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Messages - Miriel

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I'm on the list already under my screen name here for commenting during the rough draft, though I'd prefer my real name -- Megan Hutchins.  Thanks for posting this -- I enjoyed reading it, seeing the changes, and learning about writing while reading something great.

Brandon Sanderson / Re: Characterization in Mistborn
« on: September 27, 2008, 05:01:44 PM »
You could also look for description of things other than main characters.  I remember the koloss being physically described pretty vividly.

Brandon Sanderson / Re: Feedback: Is it good?
« on: August 13, 2008, 01:36:53 AM »
The fact that you can look at it now and see it's bad means you've matured as a writer, especially if you can see why and where.  Congrats.

Brandon Sanderson / Re: Feedback: Is it good?
« on: August 09, 2008, 06:45:33 PM »
You're friend is right that feedback will change your story.  That's kind of the point.  I've written both ways, but only more recently had the access to chapter-by-chapter feedback.  I found it invaluable.  Questions like "Does this concept need another scene to explain it?" or "Does my character come across as whiny or sympathetic?" can be answered as you go.  Then you can correct as you go: I think this is easier than correcting an entire book (done that: it's doable, takes a lot of time, and you have to cut/change more scenes that you're already fond of).  I'd give it a try, at least.  If you have good critiquers, the only downside I see is that you'll be having them read a rougher kind of draft.  Or I guess it might not work well if you don't write chapters in order...

Brandon Sanderson / Re: Reen's obsidian
« on: July 20, 2008, 08:34:19 PM »
I've actually done some flintknapping, so here goes...

Obsidian and glass are pretty much the same, with the exception that with obsidian, you have to deal with a cortex usually (the rough, weathered outer area) and obsidian can have natural imperfections in it (weathering, etc).  I'm not sure, but at least on the covers, the glass knives look like just broken pieces of glass.  These would shatter fairly easily.  If you've gone through the trouble to flintknap an obsidian axe or knife, however, they'd shatter less easily.  The way you'd make the weapon would reinforce the edge and the body as a whole (bifacial flaking).  The edge might get roughed/chipped, but retouching it wouldn't take long, even if you didn't have the skills required to make a knife yourself.

As far as unusual shapes go...the Classic Maya took flintknapping to a very artistic level.  I tried to find some good pictures of obsidian eccentrics, but wasn't very happy with my results.  Often very small, I've seen things over two feet long with the curves and delicacy of doilies.  Here's a link to a picutre, though not as impressive as I would have liked.  :-[  A lot of them are simpler than this, but it gives you an idea.  When you think about how it was made (carefully hitting the obsidian with another rock/pieces of antler), I think it's amazing.  Archaeologists today can't recreate this sort of thing yet, thought they're getting closer.

I don't think Reen's would have looked anything like this, but it gives you an idea of what can be done with obsidian.  We tend to think of obsidian as crude, I think, because in the Western world the technology was abandoned in favor of metal before it ever reached this kind of awe-inspiring sophistication.

Brandon Sanderson / Re: Ruin and Preservation
« on: March 04, 2008, 07:01:04 PM »
Kind of going along with the last post -- the kandra were made by the Lord Ruler, right?  He kept things the same for a thousand years.  The same people in positions of authority (nobles), the same people downtrod (skaa).  Preservation of an unpretty world, preservations perhaps to the point of stagnation, but I don't think I'd list him as a force for ruin.  The "ruin spirit" at the well certainly didn't get what he wanted out of the Lord Ruler, at least.  The Lord Ruler trapped him.  I dunno.  I could be completely wrong, but that's what jumps to mind.

Brandon Sanderson / Re: Interested in Publication
« on: March 04, 2008, 06:55:59 PM »
I've never been to CONduit, and so far there isn't a schedule posted on their site -- so I don't really know what's going on there.  Could someone maybe briefly expalin this one for me?  How it's the same/different from LTUE?  Thanks.

Brandon Sanderson / Re: Interested in Publication
« on: February 11, 2008, 06:13:16 AM »
Sorry to bring up an older post again, but if you're still here Diaigma, there IS a convention this week in Provo.  I guess it's not huge by convention standards, but I saw Brandon Sanderson, Eric James Stone, Orson Scott Card, and Gaile Carson Levine all listed as panel members.  Might not be a lot of editors there to meet, but the panels are worth it alone -- you'll learn a lot about writing.  Bring paper and pen, and take notes.  It's at BYU: "Life, the Universe, and Everything: The Marion K. Doc Smith Symposium on Science Fiction and Fantasy."  It's free, which is also happy.  If you google "Life the Universe and Everything BYU," it should be the first link to appear.  Runs Thursday through Saturday.  It's very, very good.  And, well, it's a lot easier to get to than other conventions if you're down here (it sounded like you are).  Hope that's helpful.

Brandon Sanderson / Re: Brandon To Write Wheel of Time Book 12
« on: December 11, 2007, 09:55:57 PM »
I just wanted to saw congratulations...and wow.  I was expecting the "big news" on Monday to be some sort of award for Mistborn, or Mistobrn II, but the actual announcement was a larger applaud to your talent and hard work than had even crossed my mind.  Again, congratulations!

Brandon Sanderson / Re: EUOL: Writing question based upon MB2 annotation
« on: September 28, 2007, 01:52:37 AM »
I think having information come out naturally is a goal of writers.  It's much better, for example, to have the reader learn that gold-worked items are a major export of Minetown by seeing characters admire a gold-foiled box from that exotic place than to outright state "the economy of Minetown relied, in great part, on its fine gold exports.  The people in Laketown greatly adored their excellent foil work, and therefore were eager to trade for..."

When there's so much to explain in speculative fiction, I try my best to leave explanations out, and let the scenes and characters do their work.  I think most of us invent more information in world-building than is relevant to the story, and a lot of this never makes it (directly) into the story.  I try to cut that unnecessary information, so the story can shine.  To make sure I'm not leaving holes in my happy revisions, I have other people read it (surprise).  They usually only come back with a question or two.  I fill those holes in, and let the rest stand.

I think you could do the same thing with a sequel, if you're trying to minimize back-story a lot.  Write it like you assume the reader remembers the story well.  Have some people read the sequel who haven't read the first book, and see what they found confusing.  Add extra bits of dialogue or a sentance of exposition here or there for those parts, and let the other ones stand.  I've never tried this for a sequel (I can't write sequels), and it might not work for you, but it's an idea. 

Brandon Sanderson / Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« on: January 15, 2007, 06:53:32 PM »
Perhaps I'm the only one, but Vivenna has always been my favorite character.  I never thought she was stuck-up.  She is, after all, a very devout woman trying to learn how to live in a world that rejects her religion.  The fact that she doesn't give up that religion all together but slowly learns which truths are actually important to her and which ones she's willing to sacrafice...that's interesting to me.  The fact that her faith is being so bombarded in this strange place makes her sympathetic to me.  I don't think she's unintelligent.  I think she's very smart, just not good at compromising her standards.  Even though it gets her in trouble, that makes her more likable to me, not less.  If she'd jumped straight into immodest dresses just to blend in better, well, it may have been smarter, but it also would have made her someone else -- someone less devoted.  And it would have taken away her biggest struggle, in my opinion: reconciling her religion with this strange world.

As for the prostitute issue, I also thought that was a bit heavy.  At this point, after only a week, I think she'd be more likely to look over there and shiver.  It took a few days for her to decide to steal.  How many more weeks or months or years would it take for her to become that desperate?  I think she would have a feeling of perhaps pity them and dread for herself.  I would like it if there was at least something of her religion that she could cling to, esspecially in her desperate situation.

If the reaper and the crows play no significant role, I don't think they should be there.

The crows and reaper don't play any role...they're not in the book at all.  At least, I don't remember any mention of crows, and obsidian sicles of that length simply aren't practicle.

Brandon Sanderson / Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« on: November 30, 2006, 06:36:22 AM »
This, for me, was possibly the most exciting chapter in the book thus far.  Vivenna has always been my favorite of the characters.  Seeing this change in her was unexpected and rather exciting, especially since I think the change was well-done and believable.  It's something I didn't predict, but all the pieces were in the previous chapters for it to make sense.

There were two things, however, that I did think were a little sudden.  Maybe it's just because I'm reading the chapters over such a long period of time.  First, Peprin's little speech seemed to come out of nowhere.  I don't seem to remember him saying anything particularly witty to Jewels or laughing with her, or coming up with a clever idea.  I had no clue that he could speak competently and boldly like that.  It also struck me that he has almost as much right as Vivenna to be bitter about the marriage situation.  Practically engaged to someone you'll never be able to marry?  He'd be smart to not fall in love with her (it would only lead to heartache), but he'd also be unable to court any girls at home, since they'd all know he was meant for Vivenna.  She might resent getting married off to the God-King, but I think he has every right to resent not being eligible for marriage for a long time.  I think that's also added motivation to go to Halladren: he couldn't court anyone in Idris. 

Second, Vasher at the end just appeared.  I seem to remember him mentioning the princess becoming a problem earlier, but I'm not sure if that's my imagination.  This one probably is just because of time-lag, but him being there startled me.  Then again, maybe it was supposed to startle me.

Once again, possibly the most fascinating chapter so far.

Brandon Sanderson / Re: Warbreaker Sample Chapters
« on: October 26, 2006, 09:19:28 PM »
For me at least, this chapter was amazing.  So much happened.  The various plot elements were thickening and progressing in very tangible ways.  The extra bits of information we get with Vasher add terribly to the mystery, whereas in previous chapters I often felt like the mysteries were sitting still because nothing that I knew was important was being revealed, though interesting things were happening.  I enjoyed this one a lot.

Brandon Sanderson / Re: Operation: Mistborn Costume
« on: October 11, 2006, 07:05:16 PM »
I went through his website, and there are definetly some pieces that look like they were taken off an obsidian core and thinned the old fashioned way.  So, you're probably fine.  The pictures posted here just looked really odd (like on the white one, where you can't see any flaking scars except for where the edge was put on) -- and a lot of commercial obsidian knives are cut and then touched up with some knapping to make them look authentic.  Really, I wouldn't worry about it.  I just thought I'd mention that they might be more fragile than ancient obsidian knives, which would probably be true anyway because these are for display, not butching game or decapitating prisoners.  Sorry for rocking the boat -- I hope your costume turns out great!

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