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(07-14-2021, 02:19 AM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]Downloaded and started reading! Still busy with all my school reading, but I'll try to spend some time on them. Congratulations on getting this all done!

Thank you! Let me know if you spot any hideous errors.
(07-15-2021, 02:58 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]
(07-14-2021, 02:19 AM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]Downloaded and started reading! Still busy with all my school reading, but I'll try to spend some time on them. Congratulations on getting this all done!

Thank you! Let me know if you spot any hideous errors.

I've only got two chapters into Wolves so far, but the only thing that occasionally trips me up so far is the front-loaded lore. I don't know that it's necessary for us to know right away that a Targosian is talking to an Ulvar, or more specifically, to have it repeated so much in the dialogue sections. These are specialized terms that can bog the reader down because we aren't exactly sure of what they are just yet, and we're latching onto them instead of the dialogue that's passing between the characters, which is what is important in the moment. A Targosian can be a person from Targos or a giant octopus-man, for all we know at this point. This is a challenge in this kind of fiction, of course, because you obviously want to drop the reader in to a living world and give them some terms they'll need to learn to understand it. I would just say watch out for crowding that kind of stuff in too early. You don't want it to cramp the dialogue or the clarity of the narrative itself. Interesting to note that, if they were elves and dwarves, we would have no trouble with it at all Big Grin I guess what that means is that you're creating the codes that will become familiar to the reader over time, so you'll have to be aware of their level of foreknowledge.

Anyway, I'll try to read a bit on a regular basis so I can provide more feedback.

I enjoy these kinds of "military" fantasies, though. Have you read the Black Company or Malazan books? Coincidentally, those are great references for seeing how authors parse out personal information about individuals who make up multicultural military units.
(07-17-2021, 02:29 PM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]I've only got two chapters into Wolves so far, but the only thing that occasionally trips me up so far is the front-loaded lore. I don't know that it's necessary for us to know right away that a Targosian is talking to an Ulvar, or more specifically, to have it repeated so much in the dialogue sections. These are specialized terms that can bog the reader down because we aren't exactly sure of what they are just yet, and we're latching onto them instead of the dialogue that's passing between the characters, which is what is important in the moment. A Targosian can be a person from Targos or a giant octopus-man, for all we know at this point. This is a challenge in this kind of fiction, of course, because you obviously want to drop the reader in to a living world and give them some terms they'll need to learn to understand it. I would just say watch out for crowding that kind of stuff in too early. You don't want it to cramp the dialogue or the clarity of the narrative itself. Interesting to note that, if they were elves and dwarves, we would have no trouble with it at all Big Grin I guess what that means is that you're creating the codes that will become familiar to the reader over time, so you'll have to be aware of their level of foreknowledge.

Anyway, I'll try to read a bit on a regular basis so I can provide more feedback.

I enjoy these kinds of "military" fantasies, though. Have you read the Black Company or Malazan books? Coincidentally, those are great references for seeing how authors parse out personal information about individuals who make up multicultural military units.

Thank you for the feedback!

That's very interesting, I hadn't thought about that at all. In these stories where there's a lot of people from different parts of the world, I sometimes (well... often, apparently) use their nationality as a substitute for s/he or their name when referring to them. I'll see what I can do about making it a bit more subtle. All these strange words aren't strange to me for obvious reasons, so it's kind of hard picturing what someone encountering them for the first time might think.

On the other hand, I don't intend to make every single short story I write a self-contained introduction to the world and the lore, just in case it happens to be the first story a reader comes across. That doesn't really make sense to me Wink

And no, I'm not familiar with the books you mention. My main inspiration for the military fantasy thing is probably David Gemmel.
(07-18-2021, 01:24 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]Thank you for the feedback!

That's very interesting, I hadn't thought about that at all. In these stories where there's a lot of people from different parts of the world, I sometimes (well... often, apparently) use their nationality as a substitute for s/he or their name when referring to them. I'll see what I can do about making it a bit more subtle. All these strange words aren't strange to me for obvious reasons, so it's kind of hard picturing what someone encountering them for the first time might think.

On the other hand, I don't intend to make every single short story I write a self-contained introduction to the world and the lore, just in case it happens to be the first story a reader comes across. That doesn't really make sense to me Wink

And no, I'm not familiar with the books you mention. My main inspiration for the military fantasy thing is probably David Gemmel.

No problem! I totally get it. I guess the thing to remember is that whatever you choose to use at any given time should serve to give the reader some bit of information they need and not distract them too much from whatever is happening on the page at that time. In a fantasy, you probably can't avoid using these terms fairly regularly without losing something of the world itself, though. You might consider if there are times when adjectives might work better, maybe to remind the reader that one character is bigger than another (when some tension that might/did lead to violence exists between them). There are some good bits where you explain what a person looks like or what makes them whatever nationality they are, but that kind of thing can also be doled out tactfully in other ways. Maybe you remind the reader that a dwarf-type is short and it has some positive effect on whatever task they have to do.

Honestly, I was never good at writing fiction, so I'm responding purely as a reader of fantasy here.

I have only heard of Gemmel. I need to add that to the list! I do recommend the Malazan Book of the Fallen (it's ten huge books long, though). It's pretty incredible, and it tells of a ton of different groups of soldiers campaigning around the world, and plenty of other stuff besides. I only recently became aware of just how much Erikson (cough) "borrowed" from Cook's Black Company books in terms of themes and general style. Both are great, but I do know that at least the first few Black Company books are significantly shorter than any of the Malazan books, if you ever wanted to dip into one for a test drive.
(07-20-2021, 01:09 AM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]No problem! I totally get it. I guess the thing to remember is that whatever you choose to use at any given time should serve to give the reader some bit of information they need and not distract them too much from whatever is happening on the page at that time. In a fantasy, you probably can't avoid using these terms fairly regularly without losing something of the world itself, though. You might consider if there are times when adjectives might work better, maybe to remind the reader that one character is bigger than another (when some tension that might/did lead to violence exists between them). There are some good bits where you explain what a person looks like or what makes them whatever nationality they are, but that kind of thing can also be doled out tactfully in other ways. Maybe you remind the reader that a dwarf-type is short and it has some positive effect on whatever task they have to do.

You're absolutely right, I need to pay more attention to that. I think that sometimes, subconsciously, I also opt for the easy way out [e.g. the Targosian] instead of something more descriptive or pertinent to the passage at hand [the older/shorter/etc man]. Having said that, I'm going to have a look at both Wolves and Hungerer and see if I can tidy things up a bit, though I will probably not do any major rewrites of them. These short stories are for fun and practice mostly, and my main focus is still Strands.

(07-20-2021, 01:09 AM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]I have only heard of Gemmel. I need to add that to the list!

Be aware that Gemmel can be kind of an acquired taste. He has a terse style that harks back to classic pulpy sword and sorcery, which works great for tales about wars and soldiers, less so for more subtle or emotional things. My favorite book of his is Winter Warriors, and I think all my ageing warriors (Fingus, Tybault, and to some extent also Jedd) are loosely inspired by it.

(07-20-2021, 01:09 AM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]I do recommend the Malazan Book of the Fallen (it's ten huge books long, though). It's pretty incredible, and it tells of a ton of different groups of soldiers campaigning around the world, and plenty of other stuff besides. I only recently became aware of just how much Erikson (cough) "borrowed" from Cook's Black Company books in terms of themes and general style. Both are great, but I do know that at least the first few Black Company books are significantly shorter than any of the Malazan books, if you ever wanted to dip into one for a test drive.

I'll keep an eye out!
(07-20-2021, 09:08 AM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]
(07-20-2021, 01:09 AM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]No problem! I totally get it. I guess the thing to remember is that whatever you choose to use at any given time should serve to give the reader some bit of information they need and not distract them too much from whatever is happening on the page at that time. In a fantasy, you probably can't avoid using these terms fairly regularly without losing something of the world itself, though. You might consider if there are times when adjectives might work better, maybe to remind the reader that one character is bigger than another (when some tension that might/did lead to violence exists between them). There are some good bits where you explain what a person looks like or what makes them whatever nationality they are, but that kind of thing can also be doled out tactfully in other ways. Maybe you remind the reader that a dwarf-type is short and it has some positive effect on whatever task they have to do.

You're absolutely right, I need to pay more attention to that. I think that sometimes, subconsciously, I also opt for the easy way out [e.g. the Targosian] instead of something more descriptive or pertinent to the passage at hand [the older/shorter/etc man]. Having said that, I'm going to have a look at both Wolves and Hungerer and see if I can tidy things up a bit, though I will probably not do any major rewrites of them. These short stories are for fun and practice mostly, and my main focus is still Strands.

(07-20-2021, 01:09 AM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]I have only heard of Gemmel. I need to add that to the list!

Be aware that Gemmel can be kind of an acquired taste. He has a terse style that harks back to classic pulpy sword and sorcery, which works great for tales about wars and soldiers, less so for more subtle or emotional things. My favorite book of his is Winter Warriors, and I think all my ageing warriors (Fingus, Tybault, and to some extent also Jedd) are loosely inspired by it.

(07-20-2021, 01:09 AM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]I do recommend the Malazan Book of the Fallen (it's ten huge books long, though). It's pretty incredible, and it tells of a ton of different groups of soldiers campaigning around the world, and plenty of other stuff besides. I only recently became aware of just how much Erikson (cough) "borrowed" from Cook's Black Company books in terms of themes and general style. Both are great, but I do know that at least the first few Black Company books are significantly shorter than any of the Malazan books, if you ever wanted to dip into one for a test drive.

I'll keep an eye out!

Good thinking. I always like to just move on at a certain point. Hammering away at one thing over and over can have the effect of stymieing growth.

And yeah, Cook and Erikson also have that terse, unadorned sort of style. It has the effect of reading very, very fast, too. The Malazan books absolutely fly. I remember being amazed at how fast I could get through a thousand page book. I'm not necessarily a fast reader, but I could chomp through 500 pages of one of those novels in a weekend without even noticing it.
(07-20-2021, 12:11 PM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]Good thinking. I always like to just move on at a certain point. Hammering away at one thing over and over can have the effect of stymieing growth.

Well, there's that of course. I've also noticed that there appears to be only a brief window in time where I can approach stuff I've written objectively and make changes that will actually improve things. Before that point, I'm so close to the story I can't see its flaws. After that point, I have read it so many times I'm sick of it and start changing things just for the hell of it, making it worse. Big Grin
(07-21-2021, 09:27 AM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]
(07-20-2021, 12:11 PM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]Good thinking. I always like to just move on at a certain point. Hammering away at one thing over and over can have the effect of stymieing growth.

Well, there's that of course. I've also noticed that there appears to be only a brief window in time where I can approach stuff I've written objectively and make changes that will actually improve things. Before that point, I'm so close to the story I can't see its flaws. After that point, I have read it so many times I'm sick of it and start changing things just for the hell of it, making it worse. Big Grin

Yep! It helps to step away for a bit. It's like decorating a Christmas tree: you get so close to one part that when you step back you realize there's a lot more to it that you didn't even notice at the time.
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