1. Quorum1
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    Quorum1 Member

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    You can do whatever you like!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Quorum1, Sep 7, 2011.

    There seem to have been a lot of threads lately along the lines of 'is it okay for vampires to do this?', or 'can this fantastical creature be like this?'.

    I just want to put it out there that if you are writing a fantasy story then the whole point is that you can do with it whatever you please! Even if your creature is inspired by an existing mythological creature it doesn't mean you have to stick to the 'rules' about it. You could even use your creative juices and make something up from scratch - why not, all the exisiting mythological creatures were made up by someone once.

    Always remember that it's YOUR story, so you make the rules!
     
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  2. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Yeah i agree, this is good advice for me and plenty of other new authors/writers out there. It's our story.
     
  3. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I agree wholeheartedly. +rep. I also wrote a blog entry about this last week - I've noticed the increase in this type of question, too.

    Really, fantasy should be field with the LEAST worries about being acceptable/realistic. You create your own rules and your own systems, so no one else has the place to tell you whether what you've built is "okay." The only tip someone else could give is to make sure you keep things consistent and don't contradict yourself.
     
  4. Kio
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    Kio Contributing Member

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    Thank goodness, somebody gets it. I've been seeing these same questions all over the place and, frankly, they're giving me a headache. They get the same reply: "Do whatever the hell you want, just as long as you write it well". At this point, it really has to do with how you execute a novel, not how unique your idea is. The feedback you get here doesn't mean much in the long run.
     
  5. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    Ew. I've always hated this mindset.

    People want to test the waters before throwing themselves in - let them. Never bridle someone, patronize them, or try to imprint your own fantastic and enlightened views on them. The best way to teach someone how to swim is to let them swim in a pool first. Don't throw them in the ocean and expect them to be the next Michael Phelps.

    When I first started here, post such as these made me want to go drop this forum and search elsewhere. I decided to stick around here after I received a decent critique.

    In regards to the inevitable "it's good to give a hungry man a fish, better to teach him how to fish" response - its better to let someone develop their thoughts on their own. You can be a guide, but never give your students the answer too early.
     
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  6. Quorum1
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    Quorum1 Member

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    Not trying to patronise, more trying to encourage :) Of course people can write about things that someone else created and use other people's rules if they want to, but I think people forget that they don't *have* to, and that it's not wrong to make their own rules.
     
  7. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    I'm fine with encouraging people to write what they please. That's what I want too. It's the posts such as this one that bother me:

    It's rude of me to generalize that all posts are like this, I know, but this is how it comes across - impatient, unwelcoming and insincere. With most responses like this, it's hard not to understand why people rarely stay after their question is answered.

    The wording in the original post came across this way to me, a bit snappy and insincere. Sorry for critiquing your writing here, but it's been really irritating me lately.
     
  8. Quorum1
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    Quorum1 Member

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    Definitely not my intention. I do agree that advice that is friendly and encouraging rather than condescending is always better.

    (Maybe it was your built-up irritation and not my writing that caused you to missinterpret ;))
     
  9. NaughtyNick
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    NaughtyNick Member

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    There does seem to be a proliferation of threads saying things like "what do you think of my new creature? it's called a gibbeldonger and has five arms, three heads and can burp the national anthem."

    No-one cares. Its the story and the writing that matter.
     
  10. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I think it's mostly because they're nervous. They don't want to accidentally steal an idea, or have a mythological race that doesn't do what the myth tells them to do (ie, a werewolf that doesn't get killed by a silver bullet, somehow manages to keep clothes on in werewolf form, etc.)

    Or they're worried that their made-up race looks stupid. Take my race, the Devonians. I basically took Arnold from Hey Arnold, shaved off the nose, gave him pointy ears, horns, and the mane, tail, paws and feet of lions. Then I said, "K, the new race is Devonians."
     
  11. DBTate
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    DBTate Senior Member

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    I somewhat agree, somewhat disagree.

    I think it's fair enough for someone to ask what we think of a creature etc they've created, if they'd like to gauge a reaction to the creature on its own.

    I think they often aren't asking, "could I make a story out of this creature?", because you could make a story out of a snail if that was what your heart desired. I think what many aspiring authors are pursuing in these questions is whether or not their creature would immediately put a reader off. I know the saying goes not to judge a book by its cover, though I'm sure if you picked up a book with a blurb about 'Mark, the goat turned politician, who struggles between keeping his job, and tending to his troublesome pink leg.' you would most likely place it on the shelf with a 'not for me' mentality.

    Some creatures are better left to lurk in the deep dark of your mind, not run free on the open expanse of white that is your literary canvas.
     
  12. NaughtyNick
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    NaughtyNick Member

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    I thought I’d managed to conjure an original and frightening creature around which to base a story. It was a coarse-haired beast with an unusually large head and a hideous, fat-lipped face. It communicated through a series of grunts, incomprehensible to humankind. Its chief weapon was a noxious odour which it could secrete on demand and render any enemy instantly paralysed.

    Then I realised I was describing the chap I sit opposite at work, so I shelved the idea.
     
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  13. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    Sometimes people need to be reminded they are in control, total control of every speck of life in their story.

    If you write, you can make it happen. You have to make it believable, interesting, and consistant, but you, the writer, are in charge.

    The correct question should not be:
    Can I do this?
    It should be:
    How can I make this more real, more believable, or ask something of how to do it.

    I do think this is part of helping people write, reminding them they are not in a box, they don't have any limits except what they put on themselves.
    If they feel its a stupid question, don't ask it, they might unduly restrain themselves.
    I know it gets tiresome, but it is the first basic question in writing.
    What are my limits?
    Maybe its a pupil thing, we got assignments in school with all kinds of limits, so the writer, no matter what age feels like there are limits on what they can write.
     
  14. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    This cracked me up and lightened the mood of the thread a bit. Thanks for posting. :D

    About the subject at hand, though, I think needing validation for story ideas is a symptom of a bigger issue. It seems like in culture, there's a certain normalcy that everyone is expected to follow, be it the way your life is "supposed to" progress (high school --> college --> job --> find a husband/wife --> buy a house --> have kids --> etc), or the preferred way to dress, or anything else you can think of.
    Lots of people who want to break that mold and life differently are afraid to. They shouldn't be, nor should they seek anyone's approval, but I think breaking away from the prescribed norms can be hard people still finding themselves.

    I'm not trying to say that anyone who runs an idea up the flagpole for a "what do you think" response is a lemming. If it sounds that way to anyone, know that it's not what I mean. I'm also not saying that EVERYone who seeks story idea approval finds it hard to not seek approval in other areas, but for SOME, it's probably the case.

    And, if it applies to you, try not to let it. Live free, and remember, your writing (and the worlds within it) is yours and yours alone.
     
  15. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree, everything is possible, as long as you don't contradict yourself. You still have to be consistent about the the rules you make, even though they are your own.
     
  16. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I agree.

    However, I just wanted to say this: If you plan on having humans be in your fantasy story, please. Please do not have a pregnant human woman go for longer than a normal gestation period. I once read a fantasy book where a human woman was pregnant for longer than an elephant! Author's excuse? "It's fantasy. Anything's possible."
     
  17. Kio
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    Kio Contributing Member

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    Lol. I give that author props. At least he's honest.

    There will be some problems with an idea, yes, but as long as it seems believable in a fantastical setting (as odd as that sounds) then you should be alright. For example, unless this pregnant woman is actually, I dunno, a vampire or something, then you're excused to have the foetus eat its way out of her stomach. I guess. As long as it has some sort of explanation that at least SEEMS plausible [/psycho babble]
     
  18. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I didn't realise we'd ever worked together!
     
  19. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I know some of these threads can be repetitive, but I also think one of the thing all new authors need is some support, someone to say it's ok. Writing can be a very solitary task, and often you've got few people to share your passion with. So it becomes hard to judge whether something is good or not, and equally hard to work up the courage to ask someone. I think that's one of the purposes of this forum.

    One of the things I often wonder about is just how many people out there have written truly brilliant works and will never work up the courage to show them to an agent, or put them out there themselves. There could be hundreds of Tolstoys out there, who've written masterpieces which the world will never see. I think it is an onus upon all ofus to help nurture other talents where we find them, even if the questions are lame.

    Cheers.
     
  20. skeloboy_97
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    skeloboy_97 Senior Member

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    I have never written a fantasy, but I agree tireleslly. The aim of FANTASY is that you can do anything you desire. It's a fantasy. Rep point to you!
     
  21. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just stating this won't stop people asking about it again and again. People new to writing want verification: they want to know that people won't think their ideas are silly because they don't know enough about the creative process of crafting a novel yet. There is a good chance that if they're new here then they do not know that the same question has been asked X times before - they just want some reassurance that their story has some potential and is worth the time and energy dedicated to it. So even though you might get frustrated with the number of threads asking similar questions the best reaction would be to just politely reply to their posts. :)
     
  22. Quorum1
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    Quorum1 Member

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    Eep! My OP must not be coming across the right way, people seem to have the idea I was slamming people for posting those questions. Not the case at all. I understand that people want validation and whatnot, I don't actually find the posts annoying at all, just wanted to put it out there generally, and maybe spark some discussion on breaking the rules with fantasy.

    I'm nice, I promise :redface:
     
  23. NaughtyNick
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    She is nice......maybe even more so than me.
     

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