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Messages - Ahryantah

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I'll sort of give her the benefit of the doubt, because she does explicitly say in the beginning of the article that she's talking about the "George R. R. Martin kind" of fantasy, so yes, sprawling epic story lines with fifty million characters can't really be condensed into a short story. It also seems to be a rebuttal to an earlier article about out of control fantasy epics, which I didn't read because I am so very tired of these unending, pointless arguments about the value of fantasy or the definition of fantasy or what fantasy "should be."

But the whole thing does go off the rails a bit after that, and I agree with everyone else that she seems to have completely missed the sheer diversity in fantasy fiction. If fantasy (and science fiction, which easily suffers from the same "problem" re: worldbuilding) doesn't lend itself to short pieces, then how can there be actual whole magazines and anthologies that are nothing but SFF short stories? A quick Google search will give you dozens of these publications you can submit to. I subscribe to Daily Science Fiction, which is flash fiction and publishes a new story every weekday (and despite the name, also publishes a lot of fantasy, including your standard "knights and dragons and witches" fantasy). So not only can you write short fantasy pieces, many people successfully do so!

The Chatterbox / Re: Recent movies/tv shows
« on: May 08, 2018, 10:40:09 PM »
I've also been watching a lot of YouTube videos, mostly stuff about hiking/backpacking. I like to watch series about people hiking long trails (Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, etc.) and it's the season for it. I have no interest in TV lately and I'm horribly behind on the shows I usually watch.

I'm considering doing a Doctor Who rewatch, but I can't quite get up the motivation to start it.

I do want to see the new Avengers movie, but I've missed several of the most recent MCU movies (last one I saw was Civil War) and I feel like I have to see them first before I can see the new one. Which I know is ridiculous, especially since I saw the first Avengers movie after having only watched Iron Man and none of the others, so maybe I can convince myself to go this weekend or something.

Archive / Re: Site Feedback Wanted- Discuss!
« on: May 08, 2018, 10:31:28 PM »
Sorry, I meant to respond sooner, but I think @katfireblade has already said pretty much what I was thinking. I've said for a long time that people have to want to make the time for this site (or any other). I think this is a good site and I like coming here, but I don't really have suggestions for what the  mods can do. I think you guys have done pretty much everything you can do, short of offering monetary rewards for challenges or something (which I know you can't do and isn't something I think you should have to do).

I have my own excuses for not participating, and they're just excuses, but ones that I feel are a real barrier to participating more on this site. But that's down to me, not the fault of the site, so nothing you guys can fix. I know the mods have done a ton of work to keep the site going, and I appreciate that. I hope it sticks around.

Bookworm's Corner / Re: What are you currently reading [2018]?
« on: March 25, 2018, 08:18:22 PM »
I just finished The Sacred Band by David Anthony Durham, the third book in what turned out to be a pretty mediocre fantasy trilogy (I was going to do a review on here, but I don't know if I want to expend any more energy on those books) and IT by Stephen King. Not sure yet what I want to read next.

Aw. :(  I really liked participating in the book club. I do kind of want to try again, maybe this time with a book that's a little easier to get hooked into? A Wizard of Earthsea is a classic and also fairly short, but it's a bit antiquated and the dry narration can be off-putting. I think the story really picks up around chapter four, but the chapters before that can be a chore to get through, at least in my opinion.

It might also help to have a longer reading period, as we all have multiple demands on our time and having just a month to read a book can be daunting, even if you're already a regular reader. I average about ten books a month, but that's just incidental; I never give myself a deadline (well, if they're library books they do have a deadline). Even with the amount I read I still found having only a month for this book club daunting, because I also still want to read other stuff, and I have to balance that with work, my own writing, my other hobbies, etc. I'm pretty sure I only finished because this particular book is so short. So maybe we could do one book every two or three months, to give people more time to read and gather their thoughts?

I did feel like having a separate thread for just chapter one, then another for 2-4, was a little excessive. I can see the rationale behind it: get people's initial impressions after the first chapter, then get into the meat of the story, but there was something about it that didn't quite work for me (but I loved the discussion questions! They helped focus my thoughts, even when I ended up not really answering them in my replies). For me, personally, it felt a little overwhelming, because the chapters 2-4 post went up before I had finished chapter one, and I got that weird feeling of despair that I was already falling behind. I know that's not true, but my brain freaks out at things like that. I almost think it would be better to post all the discussion threads at once, and people can reply to the appropriate ones at their leisure. Or at the very least I can, without feeling like I'm being rushed along before I've really started. But that's just something I think would work for me. I'd like to know what other people think. And also that might make it more difficult to come up with discussion questions, unless the person writing the questions has already read the whole book. So, in that case, maybe it would work to do as you said, have an early discussion post, then a later one for the finished book? It's something to try.

Writing Discussion & Questions / Re: Feedback - What do people want?
« on: March 19, 2018, 07:47:15 PM »
For me, it's primarily a time and energy issue, as other people have already said. Reviewing here is something I need to make more of a priority, I know, and that's something I have to work on for myself. I've sort of gotten out of the habit of reviewing, to be honest, after the last critique group I was in went defunct. It also felt like, in a lot of other writers' forums, that I was putting in a lot of work for other people, but I was the only one putting in any effort at reviewing, and on top of that not receiving any feedback for my own work. It's discouraging. I know it certainly doesn't improve the situation to just stop trying altogether, but I think I did get a little disgusted with the general apathy of the writing groups I belonged to and I just kind of faded into perma-lurk mode.

Which is a roundabout way of saying it's not you, it's me. I'm cool with whatever critiquing system gets set up here, if any does. I'm not going to be picky about that or super selective in what I read. I just need to make the time to do it, and that's all on me.

Publishing & Marketing / Re: Self-publishing Discussion/Resources
« on: March 19, 2018, 07:14:50 PM »
Yeah, see, I don't want to deal with having to pay an agent 15% of everything, and I don't want to deal with the copyright thing

Just a note, you do not pay an agent anything. If an agent tells you to pay them for their services, it is likely a scam. An agent gets a 15% cut, yes, but they get that by selling your book. That's the incentive for them to work to sell your book.

And the copyright thing does not sound right to me. I think there's a lot of confusion about copyright, subsidiary rights, etc., and a lot of misinformation circling the internet that just causes more confusion, because most of us don't have law degrees or understand the minutiae of copyright law. That's one value of agents: they understand publishing contracts, and good agents (which you would find through research, if you were planning on traditionally publishing) will negotiate for the most beneficial contract for you that they can get, and they also watch out for publishers trying to get away with screwing you over by burying you in legalese.

And I know this is a self-publishing thread, but since there is so much misinformation out there, I would recommend reading someone like Janet Reid, who is an actual literary agent who answers commonly asked questions about traditional publishing and what an agent's role in that is, as well as debunking a lot of myths that people have about how the whole publishing thing works.

Published Works / Kay Brooke/Ahryantah
« on: March 09, 2018, 03:19:01 PM »
Author Page:
The Writing of K. L. Brooke

Self Published Works:
Unusual Florida: A web serial about one very strange summer spent at Holden Point Resort, where the year is 1997 and nothing is as it seems. Updates every Monday and Thursday. (link goes to the chapter index)

Having finished the book now, I feel like I understand Vetch a bit better as a person, though I still don't quite get his motivation for becoming friends with Ged (I think you're on to something describing him as a "fixer" type, though). I also found it interesting that (spoilers for later chapters)
(click to show/hide)
I have read this book before, but I didn't remember much from it, as it turns out (I think I was confusing it with later books in the series), so it was almost like reading it new!

I didn't touch on the no women thing, though I definitely noticed it. That was actually what drove me away from finishing the series several years ago when I first started reading them. It seems strange, given that Le Guin is known for some more progressive stuff, but this book in particular was written early in her career. I've read some interviews and essays written by Le Guin, and I know she was aware of the sexism, and that it was an awareness that came with time, and also something that she tried to fix in later books. That knowledge still wasn't enough to get me past the third book of the Earthsea Cycle, sadly. Maybe someday.

Worldsmyths Book Club / Re: Favourite Quotes [A Wizard of Earthsea]
« on: March 03, 2018, 08:26:19 PM »
Those are both great quotes!

I've already returned my copy of the book to the library, and I didn't make note of quotes I liked. I'll be sure to do that next time.

NaNoWriMo Archive / Re: Camp NaNoWriMo 2018 April Session- who's in?!
« on: March 03, 2018, 08:23:46 PM »
I might do it unofficially, but I'm not a fan of the cabins. Will there be discussion on here?

The Smyths Guild / Re: Kay's Writing Goals
« on: February 25, 2018, 08:24:11 PM »
Whoops, it's Sunday again, isn't it?

My goals for this week remain the same as last week. I did a little bit of work on my web serial (going live this Thursday!), but didn't finish the outline. I didn't do anything to PB or PC, and I think I've sort of given up on the short story I had half an idea for. But I did start editing some other short stories I've written, with the goal of submitting them somewhere.

I know most of it is that winter is so hard for me. I'm just now pulling myself out of the post-Christmas slump, almost three months into the new year. I'm really, really trying to improve.

Writing Discussion & Questions / Re: Limyaael's Fantasy Rants Discussion
« on: February 19, 2018, 07:36:42 PM »
Heh, I'm pretty sure I typed this exact same response to the last thread about Limyaael's Fantasy Rants (which I also remember there being. Maybe not on this board?). But I used to love reading those. I didn't agree with all of what she wrote, but the value I found in them was that I started to think more critically about what I was writing and why. I think it helped my worldbuilding a lot in particular. I also remember she talked a lot about ideas and concepts she'd had that she really wished people would write, and a lot of those formed the basis of my first idea journal.

The Smyths Guild / Kay's Writing Goals
« on: February 18, 2018, 09:27:39 PM »
So it seems people are making separate accountability threads for themselves? If that's not what we're supposed to be doing, let me know.

I'm going to be honest, my writing output this year so far has sucked. I've been making a weekly accountability post in my Dreamwidth (for stuff other than writing, too) and it hasn't really helped. But I did do some writing today, so right now I feel a bit better about things.

Goals for this week:
  • Write at least 2000 new words on PB (this is the second book of a trilogy)
  • Finish my outline for UF (web serial going live in March, not fantasy)
  • Write two more episodes of UF
  • Get back to editing PC (first book of the trilogy)

I also have half an idea for a short story, but I don't really even know where to start with it, much less where to go with it. I'll let it ruminate for a little longer.


The heavy narrative style continues, so it wasn't just for the introductory chapter, though in these next few chapters we get some more dialogue and direct action.

And wow, the relationships among Ged, Vetch, and Jasper kind of fascinate me, so I'm going to mostly talk about that.

Ged irritated me greatly throughout these chapters, though he does get smacked down pretty quickly. He's arrogant and prideful, and of course can't stand to do the sensible or reasonable thing when someone has pushed his buttons. He's so easily manipulated that I just cringe and feel pity for him. This is a bit of a character type that I really don't like--I have no interest in reading about hot-tempered teenage boys who constantly do stupid things because they just can't walk away when someone is obviously goading them. It's an exhausting personality type in real life, and almost as tiring to read about in fiction. But he does get humbled pretty definitively by chapter four, so we'll see if any of that sticks now that he's a real sorceror out in the world.

I'm not sure what to think about Jasper. I sort of took him at face value to begin with, and thought that Ged's assertion the guy was constantly mocking him to be the product of envy and Ged's own pride and arrogance. But by the time Jasper goads Ged into making his big mistake, there was definitely a maliciousness behind it (and Jasper has "graduated" by this point, too, and is a sorceror, so this has gone beyond schoolboy pranks). Was he malicious from the beginning, as Ged believed, or was it Ged's obvious envy and hatred of him that eventually made Jasper behave in kind? (Not saying Ged is responsible for Jasper being an ass, but if someone you're legitimately trying to be kind to just keeps treating you with suspicion and anger, after awhile you might just give up and start being crappy right back.)

I think Jasper may have been lording it over Ged a bit at first (teasing the new kid, that kind of thing), but how far would it have gone if Ged's pride wasn't so easily wounded? It interested me, while reading, that Ged kept thinking of his "rivalry" with Jasper. How much of this was true, and how much was just in Ged's head? Jasper was an older student on the verge of finishing his studies while Ged was a beginner. How much of a rival could he be? Even as hard as Ged worked and how quickly he advanced, there was never a point where the two were on any kind of equal footing enough to be rivals. Did Jasper even realize how deep Ged's hatred of him went? Because I just can't see Jasper thinking of Ged as a rival, given the vast gap in knowledge and education between them when Ged started. Why would Jasper pay any attention to this arrogant little kid?

So we come to Vetch, mutual friend to both Jasper and Ged, and maybe the reason those two even stayed within each other's orbit? I really have to wonder what Vetch saw in either character, to be honest. He seems too kind and humble to surround himself with people like Jasper--who certainly does look down on others--and, like with Jasper, I don't know why he paid any attention to the new apprentice beyond welcoming him to the school. What did he see in Ged that wanted him to make and remain friends with him? The book says Ged had no other friends because he spent all of his time studying and practicing, which says to me that Vetch probably put in most of the work to keep the friendship going. It sort of feels to me that Vetch is there just to fulfill the "kind-hearted best friend" trope instead of there being an organic reason why those two characters would have anything to do with each other.

I can't say I'm hooked, though these chapters were more interesting than the first. It's a style of fantasy writing that feels too old hat, which I know is unfair because this is an old book and it can hardly be held responsible for how it comes across decades after it was written. But I am a little more invested in the world now, and interested in seeing where Ged goes and how he'll come across the shadow again.

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