Discussion in 'Fan Town' started by ChelG, Dec 20, 2016.
I love particularly this part which isn't gonna show up in the quote so here it is: "It works because people believe it does, and thus is belief taken form and strength. But not normal belief, thinking you have food in the pantry doesn't put food in the pantry because of"
I laughed so much at how this sentence just stops in the middle. I'm almost excited that they did bother to realize the big obvious logical issue with the idea that believing with enough conviction will make things true. I remember suddenly articulating this in high school when a friend was casually bullshitting about if he believed hard enough he could totally walk through a solid metal door, and I said something like, but if that were true no one would ever run into a sliding glass door, and he was like, huh actually good point. I can only assume this book got exactly as far as two high school kids during a few minutes of conversation during a lunch period, prepared to take the next step of drawing a distinction between different kinds of belief, and then abruptly lost interest at the best part. They didn't even have to bring it up at all, it's fantasy, but since they did, doing nothing in particular with it is so hilariously puzzling.
Hmmmmmmm so women being disallowed from fighting at all is not anywhere near as great a penalty as it seems, because men spend most of their combat time pissing their armor.
“Joan of Sussex has clearly dodged a bullet here.”
Because sleep is kinda hard, I’m reading along in linked document. The author (of the commentary, not the original foolishness) has apparently encountered many people who claim to love playing Fantasy Wargaming, presumably because they like misogyny (or don’t want anyone to know about their crippling fear of tables, which is totally justified in this case) since playing this game is probably actually impossible, and certainly wouldn’t be fun even if you adore tables. No, especially if you adore tables. These things are terrible examples of a table and also rules. I’ve read all of HIPAA twice so far, and it’s comparatively riveting and definitely makes a lot more sense.
I personally rather appreciate when people stamp NOPE on their own foreheads before they even get into how bad their tables are. They’re practically self tagging! I heartily pray to dodge bullets like Joan.
I still don't think it's as bad as this one in terms of playability, though this one has other problems (tw Nazism).
My favorite part so far was this helpful exploration of the magic saving throw rules:
The whole thing is such a perfect storm of Insufferable Douchenerd(TM) that it's almost self-parodic.
“Only if you say sudo, Jack. Oh, you did.”
... please tell me the
Spoiler: intemperate language
drivel-shitting innumerate hamfucker
who designed this insult to all gamer-kind at least lost money on it? If someone this bad at a thing I love is more successful than me at it, I shall be quite cross.
It sounds like most people hated it, some thought the essays (read: inane Dung Ages drivel) at the front were helpful, and it was sold in the back of some magazine for $4.50? RPG.net had a few people saying they'd played it. Dunno. It probably was cheap to make, so... yeah, they might have made money off it.
Y'know, that brings up a decent point - there seems to be a remarkable... I dunno, there's some 'bad writing' that's just... well, not being good at writing, and then there's bad writing that happens because the author is a terrible person. Just normal bad writing tends to be forgettable, or, best case, hilarious. Bad-writing-because-bad-people tends to be, well, actively offensive and much more memorable in its badness.
The fiction which uses this isn't necessarily entirely terrible, but I brought up the "El Foreigner" section from How Not to Write a Novel, and a comment mentioned that
I don't remember seeing any specific examples but that sounds very frustrating.
Double-layer dumbness in a book I'm reviewing on D_S: okay, the basic scenario is kind of cool. Our protagonist has been sold into slavery, escapes, flags down a ride, and the guy driving turns out to have a grudge against her slaver and kidnaps her again to get back at said slaver. I like this! Trouble is how it's executed. The slaver is rich and influential in the town, and heroine has already been disbelieved and cussed out for accusing him in front of the townspeople during her escape; she proceeds to tell this stranger it was him, with nothing to suggest he wouldn't just immediately take her back to the first guy or kick her out of his car for "lying". Then she requests a knife to cut off the tracking anklet the first guy put on her. If it was me driving I wouldn't be keen to hand a random hitchhiker a weapon, but then this guy can see the tracking device on her so I guess that's not the stupid part. The stupid part is twofold. First, she cuts off the tracking device, then drops it into the footwell of the car, which she has no intention of leaving any time soon. The driver, who I remind you is kidnapping her from her first kidnapper, watches her do this, and it doesn't occur to him that not having the tracking device in the car would benefit him. Then the first guy finds them via said tracking device which is still in the car, and both of them are surprised. *facepalm facepalm facepalm*
Oh, here's a pretty interesting idea I may have to steal some time. (Review contains discussion of rape, child abuse, and colonialism.)
Spoiler: as does this comment
Same author with the tracking device thing just outdid herself. The kidnapper directly tells a victim he is going to torture her to death over several days, and lets her keep her phone. The kidnappee, hearing this, proceeds to use said phone for sexting.
That book's brought home very strongly that it's not possible to sympathise with a character, no matter how bad their situation, if the only reason they are in that situation at all is because they went out of their way to do something stupid.
Another complaint; this writer seems to not think through their premises very well, and ends up with some really bizarre logic. For example, why do the protagonist's captors give her a passport when she's being shipped in the cargo hold? It feels like the author just thought "she's on a plane, therefore she needs a passport" and didn't consider that no one would see it.
The characters also end up almost harmed but avoiding it, or harmed but avoiding consequences, a lot. The writer forgets one has a broken rib on about the same page it happens, and her captor sentences her to "starvation" which sounds very dramatic but is forgotten about in the next chapter and seems to have lasted less than a day. Another character's captor locks her in with the hunting dogs overnight, and instead of being humiliated or hurt she cuddles up with them like a Disney princess in a woodland. (Okay, I know dogs and they might potentially do that, but it kind of spoils the drama.) Maybe this is just because I've read and written some really gruesome scenes myself, but it feels like the writer's refusing to commit to the premise.
This reminds me of something someone pointed out about Far Cry 3 - it's about a bunch of students who get kidnapped by pirates, main character gets a sudden burst of badass and ends up gradually murdering all the pirates and incidentally rescuing (most of) his friends, etc, etc...
Except the main character is given a working cell phone (to talk to the guy who gives you missions) shortly after escaping. It's a modern setting. They're American. 'Hey, maybe call the embassy' apparently never enters his mind.
I mean, 'MC is a bit of an idiot who happily goes to war against a small army because someone he wants to be the hero' is kind of the point, but... still.
I guess if it's about pirates it could potentially be located at sea out of cellphone range? Is anywhere out of cellphone range in these days of satellite phones, though? It's still marginally better than the dimwits in the one I was talking about; not only does the bad guy let her keep her phone, he tells her his real full name and the name of the manor they're in, and she never thinks to make any use of this information. From what's said later, it takes place in a bizarre AU where a six-hundred-year-old slave contract swearing one family line to the other forever is still valid (I've read weirder fanfic premises, so if it was established that this was normal in the fictional universe I wouldn't object - it wasn't), but at the time this happens she does not know that, so it's still weird that she doesn't even try.
It's hard to tell with just this information, but if it's genre fiction (specifically romance), then there's a very good chance it was written to some pretty strict standards that might make for objectively weaker plot, but matter a lot for the satisfaction of the readers.
I don't want to act like I know more about this than I really do, because all my knowledge is SUPER secondhand, but things like... being published under certain imprints is the romance novel version of informative tag bundles on fics. The place i heard about this first was The Worst Bestsellers podcast reviewing 'the greek tycoon's blackmailed mistress' (a bad book, but with a guest podcaster with lots of cool information about those genre standards), where there's lots of up front drama with exploitive legal paperwork with upsetting consequences if the heroine doesn't meet X conditions, but a person reading it isn't going to be seriously worried the guy will act on those threats, they're looking forward to see how they sort out their problems and make it work out happily in the end.
Of course, if this isnt romance, a lot less of that applies :p I don't know, I just spend a lot of my fic-reading time looking for things that will be emotional indulgences without any unpleasant surprises, and hearing that podcast really made it click for me that that's what readers of some frequently-maligned genres are after as well. The guidelines for different harlequin imprints are fascinating to me.
Like, if a reader is looking to see a couple get an intense, super rocky, drama-filled start and somehow fall for each other, hinting at possible Dire Outcomes is a fun kind of tension, but watching the heroine get legit tortured is probably going to be much less fun. It made a lot of things make sense to me to hear that headscratchers like the phone and sexting thing might not be good plotting, but looking at the book in genre context means that stuff isn't necessarily a serious failing, it's just... not what's important to the story's target audience. (if it is a romance, which it might not be, hgfsffgdg. but getting more insiders' perspective on this stuff really made some things click for me about the shit i see the romance genre get and now i have strong feelings about it)
Basically it's really good to remember that standards for different genres are, by and large, going to be different and there's probably no single set of criteria that can be used to judge all published media.
Okay, that's fair, makes sense. It seems odd that horrible things keep getting dangled and then not done, but I'm used to fanfic, where there is basically zero censorship, types of fantasy which can get pretty dark, and horror. However, I'm not going to excuse the fact that the character in one of these two books actually does get a broken rib and then later a knife wound, neither of which ever provide the slightest hindrance to her movements. That's less genre expectations and more "the author forgot", I'd say.
Also, the other book could not make it more screamingly obvious that the online buddy is in fact the very same man who's kidnapped her and inexplicably let her keep the phone. Their speech patterns are exactly the same, they both have about the same level of respect for the heroine (i.e. none), she only ever receives texts from the online mystery man when the meatspace guy isn't around, and the themes of their names are the same. I can slightly forgive that last one because the names in question are Hawk and Kite, and many of the readers probably don't know a kite is a bird, but now I'm half expecting the guy to text in front of her and her phone to alert her and the readers to be expected not to make the connection.
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