I'm a female Troper from the United States finishing up a Bachelor's in Graphic Design, concentration in Illustration at PLNU. I read and watch a lot of anime, manga, and sci-fi/fantasy genre books, play the occasional video game, draw of course, and write fanfictions which I never finish. I love story and character, which is probably what drew me to this place. Ever since discovering TvTropes, it's practically taken over my free time. You'll probably see me trolling the YKTTW and Trope Repair Shop in the evenings, adding my two cents in discussion. Not much of an active member in the forums, but who knows, I might drop in once in a while. I also happen to support SPOON and SPATULA, Supporters of Page Altering To Urgently Lead to Amelioration (basically, supports just getting stuff done and making needed changes without screwing around in Trope repair unless it's something big, like cutting a page or changing the trope definition). I'm currently working on a novel called Brawly Boys, and a loose series of books taking place in my Valruth Universe, tentatively referred to as The Grimmcroft Series. I'm also heading and starting The Anime And Manga Troping Club. Participation is welcome!
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Noir's Rants On Writing
There are a lot of things currently going on in the writing scene that piss me off, as everyone in Writer's Block knows by now from my probably excessive ranting on the subjects whenever they come up. I'll throw them up here so I can refer people to them and hopefully not rant as much about them. Rants On Specific Genres J. R. R. Tolkien and Robert Jordan, mangled and bastardized until it holds no emotion or meaning, spat into a manuscript and then served to me as if it was something special. These days it's all so flat and generic it isn't worth reading. Not only is the plot basically "ragtag group of regular dudes who end up being specially empowered people, one of which who might also be The Chosen One, fight against an oppressive regime and/or the ultimate evil that is behind it" but the whole genre has descended into a wangst-fest filled with Bloodier and Gorier, that brutalizes it's characters to the point of Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy. There is literally no point in reading anything that is epic fantasy anymore. All the plots are more or less the same, your favorite character will be killed off just to screw with the audience's feelings, and by the end of things half the characters will be horribly maimed or at least whine as if they were. On top of that, no one is pure, no one is happy, and 99% of the time there is little to no hope to the point that even if a happy ending is somehow pulled out of a hat, it isn't very believable. The romances in them are crappily written, the characters feelings are superficial and not written with actual emotion, and they all retread the same Aesops I've been spoon-fed ten trillion times by every other work ever and which I already agree with anyway. On top of all this, there are really only so many times I can be told the fate of the world is at stake, as well as the very idea of "the fate of the entire world or world as we know it" being at stake being pretty ridiculous in the first place. I hate to look like a bitchy Feminist, but I honestly believe that the reason the genre is so lame is because it is almost entirely composed of men, most of whom are Robert Jordan fanboys, writing in the genre. (Although, I actually read an epic fantasy written by a woman—The Witches Of Eileanan by Kate Forsyth—and while the characters were a trillion times better written and so were the romance and character interactions, it still had that "what other shitty thing can we throw our character's way?" thing going on. Argh!!!)
Mainstream Urban FantasyIt's all the same and it's writers couldn't portray anything seriously even if they were having a heart attack and told to write how they were feeling as their life slipped away. It's crap like mainstream Urban Fantasy clones that make Lit'rachuh nuts think they have something on genre fiction (which they don't, by the way). I can describe to you the stock Urban Fantasy protagonist: "stubborn" (by 'stubborn', they apparently mean 'stupid' or 'not a doormat'); snarky; having a shitty job, for which if they have a degree it has nothing to do with it; suicidally heroic without an ounce of self-preservation or freaking sense; just magic enough that everyone expects them to save the world, but incompetent enough to make those people look like morons for thinking so; gets away with saying the stupidest, most suicidal crap to dangerous people, who inexplicably like and spare them; and just plain dumb, (the plots of these stories are so obvious that a child could figure out the 'mysteries' going on in them two hundred pages ago, yet the protagonists take till the end of the book to clue in as the villain reveals themselves. But not only that, they routinely admit they aren't very smart in-series, and yet other characters insist they actually are smart). Basically the main difference between these protags is appearance and powers. And speaking of appearance, why the hell is every single Urban Fantasy cover the exact freaking same? Hot chick (or scruffy guy) in unlikely clothing + City Noir background + hands taken up by a gun/sword/magic or all three + random smoke, bloodstains, sparkles or other embellishment: this describes basically 99% of mainstream Urban Fantasy covers. The other annoying thing that all mainstream urban fantasies do, is make everything 'quirky'. They aren't serious, at all, even when they pretend to be. The magic creatures are often silly and act like completely modern humans, even when they are supposed to be 700 year old vampires who grew up in the Dark Ages, or two thousand year old Fae who were never human to begin with. The writers write in First-Person Smartass and the whole setting is a World of Snark which we can't escape, even when supposedly serious shit is going down. If there are any serious characters at all, they end up being The Comically Serious, simply because everyone and everything around them is so ridiculous it leaks over. The plots are stuffed with wacky hijinx and the character falling on their ass and wearing stupid T-shirts or having coffee mugs with wisecracks on them. They have multiple inhuman side-characters whose only job seems to be being a snarky asshole and pointing out how retarded the protagonist is while feeding them badly written exposition. All mainstream Urban Fantasy books also seem to utilize Masquerades, each of which are more improbably maintained and less well-explained than the last (more on Masquerades in Trope Rants). The romances are tacked on and badly written and seem to consist entirely of Vampire-Werewolf Love Triangle wherein previously cool and sensible characters act like complete caricatures who only want to engage in Cock Fights over the girl, despite the fact that she is apparently not drop dead gorgeous, but 'average', and both suitors are equally depthless, Shallow Love Interests. If she has a Nice Guy human boyfriend or suitor, he is somehow even more flat and uninteresting than the more fantastical suitors, and sometimes even outright vilified. If the main character is a male, he will have some bizarre crush on a wholesome girl who he seems to treat like she's a porcelain doll instead of a person, and there's a fifty-fifty chance she's dead before the story starts, while on the other hand he's over here having sex with, or trying to fend off having sex with Veronica, who is either a Faux Action Girl or some kind of supernatural creature (but probably not a vampire), while strutting around, running completely on Rule of Cool with little justification for any of it (big, probably heavy scepter that looks like a coiled dragon and spouts fire and would really turn heads if someone had it on the street like this character walks around with it, and where did this guy get it in the first place? Throw it in!). Basically mainstream Urban Fantasy had degraded into a formulaic equation like a mad libs book, where vampire can be switched out for demon/warlock/djinn/dark-elf and the main character re-purposed with a race-lift or different hair color and shoved out onto the market as if it was something fresh. I don't go anywhere near any book that was approved by Kim Harrison or Jim Butcher, because I know for a fact that it will be the exact same damn thing as their books (dear god, how many of these books do they read? There quotes are on freaking everything!) It's seriously irritating that the publishing industry seems take any piece of crap that is along the lines of this formula, so they can toss it out for the sheep to consume and rake in the moneys. We're at the point of market saturation, maybe soon they'll move on to the next thing and I can get tired of those knock offs too. Science Fiction in the face. The main thing is that the entire genre has turned into tech-wank, with Rule of Cool and Rule Of "Let's see how complicatedly we can describe this device when 'really big microwave' would have done just as well as a description". The heroes are yawningly boring and the prose that was purple describing some alien microbe drops off into beige territory when it comes to describing a characters feelings or thought patterns. Actually the characters don't have feelings or thought patterns, they just do things as cool scenery drifts by and their cyborg arm transforms into a death ray and zaps a smeerp as the narration describes the various laws of physics that make this piece of technology work. All the protagonists are men, or women who act like men, or women who act like sluts. Every excuse is used as an attempt to validate fetishistic Author Appeal and twisted fantasies of lesbian alien harems. The human condition is given a passing glance and ignored in favor of theoreticals that themselves can't elevate a story to the level of 'interesting' or even to the level of 'story' for that matter. The characters are automatons acting out a silicon existence in a universe that takes itself too seriously and pretends at emotion while ignoring it completely in favor of technology and not even having the intelligence to examine that fact in the story in a way that is emotionally powerful or stimulating to the psyche. Authors spend too much time on calculations, not enough time on characterization, and little time to please anyone but the readers who, like them, seem to want nothing more than bleeding edge technology in a flat world with nothing so complicated as actual characters to distract them from it. Not only that, but like with many forms of fantasy (I'm looking at, Epic Fantasy!) the writers rely too heavily on previously established concepts, recycling them to the point that it is literally very difficult for someone who hasn't already been into the genre for years to figure out what the hell is going on, so much terminology is stolen from older works, reused and never explained as if it was something everyone ought to know. Science Fiction has sold it's soul to science and lost its heart and humanity in the process. Again, I think this is too many men in the genre's fault. The two female Science Fiction writers I've read (Lois McMaster Bujold and Anne McCaffrey) didn't have any of these problems. But don't worry men, it's probably women's fault that Urban Fantasy is over-dramatized silly shit without any justification for anything (both women's fault and Jim Butcher's.) Rants On Tropes
Noir's Ten Rules to avoid writing a shitty fan fiction.