Friday, November 15, 2013

It's :EL

This is the story of two cultures coming together, told by one of them. It's the story of one proud and old culture, making the most of everything on their land, and so using precious little of it to get by. And it's the story of a bustling, revitalizing culture that couldn't get enough of the world, and so bridged its rivers and sailed its oceans.

Let's call the proud and old culture _____. They were the first to discover government, and chart the seasons and subvert the rain to feed all. _____ barely recognize what they live on top of. This is a story of _____ staring gratefully from their shores as the bustling, revitalizing culture proves to them that they are not alone under this endless and unfeeling sky. It's the greatest moment in their history. Sure their ignorance causes some _____ to die off from a disease or accidental dispute, but they're ecstatic.

Let's call the bustling, revitalizing culture *****. ***** are as ecstatic as _____ are about not being alone on this cold planet, and to find a people who live on such rich mineral deposits and resources. Rich mineral deposits and resources that _____ barely know are there, the very sorts of stuff ***** had to leave their homes abroad due to scarcity of. ***** generously assist _____ in mining and harvesting their resources, teaching them how to do it quickly, hastily, even riskily, because _____ are so happy to help their new neighbors from across the ocean. Soon _____ perform nearly all the labor out of love for *****, who they see as brothers. ***** say that _____ always saw them as brothers.

This is a story about a bond that lasts a hundred lifetimes. Harvesting the minerals is caustic to the human body, and so the healthiest and youngest ***** become sicker, and the _____ have to find ways to comfort and motivate them. _____ use their superior education to tell ***** when to eat, and where to live, and which customs are best to keep following as their cultures move forward. ***** are grateful for ______’s lessons in government, but take governing over for them, and subvert the rain to feed all who need feeding rather than carelessly feeding all.

Soon ***** live in the highest towers ever built, and more of their people sail hither to enjoy the spoils of _____’s minerals, and to watch _____ at labor, even if _____’s productivity has fallen behind for reasons that don't bear recording.

Soon _____'s numbers dwindle until they are difficult to record, too.

This is the story about a culture that embraced another, and worked itself to the bone of its own accord, and when it died, it did so thanking the outsiders for having shown it how to live. ***** will never forget the people who used to live here, even if they can't remember their names.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Why Fantasy?" My answer, and asking yours.

 On Reddit someone was collecting various authors' answers to the question, "Why Fantasy?" It's an interesting thread, and despite being completely exhausted, this little explanation burbled out of me.

Because my mind has never been bound by the same rules as my body, and while I have great respect for pragmatists and wonder in the face of science, it's the fantastic that elicits my greatest intrigue and loudest laughter.

Nonsense is my mother tongue.

I'm an irrationalist. It's my nature.

If you care for Fantasy: why?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

13 Ways to Get Out of a Fantasy Army Without Deserting

A friend was recently stuck in her novel and asked me how someone could get out of the army without deserting. Being a great friend, I dropped everything and started IMing her with every dumb idea I could come up with. For anyone who's stuck in such a plot, here are thirteen totally viable and not at all suspicious ways to get out of a Fantasy army:

1. The war ends, demand for troops drops, and the Powers That Be release people to return to farming/etc. Presto! But I sense this doesn’t solve your problem. How about…

2. Nepotism or favors, such as knowing the colonel is diddling his mother, and blackmailing him for discharge.

3. You die! And now you’re a ghost, utterly free from duty to military service. Being a ghost is a good start for many kinds of plots.

4. You are reassigned to something like reconstruction, no longer in active military service while still technically drawing a salary. Also, congratulations on drawing a salary in the Fantasy military!

5. Injury that causes them to be given an honorable discharge but doesn’t turn you into a ghost. You’ve got spunk but you don't have arms anymore, and we're in a very stab-based economy.

6. Hardship discharge for something like trouble at home, such as half your family dying. You can come home to discover they’re ghosts, if your author is into that sort of thing.

7. Paperwork error. "You were supposed to serve another seven years, but they stamped in the wrong place." It happened in more feudal armies than you’d expect.

8. We don't know how to break this to you, but you're awful luck. As the main character, you are doubtless still alive, but being a novel with war, many others are not. Through whatever system of logic the author finds funny, we now suspect you are a walking Bermuda Triangle. Well walk your ass back home. We'd kill you, but then the executioner would be cursed too.

9. Identical twin takes your place! What a sport.

10. Fox demon takes your place because his mom says he needs to learn how to be human. You go off and have the plot of the novel. He shows up near the denouement, a changed man, now a very ranty pacifist who can't believe humans do such-and-such to each other when they only live blah blah yeah.

11. Your entire battalion is wiped out by a surprise meteor! You are the only survivor. Having no one to immediately answer to, and being shellshocked, you decide "fuck this," and go to the coast to open a sea food restaurant.

12. You get drunk and go bowling with bearded gnomes. You pass out for a little while You wake up to find your shrew wife dead, your daughter an adult and grateful to see you again, and everyone is very high on someone called "Washington."

13. You fall through a magic closet and into a realm of witches, satyrs and very pious lions.

Have any plot troubles in your current work in progress? Maybe I'll come up with thirteen ways to fix that next week. Prod me in the comments!
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