattle" speech, but I think there can be more. When he sees that vision, that is not something an ordinary person is expecting, especially not a hungover bully who probably regards magic as something he can smash with a club.

Good point. I'll have a look at adjusting this part, though I should mention that this is not the last we'll see of Haldan. The next Lilian chapter is almost done, I just have to edit it a bit as I noticed it drags on a bit too long compared to the chapters before and after it. Chapter 12 is also close to finished, just needs a bit of polish here and there.
(03-17-2019, 06:08 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]Nayrb:

Trade-speak is not a bad name! This is what my world docs say:

Quote:Common tongue is the lingua franca of north Aeon. The language originated in eastern Northreach in Imperial times, and since it has strong elements of both Uldan and Brennish, it is very easy to learn for both Easterners and Westerners. It is a plain language derived from the needs of merchants and diplomats. Some call it crude, but what Common tongue lacks in subtlety and flowery vocabulary it more than makes up for with straightforwardness and ease of use.

Melchizedek:

I dunno... both Pidgin and Creole are two terms I closely associate with our world, and would feel a little out of place, I think.

I think you're on the right track, then. You can even consider giving it a clever name that you'd think the people of the world would have naturally come to call it (like a portmanteau or the like).

Another thing I noticed is that the northern continent in Shadowmarch is called Eion and contains a location called Brenland. Not that I think you should really worry about it.
(03-17-2019, 08:03 PM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]Another thing I noticed is that the northern continent in Shadowmarch is called Eion and contains a location called Brenland. Not that I think you should really worry about it.

Wow, I feel like an idiot for not remembering that. It wasn't too long ago that I reread the books. But yeah, maybe I shouldn't worry too much about it -- and it would feel weird changing it since the name is already established in WoR. Ah, well.
(03-17-2019, 08:33 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]
(03-17-2019, 08:03 PM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]Another thing I noticed is that the northern continent in Shadowmarch is called Eion and contains a location called Brenland. Not that I think you should really worry about it.

Wow, I feel like an idiot for not remembering that. It wasn't too long ago that I reread the books. But yeah, maybe I shouldn't worry too much about it -- and it would feel weird changing it since the name is already established in WoR. Ah, well.

Yeah, I wouldn't worry about it. As fantasy location names go, neither yours nor Tad's are particularly singular in this case. I don't mean that as a critique, just that "Brenland" doesn't have the same canonical identity as "Mordor," you know?


There are plenty of place names that appear over and over again in fantasy that are ambiguous enough not to really matter. I don't see your names being the sort the fantasy community would take issue with.

Hell, Terry Brooks just modifies everyone else's proper nouns and is hugely successful Big Grin
I was also told Dessi is a nation in the Lone Wolf gamebooks and Targos is a city in Forgotten Realms. I was aware of neither, which goes to show that coming up with fantasy names that are both pronouncable and have a nice ring to them means sacrificing uniqueness to some extent.
(03-17-2019, 09:14 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]I was also told Dessi is a nation in the Lone Wolf gamebooks and Targos is a city in Forgotten Realms. I was aware of neither, which goes to show that coming up with fantasy names that are both pronouncable and have a nice ring to them means sacrificing uniqueness to some extent.

Exactly! I bet you could take a number of such names and find them on a map of some region of the real world anyway. So again, probably not worth worrying about.

I was just thinking about Lone Wolf the other day; wondering where my books are...

In a rare reverse-case of word-borrowing and modifying, it seems that "Morrowind" might have been borrowed from Terry Brooks' far less, as you put it, pronouncable, "Morrowindl" from 1992's The Elf Queen of Shannara. Though I'll never cease to be perplexed by 2001's Voyage of the Jerle Shannara: Antrax which apparently came out the same day the Anthrax-mail attacks began in the US. It could not have been anything other than a coincidence, but it also could not have happened to any other author other than Brooks...
(03-17-2019, 09:38 PM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]In a rare reverse-case of word-borrowing and modifying, it seems that "Morrowind" might have been borrowed from Terry Brooks' far less, as you put it, pronouncable, "Morrowindl" from 1992's The Elf Queen of Shannara. Though I'll never cease to be perplexed by 2001's Voyage of the Jerle Shannara: Antrax which apparently came out the same day the Anthrax-mail attacks began in the US. It could not have been anything other than a coincidence, but it also could not have happened to any other author other than Brooks...

Hahaha, OMG! Big Grin

I've only ever read the first Shannara book. I don't remember much of what happened in it, but I do remember thinking it was garbage.
(03-17-2019, 10:17 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]I've only ever read the first Shannara book. I don't remember much of what happened in it, but I do remember thinking it was garbage.


I talk smack, but really I have some very fond memories of the first eleven or so Shannara books. When I was a kid I was a big Shannara enthusiast and it never fully went away. I have a budget copy of the first book that I got signed by Brooks when I was eleven. He was very nice and encouraging to a then aspiring fantasy author. The books have their strengths, but I think after a time, as your palate develops, you notice some things you can't help but comment on. I could get around some of the obvious lack of originality in names and events, but by around 2004 it just felt like he was aimlessly adding to his world just to keep it going and the sense of cohesion was lost.

The background story established early on that the Shannara universe came about after the apocalyptic end of our own civilization felt like a throw-away plot device at best. He fleshed it out reasonably well in the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara series, in part because he didn't make it explicit that the past to which he was referring was necessarily our own time. Except for the fact that on his map the mysterious land in which many discoveries are made, Parkasia, looks like Florida, there's a sense the the world opening up to discovery is still a fantasy world.

As I understand it, he's been hammering home the fact that his universe came after the fall of our own civilization in subsequent series ever since. Frankly, if the typical fantasy races that inhabit his world are supposed to be the result of mutations and evolution, he didn't do a very good job with making it believable, because they still resemble the stock fantasy tropes they are. As such, they aren't bad, but the more he fleshes out the back story the more one begins to see it as a lost opportunity for something really imaginative and different. If your Dwarves came to be because they hid underground from a calamitous nuclear holocaust, why are they just the standard old Nordic short people? Does hiding underground from certain death turn you into a stereotypical Celt-Nord who likes ale and fighting?

Despite its flaws, I wanted to keep reading back in the early 2000s, but the last series I started was just so boring. It felt, as I said, that Brooks was arbitrarily tacking things onto his world and that he had no grasp of the idea that one can completely ruin something by revealing too much of it. In the second book of the original trilogy The Elfstones of Shannara he introduces the concept of the Forbidding, which is a sort of nightmare "Upside-down" where the very originally named Demons live. I remember it all being executed pretty well and enjoying the book enough that I'd like to re-read it as an adult. The last book I finished, though, Jarka Ruus, tore the veil off of the Forbidding and exposed it for what it was: a boring, "mirror" of the Four Lands, complete with stereotypical dead, withered, flora and darkness and all that jazz. It was a hard book to get through.

The next book, Tanequil did two things I didn't like. Again, it started to introduce seemingly arbitrary developments of the world that, apart from feeling thrown-together, completely screwed up the worldview developed by the first thirteen or fourteen books, and without any noticeable benefit to the reader, namely, the social structure of the Rock Trolls. Sure, it's nice when you realize the bad guys are people, too; but I was just bewildered. On top of that, Brooks had established a curiously formulaic beginning to every new adventure: they all seemed to start in more or less the same place and take the same route through the same geographical locations and the same amounts of time, and by book number X any nostalgic effect had just been bludgeoned to death.

Anyway, I defend my lengthy digression with the fact that this is a thread about writing fantasy, and we should discuss what we think works and what doesn't  Cool
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26