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Authors: Are there any technical books about writing (punctuation, style grammar, the business side) that you believe helped you significantly as a writer?
Far and away the most useful to me was The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Science Fiction, by an at-the-time-not-super-famous Cory Doctorow. I also remember finding a lot of great inspiration and important things to consider in Stephen King's On Writing and Orson Scott Card's How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Chris A Jackson wrote:
Folks are allowed to write all the fiction with our characters that they want, they just can't make money off it. Fan-fiction is totally great, and in fact both Wayfinder and Pathfinder Chrnoicler are communities dedicated to it!
The forthcoming novel Liar's Bargain has a fair bit of Nirmathas/Molthune action: http://paizo.com/products/btpy9ip6?Pathfinder-Tales-Liars-Bargain
I absolutely don't mind people throwing in their own thoughts. :)
1) Hmm... while I really like learning about new mythologies, I'd say that the ones I return most to are pretty classic, simply because they're what I could find information about when I was a kid.
Far and away, my favorite mythology is Judeo-Christian, especially the oldest-school versions... there's just something about angelic rebellion, the book of revelations, and the speech patterns we've all internalized from the scripture that really appeals to me. Everything about it just feels really creepy to me. (Ironically, the parts involving Jesus are the ones that interest me the least... I'm most intrigued by the old stories in which humans are basically just pawns for giant unforgiving forces.)
After that... I think Norse mythology is really cool, just because the gods are all kind of jerks who don't really care about humanity. And while Greek/Roman mythology is interesting and I've read a ton about it over the years, I'm going to have to give the third spot to Egyptian mythology, for simply having awesome aesthetics in their art :D
2) If you want to go waaaay back, probably IF I RAN THE CIRCUS by Dr. Seuss. But in terms of novels... I loved the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede, Jurassic Park, the Guardians of the Flame series by Joel Rosenberg... those were all around 2nd or 3rd grade, I believe.
3) Triaxus in summer, probably. If only because I've already written about Triaxus in winter, and thus it holds more unknowns. :) But also, summer allows a much larger variety of environments, rather than having everything snowed over constantly, and it's cool to have that palette to play with. (That said, I already set it in winter, so clearly I like that version as well!)
Glad you liked it! And I *love* the planar weird—it's pretty much the whole reason for Salim's existence. "What would be a cool character that would let me show off the planes?" is the question that got the ball rolling on those books. :)
Slithery D wrote:
You'll notice that in that scene Roshad/Bors/Salim *also* don't have to breathe. That's because anyone in the gondola is affected by the same water-breathing magic—or at least, anyone who doesn't detect as evil.
Just to clarify and add to what Jacobs was saying—the atheists/dystheists/god-rejectors have something of a choice when they die. Some of them, the true hard-liners, reject not only the gods but the idea of judgment entirely (what right does Pharasma have to stick them somewhere?) and instead hang out in that giant graveyard for eternity. Think of it like a political protest—a postmortem sit-in on the spire.
That said, most folks who were anti-gods in life would probably spend eternity someplace nice and in accordance with their values (i.e. their alignment), and so go ahead and accept judgment and move on to the appropriate plane. That doesn't mean they suddenly have to serve a god—there are plenty of folks on the planes who aren't sworn servants of a particular deity.
Note as well that the above is talking about folks who *reject* the gods. Agnostics and other folks with not-so-clearly-defined religious preferences just go to the plane that suits them—you don't always have to choose a specific god to go to a particular plane (though if they're rulers of that plane, you may still have to obey their rules in general terms).
Hope that helps!
Hmm! Let's see: Shimmer, Clarkesworld, Intergalactic Medicine Show, and Apex Magazine.
Honestly, I've been out of the short fiction game for a little while, so I'm not 100% current, but those places have all done great work!
Slithery D wrote:
Yeah, population statistics are weird. I prefer to round because (perhaps ironically) it feels more accurate and "real" to me. People are constantly being born and dying in a city, so the bigger a settlement gets, the harder it is for me to believe a number that's exact all the way down to the individual citizen. While you can say the book is a snapshot of a given moment, and thus have that level of specificity, it just feels weird to me to give a number that will begin changing the moment the game begins.
Other people have different approaches, and that's cool too. This is just an explanation of how my brain works!
Will Huston wrote:
So your issue of Pathfinder: Origins was my favorite (I just got them this week). It was a very interesting take on a paladin. Any interesting stories about playing a paladin from you?
Thank you! I really wanted to show that a paladin (and especially Seelah) could be a champion of righteousness while also being an understanding, relatable person. So often people play paladins as jerks, or at least really stiff and awkward, and I wanted to show that LG can be (and perhaps *should* be) much more like somebody you'd want to get to know. :)
And as for playing a paladin—I actually can't remember any! I'm sure I did when I was younger (I used to make new characters practically every game when I was a kid), but it's not a class I've spent a ton of time with as an adult... which is one of the reasons it was so much fun to write Seelah!
I'm running an Iron Gods game for a group of 11/12 year olds. Any advice on how to keep them engaged?
Fight things! Shoot things with lasers! My memory of roleplaying at 12 was that it was pretty much all about the combat and the excitement of seeing what monster's just around the corner. Overall, my best advice is just to observe them as you play—if they start getting distracted, skip past whatever you're doing and bring on the next thing you think they'll like. (This is how I run for adults as well!)
Paris Crenshaw wrote:
I'm currently listening to James Sutter's The Redemption Engine, and Ray Porter's voice has taken some getting used to. I'm finally getting to the point where I enjoy it, but I never would have figured that there were so many people in Kaer Maga with an Irish-sounding accent. Salim's accent is often hard to place and seems to have a strange mix of Irish and Arabic or Hindu. Generally, I don't mind the odd mixtures, though, because it helps break Golarions nations away from their real-world analogues a little bit.
Yeah, accents are hard, and not everyone's going to be able to do all the different accents a given book might need. (Salim's definitely *not* Irish!) But Ray has a great narrating voice, which is the most important thing to me, so I'm happy!
(If you want to hear what Salim actually sounds like, just go watch Naveen Andrews as Sayyid on LOST. :))
You're the first person to ask for a solo book! Though lots of people have asked to see her come back.
As it turns out, I really want to bring her and Salim back together in a third book, because she's been up to a lot of interesting things since Death's Heretic, which will result in a very different dynamic than Salim would expect... :D
James Sutter wrote:
EDIT: The money went *toward* wedding and honeymoon, rather than paying for them outright. I'd have to be doing significantly better than I am if I could make that much money off one novel. :P
I'm woefully behind on my movie-watching! The last one I saw was The Force Awakens. My potentially contentious thoughts here:
I enjoyed it, but I found myself resenting that it was basically a reboot instead of a sequel—so many story beats and scenes were stolen outright from the original trilogy that it just felt like a rehash (albeit a totally fine one). I think I understand why they were doing it—so that new fans who saw only this movie would still share most of the key nostalgia points with old-time fans without having to watch movies released decades before they were born. And I'll totally forgive that if it means that, having laid that necessary groundwork, they can now go make a ton of new Star Wars movies that do interesting new things. But it means that I won't really feel like I've seen a *new* Star Wars movie until the next one comes out. I hope. :P
Also, the bad guy speech before the firing of the planet-killer was a little painful. I don't have a lot of tolerance for unexplained evil anymore, and I felt like 5 minutes from a Game of Thrones writer could have easily given the new bad guys a compelling reason for doing what they're doing. (There are PLENTY of logical reasons to want a new empire, and even to justify what they're doing to achieve it, but the film went instead for unexplained mustache-twirling evil, which just feels sloppy and uninteresting to me.)
captain yesterday wrote:
My favorite TV show right now is a toss-up between Sherlock and Game of Thrones. Both are among the best shows I've ever seen, in terms of writing and acting, though these days I'm a touch afraid that GoT might pull a Rome and just go down the rabbit hole of despair, forgetting that what makes the grim elements of shows work is the dynamic range, the contrast. Once you lose hope, grimdark just becomes painful and unsatisfying.
Favorite swearing: There's a scene in an early season of The Wire where two detectives do an entire crime scene investigation and share their conclusions using only the word "f*+$" and body language. It's a stunt, but one that the actors totally nail, making for one of the most brilliant pieces of screenwriting I've seen. :)
baron arem heshvaun wrote:
I can never tell which is me in those pictures, but that's definitely my brother in the back—he's *way* taller than me, and much handsomer.
The Audible stuff TOTALLY counts for the boons! Just show the books in your audiobook library via your phone, laptop, printed out screenshot—whatever works for you. We want to make it as easy for folks as possible.
You can consider this a totally official ruling, on the grounds that I yelled across the hall to the PFS office saying "I'm saying this is official, cool?" and they agreed. :D
I've never played Salim in an actual game, but I *did* play an atheist character for several years in James Jacobs' Shadows under Sandpoint campaign. Kirin the Heretic was a very different type of atheist from Salim—he actively rejected the gods' existence, claiming that all divine casters were "just sorcerers without the guts to take responsibility for their powers"—a stance that is frankly pretty crazy given the body of evidence, but that's what made him fun to play. :) So while I didn't realize it until years later, Kirin was clearly an influence on what Salim would become. Him and Deckard from Blade Runner. :)
In general, you're right that PG-13 is roughly the mark we strive to hit with the Pathfinder Tales novels. While I'm personally a big fan of letting kids read pretty much whatever they want—I sure learned some interesting things from Tom Robbins and Stephen King as a child—I can appreciate that a lot of parents feel differently, and so we try to walk a line that's edgy enough to keep everyone interested but not so far that the average parent (or teacher, or librarian) is going to have to worry about graphic sex scenes or explicit language. (There IS a lot of violence, though, and some books like Nightglass get pretty darn dark. Somehow that doesn't raise as many eyebrows, though. I have no idea why the USA is still so permissive of severed limbs but freaked out by nipples, but so it goes.)
For that reason, I don't allow authors to drop F-bombs in the books. Instead, I often encourage them to introduce profanity that feels more rooted in the world and its religions—for instance, in the comic scripts I write for Dynamite, I have Valeros say things like "Cayden's balls!" It still gets the point across, and feels in keeping with the setting, but isn't going to trigger some folks' profanity filters in the same way.
Outside of the books, of course, I, too, use the F-word more than I probably should. :P
Schnappy das kleine Kobold wrote:
I can guarantee that if (and hopefully more like "when") the third book comes out, it'll be available in paperback. We here at Paizo must continue our killing of trees until our blood feud is satisfied!
Thank you! It's always been my hope that the audiobooks would help make the books accessible to a wider audience. Thanks for soldiering through the print versions, and here's to never having to do so again. :D
Fact: Pretty much any time I give a straight answer in a setting book, I immediately follow it up with "...but SOME rumors suggest that the truth is far stranger, such as..." I know several of the other devs here also follow that general philosophy.
Truth is fine, but conspiracy theories are more fun. :D
Steve Geddes wrote:
I'll get out the ol' bullwhip and see what I can do.
Will Huston wrote:
Wes always tells me I'm pretty. (He knows the consequences if he doesn't.) And thank you. :)
And yeah, like any other company, Paizo has annual performance reviews so we can help each other improve and do the best work we can. I joke about it, but I actually feel like it's really important—I ask all my employees to send feedback to my bosses so that the reviews work both ways, not just top-down.
Andros Morino wrote:
Ah, Dakar! He was the first naga we ever introduced, way back in Pathfinder #3, and I'm still rather fond of him. :)
Liane Merciel wrote:
That said, *we* have definitely statted up stuff from the novels—I've personally done or overseen the creation of several items and creatures that Liane dreamed up in her books. :D
1) I'd love to do more with Castrovel, but there's nothing currently on the docket. (For now.)
2) I had a ton of favorites! Some of the top ones were the Guardians of the Flame series by Joel Rosenberg, the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede, and The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay. In terms of current favorites... while all my childhood favs hold a special spot in my heart, some new series that have really grabbed me are Sanderson's Stormlight Archive, Justin Cronin's Passage books, and Robert J Bennet's City of Stairs (the sequel to which comes out this month!).
3) My favorite shows as a child were probably Voltron and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. At the moment, my favorites are Sherlock and Game of Thrones.
Seriously, though, I don't hate the alignment system*—I love it for the quandaries and differences of opinion it creates! I think the larger difference between me and Jacobs is that he would like to see harmony in the community by having everyone on the same page, while I'm happy to let the debates rage because I think making people analyze their concept of morality is good for society... which admittedly means cackling maniacally as alignment threads grow ever longer. :D
In the words of Alfred: Some men just want to watch the messageboards burn.
(*=Okay, maybe I hate alignment as a hard-coded *rules* element with game effects, but as a way of describing characters, it's fun and classic!)
What Lilith said. Every one of us (and our characters) is going to come to the table with our own ideas of what makes a healthy, happy, loving relationship, as well as what we personally find fulfilling. That's going to look wildly different across different cultures, species, planets, etc.
Shelyn is a goddess. She likely doesn't value one mortal culture over another. So while folks are welcome to post their personal thoughts on polyamory, nonmonogamy, and other forms relationships can take (preferably in an off-topic forum), those aren't really questions of canon so much as personal philosophical discussions. (And ones that are quite likely to result in hurt feelings as opinions clash, so let's all be real careful and respectful, mkay?)
And again, as always: your home game is your own business. If you want to use your particular interpretation of a god's tenets, go for it—and let others do the same.
John Woodford wrote:
As I think I read somewhere on the boards, there's a "YOU MUST BE THIS TALL TO ENTER" sign outside the Starstone Cathedral, and Norgorber was four clever halflings in a trench coat.
I don't care what anyone else says, this is now canon.
"IT JUST MAKES SO MUCH SENSE!" I scream, as the rest of the staff drags me across the parking lot to an unmarked van.
I adore this thread.
And yeah, Erik gets most of the credit for the conversation between the runelords in pages 1-3 of HOLLOW MOUNTAIN #1. The three of us have been working really closely together on this series, which means sometimes inserting bits into each other's scripts or swiping each other's ideas. :)