Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - Jason R. Peters

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4
Writing Group / Re: Need ideas for what Magic can do
« on: June 27, 2011, 01:59:54 AM »
If any single dream is too fragmented, one option is (similar to the powers idea) start crossing them.

Another option for both magic and story ideas is to randomize two wikipedia articles. Or one wikipedia article with a dream.


I once dreamed I was at a benefit dinner with Michael J. Fox, I assume for Parkinson's. Mostly, I remember that he was unfailingly polite and a good conversationalist besides. I hit "random article" on wikipedia and was linked to a tiny article about the Thomas River.

What could possibly inform fiction or magic about these two items? Even the dream is relatively mundane. But possibilities are actually endless.

The first thing that jumped to mind is that a cure for Parkinson's was found in the Thomas River. Going with the magic element, said cure is magical in nature. A magical cure carries many implications for industries like pharmacy and medicine.

Or perhaps I associate Michael J. Fox specifically with Back to the Future (which I do). Perhaps the Thomas River navigated upstream takes people in the past, downstream into the future, and you can travel back and forth. Or choose a river you like better; the point of the article was just to jog ideas loose.

The best way to approach any article or dream for fiction is to solve a problem contained within it. I hit "random article" again (got a stub but linked over to) Kiribati, an island nation in the tropical Pacific. Remote places make me think of hidden magics, for example if the Kiribati are actually from another planet and the island is a crossover realm. Or perhaps their music has hidden powers not seen elsewhere in the world.

The article says a Japanese-proposed space shuttle called "HOPE-X" was to have a landing strip in Kiribati, but HOPE-X was cancelled. There could be a million reasons (many of them magic-related) why that happened.

Moving the same story to a fantasy setting, perhaps there's a city from which every ship sinks when it sets sail. All ships that land on said island are permanently grounded. Does it become isolated due to the island's curse, or does it thrive on a constant influx of new arrivals? The story's hero is one of the many determined to break the curse.

Writing Group / Re: work for hire - HELP!
« on: June 25, 2011, 12:39:23 PM »
Renoard's advice works if you actually expect the work to succeed, and if that's what you can get for an advance. I'd imagine most people in your friend's shoes would be amenable to the percentage of sales without the advance. (That's low-risk for him.)

I actually disagree.  Asking for a percentage of the sales is a lot more risky.  You're gambling on the movie actually making money.  Accountants in the movie industry are very good at making even the biggest blockbusters look like total failures. 

Definitely go for the advance, that way you'll actually get paid for your work.

I meant that royalties are low-risk for the producer, high-risk for the (potentially unpaid) writer who sank a lot of time and effort into an unprofitable venture.

Asking for an advance moves the risk onto the Producer.

Writing Group / Re: work for hire - HELP!
« on: June 25, 2011, 05:53:23 AM »
Found the entry for "original screenplay". The low end is $56,500, average is $81,285, high end is $106,070 according to the 2010 Writer's Market.

Writing Group / Re: work for hire - HELP!
« on: June 25, 2011, 05:51:21 AM »
Renoard's advice works if you actually expect the work to succeed, and if that's what you can get for an advance. I'd imagine most people in your friend's shoes would be amenable to the percentage of sales without the advance. (That's low-risk for him.)

If your friend is making another non-hit movie and you are not emotionally invested, I would recommend a ghost-writer approach. You get paid by the hour, and when you're done it matters not one iota whether the movie is a flop or a blockbuster.

For royalties, you stand to lose the most  if the movie is a flop. (Low risk for your friend, he doesn't spend up front.)

For an hourly wage, you stand to lose the most if the movie is a blockbuster. (High risk for your friend, he spends money up front.)

For an advance, see "hourly wage" above.

Before reading Renoard's response, I actually though you were talking just about Ghostwriter rates.

My Writers' Market 2010 (sorry I don't have newer) has a section called "How Much Should I Charge?" I don't see a section for ghostwriting screenplays, but for ghostwriting a novel it recommends the following price points:

Ghostwriting "as told to", High $100/hr, Low, $50/hr; high, $51k for a whole project, low $5.5k for a whole project.
Ghostwriting for no credit, High $100/hr, Low $30/hr; high $45k for a whole project, low $1,500 for a whole project.


Yet to the modern novelist or storyteller, the Simarillon exists as nothing but a world-building document. It hardly matters whether that was Tolkien's intent.

The inventor of the Post-It note intended to invent a strong superglue. What they invented was a weak glue which was quite poor at its original intent, but a genius way of holding up tiny temporary notes.

You're saying Tolkien wasn't world-building, but as a readable story, the Simarillon...well...fails. Even die-hard fans acknowledge this. Tolkien did not succeed in building a readable story. He succeeded in laying the groundwork for other stories. No, that wasn't his intent. If he was trying to build a standalone "story" with the Simarillon, he has failed to hold my attention after over a dozen attempts...because it doesn't read like a story.

It reads like a world-building document.
The Silmarillion was a number one best seller and continues to sell in multiple editions to this day. How many of yours have?  ;)

Nobody here is discrediting Tolkien's success, imagination, genre-defining, intelligence, or trying to diminish Tolkien as a contributor to the genre. But this response is akin to if I told my wife I didn't like a movie (or disagreed with its premise, or disagreed with what its fans state is its premise) and she said, "Oh yeah? How many movies did you make? How many of them won awards?"

Well, none. Does that invalidate my opinion?

History has proven that Tolkien was, frankly, misguided. He wanted to build a mythology for England. Instead, he only built a mythology for himself and for Tolkien enthusiasts (and by Tolkien enthusiasts I mean "people who were introduced to Middle Earth through the novels and wanted to learn more"; basically there is no other kind). His goal was unattained.
Umm... I think you are taking the "mythology for England" a little too literally.

I don't claim to know what Tolkien was trying to do, but I know what he actually accomplished:

He built a world. He wrote in-universe articles, songs, poems, histories, genealogies.

And how many people are interested in reading the aforementioned?

Only die-hard Tolkien fans. Nobody hands the Simarillon to someone and says:
"It's a page-turner."
"Had me guessing all the way."
"Changed the way I think about x."

Unless -- and this is the most telling thing about this discussion -- unless "x" = world-building.

On the contrary, in most ways I really like Elayne as a character. I do not find her fit to rule based on her actions. I actually thought my post was extremely specific in that regard, and not merely amorphous disapproval on general principle.

I think Peter summed this up succinctly when he said that if a writer emulates Tolkien for the sake of world-building, he doesn't have "world-builders' disease" as it is currently understood (and described by Brandon) as a problem for novelists.

I even hesitate to use the word "writer" in the above sentence, because when I am world-building for dungeon mastering, I don't consider myself a writer. I consider myself a world-builder, similar (but far less skilled) to Tolkien.

If a would-be novelist emulates Tolkien out of a misguided belief that he must have complete mythology, background, history, or even character history in place before putting pen to paper, he has world-builder's disease.

Tolkien may not have had the "disease" in that it was a problem for Tolkien -- I believe that is Fardawg's primary point here -- but Tolkien did have worldbuilders' disease as understood by the modern novelist -- which is Brandon's and Peter's point.

It's also worth noting, with all due respect to the man, that Tolkien's own opinion of his "true" work was not a realistic assessment of the marketplace. How true of most new authors this is. Yet it's equally true today that a novel within a customized fantasy setting is far more marketable than a rulebook for a customized fantasy setting.

I know, I know, how dare the editors and Fan Dumb define true art. Right?

Brandon Sanderson / Re: Dalinar as a possible radiant? *Spoilers*
« on: June 24, 2011, 12:20:16 AM »
1.When he is knocked in the air his shardplate seems to correct itself so he lands right side up
2. Adolin notes that he moves faster in shardplate than should be possible, making other shardbearers look like children by comparison
3. When he catches the greatshell claw, Adolin notices that his shardplate "almost glows"

I may just be dense, but I thought this was all just good description for the power and majesty of shardplates/blades, not an indication of Dalinar's personal innate ability.

For instance, it becomes clear pretty early that Kaladin has some magic "luck"...I'll grant that Dalinar's arc could simply be much longer, but I would expect hints to be more obvious than this.

None of this is to say that Dalinar won't become a radiant, I just didn't think this points to it.

Writing Group / Re: Advice on Moving Forward
« on: June 24, 2011, 12:12:13 AM »
Brandon Sanderson's breakthrough story isn't just a good example of how persistent and experienced it takes to get published. It's also a good example of how the industry views series.

My understanding is that once Sanderson had an agent, he wanted to publish the Stormlight Archive. His agent was like...woah, you're a new author. There is no way you can introduce a multi-volume series and expect to be published.

So Brandon led with Elantris. And after that, Mistborn, which although it became a trilogy, definitely stood alone without need for a sequel. Only after those and Warbreaker (another standalone) was he ready to begin the Stormlight Archive for general consumption.

I also forgot to mention:

I believe that knowing why I like or dislike a character (and knowing whether others agree) helps me as a writer, too. Not just "hey I didn't like that character", but the reasons behind.

Nitpicking for its own sake is just fun, but I'm literally trying to make a career out of it, too.

Writing Group / Re: Advice on Moving Forward
« on: June 23, 2011, 05:32:57 PM »

I'm in the same boat as you. I'm writing my third novel. I've written about a dozen serious short stories. I am (to date) unpublished.

I have also done a wealth of research on the publication world, because I've known I wanted to be "a writer" since about age 11. And I thought the book I finished at age 13 was a book. Hell, I thought the book I finished at age 23 was a book, but it wasn't.

By research, I mean that I've read about 40 books "about writing" (only 8 of them were worthwhile) and listened to at least thrice that many lectures/classes/podcasts.

Though not a "member" of the industry, my research indicates the following:

1. There is an extreme stigma against first-time authors. Familiarize yourself with the Steps experiment, in which an unknown author submitted an existing award-winning story and was universally rejected.

Also familiarize yourself with the rejection stories of successes like Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Brandon Sanderson.

The latter wrote 13 books before he was published. That's more than you and me combined.

2. There is an extreme stigma against self-publishing, and with good reason. It's taken as evidence that since no agent/editor was interested, the author basically paid an outside group to print his book. And basically, that's what happens. The success stories in self-publication are the exception, not the norm, and only after you've beaten tough sales standards will an agent or editor even touch you after self-publishing.

2.A. Self-publishing is an extreme amount of work, IF you plan to be financially successful at it. In addition to being the author, you must also be entrepreneur, marketing expert, market researcher, editor, promoter, and distributor. All things that are handled by others in the traditional publishing industry.

3. The best way to get published is to write consistently and submit hundreds of times, both novels and short stories. (I have not taken the latter step because after I truly understood what it would take to get published, I realized my writing had to reach a whole new level of expertise, and I am only now approaching where I'm aiming.)

3.A. And to keep writing without waiting for results. John Grisham's first book was purchased on a wing and a prayer, and didn't get good reviews, but it didn't matter. He'd already written a second, which was optioned by Tom Cruise before Grisham's first publisher rejected it.

4. Make sure a sizeable group of unbiased readers has already reviewed your work. And submit your 20th draft, not your 2nd.

5. Familiarize yourself with industry-standard formatting.

6. Texts I found helpful:

For an agent's view (someone who throws away hundreds of manuscripts a day after reading just one page) of the quality of writing, read Noah Lukeman's "The First Five Pages". It is an eye-opener on how writing is judged.

For Lukeman's view of the business, I recommend "How to Write a Great Query Letter" (free e-book) and "How to Get and Keep a Literary Agent" (which was about $3.00 as an e-book). I've read many others on writing...Orson Scott Card, Stephen King, and Lukeman's information is the most concise and the most-directed at first-time authors with no clue about the industry.

I'm asked every day "Have you ever thought about self-publishing?" and my answer is always the same. Not a chance, because I want to be acknowledged by the industry, as tough or biased or chancy as that may be.

I want a publisher to PAY ME for my work -- even if it's ridiculously low amounts -- than pay someone ELSE for the priveledge of printing me.

(And if I were published tomorrow, I would make way less than minimum wage on my current novel, even with an advance on royalties given to experienced authors, which I would not receive.)

Ugh.  Not this.

I hate threads aimed at specific characters.  I hate threads second-guessing situations that took a lot less time in the fictional world.  I hate the shear volume of nitpicking that takes place.  Please kill this thread before it grows any more malignant.

While I'm sorry that you are displeased by the nature of this thread, "nitpicking" is one of my favorite activities in fiction. I do it with my family, I do it with my in-laws, I do it with my wife. We analyze, see what could be better, see what was awesome, see what we agree or disagree on.

It's why I come to forums like these.

As to threads "aimed at a specific character", I personally prefer that kind to an alternative post which might read something like this:

"A lengthy treatise analyzing the actions of every character in a series with over 500 characters."

At least keeping the topic specific helps people such as yourself avoid reading threads they don't like...but agin, sorry you were displeased.

Brandon Sanderson / Re: Brandon's latest WOT Reread habits?
« on: June 22, 2011, 07:16:43 PM »
Thanks, Peter. It was hard to imagine physical copies of the book stacked hip-high being an effective way of compiling notes.

I recently made the e-book transition myself and it's kinda hard to go back.

Throughout the series, and specifically when she believes her mother dead, Elayne takes for granted that she will assume the throne of Andor.

Yet when Rhavin conquered Andor from within, Elayne was not present to fight the threat. Rand was.

When Andor faced anarchy and poverty after Morgase and Rhavin were both gone, Elayne did not govern for the benefit of her people. Rand did.

These prior two points can potentially be laid to the fact that Elayne-as-Accepted did not possess freedom to return to Andor. However, it's pretty clear that Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne pretty much do whatever they wish and go wherever they want after book 3.

But even if that argument did hold water...

The minute Elayne was declared Aes Sedai by Egwene, she did not return to Andor. She went the complete opposite direction, to Ebou Dar.

When Elayne reached Caemlyn, she did not publicly denounce the rumors of Rand killing Morgase.

In fact, so grateful was she for Rand's help in defeating the Forsaken ruling Andor, and keeping Andor from the civil war that tore other nations apart that she took down all of his banners.

Of course, one could claim that Elayne was ignorant of these events, but had she behaved like an heir should and returned to Caemlyn at the first hint of trouble, she would know all of it.

Instead, she shows up johnny-come-lately to assume the throne, taking advantage of Rand's goodwill towards her without so much as a thank you. She doesn't even acknowledge that if the Dragon Reborn WANTED, he COULD conquer Andor which is extremely weak at this point, and only Rand's goodwill keeps the Aiel, other armies, and Asha'man from treating Andor like a rebellious nation which hasn't acknowledged the Dragon Reborn.

Writing Group / Re: Need ideas for what Magic can do
« on: June 22, 2011, 07:03:14 PM »
I want to make one final plug here that I respectfully disagree with the premise behind your original question.

It is phrased in such a way as to indicate:

1. You have an existing world or story and
2. You want to add magic over the top of said world/story

I challenge you, rather than using magic to SUPPLEMENT your existing world (adding fire magic or healing magic), build a story AROUND the magic (or in SciFi, technology).

I'm a firm believer that a love story with elves should just delete the elves, or a mystery story with fireballs should just delete the fireballs. Tolkien's story, however, would not have worked without rings of power. Without Feruchemy and Allomancy, there is no story for Mistborn. Without runes, Elantris is meaningless. Without a tainted Saidin, the fear of men channeling doesn't exist.

In each case, the magic is as vital to the story as the characters and setting (in good fantasy, magic is indistinguishable from setting), not something the author added to an existing story which could stand alone without the magic.

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4