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Yeah, I'll probably give it a try at least. I've been looking around for PD/CC fantasy art just for the sake of breaking up the walls of text, but there isn't really much available.
You are so creative with your universe and ideas! My recent bright idea was to send lower strata monsters who survived an apocalypse of 'good' to a sort of failed Hogwarts to learn to survive. So very creative on my part. ;P I hope you keep this going. It could be awesome.

At the risk of trying to be helpful and being useless, this site has helped me find some decent PD images...
http://www.publicdomainpictures.net
(11-06-2018, 10:36 PM)bigcat1969 Wrote: [ -> ]You are so creative with your universe and ideas! My recent bright idea was to send lower strata monsters who survived an apocalypse of 'good' to a sort of failed Hogwarts to learn to survive. So very creative on my part. ;P I hope you keep this going. It could be awesome.

Thanks bigcat! Yeah, I'm going to try my best to finish this, and I feel I'm off to a good start. Which is why I'm working so hard on it right now -- I know myself. Before long my interest is going to start wandering and the more of the story and background/world I have in place, the easier it will be to pick it up again and continue working. But it's always best getting as much work done as possible when you're in the zone.

(11-06-2018, 10:36 PM)bigcat1969 Wrote: [ -> ]At the risk of trying to be helpful and being useless, this site has helped me find some decent PD images...
http://www.publicdomainpictures.net

Thanks, I'll have a look! I've scoured Pixabay.com but the problem with "free" illustrations is that you can never find more than a couple in even remotely the same style. Which makes it so obvious that they are just... well free illustrations from the net. Having the images is not a priority right now, but it might actually be less work (and more fun) drawing them myself than trying to find free stuff that fits in.
One thing I noticed was an assortment of sort of fantasy beasts on a white background, I was thinking with your mad art skillz you might be able to create a nice background that could tie them all together more closely and make the PD roots less obvious.

I know what you mean about the zone, I got up to almost 35,000 words very quickly on my Encyclopedia Insanica before editing it down on discovering my overly long intro was crap to about 30,000 words, and I have bearly touched it for months. If I had kept up my pace for another week I probably would have it done... Of course re-reading it much later was probably good as I found endless mistakes and just crap writing but hey...
(11-06-2018, 11:44 PM)bigcat1969 Wrote: [ -> ]One thing I noticed was an assortment of sort of fantasy beasts on a white background, I was thinking with your mad art skillz you might be able to create a nice background that could tie them all together more closely and make the PD roots less obvious.

Absolutely, and that is basically what I did with the Lore cover. Just sandwiched a lot of PD images together in a nice collage, and it works. But when you need art more in the vein of single b&W illustrations, your options are much more limited.

(11-06-2018, 11:44 PM)bigcat1969 Wrote: [ -> ]I know what you mean about the zone, I got up to almost 35,000 words very quickly on my Encyclopedia Insanica before editing it down on discovering my overly long intro was crap to about 30,000 words, and I have bearly touched it for months. If I had kept up my pace for another week I probably would have it done... Of course re-reading it much later was probably good as I found endless mistakes and just crap writing but hey...

That thing you say about "discovering it was crap" is difficult. Yeah, sometimes the things we write are crap, whether from being sloppy, or too confident in an idea that hasn't been properly thought through, or whatever. But often it's due to being overly self-critical. And I've found that my ability to judge varies wildly from day to day. I can read through long passages I've written and think "this is garbage" and feel like just deleting everything. Then returning to it a few days later, it's perfectly fine after a few small edits. Repetition also plays a part, same as with music: when you've read through/listened to something you've created a hundred times, you're going to be so sick of it that you're not really a good judge of its strengths and weaknesses anymore. It's just going to feel like predictable crap.

So even if it's good to be critical to a certain degree, I think you should be careful with just dismissing your own work offhandedly because it will only serve to undermine your confidence in your own abilities.

When I took some writing classes in the early 2000's I had a teacher who was a strong proponent of aggressive editing. He was adamant that you need to remove absolutely everyhting extraneous, every word and phrase and line of dialog that doesn't directly serve to progress the story or develop the characters. At first I took this as an absolute truth -- after all he was a published writer with several books under his belt, and much more knowledgable than me -- but soon discovered that by following his advice, me and my classmates were ending up with very generic prose. And I really don't see how that's a good thing. Editing is always necessary of course, but for streamlining the text and making it flow better, not for removing all personality from the writing. I suppose it makes sense for the genre he was working in but I think it was misleading to insist that it was something that could be applied across all genres. So there's that as well: what is "crap" and how much of it can you edit out before your prose starts reading like it could have been written by anyone?
I can be difficult to figure out if your own work is good. I do agree you have to be careful not to just throw things out in a fit of discouragement. In this case I had tried to do sort of written stand-up comedy intro and reading back it just didn't work, also the tone of the work had changed as I went along and sort of 'found' the voice I wanted and the earlier stuff didn't fit or had to be reworked. Of course when you are trying to write an esoteric Encyclopedia in a comedic tone well I doubt anything in it would have pleased your writing teacher.

Why any chance you can kick up a txt copy of your story? My ereader doesn't like pdf.
(11-08-2018, 12:11 AM)bigcat1969 Wrote: [ -> ]also the tone of the work had changed as I went along and sort of 'found' the voice I wanted and the earlier stuff didn't fit or had to be reworked.

Yeah, I've noticed the same thing myself with this project. I'll probably need to go back and rework some early things to fit in better with the tone of later chapters.

(11-08-2018, 12:11 AM)bigcat1969 Wrote: [ -> ]Why any chance you can kick up a txt copy of your story? My ereader doesn't like pdf.

Absolutely, I'm writing the novel as plain text documents so that's no problem at all. I'll upload it later today.
First five chapters in .txt format are attached. I have no idea how indentation's going to look on your end though, the editor I'm using (FocusWriter) handles that automatically for line breaks, but that's just visible in the editor so there's no tabbed indentation or anything.
(11-07-2018, 12:41 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]When I took some writing classes in the early 2000's I had a teacher who was a strong proponent of aggressive editing. He was adamant that you need to remove absolutely everyhting extraneous, every word and phrase and line of dialog that doesn't directly serve to progress the story or develop the characters. At first I took this as an absolute truth -- after all he was a published writer with several books under his belt, and much more knowledgable than me -- but soon discovered that by following his advice, me and my classmates were ending up with very generic prose. And I really don't see how that's a good thing. Editing is always necessary of course, but for streamlining the text and making it flow better, not for removing all personality from the writing. I suppose it makes sense for the genre he was working in but I think it was misleading to insist that it was something that could be applied across all genres. So there's that as well: what is "crap" and how much of it can you edit out before your prose starts reading like it could have been written by anyone?

Unpopular writing opinion: unique, characteristic prose, dare I say purple prose, is much more interesting to read than spartan prose. Certainly, every word should have some sort of purpose, but that purpose can be just as much stylistic as substantial. God knows I enjoyed Paul Auster's 4 3 2 1 quite a bit and there's absolutely no way it could ever be considered "spartan" in its prose. Sprawling, a little messy, occasionally repetitive, long-winded, a little bit verbose - and I loved very word of it. But I also adore Daniel Abraham's prose, which is a touch more minimalist. Sparse, often beautiful, lyrical, poetic, and with a stunning ability to conjure a living character in just a few sentences. (Abraham is to characterization as Sanderson is to worldbuilding.) China Mieville's prose is purple-as-all-get-out (pardon my language) but, in his words, it is a stylistic choice. H.P. Lovecraft is not considered a particularly brilliant prose-writer, but if his prose was more spartan, more minimalist, how much of the unique atmosphere and tone and horror of his stories would be lost? So much of that atmosphere is reliant on the poetry, the archaisms, of his words and the way he puts them together.

In the end, it's up to the writer to find their voice (or voices), however they may sound, however sparse or verbose they may be. I just finished the first draft of a novelette and it's almost 15k words long and probably shows a bit too much Auster and Caro (Robert Caro, whose lengthiness in his writing lead to Princeton's English department establishing a maximum length for senior theses) influence in the way it's written. For the story that I'm telling, it works very well, but were to try that voice out on, say, "Ants Discover Fire," it'd just fall apart completely. Writing a lot and reading a lot and being exposed to a wide variety of different voices and trying out a wide variety of voices and you'll develop your own, syncretizing everything you liked and everything you'd want to get out of prose, and even if you take different approaches to different stories, your prose will still be uniquely yours.

I mean, no one will ever agree on what's crap. But one thing is for sure - I don't want my prose sounding like any generic author.
Thanks Mattias. I'll finish up this Robin Hobb book and than start on yours. Thanks also for making me think about writing more seriously. I went ahead and put my weirdness up for preorder on Amazon, so I better get writing! Fortunately an crazy Encyclopedia doesn't have a plot so I can have it about any length and then add to it later. I re-read it and wow it needs some editing. Ah the fun of writing books when barely literate. ;P

Finding your 'Voice' is an interesting thing. I'm reading through the complete works of my favorite author PG Wodehouse, the British humorist. The Wodehouse I love reading didn't really show up at all until about 20 books and roughly a million word into his career with 'Something Fresh'. It wasn't until 20 years into his career and well over 30 books that his style matured and became somewhat reliable from book to book after the first Jeeves and Wooster short story collection.

This Hobb book also makes me think about such things. I'm not sure if I like it or not. It is something of a fictional autobiography in a medieval quasi-fantasy world. It is first person and long on characterization, solid world building in a smallish world and mostly so far a single city, but often frankly boring. An interesting experiment that certain has sold well.
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