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14

I think you are giving into the temptation of explaining. Sometimes you don't need to know how - or at least not for sure how - just to make it believable in your world. Take your real life laptop as an example. It has thousands of microchips compacted into a single CPU but, what is a microchip? What is a diode? What is an integrated circuit? People ...


11

Blending sci-fi and fantasy is actually quite easy, and can produce some excellent results; consider Steampunk for instance. There are definitely plenty of great examples out there of sci-fi/fantasy blending (across many media): Final Fantasy (particularity FF XII), Dishonoured, China Mieville's Perdido Street Station, The Scar and The Iron Council, Neil ...


11

Once a physics professor told me that we, in daily life, measure distance with time. In fact he is right. If somebody aks - "how far away is the mall?", we answer "It's fifteen minutes away". That means that measures are always relative to normal everyday standards, not scientific ones. In old days, moon or sun was a good way to measure time: "It will ...


10

I think I see why you’re stuck. Potentially so many ways to escape exist it feels paralyzing, but each idea feels weak. That is, if you think of this problem purely as a plot exorcise. I find that when plot traps me, story and character often show the way. Because this escape is the climax, you’re aware of the need for a quality escape. Perhaps it would ...


10

Novice: Master, if I understand correctly, it looks to me like if we do [insert loop hole] that we could eventually gain unlimited power. Master: Yes, that would be the case and in the early times of magical exploration many magic users tried this. All of them disintegrated. You see, because of the [insert closure of loophole] that means that beings in ...


8

Why does apparent technology have to actually be technology? Can't it be either mundane or magical instead, even if in our world we would call it science or tech? Strength and speed can be enhanced through medicine (and its cousin, magical potions). Hoverboards with mechanical motors/propellors/jet-packs/whatever aren't the only way to fly on a device; ...


8

I understand your concern; minutes at least are very much a reflection of an age of clockwork and in a world with no such machines detailed measures of time jar the reader. I don't know the exact setting of your world, by which I mean that if it's medieval that allows for wildly different tech to if it's Aztec, but here are a few general suggestions: Hour ...


8

Why do we really connect with a character anyway? It's not because they're human - not neccessarily, although it helps. But why do animated films work? Why does an audience care if Nemo finds his Dad, or if Ratatouille becomes a chef? They're animated animals, right? A reader or viewer will always emphasize and sympathize with any human or ...


7

One of the noblest quests of science fiction is to attempt to create a convincing alien. Most of the ones we find, even in good quality science fiction, are mere variations of human beings. Yet stories, even entire novels, have certainly been written in which no human being appears. Trying to understand alien beings is an important metaphor for the crucial ...


6

How much do you suppose that your fantasy world resembles our own world? And how much do you want to deal with made-up units of measure? I don't suppose that the people in a fantasy world would speak English, but fantasy novels written for an English-speaking audience normally have all dialog in English. Perhaps you could explain that by saying that the ...


6

Consequences. That something is possible within a system doesn't mean it's a good idea. You can drive your car 180MPH on public roads (if the speedometer labeling is accurate), but if you do you'll soon be getting used to a bicycle. You can subsist on nothing but Big Macs and Coke for a year, but you may face medical problems. You can make a deal with ...


6

To start with, you have too many invented terms without definition all in a row. Hearthsoul, assassin pouches, luck fairy? You also have enough mistakes that I really can't tell if some of these things are typos or more jargon. His enemies tailed? The land drifted? What does that even mean? You "recite" something which is repeated or often said; it's not ...


5

Mercedes Lackey's Valedmar series has established candles (of a specific although unexplained size) which burn steadily enough to be marked off and used for timekeeping. So "three marks" (that is, however long it takes the candle to melt down three of the marks carved or painted on the side) is three hours. I have never heard of measuring time in prayers ...


5

If the units of time are established, then yes, that's a good way - providing you add the mode of transportation. Five minutes of leisurely walk away Eight hours of forced march A fortnight on horseback an overnight train ride Three hours of flight on dragon back Two days by a blimp Walk ahead for three prayers, then turn left. Thirty generations in an ark ...


5

Absolutely. CJ Cherryh's stock-in-trade is advanced sophisticated nonhuman species, and showing how humans flail around when meeting them. Foreigner (15 books and counting) Human among atevi The Faded Sun trilogy Human among mri The Chanur Saga Human among kif And those are just the ones I've read. The woman is more prolific than Asimov. And she's ...


5

The name of historical people or places is public domain(Our history is a shared one after all!) and no harm comes from involving any aspect of history in published fiction. Having said that, using real companies(or their products) who have trademarks and copyrights will run you into complications that might just be best to avoid all together. If you are ...


5

What if your barmaid doesn't know that he is a member of the inner circle until the guard arrives? she can demand his arrest, make blunders, etc. and become polite, deferential, and apologetic. this sets up a minor mystery in the mind of the reader: what is the inner circle. Now that you have a minor mystery Your reader is primed for a history lesson after a ...


5

In a situation like this, I'd probably use what's often called a "lampshade," which is where you make an unusual or strange event more acceptable to your audience by pointing it out. For example, if a character with money problems suddenly wins the lottery, it seems like lazy writing; but if a character with money problems suddenly wins the lottery and then ...


5

The first thing I'd ask myself if writing this is whether the reader would find the story interesting. In order for the note to work, it seems to me you'd have to have told them the story before your protagonist receives the note (otherwise it would lose its impact). But before they receive the note, there's no obvious reason why they would be interested ...


4

It's impossible to read Cipolla and not be affected by that essay, in any case, I think you are seeing it from the wrong perspective. Cipolla's essay deals with actions, not motivations. That means you can have a villan who is Mother Theresa of Calcutta, I mean, a really good person that is, in fact, a villan and stupid. Let's say a wonderful person tries ...


4

You can always make them relics of the ancient civilisation (Morrowind), or some stuff left by travelers from another planet (Roadside Picnic). People in your world can be smart enough to use them and to understand more or less of their technology, what leads to experiments. A sidenote: I think that blending sci-fi and fantasy shouldn't be considered as a ...


4

The same solution as every decent DM has to Pun Pun. You Are Not The First Who Thought Of It. And the one who did think of it first really doesn't like competition. They are a background god, one who avoids spotlight and acts following own motives, rarely heard of. You rarely hear of them in particular, because the moment you think of a viable way of ...


4

how can I help the reader understand at the beginning of the story that I am not writing fanfic? Unless it's published on a fan-fiction website or otherwise marked as a fanfic, I would generally assume that a work put before me was 'original'. I think this is the case for most people. The problem is likely down to one of two things: either your friends ...


4

You've gotten a good start with the name. Part of humor comes from confounding expectations. So you have this big snarly demon... named Bob. Maybe the damsel in distress is a guy in drag who was just trying to avoid the draft, and couldn't get out of his lie fast enough. Maybe the hero reveals he's bi, and that he's entirely cool with a male damsel. Maybe ...


3

Just by way of example. This year I am writing a blog of fairy tales and have evolved a system for the folk to tell the time without the widespread use of definite timepieces. The day in any major settlement is split into a number of bells (presumably the bell ringers have hourglasses or similar to keep track of when the bell should be rung). The bells run ...


3

Not knowing the mechanics of the trap itself, I would suggest looking at some real-life daring escapes and escapades, especially some of the head-scratchers. Look at some of the turn-of-the-century magicians (like Houdini) and some of their feats. Prison breaks (from actual prisons or war camps), jail breaks, cop car escapes... there are many in real life ...


3

Do you think actual myths in the real world each sprang out of nothing? Everyone copied everyone else. Go read The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campell, or at least The Power of Myth since Campbell is pretty dense. You will very quickly see that most myths nicked from previous mythologies, added new names, tweaked the setting, and maybe mixed in ...


3

Alexander has a good point. Another possible approach is to get back to basics. The original meaning of the word demon was 'functionary spirit', that is a minor spirit that performed a single particular task e.g. guarding someone's hearth in their home. Some joker who knew this etymological tidbit at the dawning of the email protocol decided to call the ...


3

Myths, fables, fairy tales, classics are incorporated, remixed and reused over and over in all kinds of media. See a related question. The repercussions will be that people will notice, and will expect some twist, something to make the old story new. If you fail to deliver that, you will disappoint them. Your story will be shoehorned by critics as a ...


3

This question made me think of the Goblins webcomic that has a very cartoony/silly approach to D&D-style fantasy, while still allowing for some interesting story-telling and character development. Having said that, I feel that in order to find humor in the fantastical I would say finding how far you want to take that humor would be a big part of it. ...



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