I’ve noticed a lack of descriptions in print published fiction lately. Maybe they are already trying to write the screen/ script version of their story and expect descriptions of places and people will be covered by the set designers, costume designers and so on. The lack of descriptions is disappointing. Yet, it fits with the disposable, temporary and fast fry sort of culture we have these days.
I can remember reading descriptions I sank into, as a fiction reader. Descriptions which bloomed into an entire story, not just the background or setting for the events taking place. Characters who really had character rather than fast paced, smart-mouthed dialogue.
So, when I read this post about flash fiction I did not expect to see poetic descriptions encouraged. But, I was very glad to read it and pass along the advice.
A good, poetic description is not wordy. It’s wordful – think mindfulness for words.
Poetic Descriptions Save Space
Poetic skill is a great tool to have in your arsenal. With it, you can capture memorable moments in a few words, while simultaneously conveying deeper levels of meaning. The English language is filled with nuances and subtleties that even the best poet can’t get a handle on. Take a chance and write some poetry in your pieces.
I’m still looking for more science fiction subgenres so this list isn’t enough for me. But, it is a good place to start. Also great as inspiration when you get stuck for ideas or have ideas and can’t pin them down.
Child in Peril: involving the abduction and/or persecution of a child.
Comic Horror: horror stories that either spoof horror conventions or that mix the gore with dark humor.
Creepy Kids: horror tale in which children – often under the influence of dark forces – begin to turn against the adults.
Dark Fantasy: a horror story with supernatural and fantasy elements.
Dark Mystery/Noir: inspired by hardboiled detective tales, set in an urban underworld of crime and moral ambiguity.
Erotic Vampire: a horror tale making the newly trendy link between sexuality and vampires, but with more emphasis on graphic description and violence.
Fabulist: derived from “fable,” an ancient tradition in which objects, animals or forces of nature are anthropomorphized in order to deliver a moral lesson.
Gothic: a traditional form depicting the encroachment of the Middle Ages upon the 18th century Enlightenment, filled with images of decay and ruin, and episodes of imprisonment and persecution.
Hauntings: a classic form centering on possession by ghosts, demons or poltergeists, particularly of some sort of structure.
Historical: horror tales set in a specific and recognizable period of history.
Magical Realism: a genre inspired by Latin-American authors, in which extraordinary forces or creatures pop into otherwise normal, real-life settings.
Psychological: a story based on the disturbed human psyche, often exploring insane, altered realities and featuring a human monster with horrific, but not supernatural, aspects.
Quiet Horror: subtly written horror that uses atmosphere and mood, rather than graphic description, to create fear and suspense.
Religious: horror that makes use of religious icons and mythology, especially the angels and demons derived from Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost.
Science-Fiction Horror: SF with a darker, more violent twist, often revolving around alien invasions, mad scientists, or experiments gone wrong.
Splatter: a fairly new, extreme style of horror that cuts right to the gore.
Supernatural Menace: a horror tale in which the rules of normal existence don’t apply, often featuring ghosts, demons, vampires and werewolves.
Technology: stories featuring technology that has run amok, venturing increasingly into the expanding domain of computers, cyberspace, and genetic engineering.
Weird Tales: inspired by the magazine of the same name, a more traditional form featuring strange and uncanny events (Twilight Zone).
Young Adult: horror aimed at a teen market, often with heroes the same age, or slightly older than, the reader.
Zombie: tales featuring dead people who return to commit mayhem on the living.
Alternate History: speculative fiction that changes the accepted account of actual historical events, often featuring a profound “what if?” premise.
Arthurian Fantasy: reworkings of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
Bangsian Fantasy: stories speculating on the afterlives of famous people.
Biopunk: a blend of film noir, Japanese anime and post-modern elements used to describe an underground, nihilistic biotech society.
Children’s Fantasy: a kinder, gentler style of fantasy aimed at very young readers.
Comic: fantasy or science fiction that spoofs the conventions of the genre, or the conventions of society.
Cyberpunk: stories featuring tough outsiders in a high-tech near-future where computers have produced major changes in society.
Dark Fantasy: tales that focus on the nightmarish underbelly of magic, venturing into the violence of horror novels.
Dystopian: stories that portray a bleak future world.
Erotic: SF or fantasy tales that focus on sexuality.
Game-Related Fantasy: tales with plots and characters similar to high fantasy, but based on a specific role-playing game like Dungeons and Dragons.
Hard Science Fiction: tales in which real present-day science is logically extrapolated to the future.
Heroic Fantasy: stories of war and its heroes, the fantasy equivalent of military science fiction.
High/Epic Fantasy: tales with an emphasis on the fate of an entire race or nation, often featuring a young “nobody” hero battling an ultimate evil.
Historical: speculative fiction taking place in a recognizable historical period.
Mundane SF: a movement that spurns fanciful conceits like warp drives, wormholes and faster-than-light travel for stories based on scientific knowledge as it actually exists.
Military SF: war stories that extrapolate existing military technology and tactics into the future.
Mystery SF: a cross-genre blend that can be either an SF tale with a central mystery or a classic whodunit with SF elements.
Mythic Fiction: stories inspired, or modeled on, classic myths, legends and fairy tales.
New Age: a category of speculative fiction that deals with occult subjects such as astrology, psychic phenomena, spiritual healing, UFOs and mysticism.
Post-Apocalyptic: stories of life on Earth after an apocalypse, focusing on the struggle to survive.
Romance: speculative fiction in which romance plays a key part.
Religious: centering on theological ideas, and heroes who are ruled by their religious beliefs.
Science Fantasy: a blend in which fantasy is supported by scientific or pseudo-scientific explanations.
Social SF: tales that focus on how characters react to their environments – including social satire.
Soft SF: tales based on the more subjective, “softer” sciences: psychology, sociology, anthropology, etc.
Space Opera: a traditional good guys/bad guys faceoff with lots of action and larger-than-life characters.
Spy-Fi: tales of espionage with SF elements, especially the use of high-tech gadgetry.
Steampunk: a specific type of alternate history in which characters in Victorian England have access to 20th century technology.
Superheroes: stories featuring characters endowed with superhuman strengths or abilities.
Sword and Sorcery: a classic genre often set in the medieval period, and more concerned with immediate physical threats than high or heroic fantasy.
Thriller SF: an SF story that takes on the classic world-at-risk, cliffhanger elements of a thriller.
Time-Travel: stories based on the concept of moving forward or backward in time, often delving into the existence of parallel worlds.
Urban Fantasy: a fantasy tale in which magical powers and characters appear in an otherwise normal modern context, similar to Latin American magical realism.
Vampire: variations on the classic vampire legend, recently taking on many sexual and romantic variations.
Wuxia: fantasy tales set within the martial arts traditions and philosophies of China.
Young Adult: speculative fiction aimed at a teenage audience, often featuring a hero the same age or slightly older than the reader.
Maybe you’ve never tried a role play game like Dungeons and Dragons so you don’t know anything about multi-sided dice (except as a rumour). But, I have played and felt the gamer angst of bad dice. If you can’t blame the dice, what can you blame? They don’t mind – you just get an even lower/ higher roll at the next most inconvenient time.
Examples of role playing dice shaming follow (found on Facebook). What would you write to shame the dice? Any game, if you don’t play roleplay with dice.
What a great list. How many of these did you already know? I can pick out a few. Then there are several I can remember hearing or reading but might not have remembered without seeing the explanation from the list.
Something like this gets me wondering how many of these skills could we learn again should technology fail or we some how end up in a backwards/ old fashioned dystopia?
1. ackerman: a plowman or oxherder
2. alewife: a proprietor of a tavern
3. alnager: a wool inspector
4. arkwright: a carpenter specializing in wooden chests
5. bowyer: a bowmaker
6. brazier: a brass worker
7. catchpole: an official who pursues those with delinquent debts
8. caulker: someone who packs seams in ships or around windows
9. chandler: a candlemaker, or a retail supplier of specific equipment
10. chiffonier: a wigmaker
11. cobbler: a shoemaker
12. collier: a coal miner or a maker of charcoal (also, a ship that transports coal)
13. cooper: a maker or repairer of barrels, casks, and tubs
14. cordwainer: a shoemaker
15. costermonger: a fruit seller
16. crocker: a potter
17. currier: a leather tanner, or a horse groom
18. draper: a cloth dealer
19. drayman: a driver of a heavy freight cart
20. drummer: a traveling salesman
21. duffer: a peddler
22. eggler: an egg seller
23. factor: an agent or steward
24. farrier: someone who trims horse hooves and puts on horseshoes
25. fishmonger: a fish seller
26. fletcher: a maker of arrows
27. fuller: someone who shrinks and thickens wool cloth
28. glazier: a glassmaker or window maker
29. haberdasher: an owner of or worker in a store for men’s clothing or small items used for making clothes
30. hawker: a peddler
31. hayward: an official responsible for fences and hedges
32. higgler: a peddler of dairy products and small game (also, a haggler, or someone who negotiates for lower prices)
33. hobbler: a person who tows boats on a canal or river
34. hooper: a maker of hoops for barrels, casks, and tubs
35. hostler or ostler: one who cares for horses or mules, or moves or services locomotives (originally, an innkeeper, who also maintained stables)
36. huckster: a peddler (now refers to a con artist)
37. ice cutter: someone who saws blocks of ice for refrigeration
38. ironmonger: a seller of items made of iron
39. joiner: a carpenter who specializes in furniture and fittings
40. keeler: a crew member on a barge or a keelboat
41. knacker: one who buys animals or animal carcasses to use as animal food or as fertilizer (originally, a harness maker or saddle maker)
42. knocker-up: a professional waker, who literally knocks on doors or windows to rouse people from sleep
43. lamplighter: someone who lights, extinguishes, and refuels gas street lamps
44. lapidary: a jeweler
45. lector: someone who reads to factory workers for entertainment
46. log driver: someone who floats and guides logs downriver for transportation
47. milliner: a designer, maker, or seller of women’s hats
48. muleskinner: a wagon driver
49. peruker: a wigmaker
50. pinsetter: someone who sets bowling pins back up after each bowl
51. plowright: a maker of plows and other farm implements
52. plumber: originally, one who installed lead roofing or set lead frames for windows
53. porter: a doorkeeper or gatekeeper
54. puddler: a worker in wrought iron
55. quarryman: a stonecutter
56. raker: a street cleaner
57. resurrectionist: someone who digs up recently buried corpses for use as cadavers
58. ripper: a fish seller
59. roper: a maker of nets and ropes
60. sawyer: a carpenter
61. slater: a roofer
62. slopseller: a seller of ready-made clothing, as opposed to a tailor
63. stevedore: a dockworker
64. tanner: someone who cures animal hides to make leather
65. teamster: a wagon driver
66. thatcher: someone who makes thatched roofs
67. tinker: a repairer or seller of small metal goods such as pots and pans
68. turner: someone who uses a lathe to turn wood for balustrades and spindles
69. victualer: an innkeeper, or a merchant who provides food for ships or for the military
70. wainwright: a wagon maker
71. webster: a weaver
72. weirkeeper: a fish trapper
73. wharfinger: an owner or operator of a wharf
74. wheelwright: a maker of wheels for carriages and wagons
75. whitesmith: a worker of tin
I’ve heard all kinds of sword names. I like to play RPG online and character names could just as easily be good sword names too. To pick a name for my own sword… that will take some time and consideration. Not too much of the fantasy or dramatic, I’d like a name with some sense of history. Danger too.
These images come from Imgur, a dice shaming gallery from role playing gamers. Two in particular made me laugh, but I didn’t read through all of them. Come up with your own ideas for dice shaming. What did/ could the dice do to your character in a game like Dungeons and Dragons?
Though it’s been around for a while, I’ve just recently come across the actual name of what is now my favorite genre to read, Gaslamp Fantasy Fiction.
I came across it quite by accident while scrolling on Twitter and decided to do a little research on the topic by way of searching the internet.Inspired by the classic work of nineteenth-century authors such as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and the Brontes, Gaslamp is virtually an alternate take on Victorian times with a fascinating twist.Although similar to Steampunk, another fun variant that usually takes place using the same time period, Gaslamp lacks most of the science and contraptions that make Steampunk what it is.