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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 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

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 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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