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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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January 28th, 2007

08:48 pm: All the small things
Inspired by a comment [info]renakazur made in the last rant, about work being one of those things many fantasy authors don’t like to talk about because they think it doesn’t advance the plot. I took that as a challenge.

Six ways noticing small things can advance the plot )

Unquestioning obedience to any dictate of writing can result in stale conventionality, and I think that’s what often happens when authors just assume that, “Well, there’s no way to make an interesting story out of work/food/cleaning/servants’ lives/domesticity.” It’s true that certain individual situations won’t work; on the other hand, parties, magic, destinies, swordplay, and royals’ lives are not a guaranteed success either. Working with these materials might force an author to stretch her wings a bit.

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January 22nd, 2007

08:35 pm: Competency and work
The title of this one is the barest excuse to go on a ramble about several topics that interest me.

I love competent people )

Once again, no idea what the next rant will be about.

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January 7th, 2007

02:06 pm: Avoiding gimmick-worlds
This is one of those things that fermented in the back of my head for a while, and now demands a rant.

One culture, one language, one system of magic- one boring world )

Don’t know what I’ll do next, as that one came out of nowhere.

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January 2nd, 2007

11:43 pm: Ways of extending sympathy
This is a kind of a cross between an essay on characterizing secondary characters—most of the time, the author has a stronger commitment to characterizing her main character(s)/protagonist(s), so I don’t think as much help is needed—and adopting a certain attitude towards characters when writing. Obviously, this attitude is one I find congenial. It won’t work for all stories, let alone all writers. But since I seem to be obsessed with it lately, I thought I’d write a rant about it.

An intellect vast and warm and sympathetic )

One of my favorite moments in the books I read this past year is the one where George Eliot, in the middle of Middlemarch, shifts from the perspective of her heroine, Dorothea, to that of her much older and cramp-minded husband, Casaubon:

“ONE morning, some weeks after her arrival at Lowick, Dorothea -- but why always Dorothea? Was her point of view the only possible one with regard to this marriage? I protest against all our interest, all our effort at understanding being given to the young skins that look blooming in spite of trouble; for these too will get faded, and will know the older and more eating griefs which we are helping to neglect. In spite of the blinking eyes and white moles objectionable to Celia, and the want of muscular curve which was morally painful to Sir James, Mr Casaubon had an intense consciousness within him, and was spiritually a-hungered like the rest of us.”

Eliot understood something about sympathy, and how to extend it everywhere.

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