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Topics - Tyrannohotep

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Tonight I had a conversation about writing with my mom, and she suggested that I should consider writing for a particular target audience. In my case, this would be younger male readers, since I'm a young dude myself and my interests (e.g. action, adventure, and sexy women) are typical for that demographic. I understand her reasoning, but somehow I'm a bit uneasy about narrowing my audience to a specific demographic to the exclusion of others. For example, if my target audience is straight young dudes like myself, wouldn't that require alienating female readers for example? That would sound rather sexist.

Do you ever take into account a target audience when writing your stories?

World Building / Of rabbits and smeerps
« on: October 01, 2017, 01:08:22 PM »
So you may have heard of the issue of calling rabbits "smeerps"---namely, creating fictional terminology for things familiar to readers in the real world. I personally believe it's unnecessary in most instances, but I've noticed that sometimes people want to see "smeerp" terms in place of certain familiar ones.

For instance, I recently shared an excerpt from a WIP wherein the main characters hunt eohippus and have a nasty run-in with a kaprosuchus. Since the setting has a "tribal" vibe, one reviewer suggested that I make up tribal-sounding names for these animals and have people refer to some kind of glossary for translations. I think their feeling was that "eohippus" and "kaprosuchus" sounded too scientific. From my point of view, however, it's a rabbit/smeerp issue. I don't see how "eohippus" needs an invented term any more than "rhinoceros", "platypus", or any other number of common animal names with Greek or Latin roots. I'd rather people recognize what these animals are early on than have to refer to a glossary at the back to understand an invented term.

What are your thoughts?

The Chatterbox / This site has a curious gender imbalance
« on: June 26, 2017, 12:43:42 AM »
Anyone else notice that the vast majority of posters on this site seem to be chicks? I only recall seeing three or so posters here who were dudes, myself included. In fact, I'm probably the only regular poster on this site who is a dude, with all the others being chicks.

Not that I necessarily have a problem with this. There are plenty of other communities I frequent where the gender imbalance goes the other way, so it's only fair that one or two of my usual haunts have a high chick-to-dude ratio. But still, it's quite curious that this one forum for fantasy writers attracts so many XX individuals and so few XY ones. Anyone have a guess why? And do you think the forum would benefit from a greater representation of the hairier sex?

The Peril of Kush

This is my personal variation of the archetypal dragon-slaying story. Let me know what you think in a review!

The Chatterbox / So he finally, really did it
« on: January 28, 2017, 06:10:42 PM »


Sorry, something terrible happened today and I had to get it off my chest.

Writing Discussion & Questions / Feeling frustrated with writing
« on: January 14, 2017, 10:45:33 PM »
I'm feeling very frustrated with writing right now. And I have felt that way many times over the years. To be honest, there are moments when I wonder whether I'm cut out for storytelling at all.

Don't get me wrong, I really want to be able to tell stories. Especially about the sort of things I like to draw, as you can see in my big art thread. The problem seems to be that, while I know what sort of things I want to write about, I have trouble thinking up decent stories for them. Every novel storyline I think up seems either cliched and predictable, or has big gaping plot holes or conceptual problems that send everything tumbling down. The only stories I've been able to finish are short and simple ones that turn out to be crap anyway. I'm rarely satisfied with what I write in the end.

Has anyone else been experiencing this sort of frustration lately?

The Chatterbox / Avatar: The Last Airbender
« on: January 13, 2017, 11:07:02 PM »
So I've finally gotten around to watching this on DVD. I must admit I went into it with mixed expectations. I'm not a fan of the whole "anime" style of animation, but I heard the Asian-influenced world-building is pretty good. And now I've seen the first couple of episodes, so far those expectations were pretty much met. I do like the distinctively Asian and Inuit theme of the setting, but the animation is pretty typical anime in that it's choppy as hell. But wait until I watch a few more episodes before I have a more informed opinion on the show as a whole.

Anyone here already a fan of the Last Airbender cartoon?

The Chatterbox / Disney's current reboot syndrome
« on: January 08, 2017, 11:19:49 PM »

I just saw the latest trailer for the upcoming Beauty & the Beast reboot. So far, it looks like all they've done is take the original animated film, scene by scene, and convert it into live-action (albeit with a shitload of CGI thrown into the mix). Not only is it totally unnecessary, it's real fucking lazy on Disney's part. I did enjoy last year's Jungle Book, but that at least tried to be different in terms of tone and narrative than its animated predecessor. This one is shaping up to be nothing more than a live-action/CGI regurgitation of a perfectly solid animated film.

And then they have more coming after this...

Disney, what the fuck is wrong with you? You're perfectly capable of making innovative films in your animation department (e.g. Moana), so what's with you and making live-action/CGI reboots of your animated classics? It's pointless and it's gotten real fucking annoying.

The Chatterbox / Anger problems
« on: January 06, 2017, 12:17:57 PM »
I think I get angry too easily. Sometimes it's in response to the willful ignorance I see all over the Internet, sometimes it's when I am debating someone, and sometimes it's when someone criticizes or corrects me. Sometimes I even get irritated when someone interrupts whatever I'm concentrating on, for whatever reason. It's like the slightest provocation is enough to make me flare up inside.

In the past I've gotten myself banned on a number of Internet forums because I lashed out at my opponents. These days I think I have better control over my temper than I used to, but I worry that someday I'll snap again and inflict some serious damage. I also worry that I'll come across as an essentially bitter and toxic individual, because I tend to brood and vent over past hurts. This isn't healthy or comfortable for me at all. How can I fix it?

Winter in Britain
This is a short historical fiction I'm pretty much winging at this point. The setting is Britain during the Roman era, and the story is simply about a Roman legionary whose patrol gets ambushed by vengeful natives in the woods. I'm aiming for two scenes, with a word count between 2,500 and 3,000, with this little project. Any feedback is welcome, but I would particularly appreciate critique on the writing of the action scene(s).

Worldsmyths Archive / Skeletons of African people found in Roman Britain
« on: December 06, 2016, 02:54:26 PM »
Leicester's Roman skeletons have "African links"

Skeletons found in Leicester could be the earliest examples of African people living in the famously diverse city.

The University of Leicester found 83 skeletons in a Roman graveyard dating back as early as the 2nd Century.

Six with possible African ancestry is the first evidence of migrants from the continent in the city, experts said.


The remains, dating between the 2nd and 4th Century, were discovered during a series of excavations between 2010 and 2015 at a former factory site in Western Road.

However, the university said some bodies were buried with grave goods or exhibit burial customs not previously seen in the city.

Mr Morris said six had African cranial features but "excitingly" two of them, one a child, appear to have been born in England.


Skeletons of African origin, dating from the same period, have been found in York and at Hadrian's Wall, but this is the first evidence in Leicester.

And this isn't even the first time they've found the remains of people with African ancestry in Roman-era Britain.

African origin of Roman York's rich lady with the ivory bangle
One of the richest inhabitants of fourth century Roman York, buried in a stone sarcophagus with luxury imports including jewellery made of elephant ivory, a mirror and a blue glass perfume jar, was a woman of black African ancestry, a re-examination of her skeleton has shown.

Of course, it makes some sense when it consider how big and transcontinental the Roman Empire was.

Worldsmyths Archive / The Perfect Shot
« on: November 16, 2016, 11:23:15 PM »
Just added a new short story draft to the Worldsmyths library, which I noticed has been curiously silent all month.

The Perfect Shot
Sid Francis, a struggling freelance photographer, goes on safari in search of the perfect shot. Of course the local wildlife is less than fully cooperative...

Please put all your comments in a review on the story itself.

World Building / Musical magic system idea
« on: October 16, 2016, 11:08:19 PM »
This is simply a random idea I generated while picking up a couple of groceries tonight, so there is no story attached to this yet.

What if a magic system was based on music? And what if different cultures had ways of doing magic based on different genres of music?

As of now I have a couple of culturally specific, musical magic systems in mind.

1) One system belongs to an ancient Egyptian-influenced culture and draws on the hip-hop (or rap) music genre for inspiration. Each of the culture's various gods has a following of priests who invoke their power with special hand signals that resemble so-called "gang signs". These priests, the culture's primary mages, then perform energetic hip-hop-like dances as part of the spell-casting procedure, with each style of dance summoning a unique spell. To wear down rival mages' resolve, the priests will taunt them with rhymes much like what you hear in a rap battle.

2) Another system is associated with a more Mesopotamian-like culture and has a basis in heavy metal (or rock) music. The mages in this culture use enchanted lyres and lutes that sound like electric guitars when played. As the mage plays their instrument, they yell incantations to cast the spell along with insults that are also meant to erode their opponents' magical resolve. Or alternatively, each of the gods in this second culture would have a small "band" of priestly mages comparable to a heavy metal band.

That's what I got so far. How does this sound so far, and do you have any suggestions for expanding on this?

Writing Discussion & Questions / Why write fantasy in the first place?
« on: September 29, 2016, 05:59:28 PM »
I believe the reason I got interested in the fantasy genre is because it's the only genre that allows me to customize reality.

I'm not such a diehard fan of the supernatural or mythical stuff commonly associated with fantasy literature. Most of my inspiration comes from things in the real world, especially its past. For example, I've always preferred dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures to dragons or other fantasy monsters, probably because dinosaurs were my first real "special interest". Later, after my second grade class did a unit on ancient Egypt, I developed a secondary passion for ancient and other pre-industrial history. While I do think it's fun to create my own cultures from the ground up, when world-building I oftentimes draw influences from real-world historical societies. Like, I might base one culture on Egypt, another on the Zulu, a third on imperial China, and so on.

On the other hand, while sometimes truth can indeed be stranger than fiction, other times I've found it can be disappointing in certain ways. That's where the customization aspect comes in. When writing in the fantasy genre, I can take those aspects of reality that I find interesting, leaving out the disappointing parts, and modify that reality to make it more to my liking. For example, while humans and non-avian dinosaurs never coexisted in the real world, in a fantasy world I have the power to juxtapose them together. If a culture I find interesting turns out to have been oppressively patriarchal, I can modify it so that it's more gender-egalitarian while keeping the parts of that culture that I like. That way I can create a sort of "alternate history" that channels what I like about real history without being marred by the more disappointing bits.

So what are your reasons for writing in the fantasy genre?

Worldsmyths Archive / Feedback desired for an adventure story outline
« on: September 15, 2016, 12:35:11 AM »
This is a brief, sketchy outline for an adventure story set in South Sudan. There are quite a few gaps I need to fill in, particularly in the middle act, but this is what I got so far.
(click to show/hide)
So what are your thoughts?

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