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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 ...


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 ...


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

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 ...


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

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 ...


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

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 ...


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 ...


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

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

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

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 ...


4

I would disagree on this. I believe that the showing and not telling rule is followed mostly on the facts that are directly relevant to the story. Indirect relevance of facts are given by the back story. Jamie's swordsmanship is important to A Song of Fire and Ice. But it's not directly relevant to A Game of Thrones. However, it is directly relevant to A ...


4

An author cannot demonstrate in action every trait of every character. It's all about separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Jaime Lannister is probably not an example of telling instead of showing, and here's why: The problem with "telling" is that it alienates readers from the characters. Another problem is that it creates characters that are ...


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

There are two potential categories of issues to using real people and organizations in a fiction story: legal and literary. On the legal side, let me give the standard disclaimer, I am not a lawyer. Casual references are no problem. Authors are always writing, "Bob drank a Coke" or "The old Ford had broken down again." Occasionally companies get picky ...


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

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

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

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. ...


3

Hooking lines make the reader ask one or more of the following questions: What? Why? How? When? Where? A good example are the stories of Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami (yes, I'm sick of the "Call me Ishmael", and the "they shot the white girl first" examples). "Man-Eating Cats" I bought a newspaper at the harbor and came across an ...


2

Sure. Politics is surely filled with examples like this. I've often thought that movie villains are absurdly evil. I think most real villains in the world don't cackle with fiendish laughter as they gloat over how they're going to destroy all that is good and right and true. More often they say that they have to implement this program for the good of the ...


2

The best, most climactic climax is when it seems every single route of escape seems blocked and there is no hope, only to fire a well-hidden Chekov gun. First, give the protagonist a geis. A weakness, a lasting, recurring problem, a burden to struggle against, that gradually becomes such an ingrained part of the character we just forget about it. It can be ...


2

The classic method is to have the villain over-gloat. Written badly, it will fail, unless you are being purposely campy. But it can be done believably -- at least, believably enough to not destroy suspension-of-disbelief. Example: Lord of the Rings (books, not movie). [spoilers] At the Black Gate, Sauron can't help but gloat, via his emissary, the Mouth ...


2

Several possibilities come to mind: One of the trapped characters unknowingly has a mechanism to provide escape. E.g., this might be an amulet containing magic Rusting Water (which when applied to the shackles frees the prisoners). If the trapped character did not know about this, the villain probably would also be unaware. Under stress the character puts ...


2

Design the trap with the character in mind. Maybe the character has a flaw or limitation. Early in the story, demonstrate this flaw or limitation in a small way that does not call attention to itself. Then: Brainstorm the ways that the character might use this flaw or limitation as a tool, or might compensate for it, or might overcome it. Find a ...


2

Characters appeal to us because of the element of personification. Emotions, human-like actions and thoughts is what makes them relate to us. Well, it isn't just about humans, but characters resembling things which we can relate too.. e.g. dogs, cats, sheep, etc. It's really difficult to create characters which can't be related to humans as such. But then, ...



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