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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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August 10th, 2007

06:25 pm: Measurements and units rant
And heeere's the new rant!

Length, weight, distance, and time )

Current Mood: bouncy
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June 30th, 2007

06:08 pm: Showing different cultural viewpoints as not 100% correct
Sorry for the very long delay. On the other hand, my written qualifying exams for my Ph.D. are done.

Some ideas on culture clashes )

The next rant is slated to be on turning idealistic characters gray, and should be up in a few days.

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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 27th, 2007

08:05 pm: Attitudes towards killing and violence.
Since this deals with attitudes, I won’t be addressing strategy and tactics here; it’s mostly about the social and cultural associations of battles, duels, and other methods of killing. Also, it has few separate points; most of the ideas I wanted to present are gathered together under general ones.

You can’t swing that sword that way )

Class/caste systems is next, according to the poll.

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April 20th, 2007

06:23 pm: On using non-Western influence in fantasy.
So here we are )

And so far, it looks like attitudes towards killing and violence is next.

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February 18th, 2007

09:22 pm: Casual worldbuilding
This rant is similar to others I’ve done—particularly in that it’s a means of getting around long infodumps—but I hope it’ll help to contribute to a sense of a detailed, living world and culture (or cultures!) on a level other than philosophy and metaphysics. After all, not all your characters will be given to those kinds of abstractions, and others will have no opportunity to come into contact with them, and your world might lack the printing press, academies of philosophy, and other easy ways to transfer them. Yet those characters are still part of the story and in contact with your created culture and world, and ideas can exist outside theories.

So here are some ways they might exist )

Maybe the next rant can be on the history of cultures. If so, it is entirely the fault of that last point.

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February 14th, 2007

09:40 pm: Gender-equal societies
A few people asked for a rant on gender-equal societies. Like the rant on domestic fantasy, this is much more of a ‘how-to’: considerations that might help you, rather than “Lord, I am so sick of this” (though there’s a bit of that). I’ve read relatively few gender-equal fantasies in comparison to fantasies where one gender is dominant, though, so, like domestic fantasy, attitudes towards this kind of fantasy are more my targets than the books themselves.

A disclaimer of sorts )

The rant )

I’m sure there are some I’ve forgotten, and I’m sure I have biases showing through here I’m not aware of. I hope some of these are still useful, given that.

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January 7th, 2007

02:06 pm: Avoiding gimmick-worlds
This is one of those things that fermented in the back of my head for a while, and now demands a rant.

One culture, one language, one system of magic- one boring world )

Don’t know what I’ll do next, as that one came out of nowhere.

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August 23rd, 2006

08:02 pm: Having "different" sexual practices in one's world
This is just a short and, at times, rather obvious rant to get back into the swing of things; I recently returned to university and am running around trying to get settled.

And, after all, it goes with the continuing theme of romance and sex )

I don’t know why there seems to be a tendency to idealize particular sexual practices in fantasy—whether it’s a cousin of the tendency to idealize romance, or whether an impression truly exists that we have just got sexuality all wrong in our world and in any other world, it would be better.

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August 16th, 2006

08:49 pm: On making non-utopian fantasy worlds
Blame [info]otakukeith for this one. Or me, since I wrote the essay and he only gave the suggestion.

Why they don’t have to be perfect )

Now I must think on the next rant.

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July 18th, 2006

07:08 pm: Including worldbuilding/background
This is a random topic I felt like doing. Because.

How much stays in your notes, how much goes into the story )

I will put up a poll in a while, because I seem frustratingly unable to think of topics for essays lately.

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July 2nd, 2006

07:38 pm: Creating a history of ideas for your world (part 2)
Yes, this is the second edition of the It Came From the Obvious Lagoon.

I love it when I can talk common sense and sound smart )

I think there will be another part of this, because I had a few more ideas, but I forgot them.

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June 28th, 2006

10:02 pm: Creating a historical background of ideas for your world (part one)
This is one of the things I have the most trouble with in my own fantasy worlds, as I don’t want them connected to Earth most of the time but I do want to be able to understand how, say, a gender-equal society would have developed if feminism in my world didn’t happen like it did on Earth.

Call me anal-retentive )

Next part will be on creating a tissue of ideas to interact and fuel societal attitudes—something I really enjoy both writing and reading about, though to get there takes both time and patience.

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June 19th, 2006

10:11 pm: Writing non-evil collective and traditionalist societies
This is, again, less of a rant than an essay, with some ideas in it. As usual, the ideas are ones I think are good, and thus may or may not have the stamp of approval of your local guild.

This one is also a bit of an experiment in form, in that as I go through I’ll be poking at a possible protagonist/society of my own, and relating him/them to each of my points.

Not a mindless opponent, nor yet a hive-mind )

It was surprising, really, how many plot ideas I had to reject as I went through that because they would have required a protagonist who believed in his own good above everyone else’s, or wanted to oppose his society Just Because. Almost every time I wrote an example, I thought, “But!” Interesting. I, at least, would have a lot of assumptions to consider and rip up before I could write about a society like this successfully.

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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 7th, 2005

04:05 pm: On escaping the arranged marriage trap
This was the one I was dreading, but then, when I thought about it, I realized I had a whole bunch of ideas I’d never considered—not only about why most stories with an arranged marriage in them don’t work for me, but how to make them work.

*examines brain cautiously* Sometimes, I have no idea what’s in there until I write it down.

Escaping the forked stick )

Why was I scared of that again?

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August 3rd, 2005

07:00 pm: Taking inspiration from literature
I suppose I ought to add “and literary history” to the title, since this rant is also about that.

Whee! )

That’s a lot more links than I usually give, but this is one of those rants where I can’t restrain myself from giving specific examples. I can see fantasy doing so much with these kinds of themes, without even breaking a sweat. I wish I could walk into a bookstore and find tons of books like this right now. Fantasy’s fantasy, sure, and a genre, and the little stepsister of science fiction, and the descendant of fairy tales and epics and myths, but it’s also writing, and there’s an awful lot to learn by reading what came before and taking inspiration from that.

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February 14th, 2005

12:10 pm: World-building through writing
Okay, this one’s up.

Distrust character profiles and world-building notes? Well, the story can do the work for you. )

Rather personal. But that’s all right.

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January 26th, 2005

10:02 pm: Rant on fantasy narrative poetry
On to fantasy narrative poetry. This is heavily prejudiced towards the nineteenth century as far as examples go. That’s my area to be in love with.

Some tips on writing fantasy narrative poetry )

Two things more: I’ve realized that while I love reading and writing prose fiction like blazes, and I admire music, it’s poetry that reaches in and tears the heart out of me, makes me weep, and makes me want to study it academically. Fantasy narrative poetry is, for me, the best kind, combining a good number of my obsessions as it does. So this rant is a lot more personal than the others.

And finally, poll on the next rants will be up soon!

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