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August 25th, 2007

09:14 pm: Rant on winged humanoids
Long time, no see.

Once again, I chose to write this one just because I want to )

I can’t say what or when the next rant will be yet.

Current Mood: thoughtful
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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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April 16th, 2007

12:05 am: Characterizing animals
This is meant to apply as broadly as possible—to normal animals, telcoms (telepathic companions), shapeshifters, and author-created fantasy animals. Some of it does assume that you’re writing from the animal’s point-of-view, but it could also be useful for describing them from the outside.

So here we go )

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September 3rd, 2006

08:57 pm: On alien species and worlds and keeping them alien
So, back in that poll I did lo these many months ago, [info]latterdayoberon asked about creating alien races/worlds and keeping them alien—not making them so anthropomorphic they lose that edge of alienness. And thinking about that produced this. “This” is once again more an essay-like collection of tips and advice which might work. Alienness, like humor, is so often subjective that I’d hesitate to say, “This will make a character seem inhuman/a world different from Earth every time and to every reader.”

Inhuman/unhuman: when it’s a good thing )

I did plan to write a rant at some stage about making fantasy less anthropocentric, but this seems to cover half the points I would have raised there.

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September 7th, 2005

07:21 pm: Rant on non-angsty werewolves
I could write a rant about how boring angst is and how much prettier joy is, but instead I choose to write about non-angsty werewolves.

Because I can.

Because even werewolves are prettier when they don’t cry )

See? Aren’t smiling werewolves pretty?

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August 24th, 2005

09:47 pm: Beings of extreme power rant
I apologize for the simplicity of this rant. However, I think a large number of mistakes that people make in handling BOEP’s (Beings of Extreme Power—and no, do not ask me how to pronounce that acronym) happen not because the topic is so difficult, but because authors start out with a number of assumptions and attitudes that condition the background of their fantasy worlds, and thus their writing.

*Limyaael beats people about the head with fish*

When you write fantasy, there is no law that says any particular attitude needs to stay the same, and that includes attitudes about power. Sure, they can be the same if you want them to be, or if that will make for a better story. But don’t just assume they have to be. A great deal of “truth” about BOEP’s is cliché, not natural law.

So here we go )

This is not hard, not really. What makes it so is that damn network of assumptions that make people think previous authors have explored all possible ways of writing BOEP’s and that cliché is law, instead of both of them being a set of suggestions.

This is freedom. This is power. Both can be taken and used as wisely as any magic you give your characters.

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August 5th, 2005

04:35 pm: Nonhuman-centric worlds
Once again, two rants with equal numbers of votes. Once again, choosing the one I want to do more, because the arranged marriage one is currently scaring me.

Where the humans are the squatters... )

You’ll probably notice more burble than rant in there. So don’t care. Intelligent nonhumans are still the number one way to attract me to a fantasy book, and the more varied and in-depth they are, the more I like ‘em.

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November 10th, 2004

07:25 pm: Demon rant
This is the demon rant, asked for by [info]maureenlycaon and several other people.

Why I shudder whenever I see a story with a demon in it )

I think the next rant will be advice on writing a fantasy short story as opposed to a novel.

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October 31st, 2004

09:45 pm: Ghost rant
Happy Halloween, everyone.

Here, have a rant.

Ghosts—not just for horror anymore )

Next rant’s on slavery.

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October 24th, 2004

09:59 pm: Vampire rant
The rant on vampires. This is focused on vampires in fantasy, not horror fiction, as I read very little horror compared to fantasy.

That means that this rant concentrates on the really, really annoying vampires.

The masters of the night who want to feed on energy and whine until the sun comes up )

Servant characters shall be next.

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October 19th, 2004

11:03 pm: Rant on shapeshifter societies
This rant is on shapeshifter societies.

No, they're not human, they're not animal, they're both )

I think the next rant will be on handling disabled characters.

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October 17th, 2004

08:27 pm: Shapeshifter rant
Once again, informed by my personal opinions, and the things I am so sick and tired of seeing in fantasy.

Oh, look, we have shapeshifters! Tee-hee! *Limyaael gets out axe* )

Next rant is on shapeshifter societies, I think.

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October 4th, 2004

03:48 pm: Difference rant part two
The second part of the difference rant, addressing those things I didn’t get to last time.

The difference between characters and poster children… )

Probably a rant on incorporating daily life into fantasy is next.

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October 1st, 2004

09:46 pm: Writing different characters (part one)
Right. Before I start this off, I want to quote my favorite author, Guy Gavriel Kay, because he says the core principle of what I’m trying to explain here more clearly (and in fewer words) than I can:

“'As for the female psyche, I used to be flattered when people said I did convincing female characters, but lately I confess it bemuses me. The implied idea underlying the comment is that it is startling that a man can do plausible women characters. If you push this just a bit, you have to ask how any woman could do a convincing man, how any young writer could do a geriatric, how any of us could do someone not...ourselves. Creating characters is, in a large way, an act of imaginative empathy, and I'm resistant to the idea that there are absolute borders to that. In the end, I'd say that we're really talking about good or bad writing, rather than male and female, or young and old.'

-The quote is from this interview on Kay’s official website, Bright Weavings.

If you still want to listen to me ramble on about it, come inside )

This would be way too long if I tried to do everything at once. There’s another one coming up instead.

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March 22nd, 2004

09:15 pm: Telcom rant
"Telcom" is the cutesy abbreviation for "telepathic companion," those animals who follow the heroes around.

And are they ever cutesy )

I recently bought a book that looked interesting, and only after I bought it did I realize that the book talked about the heroine bonding with a special hawk who "needs" her. I'm now scared to start it.

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February 29th, 2004

07:27 pm: Other Species Equal-Time Day.
Apropos of nothing at all, I went to the library today and got lots of books. Books on Swinburne, including the best biography of him, and books on Shelley, because I like him, and The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories, and a book called Feminism and Fantasy in the Golden Age, which for some reason I thought referred to the Golden Age of science fiction but instead is about feminism and fantasy in the Golden Age of Spain.

But I was a Spanish minor, so this is still cool.

Dragons and unicorns are nice, but... )

I really ought to work on that wyvern culture.

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February 17th, 2004

10:29 am: On animals and hunting.
Animal rant, part two?

Random Fact: Ailurophobes are afraid of cats. Napoleon was an ailurophobe, and once broke into a sweat when he thought there was a kitten in the next room.

On animals, hunting, and random stuff )

It's ridiculous, the animals who apparently inhabit some fantasy worlds. I'm inclined to agree with Diana Wynne Jones's Tough Guide to Fantasyland, which notes gaping holes in Fantasyland's ecology. The few exceptions are mechanical-like horses, rabbits, crows, and sometimes deer and dogs.

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January 24th, 2004

10:09 am: Half-breed heroes.
Half-breed heroes and heroines )

Reading over the list, I noticed that I was always assuming the character was half-human and half something else, instead of, say, half-elf and half-orc. There are probably too many possibilities in that last to list them all, though.

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January 23rd, 2004

10:00 am: On non-humans, part two.
This includes some information that came up in comments on the other post, in expanded form.

Non-humans, part two )

Maybe more tomorrow. I can think of some more about half-elven heroes especially...

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January 22nd, 2004

11:22 am: On non-humans in general.
This is probably going to be a longer post (another part tomorrow, in other words, as I am lazy and have to go to class in an hour).

From "The Triumph of Time," by Swinburne, also about a fantasy (he lost the woman he loved):

Yea, I know this well: were you once sealed mine,
Mine in the blood's beat, mine in the breath,
Mixed into me as honey in wine,
Not time, that sayeth and gainsayeth,
Nor all strong things had severed us then;
Not wrath of gods, nor wisdom of men,
Nor all things earthly, nor all divine,
Nor joy nor sorrow, nor life nor death.

Handling non-humans in fantasy stories )

Definitely more tomorrow. I like non-human characters more than humans, and about 3/4 of all my viewpoint characters are non-human, so there's more I want to say about them.

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