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Tutorial Writers' Wretreat or Crytics' Crypt? (love needed)

Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by spawning of Bob, Apr 10, 2015.

  1. spawning of Bob
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    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Abandon hope.

    This here thread is a "
    Safe Place" to discuss all manner of things literary and fluffy. A place of ideas and thoughts where everyone is equally ignorant.

    By the medium of random groupthink / cluster-mahrlect we shall all learn something. Or other.

    I shall paraphrase this quote from Razordon Happiness.
    As an author, Bob draws excellent stick figures.

    Or as the Pope said to Michaelangelo, 'Look, I'm the bloody Pope! I may not know much about art, but I know what I like!"

    I plan to put in some of my thoughts about how humour works, ways of structuring a short story and things like that. I invite you'all to do the same so that we can be a beacon of ignorance to cling to as we are swamped by the waves of general lack of talent.

    Wait - don't beacons get very hot?
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
  2. spawning of Bob
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    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Discussion prompt: So about those Skaven. Can self interest look a tiny bit like loyalty? Or altruism? Is altruism by "noble" races in any way distinguishable from the rat version?
     
  3. ravenss
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    ravenss New Member

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    Alright, from the stand point of the local Skaven expert:

    Loyalty between Skaven will occur between a very small group. This group will, of course, be willing to throw anyone under the bus in the name of personal advancement, but for the most part each member knows the other can be trusted.

    In an official sense, such as an alliance between clans, it is known as a Treaty-Pact.

    Basically, its keeping those you trust most close to you, while still backstabbing and distrusting everyone. Sort of like the best if the worst.

    You can create friendships, loyalties, but keep them small and isolated.

    And remember: At the end of the day, if its you or him, make sure its you.
     
  4. spawning of Bob
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    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Wait! What? You seem to know an awful lot about them for a skink.

    I suppose an average skaven gains nothing from randomly killing. If they kill the highest warlord, it only creates an opportunity accessible to the NEXT highest warlord.

    Their creative vacancy development program needs to be close to their station. They can gain a tiny bit more food / status / rank only if they chip away at those only slightly better off. They would also need to chip a little downwards to keep their own replacements at bay. The treaty-pact can only last until one individual floats to the top.

    For this reason, your own twin brother would be the greatest threat. Keep this in mind, Scolenex.

    Interactions between vastly different social strata would be a little more predictable, as long as you count a warlord lopping your head off just to see if his blade is still sharp as predictable. That warlord could actually command some respect and even self interested loyalty from those way below or who had entirely different motivations (foot soldiers who gain from the clan rising in power, Scalenex's girl rats, Esurc's assassin) His closest lieutenants would be the ones to watch.

    Beyond those basic parameters, you can add actual personality traits untempered by a shred of conscience. Rat A may genuinely dislike rat B. Rat C might just be a stamp collector and homicidal maniac.

    All bets are off as soon as someone acquires some sort of portable wealth. Even a slave will stick you if they think you are harbouring cheese, Slanputin.
     
  5. lordkingcrow
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    lordkingcrow Active Member

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    I think you guys have it. Loyalty only lasts as long as the circumstances are in the best interest of the rat. I think there are a number of other factors to keep in mind outside of simply wanting something someone else has and actively seeking that individual's demise. Skaven, as much as it pains me to say it, all not all stupid creatures. I think, more than a desire to rise above their station, is self preservation. Hence why a hierachy can sustain itself and not fall apart at the seems.
    Sure rat A might have cheese that rat B wants, but rat A has a big ally that he shares his cheese with (knowing that his cheese is valued and keeping self preservation in mind). Rat B might then coerce rat C and D into helping him get the cheese for a share, but if he cannot (as rat A's friend wears a necklace of rat ears that he has accumulated over his time with rat A), self preservation will likely keep him in check.
     
  6. Slanputin
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    Slanputin Well-Known Member

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    I have no cheese here. Nope. No idea what you're talking about.

    Annoyingly, I'm mostly in agreement with what's been stated above. I think it's important to note that the sole reason to any Skaven being ostensibly nice to others is to manipulate them. For example, a Skaven warlord may keep his serviles well-fed to ensure their loyalty and keep their strength for his works. The serviles would keep with the warlord because they provide an easy source of nutrition. However, that's not to say the warlord won't bash them about to further cement his authority, or that his serviles won't mutiny once a better offer comes along/the cheese runs out.
     
  7. Scalenex
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    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    The Forces of Destruction are their own worst enemies. The Skavens are the most in-fighting prone army in WHF (save the Daemons who arguably cannot actually die and arguably do not need to worry about resource scarcity), but they need to have some semblance of order.

    If everyone steals everything, there would be no reason to use warpstone tokens as currency since no one would be buying anything. I don't see Skaven society functioning 100% through fear. Oppressive societies and pseudo-societies must wield carrots as well as sticks.

    Still, the Under-Empire is a dangerous place to live. Take the most oppressive violent kleptocracy you can imagine humans sustaining in the real world. Then double it. That's Skaven. Even rat-bastards will reward underlings who provide good service and support overlords who give them protection and a share of the spoils. I assume most Skaven treachery occurs when the proverbial gravy (or cheese fondue) trains slow down. As long as things are pretty stable, a warlord can probably not have to worry about usurpers until he hits lean times and has to cut the largess of his minions even slightly, then he will probably face mutiny problems. Likewise, leaders are probably harsh on underlings for even tiny failures.

    I also imagine warpstone uses erodes sanity gradually. As Skaven gain political power, they gain warpstone wealth. Thus the longer a Skaven is in power the crazier he gets. The crazier he gets the more tight-fisted he is with rewards the more iron-fisted he is with punishments. This establishes a short natural life cycle for Skaven leaders. The higher you go up the ladder, the more likely you are to see backstabbing between leaders and their lieutenants. The bottom levels might actually have things almost resembling friendship and loyalty. Sure, if it gets down to me or my friend, I'll hang my friend out to dry, but "him or me" situations are relatively unlikely to come up on a routine basis. Also as the leaders get crazier, they might see success or failure where it doesn't exist making things more unstable.

    Going back to the real world. The poorest most wretched places are generally more politically stable than poor places with rapid improvement. Coups don't typically start because the people have been downtrodden for decades. They occur when they move from downtrodden to prosperous and to downtrodden again. I imagine a Skaven that tasted the good life and lost it will be far more treacherous than one repeatedly broken physically and emotionally. I can imagine Skaven slaves would even cover up the indiscretions of their brothers without direct reward.
     
  8. spawning of Bob
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    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    But as we have seen, the cheese will never ever run out.
     
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  9. reptile3607
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    reptile3607 New Member

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    Well, if this is the spot to discuss random fluff...

    One of my personal thought is that in Skaven chess the aim of the game is to cheat without the other player realizing. Watching over every match is an eagle eyed rat-man, who is there to watch for cheats and award points fittingly.

    Every time one player cheats without the other realizing it, they gain a point. If the other player calls their cheat, they lose a point.

    Also, for the record, this thread is awesome.
     
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  10. spawning of Bob
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    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Reptile.

    What happened to your beautiful signature bar?

    reptile3607.png

    You need to get that back in action!
     
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  11. Slanputin
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    Slanputin Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad you share in my optimism.

    This is a nice metaphor for wider Skaven society. Well done you. I might add that they are far more careless with their Pawns, that their Knights and Bishops are waiting for the opportunity to usurp, and the Queen is relegated to mating responsibilities.
     
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  12. spawning of Bob
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    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    That was a nice conversation - worthy of its own thread in the fluff forum.

    But that was just a warm up - here is a real discussion prompt.

    Where are the subjective boundaries in Fan Fiction? How much can you bend stereotypes to fit your superior plot? Or character arcs? (Ron Weasely must die!) Or what about Canon? Why do friendly skaven get @ravenss goat? Why does he have a goat? Is it a Tzeentch thing? Is Fanfic better than official GW stuff?

    What makes some Fanfics readable and others "jarring"?

    The SoB approach to putting detail into big pieces of WHFB fluff is summed up by these:
    "I do some research (Lexicanum and Warhammerfb are really useful, there are loads of maps to be googled). I change major details when the Canon gets in the way of the story. (dates, locations, names, racial stereotypes, magic mechanics, even good/evil/bit of both alignment when needed)"

    "I like to write into the giant gaps in the canon. The canon gives a solid and accessible context and inspiration, the gaps give almost total freedom to move. There is a good reason that I am writing into about 200 years before Karl Franz. There is too much defined detail in the present (and even worse, the end times to give me room to move."
     
  13. spawning of Bob
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    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    There must be a REALLY thoughtful reply being brewed up somewhere....

    I'll put up another discussion prompt soon.
     
  14. lordkingcrow
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    lordkingcrow Active Member

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    I read this a while ago and forgot about it until now. Whoops! I think the only boundaries for Fan Fiction are those that keep the story believable. However this really should be applied to all writing, not just Fanfic. Stereotypes can be broken, but they need a very clear/clean explanation as to why they are broken. If you made a Saurus character that refused to eat unless it was set at a table and he was given a fork, spoon, and a knife, I would expect a pretty damn good explanation. Something so out of character really requires some background. Is the lost soul of a deceased human wizard possessing the saurus body? I don't know. Provide me the brain food to understand! Give me something, because that's very unsaurus behavior.
     
  15. spawning of Bob
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    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like Halfling mischief to me!

    Thanks LKC, that was such a clear thought that I'm sure all conversation will be killed off.

    Please accept this non-redeemable Friend-hammer voucher.:spam:
     
  16. Scalenex
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    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    There are no subjective boundaries in Fan Fiction. There are two ways you can cover "canon" for characters. On the societal or individual level.

    Writers can make their societies more or less extreme than official "canon." The problem is, GW fluff is so extreme that we can't really make their fluff more extreme. Dwarf stubborness, Skaven treachery, Orc and Goblin stupidity, Ogre hunger etc is already on the very edge of a reader's ability to suspend their disbelief. In my opinion, we have three options for fan fiction. 1) tone down the extremes, 2) keep with the GW MO, 3) exaggerate the racial traits for comedy.

    On an individual level you have a lot of variation. Variety and differing from the norm will build character. But you need an explanation for why they are different. Also, you can't make them so different that they lose all aspect of what people expect. Skaven are stereotypically treacherous, cowardly, and ambitious. You can make a Skaven that is loyal, brave, or humble but probably not all three. Probably not two of the three. If you change one thing about a Skaven, make sure it's grounded in something else Skaveny. A Skaven can value underlings if he views reasonable loyal underlings as a good tool for conquest that are less likely to backstab him. This way Skaven uncharacteristic loyalty is grounded in ambition and desire to survive.

    I'm trying to slightly tone down the foibles of the WHF races in my fluff pieces as a whole.

    So on the whole I am making Skaven slightly less treacherous, cowardly, and ambitious. It strains my suspension of disbelief otherwise. The Skaven would either have taken over the world or been exterminated otherwise. Thanqol bugs me. The Skaven can take over Tilea and Estalia as a warmup act with no real cost and bring the Lizardmen, Dwarves, and half the Empire to their knees while still having plenty of spare rats to begin each invasion with expendable soak troops AND burn their numbers down with lots of infighting. All those numbers but they still failed to bring down the Empire centuries ago when they were on the tail end of back to back plagues, civil war, and Chaos invasions.

    So I toned down Skaven as a whole in my story world. I toned down Clan Ostrel a little bit more. They are so poor and on the outs with Skaven society in general, they have enough of "us versus them" to maintain a semblance of loyalty to each other. They are still looking out for number one, but they won't lightly betray each other as a first course of action. Kreela's sisterhood in Clan Ostrel is even less treacherous. As a non-breeding female she loyally backs the leader believing that a new leader would not tolerate non-breeders. Since 99% of Skaven society is against non-Breeders, she is very loyal to her adopted sisters. There, I made some exceptions to the Skaven rule and backed them up with valid reasons while keeping their Skaven-ness

    Likewise I try to make Sauri in general less like obedient robots than GW writers tend to do. Kaitar I made even more free-willed and clever than the norm (because of a blessed spawning). I'm trying to tone down the craziness of Dwarf dogma in general, but my Southlands Dwarfs are more liberal than the mainstream because they developed alone without the multi-clan echo chamber the northern Dwarfs got.
     
  17. spawning of Bob
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    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Hmm. I might try that myself.

    The thing that I most want to alter from GW canon is the nobility of noble races. I know that nice elves are arrogant, but GW likes them to be right, or at least motivated by laudible ideals. Yawn.

    My character's enemies are more likely to be human or elven than daemonic. Daemons are too easy (plot wise) "It's got horns, it's bad, kill it."

    Much preferred is "It's got pointy ears, it's attractive and it wants to help. Expect to be betrayed." The enemy within the camp offers so much more to a story.
     
  18. Scalenex
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    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    A few hours after making my post I realized there is a non-comedic reason to exaggerate racial traits. On the individual level, you can make a character and man's man or an orc's orc or a dwarf's diwarf etc. To be realistically protrayed in a non-comedic manner, such exemplars should impress and terrify their allies and enemies alike. In fact you can even tone down the craziness of a race by having the kin of an extremist be freaked out by one of their own.

    If an exemplar of one's fantasy racial stereotypes is likely to have a short reign if they seek power. Extremists only thrive in extreme environments. More likely an exemplar will become a tool of true leaders. Dwarfs are especially good at this. A Dwarf who single-minded focuses on his craft to the exclusion of all else is likely going to be closeted away to make runes. Slayers are flung at the enemy, etc.
     
  19. Slanputin
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    Slanputin Well-Known Member

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    A new discussion point, one that comes to mind every time I write: the usage of the exclamation point in writing.

    F.Scott Fitzgerald said “Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.” I can't help but agree to an extent - when reading amateur writing, although it is something that pervades even professional authors, it's something often used liberally and I find has the effect of cheapening the work.

    My first issue is about it's effect on the reader. As I read I build my own mental image and voice. The usage of an exclamation point is an imposition on the author's behalf, thrusting the emphasis of their work upon the reader's internalised interpretation. When I come across an exclamation point in writing I find that, rather than being through down the author's work by his skill in writing I'm being patronised, suddenly being told "you must take this remark as a something shocking/ostentatious/interesting etc. It undermines the reading experience and force the point, rather than developing it through literary skill.

    Secondly, focusing more on it's utility, it's the primary method for hyperbole in punctuation. It's the tool of spam, juvenile writing, and poor journalism in trying to grab a reader's attention. It's abuse lessens the work by becoming so obtrusive any meaning that could be conveyed by it's usage is lost. Now, I'm not suggesting it should not be used at all and abandoned to history, more that is something that should be used sparingly. Considering writing technique, if an exclamation point only appears in a novel twice then it creates a greater impact: the reader doesn't associate the exclamation point with the literary style of the author, and therefore it can help convey the significance a particular point.
     
  20. spawning of Bob
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    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Next discussion prompt is "Blessings and Curses".

    @little-myth inadvertently brought this to my mind with:
    We are fluffing into a world of many gods, and have discussed (inconclusively?)
    the Relationship between Old Ones, Chaos, and the other deities in this very subforum.

    The evidence of WHFB canon clearly shows that the gods do intervene through the medium of blessings and curses. (Mordheim. Lovely city. Very active nightlife. You should visit before it becomes a crater.)

    Getting down to the level of individuals, let's say that we look at a goblin Shaman, Spellchekka the Illiterate. He has enjoyed the blessings of Mork or possibly Gork (magical prowess, a ward save) and the curses of Mork or possibly Gork (a nasty fungal infection between his toes, unpleasant looks).

    He is standing over a dying Imperial Warrior Priest who coughs weakly and pronounces, "Sigmar curse you...urgh..."


    What would be the consequence?

    The entirely subjective (and therefore valid) Bob point of view is that if a comet didn't smite Spellchekka during that actual battle, he would blithely go his way and Sigmar could go and do whatever demigods do to themselves to himself and the shaman's life would go on as usual.

    I think that this is because Sigmar has no authority over the sworn follower of another god or gods. He could intervene in a messy and possibly amusing way (through a force of nature, like a comet or a Sigmarite devotee, like a flagellant) but he would have no ongoing hold over the goblin's destiny. That is not to say that EVERY subsequent comet or flagellant wouldn't be seeking Spellchekka out, but rather to say that, beyond the scope of Sigmar's agents, the shaman would have nothing better to do than scratch his toes and sigh at his reflection.

    So I ask you, cold blooded fellows (and fellasses),
    • Does your god have any hold over me?
    • The Old Ones are either dead, aloof or not coming back anytime soon. How can they bless? (a supernatural buff)
    • Do the Old Ones care enough to curse (punish) their own? Or their perceived enemies?
    • Are "blessings" from chaos just the flip side of a curse?
    • If we concede that Tzeentch is a special case (layers upon layers of perception and deception, just like "This is starting to feel like inception... there is always a deeper level.;)" @NIGHTBRINGER ) how would his "blessings / curses" feel different?

    Let discussion be had.
     

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