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August 26th, 2006

09:53 pm: Varying a story's emotional tone
This one was inspired by books that make me feel like I’m taking an acid bath in one kind of emotion—specifically, Lord Foul’s Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson and any number of Piers Anthony’s pun-driven novels—and by others that seem to fear allowing any kind of emotion other than ANGST ANGST ANGST or SLAPSTICK HUMOR HA HA into them will ruin them. So this is a discussion of ways to vary a book’s emotional tone, both to give it more “color” on the palette and to avoid burying your reader in too much of one feeling.

It’s hard to paint in shades of gray when all you have is either darkness or light )

I like books with varied emotional tones because they’re usually the ones where the characters feel most alive to me. They haven’t forgotten living while they go about this business of being in a story.

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November 21st, 2005

03:58 pm: Fantasies about recovery/healing
Hm. A mixed bag, this one. I’ll just wander around and talk about whatever I see fit.

Yes, how was that different from the usual, again?

Not exactly your typical rat-racing, sword-waving, maiden-chasing fantasy )

Creating subgenres is next. *croons*

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November 9th, 2005

09:17 pm: Moments of great social change
This consists of me saying, “Ooooh, shiny!” more than it does ranting. After all, I’ve talked about specific manifestations of social change before, as in the rants on revolutions and civil wars, and the things I find silly or unrealistic about the way that most fantasy authors portray them. So I’ll try to show what I think would be good ways of portraying them.

Instead of a storm, why not have a landslide? )

Getting nature more involved in a fantasy novel is up next.

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August 10th, 2005

06:40 pm: Serious optimism rant
The last rant of the poll, and one I’ve been turning around in my head for a bit now.

“Serious optimism” is one of those Really Cool Things I’d like to see more of in fantasy—not clichéd morals, nor Impending Doom turned by a loophole or deus ex machina, but a story with heavy flesh that yet steps lightly. The author who provides the purest example I can think of is Terry Pratchett, in his last few Discworld books, but I think the principles can be generalized.

Serious optimism )

Poll post up in a while.

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July 30th, 2005

04:46 pm: Creating a sense of the forbidden
Another rant I wasn’t really looking forward to, because it runs almost opposite to my own inclinations. I prefer to write about stories of discovering knowledge, especially ones where the characters discover that the metaphysical/religious/mythological structure they took for granted has altered. “Forbidden” stories rely on a different appeal altogether, one I probably understand as a reader but not as a writer.

That said, here’s my best crack at it )

That was hard. *hides under bed*

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March 9th, 2005

09:28 pm: 'Balancing cynicism' rant
This is not, specifically, against cynicism in fantasy novels. I love cynicism in fantasy novels, provided that the character is expressing it in such a way that it fits the story, and not just because the author thinks it’s Cool. However, as the dominant tone of a story, it can become just as nauseating as a fantasy where the dominant tone is praise of the loose cannon who has no idea what ‘diplomacy’ means hero.

So here are ways to balance that )

Next is (I think) the ‘earning extreme situations’ rant. That shall make a nice companion to the ‘putting characters through hell’ rant.

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August 18th, 2004

08:57 pm: The suspense in fantasy books would like to stop dying, please and thank you
Ah, suspense. Probably the most frequent murder victim of bad fantasy, aside from common sense.

It’d like to stop hiring personal injury lawyers now )

If the suspense in fantasy books ever did turn sentient and decide to sue the authors that had killed it numerous times, with malice, the list would be longer than most fantasy books I’ve read.

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April 11th, 2004

11:09 pm: Emotional scenery, part two.
This is a really mixed bag, mostly a grab list of things that annoy me at the moment. "Oh, yes, that! And that too, really."

And on to the grab bag! )

So tired of eternal teenagers crying significant tears and feeling a muddle of emotions. So tired.

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April 8th, 2004

10:07 pm: Emotional scenery rant
Maybe I’ve been reading too many short stories lately, but it seems like more and more characters are turning into emotionless robots.

Stop and admire the emotional scenery already! )

*makes “The Evil Girls In High School Were People Too” sign*

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March 30th, 2004

07:42 pm: Dark fantasy rant
Dark fantasy rant, crossed with horror fantasy rant. I’ve read some good examples of this, but sooner or later they pick up the same constellation of sins.

When horror isn’t enough… )

Does anyone know any convincingly dark fantasy series I could try? Anne Bishop and Laurell K. Hamilton have both gone to the dogs, and I noted the problems I had with Carey’s trilogy. In particular, if anyone has read any dark fantasies that don’t have wimpy endings, let me know.

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