Don’t Tax Black Magic!


Tell us what you thought of the June 2010 issue!

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Post June 24, 2010, 11:09:10 PM

Don’t Tax Black Magic!

Nice intro. It worked by easing into the story and getting the reader’s
attention. The smooth and interesting start worked well for this medieval sword and sorcery tell, and the information about paying taxes also added some sense of purpose for visiting the old lady Ko. And Gao Yanglin’s character showed as a dominate citizen by entrusting him
to collect taxes for the emperor.

The story moves along at the right speed with no sharp jumps, and it managed to hold my attention until the end. I did read it twice because I started getting it confused with another story I read a few days prior to reading this one. From beginning to the end the story held a fluency that I have always liked.

Character development was Okay except with the two ‘demons.’ The two demons were passively portrayed, given or showed no essence, and the one thing that I didn’t like---the demons had not names or any substitute names given to them by Gao or Ma or Wan. This makes a character flat. Even a demon should have a name.

The ending was stereotypical in which we could have predicted the outcome.

The story was Okay but it can be improved.

Nice job. :)
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Post July 17, 2010, 10:32:40 PM

Setting the Setting

I just noticed this:

(In italics)

Time: Early Twelfth Century. Place: Song Dynasty China.


Brilliant. One of those so-obvious conventions that has not yet become default.

It states the setting efficiently, so that the rest of the story isn't wasted with the reader trying to figure out if this is Kim Stanley Robinson's alternate history Chinese-Europe or some such.

My biggest peeve with Classical Fantasy for example is most of it should read "Parallel History 13th century England/Hungary"

Really, ever notice that Fantasy has Deux-Ex-Magic but no technicians?

"Gee Merlin, if you conjured 4 interlocking gears like so, you could make a clock that can tell time down to seconds"

Former Congressional Librarian Daniel Boorstin posits that if you get your clock right, some 25% of the rest of civilization follows automatically.

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Post July 17, 2010, 10:47:02 PM

Chinese Culture

Borderline flamebait here.

But I have to try.

Ever notice that Chinese Lore has short sentences?

This story has funny formatting.

It's almost like the author is afraid.

Afraid to write long sentences and anything resembling a paragraph.

Old Lady Ko lives on!

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Post July 20, 2010, 04:28:41 AM

Re: Setting the Setting

TaoPhoenix wrote:I just noticed this:

(In italics)

Time: Early Twelfth Century. Place: Song Dynasty China.


Brilliant. One of those so-obvious conventions that has not yet become default.


And I truly hope it never will. I know we have different reading styles, so this is mainly a matter of taste. But still, this kind of stating a setting is telling on a meta level. It tells something about a story from the outside that I would rather learn from the the story itself.

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Post July 20, 2010, 08:59:20 AM

Re: Setting the Setting

vates wrote:
And I truly hope it never will. I know we have different reading styles, so this is mainly a matter of taste. But still, this kind of stating a setting is telling on a meta level. It tells something about a story from the outside that I would rather learn from the the story itself.


I think it depends on how volatile the settings are. On short stories I don't like trying to distinguish between alternate histories and straight fantasy. For Futuristic SF, those kinds of markers can give a hint how exotic the tech is supposed to be.
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Post July 20, 2010, 10:47:21 AM

But still, this kind of stating a setting is telling on a meta level.
This technique is merely one tool in a writer's toolbox. It has usefulness, as well as limitations. In this instance, I thought it worked well. "Telling on a meta level" isn't cheating, it's efficient, and sometimes as necessary as any other telling vs. showing. Sometimes an info-dump actually is the best way to convey information, and this can be seen in that way: a mere eight words, in this example, and the reader has a usable background, and the writer can then go on to other things, like conflict and character development.
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Post August 08, 2010, 06:08:37 PM

My thoughts about Don't Tax Black Magic.

Thanks for your comments about my story, Don't Tax Black Magic. I like reading about China and Japan, which is where my stories are coming from. I took a few asian history and philosophy classes in college, plus I've studied asian martial arts. I've another story that takes place in Song dynasty China that I've just finished. I also have a second Lady Jin and One eyed Nu story that I'm working on. I've read in a book called, Get Known Before the Book Deal by Cristina Katz, that you should have a certain topic that you focus on, which will distinguish you from other writers. I choose to write about China and Japan, because most people are writing fantasies that take place in medieval Europe. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I love a lot of those books and stories. I just want to do my own thing. Katz's book is pretty good. I recommend it.
Check out my writer's blog: http://gary_feather1.livejournal.com
Check out my Tales of East Asia blog:
http://www.garywfeather.blogspot.com

Post October 10, 2011, 02:22:03 PM

Great!

nice! :D

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