• Member Since 3rd Aug, 2012
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The world's greatest... eh... I'll get to it later.

More Blog Posts86

  • 61 weeks
    The Movie (no spoilers!)

    It was fun!

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    5 comments · 365 views
  • 73 weeks
    I Dreamt of Etherea...


    You've been a wonderful audience! Good night!

    I'm... I'm sorry, that was terrible of me. Anyone who is still around, still waiting and hoping, still here enjoying the heck out of my pony words- What did I ever do to deserve wonderful people like you?

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    16 comments · 832 views
  • 167 weeks
    The Sound of Silence, the teaser

    Personally, I think it would be filled with the cries, threats, and lamentations of deprived readers.


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    7 comments · 1,100 views
  • 173 weeks

    I know so many of you have been waiting for something - anything - from me, and this likely wasn't it. Buuuuuut, I am at Bronycon, so if you're here, you can yell at me in person. Yes, I'll happily welcome that.

    What I've been doing? I'll reserve that for after LineCon.

    As ever, I'll probably be at Quills and Sofas a bunch, with occasional dips for Pokemon, or something.

    5 comments · 365 views
  • 230 weeks
    You can do it (write a story)!

    A while back...

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    10 comments · 894 views

You can do it (write a story)! · 1:39am Jun 29th, 2018

A while back...

Ok, quite while back I got a nice private message from a nice person. The kind of message that makes you sit up and stutter in flabbergastation. It was a thank you for being inspirational; for lending another the courage to write. Like, I've gotten some praise, but this... this was something else. Another person, who'd been unsure of their writing chops, had decided to give it a go after reading my stuff, and - I'm assuming - seeing some of my commentary on why I've done what I've done.

(And I just lost Present Perfect...)

"Eeeeeeee" indeed.

Well, that combined with all the reading I've done (some quite recent - we'll get back to that) has lead me to want to tell everyone who reads this that YOU CAN DO IT!

See, I know writing is hard work, and it is scary putting your work out there on the internet for everyone to see and judge. But YOU CAN DO IT!

How do I know? How about we look at failings within writing. I know we all fear our work just isn't up to snuff, so let's look at some professional authors.

Brian Jacques? He has this weird fixation with food porn that crops up in every single story of his Redwall Series. It's kind of a weird staple of his works. Things happen, then there are elaborate food descriptions, then more things happen, followed by more food. The climactic scene? Followed by the most climactic dinner!

"But Shachza, that doesn't sound so bad! The food thing is just a foible!"

Yeah, ok. How about this one? Anne McCaffrey. I remember reading her Ship Who Sang series and loving it. Her Dragonriders of Pern series? Was the best thing ever for quite some time. But now? Well... Ok, I dug my own hole there! I don't really have anything because she's damned good at what she does, and I don't remember any gripes! But if you practice enough, then you can be too!

So, let's try Robert Jordan, author of the Wheel of Time series. His stories are damned good, and present some of the best worldbuilding and characterization I've ever read. Buuuuuut... He has two main things that I really think could/should have been worked on.

The first is how his plotline got muddled over the course of 12 books. Now, this has nothing to do with his death or Brian Sanderson being called in to finish the last three books; I'm not a monster. Long before then his stories just got involved with too many characters. There was so much going on, and he decided to detail so much of it. The reader was constantly chasing one tangentially related plot point to another, quite frequently from the perspective of secondary characters. I know it might seem hypocritical from me, but in my opinion, Jordan's books suffer from not getting to the point.

The second is his constant use of two character archetypes split along gender lines: one for males, and one for females. Every male character tended to be baffled by women, seeing them as meddling - which was to be tolerated as best a man could manage - and mysterious, and who needed a good, reasonable man to protect them from the trouble their ways got them into. Younger men would puzzle women to distraction, while older, wiser men would simple shrug and accept the female mind as too mysterious to comprehend. On the other side of things, every woman saw men as louts who needed a good, reasonable woman to keep them from running around like the headless chickens they were. Men who didn't listen to women were fools, and those who did were only slightly less so. But the stoicism inherent in this view tended to fail when any woman encountered a man who she liked-liked, y'know? There were no exceptions to this*

*exception 1: the bad guys. They were too busy trying to kill everyone to be bothered with vagaries of relationships
*exception 2: the shut-ins. A few characters were too wrapped up in their corners to engage in meaningful relationships

Matt and Tuon...
Nynaeve and Lan...
Elayne and Matt...
Gawyn and Egwene...
Bain, Chiad, and Gaul...
Galad and Berelain... Oh god, poor Berelain's characterization...

I could go on and on. I hope those of you who have read the series can see what I'm getting at, because even a world-renowned author like Robert Jordan has his weak points.

What's that? These are all minor things that, while they could be improved upon, are hardly groundshaking? Well, that's why I saved the best, and my most recent read, for last.

E.E. Knight. I've always had a soft spot for viewpoints of nonhuman characters - The Black Wing by Mary L. Kirchoff has long been a favorite of mine - so Knight's Age of Fire series was right up my alley. Now, if you're like me, it's a lot of fun to find a spelling error within a mainstream published work.

(I love that line!)

In Knight's work I began by first noticing a few run-on sentences and unclear referencing within sentences. Relatively minor things, really, that I can easily read past, but which still ping my sensibilities. Even in professional works there can be errors or, as I've shown, writing foibles. Knight even occasionally mixed up character names, which I've never seen happen before, but was usually just an amusing footnote. (Though, I was terribly confused when a dead character's name randomly made an appearance in the description of a gathering.)

These are minor things.

But Knight had major failings too: he tended to synopsize events in order to get on to the next plot point. This wouldn't be so much of a problem, but sometimes this would occur to resolve major sources of conflict. Nothing says "action-packed" like telling us that the battle was difficult and bloody, but the heroes triumphed anyways, so here's what they did afterward. I might even be able to forgive this had Knight not shown that he could manage such scenes well. Wistala's first fight with a troll is fairly nerve-wracking, especially because Knight's takes on trolls are supremely unsettling. However, the climactic boss fight of the entire series was just kinda'... "*bloop* Guess that's over and done now."

Knight had moments of being badly "tell-y" and brief, and was frequently so during key moments of the story. And the series is six books long, so Knight had plenty of time to practice, and yet seemed to get no better at some of his failings - failings I'd argue that a good proofreader should have called him on. Failings that get called out here on fimfiction.

The point of all this? TLDR?

I think you already know it in your heart.

:rainbowhuh: Errrr... No.

The point is, even professionals still make the exact same mistakes that cause us so much anxiety. Do not fear your lack of professional writing experience (assuming you aren't already a professional), because the only thing separating us is whether we've slapped words out of our keyboards (or pens/pencils; not judging here!).

So, go out and write! Bring forth that brilliant world that lives in your fantasies! If it comes out tarnished, well, there are plenty of people on fimfiction who will help you build it up.

You can do it just as they have!

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Comments ( 10 )

Now if only I could remember what I was supposed to be doing...

Present Perfect is filled with rage right now. "Grr, batponies."

You've inspired me to write my first-ever story on Fimfiction. :trollestia:

All kidding aside, one of the things that inspired me the most to write for FimFiction was the 'I can do better than that' attitude I started out with (turns out I couldn't, until I'd had a bit of practice). Lots of both stubbornness and a willingness to accept help whenever it was offered honed my writing skills considerably, as well as an awareness of some of the traps that so-called 'professional' writers had fallen into (Parallel Lies by Ridley Pearson).*
*I'm currently midway through an 'I did my research unlike Mr. Pearson' blog post as we speak

As writing sites go, FimFic is one of the best (in my experience); there's a very good people who genuinely want to help to troll ratio.

Also, as a closing thought, like with all things, you can't get good unless you practice, and you can't get great unless you show your works to a so-called hostile audience.

The second is his constant use of two character archetypes split along gender lines: one for males, and one for females.

Nitpick: that wasn't a foible. That was a deliberate choice as part of the world-building, which goes right down to the very design of the symbols used by the cultures in that world:


Note the lack of the dots as found in a traditional yin-and-yang symbol. There is no balance. No inclusion of one into the other. No understanding. No complementary nature. The inability of the sexes to work together is a key portion of both the history of that world, and the plot of the story.

Someone needs to write a Redwall/Wheel of time Crossover so we can get some sweet sweet food porn with a dress porn side.

Sadly, it's not fear of rejection or whatever that stunts my writing... it's plain simple perpetual writer's block. Probably cuz I always have too much shit on my mind to 'get in the zone.' (No, not at autozone.)

Roses are read
Shachza writes fiction
I came here to tell you
I have a pony addiction

I'm afraid that's the best I can do.

Author Interviewer


Food porn, yes, I remember that really being a thing in like, every single goddamn Redwall book. c.c It got tiresome after a while.

And you say Dragonriders is still good? This is good to know. I've been meaning to reread the series for years now, and I've been too afraid, fearing that my youthful obsession with it was the product of youthful failings, and the series was in fact cringey or poorly written in a way I wouldn't have recognized at the time. Now I just need the time to read it. :B

Because at the same time I was reading Pern (and Ship Who Sang) and Redwall, I was reading another series that I eventually dropped: Piers Anthony's Xanth books. You wanna talk about foibles? By the time I bowed out of that series, it was because all the books were focused on three things (other than magical puns):

  1. Panties
  2. Computers (and how much Anthony didn't like them)
  3. Black people (and how much Anthony didn't like them)

Every. Single. Book. It was a huge series, it's no wonder he ran out of ideas after a while, but... yeah. It's easy to fall into a rut if you let yourself, it would seem.

What's this about panties now?

Author Interviewer

A dirty old man from Florida like writing about his obsession with them. :B

I can relate to that. I love mine, for sure.

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