talec: Thoma's looking confident. Normally his hair is dark brown/black, but here the artist didn't tone it, so it looks white. (Default)
Talec Arashi ([personal profile] talec) wrote2010-05-08 07:31 pm
Entry tags:

Meme POWER

This has been kicking around the 'temp' folder for months, awaiting posting. TIME TO GET IT OUT

"The Two Magna Cartas
"What, to you, makes a good novel?
"It's an excruciatingly broad question, but give it a shot. And feel free to be as vague or as nerdily detailed as you like; this list can include anything from ultra-short chapters to ribald sex scenes to massive infusions of ill-tempered elves. Anything that floats your fictional boat should go on the list.

"My list, to help give you some ideas, looks like this:
• first-person narration
• quirky characters
• true love
• found objects
• disappointment
• music
• catharsis
• feisty old people
• strong, charismatic protagonists
• improbable romances
• smart but unpretentious writing
• urban settings
• cliffhanger chapter endings
• characters who are at turning points in their lives
• books set in the workplace
• happy endings

"[...] the things that you appreciate as a reader are also the things you'll likely excel at as a writer. These bits of language, color, and technique, for whatever reason, make sense to your creative brain. These are the Things You Understand."
-- Chris Baty, "No Plot? No Problem!"


• Anthro: (1, 3 [Soul Union], 6, 16, 30, 51)

• Beautiful art: (1, 6, 11, 14, 26, 36)
(i.e. art in the books, rather than art within the fiction itself)

• Beautiful cities: (1, 6, 10, 11, 13, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 39, 43, 44)
(but this is about the fiction itself, rather than artistic representations)

• Cats: (2, 5, 8, 9, 21, 24, 30, 34, 43, 48, 51)

• Caverns: (1, 2, 5, 6, 10, 11, 24, 25, 26, 30, 32, 38, 43, 51)

• Cities built over water, underground or in trees: (1, 5, 6, 10, 11, 13, 15, 25, 26, 30, 38, 43, 44, 47, 51)

• Conlangs & con-scripts: (11, 26, 43, 47, 51)

• Dinosaurs: (5, 11, 21)

• Discovering lost/hidden civilizations: (2, 5, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 18, 20 (kinda), 21, 25, 26, 27, 38 (kinda), 44, 48, 51)

• Dragons: (13, 21, 26, 40)

• Fantastic technology: (9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 28, 29, 31, 33, 44, 46)

• Flight: (15, 18, 21, 22, 37, 44, 46, 51)
(This means detailed descriptions of flight, not merely having it)

• Hard SF&F: (2, 5, 10?, 15 (ish), 18, 27?, 28, 31, 33, 37, 44, 46)
• High SF&F: (9, 13, 21, 24, 26, 43)
(the definition I was using for 'high sf&f' is kind of nebuluous but seems to have involved the presence of a myth arc)

• Horror, Lovecraftian: (1, 10, 16, 20, 24, 31)
• Horror, Lovecraftian + visceral: (7, 23, 43, 48)

• Interdimensional travel/hacking: (2, 5, 9, 10, 15, 21, 24, 31, 33, 34, 35, 48 (kinda), 51)

• Internet: (1, 12, 15, 18, 28, 29 (proto-internet), 31)

• Magic in the modern or future world: (2, 5, 7, 10 (ish), 13, 16, 17, 30, 34, 38, 40, 48, 50, 51)

• Maps: (6, 10, 11, 21, 24, 26, 43, 47)

• Mecha: (4, 11, 35)

• Multiplicity/Soulbonding/Telepathy: (5, 7, 10, 12, 13, 15, 18, 21, 23, 30, 33, 44, 51)

• Music: (1, 11, 13, 18, 20, 25, 26, 29, 31, 39, 43)

• Mythology, constructed: (1 (pseudo), 5, 18, 26 (naturally!), 38 (somewhat), 43, 47, 48)
• Mythology & classic literature, remakes: (2, 17, 19, 32 (well OK it's the original), 36)

• Narrative mode: Third-person subjective: (13, 21, 22, 23, 24, 43, 47 + others)
• Narrative mode: Epistolary: (11 [journal], 15, 20 [sort of; a bit'a everything], 31, 49 [letters])

• Opening chapters with quotes or art: (2, 15, 20, 23, 28, 47, 48)

• People with wings: (1, 34, 40, 50, 51)

• People coexisting with other species: (4, 9, 11, 15, 16, 25, 35, 44 (in a way), 46)
• People learning to be allies with other species: (1, 4, 5, 12, 15, 16, 18, 21, 26, 30, 34, 38, 43, 46, 47, 50, 51)

• Reincarnation: (2, 5, 12, 15 (in a way), 17, 18 (in a way), 22, 32, 38, 51)

• Robots, humansized ones or AI: (4, 12, 18, 23, 29, 33, 35, 36, 46)
• Robots/AI teaming up with humans: (1, 4, 12, 15, 18, 23, 33, 35, 46)

• Ruins: (1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 18, 23, 24, 26, 31, 38, 44, 46, 51)

• Short story & serial collections: (1, 3, 4, 7, 14, 23)

• Slice of life: (8, 14, 23, 32)

• Soul Theory: (1, 2, 5, 12, 15, 17, 22, 24, 32, 38, 51)

• Space: (9, 12, 15, 18, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32, 33, 37, 39, 44, 46)

• Strange or pirate transmissions: (1, 7, 25, 27)

• Strategy: (15, 27, 32, 39)

• Suddenly, strange things!: (1, 2, 16, 20, 25, 31)

• Tales of abstraction: (1, 20, 42)
• Tales of exploration: (1, 2, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 26, 27?, 28 33, 44, 46)

• Time travel/hacking: (4 [but very sad], 5, 7, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 22, 27, 28, 33, 44)

• Variable chapter length: (4, 20, 28, 39, 47, 48 + others)

• Video games: (1, 12)

• Xenofiction (soft & hard): (5, 9, 11, 12, 15, 18, 25, 28, 29, 33, 43, 46, 47, 48)

• Yousei (19, 30, 34)

Book-specific styles:
• Jonathan Livingston Seagull's worlds-structure: (22)
• Lord of the Rings' writing style: (26)
• "Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes". (41)


The List of Books/Stories:
1 • ".hack" series [various] by the .hack Project
2 • "American Gods" [novel] by Neil Gaiman
3 • "Amerimanga" [zine/manga] by IC Entertainment et al
4 • "Astro Boy" series [manga] by Osamu Tezuka
5 • "The Book of Night with Moon" [novel] by Diane Duane
6 • "Brambly Hedge" series [children's] by Jill Barklem
7 • "Calling You" [light novel/short stories] by Otsu-Ichi
8 • "Chii's Sweet Home" [children's/manga] by Kanata Konami
9 • "Dark is the Sun" [novel] by Philip José Farmer
10 • "Darwath" series [novel] by Barbara Hambly
11 • "Dinotopia" series [light novel-ish] by James Gurney
12 • "Doom" series [light novel] by Dafydd ab Hugh & Brad Linaweaver
13 • "Dragon Quartet" series [novel] by Marjorie B. Kellogg
14 • "Emma" series [manga] by Kaoru Mori
15 • "Ender" series [novel] by Orson Scott Card
16 • "The Family Tree" [novel] by Sheri S. Tepper
17 • "Fate/stay Night" [various] by TYPE-MOON et al
18 • "Galactic Center" series [novel] by Gregory Benford
19 • "Hoshin Engi" series [manga] by Ryu Fujisaki
20 • "House of Leaves" [novel] by Mark Z. Danielewski
21 • "The Immortals" series [light novel] by Tamora Pierce
22 • "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" [light novel] by Richard Bach
23 • "Kino no Tabi" series [light novel] by Keiichi Sigsawa
24 • "Lioness Quartet" series [light novel] by Tamora Pierce
25 • "Lizard Music" [light novel] by D. Manus Pinkwater
26 • "Lord of the Rings" series [novel] by J.R.R. Tolkien
27 • "Mageworlds" series [novel] by Debra Doyle & James D. MacDonald
28 • "Manifold: Time" [novel] by Stephen Baxter
29 • "Metamagical Themas" [?] by Douglas R. Hofstadter (okay, it's not exactly a /novel/, but it DOES have fiction in it!)
30 • "Moon Boy" series [manhwa] by Lee YoungYou
31 • "Moonseed" [novel] by Stephen Baxter
32 • "Outlaws of the Marsh" [classical novel] by Shi Nai'an & Luo Guanzhong
33 • "Ring" [novel] by Stephen Baxter
34 • "Rozario + Vampire" series [manga] by Akihisa Ikeda
35 • "SD Gundam: Musha Banchou Fuuunroku" series [manga] by Masato Ichishiki
36 • "SD Gundam: Sangokuden" series [manga] by Kouichi Tokita
37 • "Seikai" series [novel] by Hiroyuki Morioka
38 • "Shaman King" series [manga] by Hiroyuki Takei
39 • "Songmaster" [novel] by Orson Scott Card
40 • "Soulfire" [comic] by Jeph Loeb, Michael Turner, Peter Steigerwald & Richard Starkings
41 • "Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes" [novel] by Chris Crutcher
42 • "Strange Dreams" [?] by Brian Andreas
43 • "Tailchaser's Song" [novel] by Tad Williams
44 • "Transcendant" [novel] by Stephen Baxter
45 • "Tropic of Night" [novel] by Michael Gruber
46 • "Vacuum Diagrams" [novel] by Stephen Baxter
47 • "Watership Down" [novel] by Richard Adams
48 • "The Wild Road" [novel] by Gabriel King
49 • "Griffin & Sabine" [?] by Nick Bantock
50 • "Nightschool" [amerimanga] by Svetlana Chmakova
51 • "Stray Little Devil" [manga] by Kotaro Mori


Most used elements in the chosen favored works?:
19: Tales of exploration
17: Discovering lost/hidden civilizations, People learning to be allies with other species, Ruins
15: Cities built over water, in trees or underground
14: Beautiful cities, Caverns, Magic in the modern or future Earth, Space, Xenofiction
13: Interdimensional travel/hacking, Multiplicity/soulbonding/telepathy, Time travel/hacking
12: Fantastic technology, Hard SF&F
11: Cats, Music, Soul theory
10: Reincarnation
9: People coexisting with other species, Small robots or AI, Small robots or AI teaming up with humans
8: Flight, Maps, Constructed mythology
7: Internet, Opening chapters with art or quotes
6: Anthro, Beautiful art, High SF&F (I think I missed a few, my definition was too nebulous), Lovecraftian horror, Short story/serial collections, & Suddenly, strange things!
5: Conlangs & con-scripts, Mythology/classics remakes, Epistolary narrative mode, People with wings
4: Dragons (I'm surprised it's so few), Lovecraftian&visceral horror, Slice of life, Strange or pirate transmissions, Strategy
3: Dinosaurs, Mecha, Tales of abstraction, Yousei
2: Video games



Magna Carta II
"Write down anything and everything that bores you or brings you down in a book. Go.
"As you spend the next week thinking about what you want to have in your novel, keep MCII close at hand, so you'll remind yourself what not to put in your story.
[...]
"We buy these difficult books because we feel that, while not very exciting, they are in some way good for us. It's a sort of literature-as-bran-flake philosophy: If something is dry and unpalatable, it must be doing something good to our constitutions. This kind of thinking also carries over to the writing realm. If we're worried that our story is lacking in substance, the first thing most of us automatically reach for to fix it are the bran morsels from the MCII.
[...]
"The lesson here is this: If you won't enjoy reading it, you won't enjoy writing it."
-- Chris Baty, "No Plot? No Problem!"

I just don't think about what I don't like, so it's hard to remember what should go here...

• Dystopian settings that are depressing (exceptions: shounen-style dystopia is ok, and settings that don't appear dystopian until the reader applies Fridge Logic are awesome)
• Endings where the protagonist gets amnesiac or can't tell if it really happened