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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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November 19th, 2005

06:49 pm: Rant on writing extroverted protagonists
This is one of the character types that doesn’t often show up as the protagonist of a fantasy novel, but gets relegated to being a sidekick. I suspect the reason is not a story-bound one—like an extrovert hero being incompatible with a lot of fantasy plots—but authors not thinking things through again.

Extroverts say hi! )

*looks fondly at extroverted protagonists* There is no law at all that says they’re less interesting or intelligent than introverts. They just get written that way.

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November 5th, 2005

06:42 pm: Rant on exiles/expatriates
Once again, a set of characters I’m grouping together, although there’s at least one difference between them: usually an exile is assumed to have left home unwillingly, while an expatriate can have willingly given up home and allegiance to that home.

So what’re ways to use them in fantasy, then? )

It looks like moments of great social change is next.


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October 29th, 2005

08:13 pm: Espionage rant
This is the espionage rant. And most of this does assume fantasy worlds, yes, so I expect that a lot of what I’m saying wouldn’t apply in straightforward spy novels/SF.

Because, if nothing else, there are probably some technological ways to overcome the problems I’ve seen )

God, stupid spy stories annoy me.

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October 22nd, 2005

06:39 pm: Twins rant
This targets the clichés, mostly, but also includes ways to try and improve them, because I’m feeling nice like that this evening.

Multiple births shouldn’t mean multiple stupidities )

Yes, that was bitchy. On the other hand, I’ve really started to dread stories with twins in them, because authors get so freaking hung up on their looks and nothing else.

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October 19th, 2005

08:17 pm: Rant on pacifist/"coward"/non-fighter characters
These all got lumped together because I wanted them to be.

Or, you can think of this way, if you want: All of these characters avoid fighting. What varies is their motivation. And since fantasy sometimes seems focused on making heroes out of people who can cause the most bloody carnage, I think focusing on people like these could be fun. Just adjust the points as needed for the motivation.

I like them )

*looks at poll*

*poll says twin rant is next*

…Oh, shit.

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October 12th, 2005

09:31 pm: Making good reluctant heroes
Um, yeah. This one won the little poll. Rather decisively.

They should be better because they make me especially pissy )

That served as a fair preview of the “things that mightily irritate Limyaael” rant, too, I think, which is coming up next.

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October 10th, 2005

11:54 pm: Rant on creating likeable bastard characters
I wonder if I should be concerned that this option led in the poll, and that the second one is “Things Limyaael thinks are really irritating.”

However, rescuing fantasy from being milquetoast is all to the good, I say )

There. That’s what I wanted to say.

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September 14th, 2005

09:14 pm: Neutral character rant
This is a rambly rant. I do not care. It is also a shorter rant, due to another case of “Hands hurting like hell.”

Making them neutral, keeping them neutral, turning them into friends )

Aaand the other worlds/alternate worlds rant is next.

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September 9th, 2005

07:27 pm: Rant on mute and non-speaking characters
Just a note: This rant includes all the types of non-speaking characters I could think of, not just those born mute.

Read more... )

Phew. That got longer than I expected, and more serious.

But at least the letter C is happy.

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July 26th, 2005

06:36 pm: Writing the duty-bound protagonist
There were two options with the same number of votes, so I chose the one I felt like working on more. I am so rebellious.

These people aren’t )

I’ve written several of these protagonists, and some of my very favorite moments come when they get between a rock and a hard place that a maverick hero never would, because a maverick hero would never think to honor or obey the principles that got the duty-bound one trapped there. There’s great characterization to be had there, and great story.

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July 24th, 2005

05:18 pm: Writing nobility of spirit without being sappy
Wait. Did I use sappy or soppy in that original poll question?

Oh, well. It usually works out to the same thing in the end )

I will leave you with a Simon R. Green quote, from Winner Take All, and characters who never made a fuss about nobility one way or the other:

Hawk: “That was a nice punch of yours, Isobel.”
Fisher: “My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure.”
Hawk: “And because you wear a knuckle-duster under your glove.”

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July 20th, 2005

06:59 pm: Making convincing loner characters
Ah, another character type I have a real weakness for and therefore study with extreme suspicion because I don’t know if my liking it means that I’m more likely to excuse its flaws.

There should probably be some commas in that sentence somewhere.

More long sentences, with commas and without )

Next we get character change as gradual process. Oooh.

*chokes temptation to write rant one day early*

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July 18th, 2005

10:33 pm: Rant on sociopathic characters
I tried to prepare for this one by doing a lot of research. But a) a lot of the research contradicts itself, and b) the main point of this rant, as it is with all the ones on characterization, is not sociopathy. It’s writing characters whom the writer thinks of as sociopathic.

Well, okay then )

There actually aren’t a lot of convincing sociopathic villains in fantasy books, I think. It’s much easier to find them in real life.

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June 27th, 2005

05:33 pm: Rant on genius characters
The rant on genius characters, which has to do with ways of keeping them in check and having fun with them and using them in plots and…well, everything else I could think of, really.

Using your geniuses instead of letting them use the story )

Geniuses are damn fun to write, and possibly wonderful fun to plot with, but too many become their intelligence or talent instead of intelligent and talented people.

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June 25th, 2005

06:30 pm: Non-annoying stubborn characters
And the non-annoying stubborn characters rant it is. I just finished writing about an annoying one, and was glad to wash my hands of him, so this is informed by much groaning at the stupid plot twists the stubbornness forced experience.

Why stubbornness is, and should be, double-edged )

Speaking of potentially annoying character types, the genius rant is next.

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April 16th, 2005

08:15 pm: Interesting heroines rant
This is highly flavored by my individual opinion.

Did I mention that?

Heroine should mean more than ‘damsel in distress’ or ‘love interest’, damn it )

I am going to go read the Yeats biography again, because, say what you like about her, Maud Gonne is interesting as hell.

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April 11th, 2005

10:17 pm: Designated Love Interest rant
Ah, here we are.

Lucky me, as I happen to be reading a fantasy novel with three Designated Love Interests at the moment, so I have examples staring me right in the face.

Here complaineth the Limyaael )

That was invigorating. Now I can go back to reading the book with the three Designated Love Interests, on which there will certainly be a review, and on which in my head there is already much snarking.

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March 26th, 2005

10:01 pm: Likeable character rant
I should be reading Ulysses for my class on Yeats, Joyce, and Beckett.

Obviously, this means I am doing the rant on likeable characters instead.

In self-defense, I did read 70 pages today.

So subjective it is not funny )

I have the feeling I’ve said much the same things before, especially in the fascinating character rant, but fascination and likeability overlap for me quite a bit. And anyway, I hope at least some of this is valuable and new.

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