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May 20th, 2007

09:46 pm: On possession, mind control, and hypnosis
This is a broad general topic, admittedly, but each one by itself would probably be too narrow for a rant. Thus, we’re doing it this way.

Interesting, but not when they’re used as an escape clause )

And I suppose that, for now, that’s all I really have to say, since each point covers a lot of ground.

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May 15th, 2007

07:25 pm: On nonhumans living with their nonhuman attributes
Apologies that this is so late; I’ve had spotty Internet access for most of the last week and a half.

So, on to the subject of nonhuman attributes- whether those be immortality or infinitely flexible stomachs )

More could be done with this, always. A story like James Tiptree Jr.’s ”Love is the Plan The Plan is Death doesn’t work for everyone and has not a human character in sight, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good story.

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May 6th, 2007

08:43 pm: Rant on whores.
And courtesans, harlots, streetwalkers, ladies of negotiable virtue, and other various hangers-on.

Here we go )

I think fantasy could use more whore characters—with their own voices, thanks.

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May 2nd, 2007

08:43 pm: Class/caste systems
So the little poll said, so shall it be.

About both kinds )

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April 30th, 2007

02:29 pm: Books I read in April
(Along with others, but these are the ones I had interesting reactions to).

Guy Gavriel Kay, Ysabel )

Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own )

Ian McDonald, River of Gods )

Ursula K. LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness )

Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa, This Bridge Called My Back )

C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader )

Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell )

Ursula K. LeGuin, Changing Planes )

I have a whole pile of books and am not sure what I’ll begin with next. Maybe the biography of James Tiptree, Jr. Or Joanna Russ’s The Female Man. Or Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light.


April 27th, 2007

08:05 pm: Attitudes towards killing and violence.
Since this deals with attitudes, I won’t be addressing strategy and tactics here; it’s mostly about the social and cultural associations of battles, duels, and other methods of killing. Also, it has few separate points; most of the ideas I wanted to present are gathered together under general ones.

You can’t swing that sword that way )

Class/caste systems is next, according to the poll.

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April 20th, 2007

06:23 pm: On using non-Western influence in fantasy.
So here we are )

And so far, it looks like attitudes towards killing and violence is next.

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April 16th, 2007

09:03 am: Suggestion post
I've been trying to come up with new ideas for rants so I could do a poll, but unfortunately my brain seems to run best on prompts at the moment. If you'd like to see a particular rant, go ahead and suggest it here, and it'll probably make it into the poll. (Feel free to second/third/etc. someone else's idea that you like).

I may not do rants just because I don't feel I have enough knowledge in the area. I may also not do them because I've covered the subject before. If you want to know whether it's been ranted about, here's the list of all of them.

Suggest away!

12:05 am: Characterizing animals
This is meant to apply as broadly as possible—to normal animals, telcoms (telepathic companions), shapeshifters, and author-created fantasy animals. Some of it does assume that you’re writing from the animal’s point-of-view, but it could also be useful for describing them from the outside.

So here we go )

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April 11th, 2007

11:05 pm: Writing fantasy about oppression
All right then.

Frankly, this rant was difficult to write. Part of it is simply that I’m afraid I’ll leave something important out. The other part is that I’m white, middle-class, and American, and so I’m approaching a lot of this in theory, not in the experience of living with it. Given the time period I live in, I don’t even have to deal with some things that would have been de rigeur for an American white, middle-class woman a few decades ago. So, if you see something in the rant you think is biased, ill-chosen, wrongly-worded, or offensive, please correct me. The nice thing about using an LJ post as a format for this rant is that I can clearly show the correction of mistakes by strikeouts.

So here we go )

All right. After all, I am hardly immune from criticism, either.

Tell me what you think.

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April 10th, 2007

08:19 pm: PSA: The list of rants
If you want to find all the fantasy rants I've done, you can look in my memories or at Coyotecult's Handydandy Reference Index. If you want smaller numbers of rants at a time, I've also tagged them. (I'll be linking this post in my profile).

Rant tags below )

And now, it will be a much simpler process just to tag and memory them as I write them.

Looking through the older rants experience. I would no longer state some of the things I said then in the exact same way, and some rants overlap. But, in the interests of leaving in various wordings that might aid someone more than a more recent rant, I won't be revising them. According to the memories count, there are 372 of the damn things, and if I started revising them, I'd never write a new one.


April 7th, 2007

09:36 pm: Moments When the Protagonist Awes Other Characters, Curing the Addiction To
As threatened promised hinted at.

Sure, sometimes it’s cool, but the problem is the frequency )

The next one might be on oppression, though the Invisible Pink Unicorn knows it’s a rant I’m wary of writing.

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April 1st, 2007

09:08 pm: Mentor rant
A few people have asked for a rant on mentors, so here it is.

How to keep your teacher from becoming a pale imitation of Gandalf )

No idea what will be next, yet.

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March 24th, 2007

05:10 pm: Non-villain rant
Both [info]digoraccoon and [info]marumae asked for a rant like this. And, after all, there’s no reason that you need to assume a villain in order to have a story. Mainstream fiction and many “classic” novels get away quite handily with having no villain, or only one truly despicable character in a populated world where many other shades of morality exist.

The only thing I do assume for this rant is that your non-villain is a fairly important character, and therefore you’ll be thinking about how his or her activities matter to the story as a whole; obviously, if they appear onstage in only one scene, your concerns in developing them will be different.

Beyond good and evil )

The next rant will probably be on ways to focus and tighten stories.

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March 20th, 2007

09:37 pm: Six ways of using the insider
Now that the reading for my exams is finally letting up a bit, I can write another rant!

The “insider” in the title of this post means someone who’s a native member of the culture/world you’re writing about, or at least familiar with it. A common worldbuilding trick in fantasy is to bring a visitor, a sheltered innocent, or sometimes a complete alien, as in modern-day people crossing over from Earth, into the picture so you have someone who will ask questions about aspects of the culture and can be Explained At. But outsiders have problems, too, the most pernicious of which is limiting the stories you can tell. Using the other half of the equation and telling fantasy stories with insiders is very far from impossible. And no, it does not need to involve the characters telling each other in monologues what they should have known already.

Here are ways of doing it )

I’m open to suggestions about what to do next.

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February 18th, 2007

09:22 pm: Casual worldbuilding
This rant is similar to others I’ve done—particularly in that it’s a means of getting around long infodumps—but I hope it’ll help to contribute to a sense of a detailed, living world and culture (or cultures!) on a level other than philosophy and metaphysics. After all, not all your characters will be given to those kinds of abstractions, and others will have no opportunity to come into contact with them, and your world might lack the printing press, academies of philosophy, and other easy ways to transfer them. Yet those characters are still part of the story and in contact with your created culture and world, and ideas can exist outside theories.

So here are some ways they might exist )

Maybe the next rant can be on the history of cultures. If so, it is entirely the fault of that last point.

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February 14th, 2007

09:40 pm: Gender-equal societies
A few people asked for a rant on gender-equal societies. Like the rant on domestic fantasy, this is much more of a ‘how-to’: considerations that might help you, rather than “Lord, I am so sick of this” (though there’s a bit of that). I’ve read relatively few gender-equal fantasies in comparison to fantasies where one gender is dominant, though, so, like domestic fantasy, attitudes towards this kind of fantasy are more my targets than the books themselves.

A disclaimer of sorts )

The rant )

I’m sure there are some I’ve forgotten, and I’m sure I have biases showing through here I’m not aware of. I hope some of these are still useful, given that.

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February 10th, 2007

08:52 pm: Rant on domestic fantasy
This is part rant, part how-to. One reason I think not very much domestic fantasy is written is the sheer lack of models; it’s much easier to walk the paths of, say, the save-the-world plot because there’s so much of it out there to show you how to do it.

But I think there should be more domestic fantasy, because I like it )

I think there should be more of this kind of writing, if only because it would vary the deeper parts of fantasy novels—plot structure and pacing, for example—as well as the kinds of events and protagonists available.

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February 7th, 2007

11:10 pm: Ten ways of managing angst
I didn’t intend to write another rant this soon, but this one just kind of tumbled out.

It’s got to be there )

...My, that one got bitchy.

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February 3rd, 2007

10:28 pm: Ten ways of making all-powerful, unique protagonists tolerable
I don’t think it’s easy, mind. But it can be done.

Read more... )

For the record, I still think stories without all-powerful, unsurpassable characters are much more interesting, and I prefer protagonists who have qualities that every character could have, only magnified by the events of the story or their pasts.

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