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December 18th, 2009

10:18 am: Rant on flawed characters (again)
Characters in most novels, of course, have to have flaws. Novels exist where they don’t, but often the character is either boringly idealized or part of a historical and cultural context that doesn’t exist in most twenty-first-century Western countries any longer. (Characters like Herman Melville’s Billy Budd and George Eliot’s Eppie are also meant to serve a specific allegorical purpose that’s rare for modern fantasy novels). But it’s also possible to make a character too flawed, or to add only “charming” quirks that don’t actually impact a character’s life in any discernible way. I’m sure you can think of at least one protagonist whose only fault was being too generous, or too kind-hearted. (I will never get back the hours of my life which I wasted reading The Wayfarer Redemption).

Here, then, are some (more) ideas about adding flaws to characters and what to do once you have them.

Read more... )

A rant on loyalty is probably next.

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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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July 19th, 2004

01:36 pm: Killing your protagonists, for <lj user
Yes, I’ve done it, at least seven times—and possibly more, depending on your definition of “death”—but it’s not as though every story has to end with someone dying. So what makes the difference between a necessary death and an unnecessary death?

My thoughts )

Should protagonists be killed? Yes, if it would make the story better. But only in the right ways.

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July 17th, 2004

06:08 pm: Redemption rant, part two.
What happens when authors get ideas in their heads about redeeming their villains…and then go about it wrongly.

Villains can be redeemed, but not like this )

A villain redemption can be done realistically, I think. It’s just one of those things fantasy authors tend to follow in each other’s footsteps on and not give enough thought to.

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July 16th, 2004

01:19 pm: Redemption rant, part one
This is an odd subject, maybe, but it came to me the other day when I read an online fantasy story and found the hero’s “redemption” from his tragic past jarring and unnatural. Here are some tips to make the hero’s redemption, if you’re trying to pull it off, convincing. (Tomorrow’s for villains).

Redemption’s not the problem, just the shallow versions of it )

Enough tormented heroes who snivel, already.

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July 8th, 2004

07:36 pm: Angst vs. tragedy
Inspired by a comment [info]avrelia made in the last post (thanks, [info]avrelia!) I have very strict definitions of angst and tragedy, enough so that I can usually know within a few chapters whether I’ll enjoy a “sad” book or not, but I thought it might be nice to articulate them.

(Just to make it clear, I love tragic fantasy, and think angst needs to be drop-kicked off a tall building).

Angst vs. tragedy )

Well, that was a long one. I hate angst so much, though (one reason I prefer to read humorous fanfic if I’m going to read fanfic; the amount of bad angst in fanfic is mind-blowing).

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