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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 22 Jun 2006 :  13:40:26  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by James P. Davis

Good advice all, just wanted to add Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg as another helpful tome. Good Luck!



I'll second this one, the Gardner book mentioned by Erik, and definitely ON WRITING by Stephen King. I'm not a great fan of his fiction, but that memoir/writing manual is highly effective at helping clear away lots of mental deadwood. One other perennial recommend is Strunk & White--the simplest and cleanest of all grammar books.

Steven

For current projects and general natter, see www.steveneschend.com
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 22 Jun 2006 :  13:44:35  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Richard Lee Byers

My notions about description:
The first thing to know about description is that it's impossible to dish up every sensory detail present in a scene. Look around any room and try to write a description of every single thing you perceive. It will run on for thousands and thousands of words.
The trick, then, is to include the RIGHT details, whatever you're describing. The right details accomplish two things. They give the reader information he absolutely has to have just to understand what's going on, and they engage his imagination and inspire him to imagine the scene for himself, filling in all the details you didn't actually give him.
With these basic principles in mind, it's worth remembering that important charactes and things often merit more description than those that are not as important.
Exotic characters and things often merit more description than mundane ones. We've all seen a traffic light. We haven't all seen the breeding pit of the Scorpion Queen of Deimos.
Unusual details are more likely to engage the reader's imagination than cliched ones. (Obviously, you can overdo this. Don't make every character freakishly deformed.)
Details that contribute to mood are often better than details that don't. The spider webs in the creepy old house may be more worth mentioning than the color of the paint on the walls.
Concrete description is more effective than that which is abstract. You paint a much more vivid picture by telling us the heroine has clear fair skin, vivid blue eyes, and a heart-shaped faced than if you just say she's pretty.
You paint a much more vivid picture by appealing to as many senses as possible, not just sight. When practical, tell the reader how things sound, feel, smell, and taste.
Often, you will be writing from a particular character's point of view. That means the things you describe will be things he perceives at the particular moments he perceives them. The nice thing about this is that when you have a bunch of description you need to provide, it provides an organizing principle that determines how best to present the information.



All good advice, and I may or may not have succeeded with it in Blackstaff. Time (and readers) will tell.

That said, description is only as necessary as you make it. If what's important is what the character is like, let people paint their own picture of her/him/it as they can. The description of Carrie in Stephen King's first book escapes me, but it's very short, it's non specific, but it's done in such a way that everyone understands what she looks like based on their own memory or experiences.

And that's the best kind of description...

Steven

For current projects and general natter, see www.steveneschend.com
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LoneHeroDragon
Acolyte

USA
12 Posts

Posted - 22 Jun 2006 :  13:52:41  Show Profile  Visit LoneHeroDragon's Homepage  Send LoneHeroDragon an AOL message  Send LoneHeroDragon a Yahoo! Message Send LoneHeroDragon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks everyone for your advice, wether directed at me or in discussion form. I never really dwell too much on how much description to put into a story. I usually just write it how it helps me to understand the situation myself, and it just seems to work. I read over it later and it just seems to flow.
Also, my one dream isn't to be a Forgotten Realms writer, it's to be a writer period. I love fantasy first and foremost and sci-fi is a close second. I've been interested in D&D for years now and Forgotten Realms almost as long. My favorite idea for a book I've come up with is one set in Abeir-Toril and to start my career as a Forgotten realms author would be a dream come true, but that isn't where my wants are limited. I've got serious entire-world-creating-abilities in me and I plan to use them eventually. Right now, I'm just in love with Travven and Xavros Daravrak and want to bring them to life. Unfortunately, for the time being, they'll just have to be alive for me and the lucky people I let read what I have written so far.

Rich Horrocks
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EytanBernstein
Forgotten Realms Designer

USA
703 Posts

Posted - 22 Jun 2006 :  22:23:07  Show Profile  Visit EytanBernstein's Homepage Send EytanBernstein a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It is always possible to submit fiction to Dragon Magazine. It may take a number of tries (even if you are already published), but if you put in the time, you could get something there.

http://eytanbernstein.com - the official website of Eytan Bernstein
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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 22 Jun 2006 :  22:53:17  Show Profile  Send Kuje an AOL message  Click to see Kuje's MSN Messenger address  Send Kuje a Yahoo! Message Send Kuje a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by EytanBernstein

It is always possible to submit fiction to Dragon Magazine. It may take a number of tries (even if you are already published), but if you put in the time, you could get something there.



Dragon doesn't take unsolicited fiction. :( Trust me, I've researched it because I was going to submit some but the guidelines say that they no longer do so.

For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet and excite you... Books are full of the things that you don't get in real life - wonderful, lyrical language, for instance, right off the bat. - Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

My Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/kuje

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium
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Mkhaiwati
Learned Scribe

USA
252 Posts

Posted - 23 Jun 2006 :  03:37:49  Show Profile  Visit Mkhaiwati's Homepage Send Mkhaiwati a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
I have to acknowledge my inner nitpicker and say that Peter S. Beagle wrote The Last Unicorn.
Roger Zelazy wrote Unicorn Variations.


whoops! I am corrected. All my fiction books are in the basement awaiting the bookshelves to be made in my new gaming room study in the basement. It has been years since I've read them, though I do remember the cover with the guy playing chess with a unicorn while a couple of sasquatch sit nearby drinking beers. Hmm.. I may need to dig them out and reread them again.

Really, really good advice you have there, also.

Mkhaiwati

"Behold the work of the old... let your heritage not be lost but bequeath it as a memory, treasure and blessing... Gather the lost and the hidden and preserve it for thy children."

"not nale. not-nale. thog help nail not-nale, not nale. and thog knot not-nale while nale nail not-nale. nale, not not-nale, now nail not-nale by leaving not-nale, not nale, in jail." OotS #367
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EytanBernstein
Forgotten Realms Designer

USA
703 Posts

Posted - 23 Jun 2006 :  22:02:11  Show Profile  Visit EytanBernstein's Homepage Send EytanBernstein a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If you want to get rid of your status as unsolicited, you can submit a regular game article first. After a few of those, they might consider fiction.

quote:
Originally posted by Kuje

quote:
Originally posted by EytanBernstein

It is always possible to submit fiction to Dragon Magazine. It may take a number of tries (even if you are already published), but if you put in the time, you could get something there.



Dragon doesn't take unsolicited fiction. :( Trust me, I've researched it because I was going to submit some but the guidelines say that they no longer do so.


http://eytanbernstein.com - the official website of Eytan Bernstein
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Winterfox
Senior Scribe

895 Posts

Posted - 24 Jun 2006 :  16:01:56  Show Profile  Visit Winterfox's Homepage Send Winterfox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mkhaiwati


Be ready for conflicting criticism, also. I have had creative writing classes, and one big item they tend to push (in my experience) is that you need descriptions of people and things. Contrast this with a reader in one of the forums here who made several comments regarding a writers style for info-dumping information describing what a person was wearing or looked like. It was a complete opposite of what I had learned in a class several years ago.


That would, presumably, be me.

I don't have problem with descriptions; I do, however, have problems with the way they are presented. Take, for example, the following passage (which I've just made up on the spot):

Aleinora had shining, intelligent green eyes that shine from an expressive face comprised of sculpted cheekbones, perfectly arched eyebrows and full, pouty lips. Her hair cascaded from her shoulders in tresses of brilliant gold, and her hips swayed oh-so-seductively as she marched into the hall, her purple gown clinging to her shape in a way that left little to the imagination. But contrary to her appearance, there was a brain behind those twinkling eyes, and a motive for that sashaying walk, for she was an experienced seductress and a spy who worked for the High Magistrate of Goldmeadow. The nondescript, jewelled locket that dangled between her breasts marked her as such, though unless one knew what to look for, it would be impossible to tell, and most tended to be distracted by the ample display of flesh shown by her daring neckline. For all the flourish in her gait, her slender frame moved through the hall on feet that were shod in silken slippers and quieter than a cat's.

I tend to skip this kind of thing because it looks more like someone's roleplaying profile than what I expect to see in a story; it shoves everything into my face at once, and expects me to swallow it whole without triggering my gag reflex. Impossible. It also has an unfortunate tendency to precede any actual dialogue, action, or otherwise indications that would have shown rather than told, an important distinction the character's personality, speech pattern, or things that would make her genuinely interesting. "Intelligent green eyes" tells me nothing: show me her intelligence in action. (Also: the narrative can't always be trusted. Look for KnightErrantJR's thread on Catti-brie's character study, where it is discussed that Catti's descriptions that she's wise, strong, and independent sharply contradict her actual behavior, which is often obnoxious, clingy and stupid. I refuse to believe anything a writer tells me until it's shown satisfactorily, and most of the time it's not.)

It also brings up a problem with viewpoint. Who's telling us this? The level of detail should depend on the viewer: a detective character would notice what a pampered noble wouldn't; an artist would find in a painting all kinds of minutiae that a casual viewer would never notice. There's also a difference in vocabulary a princess may think in terms of "tresses of brilliant gold" or nonsense like "eyes like sapphire supernovas" or "cheeks like roses"; an unpoetic war veteran may use entirely different similes, like "hair the color of straw", or he might use no similes at all, and just say "blue eyes" and "blushing cheeks." Of course, the narrative could also be in omniscient third person, but I can't advocate this style, either, because few people do it well. Most authors seem to think it's the ticket to info-dumps, over-descriptions and an excuse to never vary language use.

Furthermore, written fiction is not a visual medium, will never be, and shouldn't strive to be. There is no need to show everything all at once, and besides which, each reader is prone to picture a unique image; it's almost impossible to get across exactly what you mean. Prose has an advantage over movies and games in that it lends itself to more subtlety, so why mar it by visual descriptions that have all the subtlety of a hammer blow and the grace of a pasted Wikipedia entry? Better, I think, to concentrate on the really important things, like conveying emotions, personality quirks, and drama softer than at shouting volume. Not ramble on and on and on about how pretty someone's hair, dress, or weapon is. Besides, it's unlikely that anyone will care about a character unless he/she has proven to be interesting, sympathetic, intelligent, and so forth first. Until then, the appearance doesn't hold much interest for me (and, as I've learned, for some other people too).

Really, I think a lot of novels would be a lot tighter and more complete if info-dumps were taken out and plot were put in.
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Jorkens
Great Reader

Norway
2950 Posts

Posted - 24 Jun 2006 :  16:56:19  Show Profile Send Jorkens a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, I mostly agree with your points, even though I would say that a descriptive novel style is possible for an author with a poetic streak, for example E R Eddison. The problem is more with the block writing, where the descriptions become a break with the over all style of writing in the novel or short story. A bad description, like bad dialogue hurts in all writing, but a good description will enhance.
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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 24 Jun 2006 :  23:12:49  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Winterfox


I don't have problem with descriptions; I do, however, have problems with the way they are presented.


Very much agreed. However...

quote:
Aleinora had shining, intelligent green eyes that shine from an expressive face comprised of sculpted cheekbones, perfectly arched eyebrows and full, pouty lips. Her hair cascaded from her shoulders in tresses of brilliant gold, and her hips swayed oh-so-seductively as she marched into the hall, her purple gown clinging to her shape in a way that left little to the imagination. But contrary to her appearance, there was a brain behind those twinkling eyes, and a motive for that sashaying walk, for she was an experienced seductress and a spy who worked for the High Magistrate of Goldmeadow. The nondescript, jewelled locket that dangled between her breasts marked her as such, though unless one knew what to look for, it would be impossible to tell, and most tended to be distracted by the ample display of flesh shown by her daring neckline. For all the flourish in her gait, her slender frame moved through the hall on feet that were shod in silken slippers and quieter than a cat's.



A description such as this can, at least, give the reader a good laugh.

Of course, if that's not the writer's intent, info-dumping should be avoided.

"Instead of asking why we sleep, it might make sense to ask why we wake. Perchance we live to dream. From that perspective, the sea of troubles we navigate in the workaday world might be the price we pay for admission to another night in the world of dreams."
--Richard Greene (letter to Time)

Edited by - Rinonalyrna Fathomlin on 24 Jun 2006 23:13:05
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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1761 Posts

Posted - 25 Jun 2006 :  00:02:39  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Call me a Philistine, but I can't handle E. R. Eddison. I hit that passage in The Worm Ouroboros where he natters on for four pages (in the edition I was reading) describing somebody's bed and I lost the will to live. Or at least to continue with the story.
But I do agree with you, Jorkens, that some writers can dish up heaping helpings of description and make it serve the story well. It all depends on the strengths of the particular author, and the nature of the tale he's telling.
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Mkhaiwati
Learned Scribe

USA
252 Posts

Posted - 25 Jun 2006 :  00:05:03  Show Profile  Visit Mkhaiwati's Homepage Send Mkhaiwati a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
That would, presumably, be me.


Couldn't remember who, exactly, but okay.

I think you may have missed my point, however, though you gave a great demonstration. All your points are valid and should be kept in mind.

My point was that no two reader/editors/writers read a particular piece of prose the same way. For that wonderful example of an info-dump you gave, for every person who would agree with you that it was too much, I could find someone that will say "That is exactly what I like!" That is the point of the conflicting advice.

To put it another way, suppose you write a romantic, love scene that is very poetic. You are proud of that scene, but half the people who proofread your story don't like it for various reasons. After you remove the scene, or re-write it in some way that is different to appease the first group of people, the other half of proofreaders complain that it was the best scene of the story for them, so why remove it?

You can't please everyone. If everybody read books the same way, everyone would like the same stuff, and everyone would agree that Sienkiewicz, Cornwell, Peters, Zelazny, and Fiest are the best writers ever.

Mkhaiwati

P.S. I re-read Zelazny's intro to Bridge of Ashes, and I had forgotten just how experimental he was, especially with Roadmarks. If any aspiring writer was that daring now, I would suggest fan fiction as a medium, because I am not sure a new writer would get a break from a publisher. Especially when dealing with an entity such as the Realms. Erik Scott de Bie had a good suggestion using fan fic as practice.

"Behold the work of the old... let your heritage not be lost but bequeath it as a memory, treasure and blessing... Gather the lost and the hidden and preserve it for thy children."

"not nale. not-nale. thog help nail not-nale, not nale. and thog knot not-nale while nale nail not-nale. nale, not not-nale, now nail not-nale by leaving not-nale, not nale, in jail." OotS #367
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Jorkens
Great Reader

Norway
2950 Posts

Posted - 25 Jun 2006 :  06:10:58  Show Profile Send Jorkens a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:

Originally posted by Richard Lee Byers
Call me a Philistine, but I can't handle E. R. Eddison. I hit that passage in The Worm Ouroboros where he natters on for four pages (in the edition I was reading) describing somebody's bed and I lost the will to live. Or at least to continue with the story


I have no problem understanding this, I think the book is fantastic, but I have a great love for Fin de sicle writings and verse, so this book was more or less written for me. But, one little thing, it was not actually Eddisons style in Worm of Ouroboros I was thinking of, as this is a heavily Shakespearean influenced book that owes as much to other genres as the epic form and the novel. But I think you would agree with me that although the novel is definitely not for everybody it is impossible to say that the book is badly written or that the style is hit and miss.

If you by chance find one of Eddisons Zimiamvia books you will see an example of how he worked more within the novel form. He is still lyrical and still archaic, but it is more mixed with what one could call standard writing. In many ways this is more the work of an individual style than The Worm of Ouroboroswhen it comes to writing. Alas, the last was not finished at the time of Eddisons death.

And I would not call you more of a philistine than myself, who cringes at the writing-style of Tolkien and C S Lewis, and have never been more bored then when trying to read George R R Martin. Literature is always more of a question of taste when it comes to what one likes, and objective good or bad comes in second place.

Edited by - Jorkens on 25 Jun 2006 07:04:41
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LaughingWizard
Seeker

USA
29 Posts

Posted - 25 Jun 2006 :  08:01:24  Show Profile  Visit LaughingWizard's Homepage Send LaughingWizard a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well Met All,
Winterfox, I must agree with most points of your statement. However, one small disagreement: fantasy fiction has to be in some sense, visual. Alot of times we, as writers, are dealing with things beyond the everyday experience of "real life", so our readers have no common frame of reference. The trick is to write in such a style that all six of the reader's senses are engaged without them really knowing it. This creates a definite visual picture for the reader. I must agree, as you pointed out in your passage, that too much description is an overload.
For new writers, I would pass on this advice: stay away from adjectives, and use nouns instead. Show us objects. Solid, concrete, real, and avoid flowery descriptions. This is what Edgar Rice Burroughs used to such great effect, that I refered to earlier. It tightens up the prose. Also, try to weave "telling" into the action. (As you mentioned, "show" the reader as many details as possible through character action and intersperse the rest in small chunks.)
LHD, I offer you my encouragement. Use your youth as an advantage. You quite possibly have fewer responsibilites at this time in your life, (I'm thinking mortgage, wife, kids, house...the biggies!) so take that time to write. Don't start skipping like I did and find yourself with a whole host of other things on your hands that pull you away from writing (I know, cause I did!) As someone once said, Write every day! Published will soon preceed "writer". Good luck.

A woman, or a man, may come to hold many treasures in life. Gold, gems, a good name, lovers, good friends, influence, high rank--all of these are of value. All of these most covet. But of them all the most valuable, I tell ye, are friends good and true. Have these, and ye will scarce notice the lack if ye never win aught else."

The adventuress Sharanralee, Ballads and Lore of One Dusty Road, Year of the Wandering Maiden
From Spellfire by Ed Greenwood
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Winterfox
Senior Scribe

895 Posts

Posted - 25 Jun 2006 :  09:30:13  Show Profile  Visit Winterfox's Homepage Send Winterfox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LaughingWizard

Well Met All,
Winterfox, I must agree with most points of your statement. However, one small disagreement: fantasy fiction has to be in some sense, visual. Alot of times we, as writers, are dealing with things beyond the everyday experience of "real life", so our readers have no common frame of reference.


The problem is that, most of the time, info-dumps describe the most mundane and redundant details possible. Fantasy writers in particular are guilty because they want to show their baby so much, so every scene has to be described at length, and so does every character, often in purple prose. There's also the fact that many writers overestimate their creativity: most of the time, they just reuse stale, stale, stale tropes anyway. Hey, here come a human with pointed ears and a short human with a long beard. Guess what they are? And the writer proceeds to fulfill that expectation: oh, another elf and another dwarf. (Quite possibly called, respectively, Elrvin/Alfar/Lirin/Elfen/Sidhe/blah and dwaerow/small folk/some other name with variations of "stone" or "underground" in it.) Yawn. Scenery? Oh, here comes yet another glade with pretty trees and elves dancing in it. Swaying trees. Moonlight. Cool breezes. Zzzz.

And I'm not just talking about fanfiction or amateur writers. Too many pros do this (all the damn bloody time, too), regardless of the fact that by the end of the book most people will only vaguely remember that character A has blue eyes and brown hair, and character B has green eyes and red hair. The details of clothing, weapons, and so on that the writer so meticulously described in the first page? All forgotten because they're so trivial and boring.

quote:
The trick is to write in such a style that all six of the reader's senses are engaged without them really knowing it.


Not necessarily all at once. As a matter of fact, better one or two at a time, and anyway, most writers rely only on what the eye sees and little else.
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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1761 Posts

Posted - 26 Jun 2006 :  01:52:52  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Jorkens: You're right. I would never say The Worm Ouroboros is badly written in the sense that the style is maladroit or lacking in music. I guess you could say that for me, the problem is that the novel is ALL style. I can't shove through the ornamental language and those long descriptions to engage with the plot and characters.
But that's just me. Plenty of people think the novel's a fantasy classic, and who am I to say they're wrong? I think all of us readers have our blind spots, and I imagine it's one of mine that keeps me from appreciating TWO.
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Asgetrion
Master of Realmslore

Finland
1564 Posts

Posted - 01 Jul 2006 :  01:26:16  Show Profile  Visit Asgetrion's Homepage Send Asgetrion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Kajehase

quote:
Originally posted by Mkhaiwati

Oh, and parantheses in parantheses are called brackets ([]).

Mkhaiwati



Actually, in Swedish writing-rules (which, I know, shouldn't necessarily apply when writing in a different language - but most of the time they still make sense), a parantheses within a parantheses is a called a: "big no-no."



What an odd language! Did you know that in English, a "big no-no" is something you should really try to avoid?

And what's a Quarter Pounder called in Sweden?



It IS an odd language... and sounds funny I am by no means an expert in Swedish, but I guess that would be "en Quarter Pounder" or maybe "en kvartskilo hamburgare"

"What am I doing today? Ask me tomorrow - I can be sure of giving you the right answer then."
-- Askarran of Selgaunt, Master Sage, speaking to a curious merchant, Year of the Helm
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Zanan
Senior Scribe

Germany
942 Posts

Posted - 25 Jul 2006 :  11:11:19  Show Profile  Visit Zanan's Homepage Send Zanan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Vendui!

These days I have been writing a revision of Last Mythal - Realms of the Elves for the German DnD-Gate and I noted something which I thought could be easily dealt with by the authors and designers. The Realms, being a high fantasy setting, are full of races which have their own languages and names. Sometimes - in sourcebooks and novels alike - one comes across what I tend to call "flair-killers" though. Now, this shall not be understood as a critical remark to the authors, more like a suggestion. If you have a story about ancient dragons and elves, all of whom have names that sound draconic and elven in places that do likewise, and some other elf steps in and goes by the name e.g. "Moonbow", the name-flair is broken. Why would an elf (in a region without any "Common - speakers" get a name in "Common" (i.e. English). I assume that the elf has a name in Elven that translates as "Moonbow", but it would be more .. hm ... feasible if the elf is called by his Elven name first and the Common / English, or let's say more commonly used version of denoting him is used from then on. (Then again, an elf wouldn't usually address an elf in his or her "Common" name instead of his or her elven name.)
To give an example, Peter Tremayne uses an explanatory way of introducing his readers of the Sister Fidelma (great historical whodunnits) series into the Celtic language by giving us the name of a place, person or item in Irish Gaelic (of the time) first and adding the meaning of the word in the next sentence. He uses the Celtic or the English version of that name from then on, whichever is better made for understanding.

Maybe this could be adapted for some future stories set in the Realms too. The e.g. flairy Elven name of the elf character is mentioned once or twice at the beginning and remains in the background, while the more regularly used name - e.g. by his human, halfling, et al comrades and associates - in Common is used from then on?

Aluve, Zanan!

Cave quid dicis, quando et cui!

G a wyrd swa hio scel!

In memory of Alura Durshavin.

Visit my "Homepage" to find A Guide to the Drow NPCs of Faern, Drow and non-Drow PrC and much more.

Edited by - Zanan on 25 Jul 2006 11:21:27
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29798 Posts

Posted - 25 Jul 2006 :  11:49:58  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That's been mentioned before... I don't recall what the original topic was, but it was discussed somewhere else here on the forums.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

Editor and scribe for The Candlekeep Compendium

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
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Zanan
Senior Scribe

Germany
942 Posts

Posted - 25 Jul 2006 :  12:11:47  Show Profile  Visit Zanan's Homepage Send Zanan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

That's been mentioned before... I don't recall what the original topic was, but it was discussed somewhere else here on the forums.



Hm ... it just "struck" me again in two of the short stories. BTW, this book is a must-read for anyone who has the elves closer to his or her heart. Great stuff all along!

Cave quid dicis, quando et cui!

G a wyrd swa hio scel!

In memory of Alura Durshavin.

Visit my "Homepage" to find A Guide to the Drow NPCs of Faern, Drow and non-Drow PrC and much more.
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Winterfox
Senior Scribe

895 Posts

Posted - 25 Jul 2006 :  14:31:21  Show Profile  Visit Winterfox's Homepage Send Winterfox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I personally back away rapidly from any last name that screams of "Fantasia Generica", period. Like Steelblade or Trueshot or whatever for a fighter and archer respectively, or Stoneanything for a dwarf, or Moon/Sun/Windanything for elves, and so forth.
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2006 :  14:01:32  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As for the "always describing the character with eye and hair color" thing, I've heard many authors - not just Ed, here at Candlekeep - say this is something their EDITORS insist on. If the author doesn't do it, the editor puts it in.
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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1761 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2006 :  14:20:41  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I tend to menton hair color pretty faithfully. I suspect that might not be such a bad idea, since I think it's something we all tend to notice immediately the moment we see someone for the first time, and pretty much all my descriptions are coming at the reader via the point of view of one character or another. That's not true of eye color, and I don't believe I metnion it as consistently. I don't recall any editor ever insisting that I put it in when I've left it out.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
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Posted - 27 Jul 2006 :  17:21:01  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Blueblade

As for the "always describing the character with eye and hair color" thing, I've heard many authors - not just Ed, here at Candlekeep - say this is something their EDITORS insist on. If the author doesn't do it, the editor puts it in.



I have no problem with these details being present. I just don't want them in the aforementioned info-dump format. Granted, you likely do need to get the hair color out there pretty quickly, but it doesn't have to be immediate -- it can be a few paragraphs later, or even a page or two later.

The POV matters, too. If the story is being told from the perspective of one specific character, then the details about that character's appearance can be held for a while.

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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2006 :  17:29:46  Show Profile  Send Kuje an AOL message  Click to see Kuje's MSN Messenger address  Send Kuje a Yahoo! Message Send Kuje a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I tend to include hair and clothing in almost every character that I write about and sometimes it does turn into a info dump depending on what I'm writing because of the word limit.

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