Friday, February 26, 2010

Them's good comics

A great Inhumans review, if you're spoiler proof.

BTW - anybody got any questions/comments left over from the writings tips thing? Any areas you think I didn't cover?


Phillip said...

This is a personal question, what do you think makes for interesting characters and are there any particular ingredients to 40K characters?

I have a boat load of other questions but I'll start with that :)

Shadowheim said...

Hmmm...The only thing you neglected to mention is how to develop a good character. All of your characters are fantastic and very believable and when I write the only way I can develop characters like that are either; a) dynamically within the story (i.e., by pure luck), or b) by sitting down and planning each character out meticulously and then allowing the story to develop, or grow, the character from there. Though sometime, that can go horribly wrong! =)


Shadowheim said...

Ooops! Yeah, what Phillip said... xD


Chilon said...

You could also mention things/techniques that work in different ways when writing in your own universe compared to tie-ins.
Also "things not to do" when writing in your own universe compared to tie-ins.

pyroriffic said...

Where do you draw the line between 'descriptive' and 'over-flowery'?

Matthew Churchill said...

Completely off-topic - Do us a doodle, Dan!


Kane's Dad said...

Thanks for all the advice so far, but I would like to know if you have any techniques for spreading a story arc over more than one book, the Gaunt arcs for example, how is that planned?, how do you do it? I suppose aswell and tips and tricks for developing a plot full stop. I leave so much stuff unfinished due to the fact that in my opinion the actual story is rubbish. Do you get this? how do you get around, over, under, through it?
Any feedback is always appreciated.

sredni vashtar said...

Names: when you're sketching out characters, do you aim for a bit of the ol' neuro-linguistic programming via the 'weight' of their names-- or just choose names you like the sound of, that "fit" with the fictional universe in question, and run with them?

(Or a bit or both / neither...?)

I'm thinking, again, particularly (but by no means exclusively) of villains here.

Al said...

Oh, I should add: place names and denominative nouns could just as well be included in the subject of that question.

I mean, some of them (the "gleves" and "sagittars" in Horus Rising, for example) clearly have direct and immediately relevant connotations; others are more subtle and open to interpretation (and may, in fact, exist only in the reader's smart-arse imagination-- hence this question).

So: are levels of meaning something you always consider and try to factor in when choosing names, or only in specific cases when they're salient to the plot and/or setting?

sredni vashtar said...

Hmm. Both preceding posts are mine; I've no idea how I managed to post each under a different account. I'm just special that way.

Rob said...


This sort of bridges the gap between the questions about characters and the questions about descriptions:

I've been trying to beef up my first person narrative voice recently, especially my descriptive powers. My first step has been to reread several first-person novels I liked (including Eisenhorn), while armed with a highlighter and book of post-it notes.

What I noticed about your descriptive passages is that you spend a lot of time illustrating physical space and objects, but generally don't go into detail describing a character's physical features, instead dropping one or two traits (hair color, a scar, a tattoo) and moving on to a much more colorful descriptions of their clothes. Now my theory is that you do this because you'd rather the reader fill in the faces with his imagination, but I'd be curious about your thoughts on it. (Though you go into a little more detail about character's bodies when describing the Ghosts- after all, they're mostly wearing the same thing.)

By the way, I've really enjoyed my re-read of Eisenhorn, in fact I'm enjoying it more the second time. I even formed a pet theory why it's unquestionably the best of your 40k novels- but this comment's already too long.

SteinarH said...

What is your stance on the usage and subversion/inversion/etc of tropes?

I don't even know if authors really acknowledge tropes as something they use while writing, so I thought it would be interesting to ask a professional author about them.

Also(to the rest of you), never go to if you have a tight schedule, just trying to read the tropes listed under Dan will keep you busy for a day...

Don't say I didn't warn you :p

David said...

Hey Dan, regarding your question about writing tips... My name is David Ploss and i've been working on a series of discussions regarding the writing process. It's called "The Writer's Circle" Its specifically tailored to those of us who write 40k and Fantasy fiction! If you needed any more ideas for writing tips to post here, why don't you have a stop over to Heresy-Online and check out The Writer's Circle? Its located in our Original Works section. Here is the link to an indexed thread of the posts;

my username on Heresy-Online is Commissar Ploss, and i'm the Moderator of the Fiction subforum. I got into writing fiction because of you and have much of it posted at Heresy-Online. Also, if i might ask a personal favor, perhaps sign up at Heresy and comment on some of the Writer's Circle discussions? I would really appreciate your input. Sorry for the long comment.

Also wanted to point out that Aaron Dembski-Bowden has become an avid member of Heresy-Online as well! If you do choose to sign up, please use my username as your referrer. thanks mate!


オテモヤン said...


sredni vashtar said...

SteinarH: Woah. That site is kinda... autistic, and not in a good way. I'm not gonna kick off the whole 'tropes or genre conventions' debate on someone else's blog, but I will say that if literally every 'conventional' character or preconceived plot device is considered a trope, then yeah-- it's literally impossible to write (never mind to publish) popular fiction without them :P

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know when black library site gonna live again?

We have fucking missing books for 6 weeks already!!!!

sredni vashtar said...

Anonymous (if that is your real name): you can still order new BL releases via the GW online store (and/or Amazon, and/or any number of other bookstores, for that matter). chill.

cavyguru said...

hey Dan, is writing for the Black Library any differant to other publishers ie i am writing something kinda big now and would like it considered by the black library as it is 40k based. before i approach them i'd like to know what they expect? ideas, first draft, draft in process, full edit word legnth, series layouts character profile sheets ect ect. Writing for the 40k universe is quite differant from generic sci-fi fantasy, i'm sure backhistories and race specifics are important but how far can peotic license take me -as some races are pretty scant on historical details. Am i allowed to 'create' new non codexed units and/or weaponry?

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