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  1. #1

    [Books] Questions for readers

    So...

    I've got a few questions for people who like to read books (fantasy mainly). I like to write, and recently I've been trying to write something bigger; a full-scale book. I want to get a few opinions about some aspects that I'm unsure about. I have my own answers to these questions, but I want some other views.


    1) How important is character description to you? Do you like being told how fat/tall/pretty everyone is? General, short descriptions or in depth?
    2) How important is description overall to you? Do you like being told what color the room is; what objects are in the room; what the landscape looks like; the shape of the building? How much description is enough?
    3) What's your opinion on vulgarity and sex in books? (I have my own strong opinion on this but I'll keep it to myself)
    4) How do you feel about an author who kills off highly developed main characters? Do you enjoy the "all main characters always make it through alive" story or not?
    5) Your thoughts on strong female main characters? Does it fit the fantasy, "middle-age"-esque genre?


    Edit: Thanks for the answers guys, appreciate it I made a post a few posts down this page (http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/...1#post13601409) if anyone wants to "answer" the last question.
    Last edited by vizzle; 2011-10-10 at 01:32 PM.
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  2. #2
    The Lightbringer Rixis's Avatar
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    1. I like a decent description of the main characters, minor descriptions of minor characters, unless a more indepth description is relevant
    2. Description of things allows the reader to imagine they're where the story takes place, but not to go overboard, stick to what's relevant/keeps the story flowing etc, it's a difficult thing about being too descriptive
    3. Doesn't bother me if it's relevant
    4. I like the idea(l) of a single, or possibly pair of main characters that last until the end, as the book is traversing their story, so kill off "lesser major" characters, but not too often.
    5. Depends on what fits to the story, oft-times i'd say preference would be male, but there's times/places when females are just as good if not better. It's about what's relevant.

    footnote: i know it might sound like my answers are kind of vague, but i don't overanalyse every book i read, i'm not particularly put off by too much or too little by way of description if the book is flowing and working properly (though the flow/working could be due to "just the right amount" of description), but meh, these are my thoughts on books, if they help, then good luck

  3. #3
    Dreadlord Sofii's Avatar
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    1. Enough to paint a picture in my mind of the character

    2. Enough to paint a picture in my mind of the location

    3. Swearing I'm fine with in large amounts. Sex, not so much. If I want an erotic book I'll buy one.

    4. I don't really care. I find if you kill off a main character it makes the story more believable.

    5. I don't mind strong characters of any genre, as long as you explain how they came to be strong. Not just "She was a maid who never went outside, and did work which was not tiring at all. Then one day, she became OMGWTFSTRONG"

  4. #4
    The Lightbringer Skelington's Avatar
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    1. Very little actually. Skelington likes to interpret the character based off little information. The best is when small bits are added to the book(like near the middle it briefly mentions that the pro/antagonist has long hair, and it is never brought up again)

    2. Pretty much like the character on that one. The best description Skelington has ever come across is that of R'lyeh, where it has "angles Euclid wouldnt know"(something like that). That, in and of itself, speaks a lot more than, really, any common description ever could.

    3. Only if it progresses the story. Like a movie, if its just some thrown in sex scene, Skelington will find it to be useless information to make the book longer or something. He doesnt care for erotic things. Language doesnt bother him.

    4. Very much does he like it. Killing characters adds a very nice, deep effect that Skelington cant -or doesnt want to take the time to- begin to describe.

    5. It's a nice change of pace from the common strong male character. But, often times it feels like they try a bit too hard with the female character. Nevertheless, he is pretty much neutral concerning the matter of which sex the main characters are.
    Last edited by Skelington; 2011-10-10 at 03:53 AM.

  5. #5
    The Lightbringer Calzaeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vizzle View Post
    So...

    I've got a few questions for people who like to read books (fantasy mainly). I like to write, and recently I've been trying to write something bigger; a full-scale book. I want to get a few opinions about some aspects that I'm unsure about. I have my own answers to these questions, but I want some other views.


    1) How important is character description to you? Do you like being told how fat/tall/pretty everyone is? General, short descriptions or in depth?
    2) How important is description overall to you? Do you like being told what color the room is; what objects are in the room; what the landscape looks like; the shape of the building? How much description is enough?
    3) What's your opinion on vulgarity and sex in books? (I have my own strong opinion on this but I'll keep it to myself)
    4) How do you feel about an author who kills off highly developed main characters? Do you enjoy the "all main characters always make it through alive" story or not?
    5) Your thoughts on strong female main characters? Does it fit the fantasy, "middle-age"-esque genre?
    1. It should be good enough to get a general idea, but not too full of irrelevant details. I want a map, not a picture.

    2. See 1., with the exception of important places, where I prefer the author to actually DO present a picture.

    3. Vulgarity is fine in the correct places, i.e. not in the court you just described as "the very pinnacle of sophistication in Fairyland". I prefer sex in books when it's implied. Like Sofii said, if I want an erotic book I'll buy one.

    4. If it drives the story forward/allows the story to have several branches, then do it. Personally, I want someone to die when I read books, although I rarely agree with the author on who should die. :P

    5. Strong female characters fit perfectly in your middle-age-esque world if you want them to. Remember, fantasy-authors have more freedom than others when it comes to fleshing out their worlds, but also more responsibility in keeping it believable.

    As a last piece of advice, get someone you trust to help proof-read. A second pair of eyes might spot problems in your story that you weren't aware of.

    Good luck! =D
    Quote Originally Posted by MerinPally View Post
    I don't think you're having so much a thought but rather complete mental diarrhea all over the internet and your keyboard and it's not pretty or even logical.

  6. #6
    1) minor importance usually unless their physical appearance adds to the story somehow
    2) if you've ever read the wheel of time series by robert jordan, you'll find a good example of discriptive overkill. its fine to get a setting, just dont overdo it
    3) it depends on the audiance you're writing to, if you are writing to adults then they'd probably like that stuff, but if you do so, you'll be excluding minors and a large amount of readers. that being said, those readers will eventually grow up and enjoy a more realistic and adult book that doesnt glaze over hard realities, a good example would be the sword of truth series by terry goodkind, i wouldnt let my kids read it till they got old enough, but i know they'd love it for the same reasons i do when they are old enough to understand and appreciate it
    4) when i first gave the dragonlance series a try, they killed off a paladin-like character who i enjoyed reading about, i promtly gave up the series. also when chewbacca was killed i almost gave up star wars novels all together. i think its folly to kill main characters eairly-mid/late in the series (the end of the series is understandable), its also a bad idea to kill near-main characters who've been developed cause you and the reader have invested time and emotions on this charcter, now they are gone and you and we have to learn a new set of characters...its just not fun. that being said, when whats-her-face was killed in final fantasy 7, it worked and is still talked about by genre fans to this day. again its very risky and you'd have to do it right...not recommended though.
    5) it depends on how you view women, do you feel like they'd be able to contribute in a battle besides being a distraction to the male characts (always have to look out for her/save her)...like in naruto its clear that the "author" feels women have no place in battle, all they can do is worry and cry and call out the name of the male who they are worried about when they take a hit. if however, you feel that women can contribute to a battle or a stuggle in some way (which would be my take, though not nessicarily on the frountlines) then they could play a significant role. its certianly a question that the US army struggles to answer. i think there are some women who can be tough as nails like a man, and there are men who can be sensitive and efeminate like women (generally speaking). there are examples in history of women cutting their hair and dressing as men to get into the army (mulan for instance) and they fought hard and did well from what those stories say. it depends on the type of world you create as well, is it solely a phsycal world or is there magic?

  7. #7
    The Lightbringer KingHorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vizzle View Post
    1) How important is character description to you? Do you like being told how fat/tall/pretty everyone is? General, short descriptions or in depth?
    It's not important to the story unless you make it important. Height/weight come in to play in action scenes, red hair stands out in a crowd, as do tall people, things like that. Easier to describe them early (and never again, that's important) than to say "And Joe had to buy a big horse, because he's fat" when the reader had pictured him as skinny because you didn't specify.

    Quote Originally Posted by vizzle View Post
    2) How important is description overall to you? Do you like being told what color the room is; what objects are in the room; what the landscape looks like; the shape of the building? How much description is enough?
    You can go one of two ways: describe everything so it feels like the reader is in the room, or ignore anything that isn't pertinent to the story. But be consistent about it: if you detail everything about the opening scene, you will need to do the same to every room your characters spend any time in. A tip on that: filter it through your characters. By that, I mean you can flesh out a character, telling your reader who the person is by their perceptions of their surroundings. A dishonest person will notice the valuables, an affluent character will admire excess and notice flaws more. Things like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by vizzle View Post
    3) What's your opinion on vulgarity and sex in books? (I have my own strong opinion on this but I'll keep it to myself)
    Just like any other human interaction. They have their place. If the story is about and intended for adults: sex happens. And once in a while, you need to tell someone that they can take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut on a gravel road.

    Quote Originally Posted by vizzle View Post
    4) How do you feel about an author who kills off highly developed main characters? Do you enjoy the "all main characters always make it through alive" story or not?
    Give them a scene fitting their development in the story, and it's all good. Throw the hero off a cliff and all his buddies just go "well damn, guess Bob is the new leader" and you're going to piss people off.

    Quote Originally Posted by vizzle View Post
    5) Your thoughts on strong female main characters? Does it fit the fantasy, "middle-age"-esque genre?
    Female characters can be some of the most fun, because it lets you play with your abilities to write realistically. If you treat her like any other guy in the story, you will lose the respect of your readers. Women virtually never did the things that men did then. So long as the reactions of the other characters is appropriate (completely sexist is appropriate, because it's completely real for those times) it will be appreciated, and contribute to character development. A character that has had to learn her skills in riding, fighting, etc, while being discriminated against, tends to be a much more endearing figure.
    Last edited by KingHorse; 2011-10-10 at 04:16 AM.
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  8. #8
    1) How important is character description to you?
    A bit - more on important people, but it might be over time, rather than instantly saying "this person is important, because you know their eye colour". If I didn't want to use my imagination, I would wait for the movie =p

    2) How important is description overall to you? Yes I enjoy some description, but I don't enjoy reading more description than content - LOTR pushes descriptions waaaay too far imo :P Get on with the battle - and in general, keep it in perspective to what is happening.

    3) What's your opinion on vulgarity and sex in books?
    Done tastefully, it doesn't really phase me.. it's part of life, but I don't want to hear about quivering members!

    4) How do you feel about an author who kills off highly developed main characters?
    both have potential, and it can be a huge disappointment when your favourite characters die off - depends if you are good enough to keep the flow I think. Jack Ryan dying is a big nono, Sirius Black, not so much

    5) Your thoughts on strong female main characters? Does it fit the fantasy, "middle-age"-esque genre?
    Sure - I loved the Tamora Pierce books growing up - while there are leading men, she tends to pick female protagonists, and they are strong women, living in worlds that are not neccessarily fair to both genders. That said - I am not going to read something that is overtly pushing feminist philosophy on me, and lacking anything else. Garth Nix's Sabriel, and Jennifer Fallon's Demon Child Trilogy are some other series that I think did a brilliant job.
    Last edited by rijn dael; 2011-10-10 at 04:39 AM.

  9. #9
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    I mean what are you trying to write, a single book or a series?

    Normally, I have trouble getting into a single book, usually it more of a quick read to fill the time while waiting for other series.

    1) For dominant character as much depth as possible, other doesn't really matter if they are never seen again.
    2) As one of the posters mentioned description of room could be based on the "character" of the persona.
    3) Vulgarity is dependent on the character. A vulgar "noble" isn't as appealing as a vulgar "pirate/barbarian/etc." Sex in the series is meh, not a huge fan but can spice things up.
    4) Killing off highly developed characters is one of my favorite points of a story. It also depends on how you want to run the story. While a lot of writers pick the Team A is holier than thou and Team B is evil reborn. I prefer the more humanizing aspect that some authors (ie Glenn Cook). Reading good guy always beats bad guy gets boring and is boring.
    5) Would depend on what you make the female's strength. Sword and board carrying female, not so much, lithe agile assassin or magish type, sure.

    Best book/series to me is "The Black Company" by Glenn Cook.
    "Oh, wretched ephemeral race, children of chance and misery, why do you compel me to tell you what it would be more expedient for you not to hear? What is best of all is utterly beyond your reach; not to be born, not to be, to be nothing. But the second best for you is --- to die soon." Silenus

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Todgruppe View Post
    I mean what are you trying to write, a single book or a series?

    Normally, I have trouble getting into a single book, usually it more of a quick read to fill the time while waiting for other series.
    A series (if the first book is any good at least ) and yeah, I feel the same way about single books. Fantasy single books are irritating because good fantasy stories are generally long.

    Thanks for the answers guys, really appreciate it.
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  11. #11
    Bloodsail Admiral Disenchanted's Avatar
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    Well, I'm a big GRRM fan, so I'm sure that alone could tell you my preferences. That said...

    1) Enough of a description that I can form an opinion in my mind as to what they look like. I don't need to know every curve, blemish and eyelash, but "Large man" doesn't cut it either.

    2) Similar to the above. I want enough description to supply the movie projector in my mind. But if it becomes tedious and redundant, that's a turn-off.

    3) I appreciate gritty realism. Vulgarity is not only ok, it's expected if it's the kind of character / world where it would be common. That said, it could be completely missing and that's ok too. Just be consistent with it. Either it's there, or it's not. Obviously, certain character personalities might dictate how common they'll use profanity.

    Sex is also ok. So long as there's a reason for it, and we're not going into romance novel cheesiness. People have sex. It happens. To deny its existence is humorous to me.

    4) Obviously people will become attached to a character or 3 and get upset if that character dies. But killing off a few here or there... especially in an unexpected spot can be very good. It's no fun reading something that's supposed to be tense when you know - without spoilers - that "Of course he's going to make it." Yawn.

    5) I like strong female characters so long as they're realistic. A wisp of a girl decimating a goon squad with roundhouse kicks is not very realistic.

  12. #12
    Epic! Skizzit's Avatar
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    1)Some character descriptions is important. Doesn't have to be overly detailed, but a general description and a mention of any distinguishing features. Leave the rest to be filled in by the readers imagination.

    2) Again, not overly detailed, but some is needed. In both cased, I find it much beater to read colorful descriptions then generic ones. Like saying "The lake was blue" Vs. "The surface of the lake shone like a sea of sparkling sapphires glinting in the sunlight"

    3)Vulgarity never bothers me as long is it is not vulgar just for the sake of being vulgar. It can actually add alot when used properly. For example, it would make sense for a group of sailors to use some vulgar language. Sex as well doesn't bother me as long as it is important to the story and not overly graphic. I will say I am not a big fan of reading about more taboo things like incest or rape. I can see where those things would be important to the plot and are ok then, but read graphic descriptions of said taboos will turn me off of a book pretty quick. This is the main reason I stopped reading The Game of Thrones and have not gone back even though I really would like to read it.

    4)I really dislike it when every single character somehow makes it through some dangerous adventure alive. It just doesn't seem realistic. Having a main character get killed can greatly add to the suspense of a story.

    5)I quite like strong female characters. The typical hero guy saves the damsel in distress from the big evil type stories bore me to tears. One of my favorite novels, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, features a strong female character. Hell, she is probably the strongest character in the novel and she is one of my favorites.

    Really, I am ok with anything if it fits the story.

  13. #13
    1) How important is character description to you? Do you like being told how fat/tall/pretty everyone is? General, short descriptions or in depth?
    For major characters, enough to give a solid description of the character, but allow for the imagination to roam. Minor character should be kept short.

    2) How important is description overall to you? Do you like being told what color the room is; what objects are in the room; what the landscape looks like; the shape of the building? How much description is enough?
    I really like to see full descriptions of the setting. I would rather use the author's world rather than my own for the story, the more description of the place, the better.

    3) What's your opinion on vulgarity and sex in books? (I have my own strong opinion on this but I'll keep it to myself)
    Don't mind vulgarity in books. As for sex... don't mind it, as long as it doesn't go in depth to what they're doing and it's relevant to the story.

    4) How do you feel about an author who kills off highly developed main characters? Do you enjoy the "all main characters always make it through alive" story or not?
    One of my favorite authors is George R.R. Martin, I'll let you figure it out.

    5) Your thoughts on strong female main characters? Does it fit the fantasy, "middle-age"-esque genre?
    It's the author's own world, if they want a strong female main character, they can go right ahead. I actually find that series that have strong characters in both sexes work the best.

    Quote Originally Posted by Todgruppe View Post
    Best book/series to me is "The Black Company" by Glenn Cook.
    Yes, it's a great series.

    For reference, my favorite series are: A Song of Ice and Fire by GRRM, The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, The Black Company by Glenn Cook, The Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett, and the Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks.
    Last edited by berenzen; 2011-10-10 at 07:34 AM.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by vizzle View Post

    1) How important is character description to you? Do you like being told how fat/tall/pretty everyone is? General, short descriptions or in depth?
    2) How important is description overall to you? Do you like being told what color the room is; what objects are in the room; what the landscape looks like; the shape of the building? How much description is enough?
    3) What's your opinion on vulgarity and sex in books? (I have my own strong opinion on this but I'll keep it to myself)
    4) How do you feel about an author who kills off highly developed main characters? Do you enjoy the "all main characters always make it through alive" story or not?
    5) Your thoughts on strong female main characters? Does it fit the fantasy, "middle-age"-esque genre?
    1. The best authors give a full description, they don't say exact height, but they describe how tall and big this man is. Ever read Dragonlance? They describe exactly how tall everyone is, how big around, they tell how and why Raistlin has his golden skin and hourglass eyes. If you can read a book and paint a movie in your head, that author is doing it right. If you can read a book and then watch a movie and be like "that just doesn't look at all right from the book" then you KNOW what they look like, and that's how you know the author is any good.

    2. enough to paint a picture in someone's head, you should be able to see the room. but don't say "there's a brown chair sitting next to a pink couch" or something silly like that. you need to describe more than that. say what the walls look like, the general layout looks like. i want a picture of a room in my head so i can see the people moving around and talking to each other. when i read, it's a full movie in my head.

    3. vulgarity gives your story something real, if you don't curse in it, then the story seems less realistic. some sex is okay, but if you're writing about how someone kills a dragon, and you just throw in your main character went into a brother to get some, that doesn't make sense and it doesn't have any relation to the story. If you're showing how the main character is a booze hound whore monger, then that's different. or if your story has a romance background to it, then that's fine as well. make sure you write anything and everything as realistic as possible.

    4. if you've read dragonlance or harry potter, then you'd know that killing off a very developed main character isn't always a bad thing. it's a good thing, as well. if someone can cry at your book, you're a great writer, if you can give someone that much connection that when a character dies, they actually cry, you did a good job. killing a main character helps push along story lines and develop other characters all the time. i don't like the whole "oh, this guy is heroic, he's going to live forever" mentality, it's unrealistic.

    5. strong females are good, but i think a strong male in the middle ages is more realistic. if you want to go to a different world, then you can create tribes and villages that are much like the amazon women, the strong fighters that kill men that prey on them. or they can be like Kitiara in dragonlance. (honestly, that series had it all!)



    some things you didn't ask about: create a good lore for your story. make a back world before you write the book, then you'll know when and where to put this stuff in, make sure you can change that back world up to fit what you're writing. and make it all fit and flow like water. no one wants something to be forced, and don't retcon. retconning is horrible. if you're going to write a battle scene, write an amazing one, give descriptions on nearly everything going on, we want to know exactly what is happening in the story. make it so that we can see it as a movie.
    write it, give it to a friend to read, one that loves fantasy novels and one that isn't afraid to be honest while critiqueing it. i can't stand when people refuse to proofread stories that they're asked to look over and help fix.

  15. #15
    I want you to tell me the exact story the way you want it, as succinctly and efficiently as possible. That covers all your questions.

  16. #16
    The Lightbringer Calzaeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caiada View Post
    I want you to tell me the exact story the way you want it, as succinctly and efficiently as possible. That covers all your questions.
    You'd probably love the Foundation books by Asimov, then
    Quote Originally Posted by MerinPally View Post
    I don't think you're having so much a thought but rather complete mental diarrhea all over the internet and your keyboard and it's not pretty or even logical.

  17. #17
    Thanks for all the answers guys, I really appreciate it.

    I have another (favor) to ask anyone willing. Below is a short excerpt from a chapter around page 70ish of the book. I'm not asking you guys to review the story or anything, I just want your opinion on my general writing style. Am I describing the situation enough; am I describing the conversation enough, etc. But yeah, just tell me what you think about the writing.

    And yeah, a bit of backstory before you read this (since this is like page 70ish already) just so you're not completely lost, Lucy is an 18 year old girl living on Earth, and Berin is (human) from another world called Noca. Blah blah blah, a lot of plot which I don't think anyone wants to read, but basically Berin has to convince Lucy to go with him. And, this is the first time they're officially meeting, but they have seen each other twice before. (They saw each other last night on the roof deck when Berin tried to approach Lucy, but Lucy fell off the roof and Berin saved her.)

    And before anyone makes a snarky comment about "asking for help on mmo-champ", it's much easier to ask for help anonymously than to ask someone you know to delve into your personal writing.

    I'm sorry for the formatting, TAB/margins don't show up on posts



    The day went by slowly. Lucy’s mother was out with Gertrude – they had gone shopping together – so Lucy kept herself busy with chores in her own apartment and Gertrude’s. She swept and dusted all day absent-mindedly as her thoughts kept drifting to the boy (Berin, it’s Berin, she kept telling herself) and last night. She had decided that she would go to the roof tonight, but she would take with her the small bottle of pepper spray that her mother had given her the second day they had moved to the city.
    Night came. Lucy waited a good hour after she last heard the door close to her parents’ room before setting off. Her stomach slowed her, along with her sore body, after a hearty dinner of meatloaf with her parents and Gertrude. It had been a cheery meal; Gertrude always spiced up conversation, and her mother seemed happy, as Richard had arrived home early that day.
    Lucy opened the door that led to the roof deck. She wore a skinny brown jacket; carrying Berin’s. She closed the door behind her and looked ahead. There he was, leaned forward against the edge.
    Lucy’s blood ran cold; her hand feeling the bottle in her pocket.
    “Hey!” Lucy exclaimed, and almost instantly she regretted it. Her voice felt painfully weak and frail as the harsh wind drowned it out.
    Berin turned to her and smiled, she thought. She couldn’t read the expression on his face as he was so far away in the dark.
    “Hey,” he walked towards her, as she gripped the sweater wrapped in her arms tighter. “I’m surprised you showed. I thought it’d be a few days at least.”
    Lucy didn’t answer.
    “Do you want to sit?” Berin motioned to his side – two white plastic chairs sat next to each other; facing the street.
    “C’mon,” Berin sat down on one of them, blocking her view of him. “It’s comfy.”
    Lucy slowly inched to the chairs, her mind racing. She sat down beside him and stared at the row of apartment buildings across the street, keeping him in sight in the corner of her eye. Her back straight and tense and her eyes afraid to blink, she handed him the sweater. Berin took it from her, with a look on his face that Lucy couldn’t see properly. He laughed.
    “Do you think I’ll do something if you look at me?” his voice jaunty.
    She paused – yes, I do.
    “T-t-t—thank you,” Lucy stuttered.
    “What for?”
    “You saved my life,” she whispered softly, as Lucy turned her head to him.
    “If it hadn’t been for me you wouldn’t have fallen off in the first place.”
    Lucy nodded; she hadn’t thought of that before.
    “I…” Lucy faltered, her voice quivering. “I don’t want any drugs.”
    Berin laughed. His laugh was soft but broke through the quiet night air.
    “Why do you keep laughing at me? Isn’t that why you wanted to see me? Aren’t you trying to sell me drugs or something?” Lucy stood up, facing Berin. She had thought about this much over the day, how his soft eyes and warm smile were probably due to the fact that he was always high. She could remember her friends warning her about drugs before she moved to the city; how the shady people were all dealers and pushers. She had looked through the pockets of his jacket but didn’t find anything. He probably took it out.
    Berin stood up, brushing his legs from the chair. “No, Lucy. I’m a messenger,” his voice grave as the words came out calmly.
    “A messenger?” Lucy stepped back, remembering not to keep walking back again. “Yeah, okay. And what do you have to tell me?”
    His face softened. “Give me a chance to properly introduce myself,” he said as Lucy eyed him. “You owe me.”
    Lucy stood motionless; he was right. Just because I “owe him” doesn’t mean I have to get myself raped, Lucy thought, but still she watched as he raised his hand.
    “My name is Berin, and you’re Lucy. It’s nice to meet you,’ Berin said, his hand sticking out to shake hers. She shook his hand and quickly pulled away.
    She didn’t say anything.
    “Do I scare you?” he asked.
    Yes.
    “No.”
    Berin paused. “How are you; are you okay? I was afraid you were coming down with a fever last night.”
    Last night came back to her, and she felt the sores in her body pulse all at once. “I’m fine,” Lucy shifted her eyes to his hand quickly; remembering the light she had seen the first time. “Why did you touch my hand?”
    “Common courtesy to shake hands.”
    “No I mean, last month, when… when I followed you,” Lucy admitted.
    Berin turned around, and walked towards the edge of the roof deck with his hands in his pockets; the dark, wide sky in front of him. He was wearing his black jacket that made him blend into the horizon. “I had to see something,” he said as he shrugged; back to Lucy.
    Last edited by vizzle; 2011-10-10 at 12:22 PM.
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  18. #18
    The Lightbringer Howard Moon's Avatar
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    1) How important is character description to you? Do you like being told how fat/tall/pretty everyone is? General, short descriptions or in depth?
    I personally like characters to be described in depth. Not like a summary at the beginning of the book, but rather let physical elements of the characters come up as the story progresses.

    2) How important is description overall to you? Do you like being told what color the room is; what objects are in the room; what the landscape looks like; the shape of the building? How much description is enough?
    Yes I like a lot of description. Bonus if the descriptions - even if they don't really have a functional purpose - have some symbolism. For example colors are very important for this.

    3) What's your opinion on vulgarity and sex in books? (I have my own strong opinion on this but I'll keep it to myself)
    I don't mind it at all if it's done with good taste. Especially strong language I think is very valuable to give realism to your characters. It sounds silly when some random creep on the street speaks with perfect grammar etc... makes much more sense for them to swear and use slang etc.

    4) How do you feel about an author who kills off highly developed main characters? Do you enjoy the "all main characters always make it through alive" story or not?
    Honestly I can't think of many examples where the main character was completely killed off. I mean for example Kafka kills Gregor Samsa at the end of Metamorphosis, but you pretty much knew it was going to happen, the story develops very clearly in that direction and the reader is not shocked or disappointed at this. Needless to say this was done very well.
    On the other hand I hate catastrophe films where everyone and their grandma dies, but you know with 100% certainty that the main character will survive. Pretty boring if you ask me.

    5) Your thoughts on strong female main characters? Does it fit the fantasy, "middle-age"-esque genre?
    Sure, why not. Personally for me as a guy it would be much more challenging to write from the point of view of a woman, but if you can pull it off why not.
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  19. #19
    As background, my favorite authors are Rober Jordan, GRRM, (Neal Stephenson if you can count him as a fantasy author) and from childhood David Edding, Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman etc.

    1) It's important... but should not be overdone. someone else already mentioned Robert Jordan; I'll just say it's unnecessary to describe what everyone is wearing at all times etc. But I do like to know how people are supposed to look and act.

    2) It's impossible to give an exact answer to this. Maybe think of it more like as "not losing the plot" make sure pages on pages are not passing with nothing happening.

    3) A book a can be great with or without sex and vulgarity. I like both styles. I'd say this should be up to your personal preference as nothing is worse that _forced_ sex / vulgarity the author is not feeling themself.

    4) I love main characters dying. this is mostly because mainline fantasy is pretty boring and predictable once you've read a few books. People getting into impossible situations and always managing miraculous escapes gets old fast. Having said that, it's hardly a necessity and there are plenty good books without dead main characters. and I know other people who hate this :P

    5) I'm female myself and almost require a strong female character to really like a book. It's not a concious decision, and I don't know why it has to be so but there we go. My biggest problem with Lord of the Rings was ever the lack of women actually doing things. Why wouldn't it fit the middle age genre? Even in medieval times there were women with power, rulers mostly, but still. In a fantasy setting with magic physical power should be less important right? Having said that, it's probably better to not have a female character than have a token one just fulfilling cliched stereotypes if you're having trouble making a beleivable female character.

  20. #20
    I am Murloc! Gallahadd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vizzle View Post
    1) How important is character description to you? Do you like being told how fat/tall/pretty everyone is? General, short descriptions or in depth?
    2) How important is description overall to you? Do you like being told what color the room is; what objects are in the room; what the landscape looks like; the shape of the building? How much description is enough?
    3) What's your opinion on vulgarity and sex in books? (I have my own strong opinion on this but I'll keep it to myself)
    4) How do you feel about an author who kills off highly developed main characters? Do you enjoy the "all main characters always make it through alive" story or not?
    5) Your thoughts on strong female main characters? Does it fit the fantasy, "middle-age"-esque genre?
    1) Pretty important, I don't need too know that they have a small mole cluster 2.76 CM below their left eye, right next to a couple of blocked pores or anything like that, but a good overall description, colour, hair, any distinguising features.

    2) Overall description is important, again I don't need to know every single detail of every room they enter, but you NEED to feel absorbed in the world, it has to seem real or you'll lose interest (and by you I mean me ) so you have to give us enough info to fill out the world in our heads.

    3) I dont mind, as long as it's not gratuitous, for instance ASoIaF handles it well (in the books at least ) yes there was ALOT of sex and violence in the books, but it was all explained, and given reason. Compare this to something like Sword of Truth, where I don't think Richard made it through a single book without being taken captive by some women or another and invariable either got fucked, tortured and sometimes both at once.... that's just not needed.

    4) Again I think it has it's place, but must NOT be overused. while 'Plot Armor' can be stupid (A character goes in alone, handcuffed into the enemy stronghold, and still manages to unpick the cuffs using a scrap of wire, disarm a guard and kill the whole army, while not disturbing his hairdo) it's also a VERY bad idea to kill off all your main characters, as this tends to take you out of the story somewhat, if the character you've spent a long time getting to know is suddenly killed off. Ths is always a bad thing. Again I think you can't go wrong taking a leaf out of GRRM's book (although he's pushing it more than a little, and ive not even finished DWD yet)

    5) I don't really mind one way or the other, as long as the main is a GOOD character, it doesn't matter to me what their gender, race, species is. For instance one of my favourite main characters of ALL time is Lyra Silvertongue from His Dark Materials, and Arya from ASoIaF is one of the coolest characters in anything EVER. So I think really as long as the character is interesting, believeable and fun to read about, it doesn't matter what gender they are, people will like them.
    Reading the A song of Ice and Fire series is like playing with an adorable puppy, then someone comes up out of nowhere and shoots the puppy, then punches you in the face

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