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magildachunks
Member since Oct 2006
29357 posts

Writing Club: Can we bring the old M/TV board topic here? Need suggestions on story
I'm working on a fantasy story about a group of Monks who are ex warriors, that use their skills to protect a messenger from a platoon or legion during a civil war in the country. They don't support any side, but have given their word to protect this wounded messenger and the monastery is laid siege to because they provide him sanctuary.


I have the names of the Orc monk: Ragibagh. The Roguish monk: Caradoc Ward. The Rangerish is moctly known as The Alchemist, or Al as they call him. Maybe call him Tam. Like just Al.


The last one is Al's companion during their journeying days, and he's a Half-elf priest/cleric, who is also a mage. I'm trying to decide if his name should be Ethvar, or Ethvard.


This si not a Game of Thrones style work. It's more of if Elmore Leonard would have written fantasy.


I'm not serious enough for those type of stories, and so my characters are not dire or morose. They are more quirky, and light hearted, but also highly skilled in war. Like a crew of Mad Martigans.


Home Alone meets Lord of the Rings.


So which do you think? Ethvar or Ethvard?


There are two acquaintances who take part: Sigur, a female mage. And Kesh: a traveling caravaner/ranger. Kesh finds the wounded messenger and brings him to the monastery for aide. Sigur finds out that the legion is looking for him and is coming to the monastery to claim him, so she arrives to warn them.




Any suggestions? mainly on the name, as if I don't have the right names down, I struggle to write them. It's a stupid block I have, but it's there. So....


Also, is the premise one that you find interesting and want to see fleshed out?



AUCE05
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Member since Dec 2009
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re: Writing Club: Can we bring the old M/TV board topic here? Need suggestions on story
I vote Ethvart.


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Charter Embers
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Member since Nov 2019
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re: Writing Club: Can we bring the old M/TV board topic here? Need suggestions on story
Ethvar is easier on the eyes. As for the premise, what happens after they start giving the guy sanctuary? Is it like Saving Private Ryan, if the movie were only the first half of the story? You also said your characters are lighthearted, quirky. Why did they become monks if warfare doesn’t affect them? In Lonesome Dove, Tombstone, the main characters give up warfare in exchange for the pursuit of money. In A Farewell to Arms, the main character does so for love. But it seems like your guys gave up warfare for a peaceful existence but still dabble in warfare?
This post was edited on 4/29 at 8:53 am


Ace Midnight
Between sanity and madness
Member since Dec 2006
79409 posts

re: Writing Club: Can we bring the old M/TV board topic here? Need suggestions on story
quote:

Why did they become monks if warfare doesn’t affect them?


Over their lives, from youth to early middle age, the frontiers became stable and wars became more about protecting the status quo rather than growing the empire or defending it from threats. The military actions increasingly became pacification of those who were nominally fellow citizens, so the band of monks chose a cloistered life on their own terms rather than continued service under the banners of lesser men.

(ETA: I vote Ethvar)
This post was edited on 4/29 at 5:57 pm


Charter Embers
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Member since Nov 2019
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re: Writing Club: Can we bring the old M/TV board topic here? Need suggestions on story
If the frontier has been successfully settled, then why the frustration? Who or what are the “lesser men” passive with? It seems to me that for an elite forces to give up their thirst for fighting, not to mention women/sex, debauchery(I assume they were once into those things since they’re lighthearted and quirky. An elite force that hadn’t been would border on taking themselves too seriously), there has to be a strong conviction. Why did they choose their cloaks over a renegade lifestyle? Especially since the lesser men would offer little resistance?


Sneaky__Sally
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Member since Jul 2015
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re: Writing Club: Can we bring the old M/TV board topic here? Need suggestions on story
If they lost the reason and beleif for why they are fighting it makes sense. Is essentially a big character arc before the story starts, which is useful for building depth in the actual story.

To me, it seems like in this scenario the lighthearted could be somewhat of a cover for their deeper frustrations and disillusionment with why they were fighting. Would also be a good idea for different of the groups to have different feelings / motivations but they all sort of move together as they dont want to give up the group camaraderie.

Also, ethvert i think is the play. With names like that (difficult and weird pronunciation) shorter is better or if you choose a longer name, be sure a shorter nickname is how they are typically addressed.


Im all for this type of thread. I finally figured out the plotting sequence of events in my story, what major battles, emotional moments and plot points i want to hit. Have a few well thouhht out characters and have most of the main characters and their general motivations thought out. But about to buckle in and really do a deep dive into my characters and writing prose. Have never really writtwn anything like this so will have a major learning curve


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Ace Midnight
Between sanity and madness
Member since Dec 2006
79409 posts

re: Writing Club: Can we bring the old M/TV board topic here? Need suggestions on story
quote:

If the frontier has been successfully settled, then why the frustration?


I didn't say settled - I said stable. There is still the potential for some exploration, but there is far less jockeying between the princes and power brokers.

quote:

Why did they choose their cloaks over a renegade lifestyle?


Because the other option would go against their former brothers in arms - a concept that repulsed them.



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squid_hunt
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2021
2933 posts

re: Writing Club: Can we bring the old M/TV board topic here? Need suggestions on story
The thing that makes a fantasy story go from interesting or good to great or amazing is depth. You're creating a fantasy world, you need to draw it out, in my opinion. Telling the story of the world is as much a part of the story as the character arcs.

You need to sketch out a rough history of the nations involved. Doesn't have to be detailed, but it should be consistent and include myths, legends, and significant historical events. To spice it up, you could even have different groups describe the history or retell the story differently. Include the history of the monastery, maybe establish the founding and founder or have philosophers/religious icons for their ideals.

You should really flesh out a solid philosophy for your monks. What do they believe? What are their principles. This allows you to create tension as their actions or decisions come into conflict with their beliefs.

Let the bad guys win sometimes. (Or entirely, if you like.) One of the most iconic moments of Star Wars was the ending of Empire Strikes Back where the main characters were almost completely routed. Corollary: Let the good guys die. If you haven't seen the opening scene of Swordfish and John Travolta's monologue, it's brilliant. Stories today just don't push the envelope.

The characters' actions should impact the world. I don't just mean events (that, too) but people should talk about it. Rumors and stories should spread.

Finally, plan out the world so it makes sense. There are all sorts of role-playing game tools for this. Geography follows rules and the more you follow them, the more realistic your story will seem.

Sorry for puking all over your post. Maybe this isn't what you were looking for. I've been thinking about this a lot for my own plans. Your story will benefit from solid planning and laying out your world.


magildachunks
Member since Oct 2006
29357 posts

re: Writing Club: Can we bring the old M/TV board topic here? Need suggestions on story
quote:

Sorry for puking all over your post. Maybe this isn't what you were looking for. I've been thinking about this a lot for my own plans. Your story will benefit from solid planning and laying out your world.



Don't think you puked all over it. Quite the opposite.

I agree with everything you said, and do have a world mapped out, with histories and legends.

One thing I don't want to do with this story though is amke it too grand of scale. It's the first introduction to the characters who will take the readers into the world and guide them through it.

But there's no reason in my mind that the first story should need to throw everything about the world at the reader just to try and convince them that it's a world that's interesting and worth following.

I understand all the people who dwell on lore and fantasy world/s but I believe that it's the characters who are more worthwhile, and therefore if they are interesting, then you don't need to have them go on some grand adventure to entertain readers. An entire novel about them could just take place in one village or town, or monastery if you will.

This story is about introducing the characters. Later stories will open up the world as they travel out into it.


That's my biggest problem with a lot of fantasy. Most seem to care more about building the world over its inhabitants.


Sneaky__Sally
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Member since Jul 2015
10705 posts
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re: Writing Club: Can we bring the old M/TV board topic here? Need suggestions on story
First of all, if you haven't watched / listened to Brandon Sanderson's lectures on sci fi / fantasy writing from the BYU course he teaches, you need to - tons of great information about the nuts and bolts (he also does a podcast with other authors that is pretty good).

But the main thing I took away from his discussion on worldbuilding is that the best method is to do a deep dive on a few aspects that are important to your story. The religion, reasons for the old war, some various world-building things that give lots of insight to your character / story will be great and won't feel like just throwing a bunch of shite in.

But you have those aspects that you really have fleshed out well in your pre-writing phases, but you can have a lot of really good character / narrative driven worldbuilding through those things directly applicable to the story. Then you just have little comments about other world-building stuff and since you clearly have displayed such a deep understanding of your sort of main stuff, it makes it seem like these other tidbits have a similar foundation and understanding even though you haven't done the same level brainstorming on those topics.

It seems like you have a solid character / plot basis already, so my suggestion for worldbuilding would be to just jot down some different worldbuilding aspects - religion / economy / history / environment / etc. - and then see which ones you can work into your story in a way that serves to give your characters more depth and which can create or enhance some conflict to allow for character development or allow room for a reader to feel a sense of progress or movement.


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squid_hunt
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2021
2933 posts

re: Writing Club: Can we bring the old M/TV board topic here? Need suggestions on story
quote:

I understand all the people who dwell on lore and fantasy world/s but I believe that it's the characters who are more worthwhile, and therefore if they are interesting, then you don't need to have them go on some grand adventure to entertain readers. An entire novel about them could just take place in one village or town, or monastery if you will.

I think that's a pretty interesting twist. I think it's going to be a challenge to keep a story going under those conditions, but I'd be curious to see how it plays out because it could be really good.


Sneaky__Sally
Alabama Fan
Member since Jul 2015
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re: Writing Club: Can we bring the old M/TV board topic here? Need suggestions on story
There are some good intro books like this such as the Traitor's Blade, which takes place over essentially one night in one village (1st Book in the Greatcoats).

I'm currently reading the Vlad Taltos books and they are individual stories which thus far have had a much smaller scope.

This post was edited on 5/10 at 7:48 am


squid_hunt
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2021
2933 posts

re: Writing Club: Can we bring the old M/TV board topic here? Need suggestions on story
I absolutely think it could be done. It's going to have unique challenges, though, from what I'm picturing.

I'll check those out, though. Traitor's Blade sounds like my type of book.


Sneaky__Sally
Alabama Fan
Member since Jul 2015
10705 posts
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re: Writing Club: Can we bring the old M/TV board topic here? Need suggestions on story
The Greatcoats is fantastic. Book 1 is small in scope but it gets bigger in the subsequent books.

But it has a 3 musketeers vibe, really great interaction between the main 3 characters, lots of humor but in a pretty dark and brutal setting. One of the best series I've read in recent years.


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