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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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December 22nd, 2005

06:06 pm: Ten things to do when you have an image and nothing else
*stares at blank sheet of paper*

There are times I really need this rant )

…That’s about as mystical as I ever get about writing, I suppose. And this may be too idiosyncratic a list to have much importance for anyone else. Oh, well.

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October 25th, 2005

08:39 pm: And yet more things that Limyaael thinks are really cool

Look at the title of the rant if you’re confused )

There. That’s what I want to see.

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October 14th, 2005

11:18 pm: Rant on things that really irritate Limyaael
This is just a little Warning.

In most rants, I attempt to have a sense of moderation. There might, for example, be one situation where I think a stupid villain would work, if [insert condition x here] exists. Or there might be a situation where the heroine of the book could be a red-haired, fiery-tempered fire mage and not annoy me. (Arguably, there is one book kind of like that, Sarah Micklem’s Firethorn…but the heroine doesn’t have any control of the fire magic, which comes as a favor from the gods, and she is not in the least fiery-tempered, being the ‘hero’s’ obsessed and codependent camp follower, so nevermind). Or I’ll try to suggest solutions that I think will better the problems I see, even if those solutions aren’t common in fantasy, probably because many authors actually like the stupid things better.

This rant is just on things that annoy me. I’m not going to try to justify them, or excuse them. This is me in full out rant-mode. Also, there are lots of swear words, including the one I heard primly referred to as the ‘f-bomb’ the other day.

You have been warned )

That is the longest rant I have ever done. And it only took me an hour and a half.

Guess I’ve had my say.

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October 8th, 2005

01:45 pm: Keeping static worlds plausible
The last of this particular set of rants that’s taken me…oh…only two months to write?

And another where I don’t particularly like the conceit I’m writing about. I favor worlds that move on, even if not quickly. But I did promise that I would give some consideration to it.

If you don’t want your world to change all that fast, here are some options )

Poll up in a short time.

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August 1st, 2005

04:59 pm: Silence and its uses
Since my guiding theme this time is more of a, well, theme, rather than object or persona or type of behavior, this rant is more scattered than usual.

The sound of silence )

That…bit quite a lot harder than I expected it to. I suppose that I’ve just read too many books that had stupid silences oiling an incredibly stupid plot.

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July 15th, 2005

07:23 pm: Ten things to do when you've gotten bored with your novel
This one won by a huge margin, by which I conclude that a) a lot of people have gotten bored with their novels in the past, b) a lot of people think they might get bored with their novels now or in the future, or c) a lot of people want to be pointlessly entertained.

Well, I aim to please )

Sociopaths are next.

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July 3rd, 2005

04:35 pm: Rant on deathbed scenes/last moments
Okay, the rant on deathbed scenes and last moments. If you notice a seemingly invisible subtitle floating about, which is “How to make them something other than disgustingly sappy”…yes, well, that’s deliberate.

Onwards! )

Perhaps parts of that were excessively bitchy, but considering how much of a big fat purple pustule on the ass of fantasy most deathbed scenes are, I don’t think so.

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July 1st, 2005

07:42 pm: Yet more things that Limyaael thinks would be really cool
And another largely “Whee!” rant. Third in a series, of sorts, following this one and this one. More shiny!

Here we go… )

Love these, because I like babbling, and they always make me want to go out and write more books like this, and go on writing until I die.

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June 29th, 2005

08:02 pm: Rant on friendships
This one is on friendships.

Whee! )

Well, would you look at that. The rant about things I think are really cool is next.

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June 21st, 2005

09:04 pm: Ten alternatives to genetic magic
And it’s the ‘ten alternatives to writing genetic magic’ rant! Aren’t you excited?

For the purposes of the rant, I’m defining “genetic magic” as: inborn, inherited magical talent, where the protagonist got it through a family line, perhaps a distant ancestor (very common), or was simply “born” with it (often done when the author doesn’t want to deal with a whole magical family). I often dislike it because the author wants to exalt the protagonist as special, but I don’t consider a person special just because she was born with magic, any more than I consider someone special just because she’s tall or got blue eyes. It’s what’s done with the talent that counts.

Ten alternatives, and most of them have even been done before… )

Sorry for not answering comments, but I have to run; I’ll do it later.

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June 6th, 2005

04:35 pm: Worldbuilding through layering
In case the title is confusing, I will say that this is a method of world-building which depends on little, tiny threads braided together at a time, or bricks of many different kinds piled on top of each other, or dozens of different kinds of food made into a meal (choose your favorite metaphor for writing). It does not rely on big honking tapestries and walls and meals that are just descriptions, or exposition, or history infodumps, or scenes of character introspection, or circular conversations. Some people can work like that. I can’t, and I also prefer to read books that don’t; while a book with big honking tapestries or walls or meals of [insert writing technique here] might have plenty of virtues, I consider the big chunks a neutral feature at best, not a recommendation. To add yet a fourth metaphor, I prefer books that are like Arabians rather than Clydesdales.

And now that I have thoroughly confused you, on to the rant )

A lot of this is tied up with plot, character, and setting, I notice. Well, done properly, a book will be that tapestry or brick wall or gourmet meal, not a bunch of loose ends or tumbled stones or sardines next to ice cream. And Arabian-like fantasies that move, touch on aspects of world-building, race away and circle back, light and swift, have always been my favorite kind.

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May 19th, 2005

09:13 pm: Ten alternatives to writing a 'character learns a lesson' story
In a way (a very vague way) this is like one of those rants about things I think are cool and ignored too often, but it concentrates more on plot and characterization ideas than world-building or themes. And it springs directly out of having read far too many fantasy short stories that follow the exact same structure.

What is that structure? Very simply: A character starts out the story convinced of something, usually a philosophical idea, which is obviously Wrong. There’s another character in the story, who may be a sibling, parent, friend, lover, whatever, convinced of something else, which is obviously Right. By the end of the story, the Wrong character learns the Rightness of the Right idea and is instantly converted to it. The action of the story often has surprisingly little to do with the learning of the lesson. Examples are children learning to respect their parents, parents learning that their children are much more important and special than they ever gave them credit for, male chauvinists learning that girls are just as good as boys, and atheist characters learning that faith is Good and True. (I especially hate that last one).

I dislike them. There’s so many different stories to write. In fact, at least ten of them )

This rant gave me about three more ideas for more rants. Good deal.

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April 28th, 2005

02:57 pm: More things Limyaael thinks would be really cool
This is a follow-up, in many ways, to the rant that I wrote here. That means more happy burbling, more “oooh, shiny!” ideas, and more dreams—I regularly dream about walking into a bookstore and finding books like this. I am always so disappointed when I wake up.

Oooh, shiny! )

*purrs* I am in a happy burbly mood now, which makes for a good one to go teach my last class in.

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March 12th, 2005

03:55 pm: Earning hell
A while ago, I did a rant on putting characters through hell. While I’m a big fan of that, I’m also a big fan of not getting melodramatic, and making it seem as though the hellish events actually fit into the story. So…

Fitting them into the story )

I will never understand authors who go to all this trouble to build up hell and then shy from it when the moment approaches. I can understand the impulse to do so. I can't understand actually abandoning the track that you've willingly followed.

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March 3rd, 2005

09:54 pm: Psychic powers rant
I would call this the “mental powers rant,” except that that would probably bring up issues of character intelligence, and then we would be here all night. So, just to make it clear: I’m dealing with things like telepathy, telekinesis, communing with the dead, and all the rest of the froo-froo that Gets Capitalized, gets unlimited power, takes over the story, and kills characterization.

These could actually be quite good ideas, if, if, if… )

People really should work these out more carefully, or they’re the ultimate Plot Devices.

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February 27th, 2005

10:45 am: Rant on putting your characters through absolute hell
Well, this one was the winner by the most votes I’ve ever seen in a poll, so up it goes.

Real, deep-down, grinding HELL )

Not sure what the next rant will be, yet, as the poll seems quite varied.

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February 8th, 2005

11:20 pm: Greed/money rant
Y’know the money in your world? The shiny, round things the protagonist usually starts out the novel not having and ends the novel with a lot of?

Plot with it )

Why don’t more people use plain ol’ desire for money, really? Almost everyone feels it in our world, most people are aware of it, and most people would really like to have more money. Yet it gets demonized in fantasy.

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January 29th, 2005

11:19 pm: Things Limyaael thinks would be really cool
This rant is so personal it’s not funny. And it’s full of more wide-eyed burbling than bitchiness. Just a warning.

(When did the day come that I have to warn people for something not containing bitchiness?)

Things Limyaael thinks would be really cool )

This is the way that I get stuck with so many story ideas, by the by. Something’s not there. I want it to be there. I ransack shelves looking for books like these. I don’t find enough of them, so I think I have to make them.

And yep, if everyone followed these prescriptions, fantasy would be a pretty boring genre. But then someone would come along and change it again, into something else, and then it would change into something else yet again. And I think that’s wonderful. Because it’s living things that change.

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