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The irksome and annoying...fantasy tools that we could well do without

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message 1: by George (new)

George Straatman After discussing many of the aspects of the genre that make fantasy such a compelling body of literature, it might be interesting to consider the traits of fantasy that would better serve the genre if they were consigned to the dust bin of fantasy history.

I will start off with one of the tools often used and one I find the most vexing (a tool that has driven many neophyte potential fans away from the genre)...the need to create names of characters, places and long langauge phrases in the invented language of the author's contrived cultures...While this might be interpreted as a sign of creativity, it can quickly grow tiresome for a reader who has to repeatedly stumble through 15 letter words (often with nary a vowel to be found)in what can often become a tortuous exercise in tongue twisting...I think that it is commonly understood that the characters in a fantasy novel are probably speaking in a langauge other than English, so the need to display endless examples of this fact escapes me...This is a tool that should be used sparingly. Again, this is only a personal dislike and I'm sure there are many how find this practice rather entertaining...So there is one to get the ball rolling...what are some other?


message 2: by James (last edited Feb 12, 2010 08:01AM) (new)

James Hurley (AngusHurley) | 6 comments I don't think this tool is so much a problem as long as the writer allows for some method of understanding what is supposed to being said, otherwise, it's just gibberish. (so a response in English to the statement from another character to the tasking language allows the meaning to come through, otherwise, it's self indulgent, and most readers will tire of that pretty quickly)
For me, I find I lose interest quickly with evil characters written as card board cut outs, with no human qualities or no qualities that can be related to, they're one dimensional personifications of 'evil'.


message 3: by George (new)

George Straatman James I couldn't concur with you more...I've just post a review of Chris Paolini's Eldest and that is one of the biggest failing of that rather flawed novel...His antagonist is oft mentioned, but not once in 999 pages of dialogue does he ever utter a single word...In the three novels of my horror trilogy, I labored endless to provide the reader with some insight into the story's antagonist...to give the reader some sense of who she is and what motivates her to do the things she does over the course of the three segments...Ignoring the antagonist has become epidemic in literature today and is a common failing in many otherwise sound novels.


message 4: by Paul (new)

Paul Evil is often banal, but seldom uses quirky placement of apostrophes.


message 5: by James (new)

James Hurley (AngusHurley) | 6 comments sorry Paul, but I could think of no other way to get that eeeeee-vil hissing sound that melodrama often uses...(the down side of posting, so much of what is said is often tonal in quality to portray meaning; perhaps another thing I wish some writers could come across better without the tiresome adverbs I sometimes see.)


message 6: by Paul (new)

Paul Oh, I do agree, James. And whether in fantasy or contemporary realistic (semi) thriller, overuse of slang or dialect becomes tiresome very quickly. Similarly, the use of a glossary or footnotes soon palls.

Far better to assume that English (or some language we can immediately assume to be English) is the language of choice, whatever the setting.


message 7: by George (new)

George Straatman I find an under-developed antagonist annoying primarily because, by nature, I'm an analytical fellow and so I often find myself looking for the root cause of a character's action...cookie cutter villians never actually seem to have any underlying motivations which makes them rather pointless...judging by what is popular in current movies and literature...this is not so much of an impediment to most people.


message 8: by Pam (new)

Pam Riggins | 8 comments George wrote: "I find an under-developed antagonist annoying primarily because, by nature, I'm an analytical fellow and so I often find myself looking for the root cause of a character's action...cookie cutter vi..."

Evil for evil's sake irks me. I want the bad guys to have a reason for what they are doing. Just the normal destroy the world thing just doesn't work.




message 9: by David (new)

David | 9 comments I agree, villains should be as well defined as heroes. It adds to the story and perhaps creates a little sympathy for the bad guy (or girl). One dimensional characters rarely exist in the real world and characters is books are best when they reflect at least some aspects of reality.


message 10: by Pam (new)

Pam Riggins | 8 comments Well, taking over the world is a proper meglomaniac goal. Me, I'd settle for a small, wealthy, exotic island.

But really, the taking over the world thing doesn't bother me so long as it makes sense. Taking over the world just to have something to do is a bit dull. But if there is a solid (even if misguided) reason for it than it is fine with me.


message 11: by George (new)

George Straatman One of the things that is often neglected in the structure of a fantasy story (mind you, fantasy is not the only genre in which this shortcoming often manifests itself...but, as I perceive this genre to be the pinnacle of written fiction, I hold it to higher account) is that the reader is never really provided with an insight into the way the antagonist perceives the opposition. This may be a reflection of the skill (or more succinctly, the lack thereof) that the author can muster. The villian's justifications do not attenuate his or her acts of evil...but they certainly make them more interesting to consider. Not all fantasy novels have to have this degree of depth and complexity...but they will if they are to stand as exemplary pieces of fantasy fiction. People desire blacks and whites, but if you venture too deeply into motivations...they may only find varying shades of gray.


message 12: by Dennis (new)

Dennis Pennefather | 12 comments I agree with you all regarding the portrayal of 'villians', who often are portrayed as little more than the 'wallpaper' in the rooms of physical and moral danger, wherein protagonists meet their challenges in advancing through the plot. 'Bad guys' of the single dimension are really boring. Author skills certainly come into play here, but giving more three-dimensional substance to villians can result in wordy tombs of 'War & Peace' proportions, instead of the good weekend read that the author sets out to produce.
I think that in the fantasy and SF genre, it is somewhat easier to strike a balance in illuminating the character and motivations of the antagonists.
In 'The Understanding', I adopted a cosmology that accepts that there is no 'good' nor 'bad', so no matter what vile anctics the antagonists get up to, they are merely playing their 'parts' in the cosmic script,and death retires all into an equal spiritual,'state of grace'.
Of course this need not be as boringly predictable as it may seem, as there are 'datum points' in the cosmic script, when the plan can go 'feral' with disasterous consequences.
In the end, while the storyline is normally lived through the eyes of the protagonists (in my style albeit) I feel obliged to give my antagonists a decent amount of background and substance.


message 13: by James (new)

James Hurley (AngusHurley) | 6 comments It seems to me that the scariest 'villian' would be someone we can relate to because for the most part, we identify with them.

A villian who says I care about my people, I care about my family and friends, and we are struggling and the way for our struggle to be less is to do _______;(blank being that act we consider evil; take your land, take your money, enslave your people, etc.)It can be a tool where you can get monstrous evil, and still have a strong, identifiable character.(albeit probably not sympathetic or likeable, but if a reader is contrasting himself with a villian, then he's not just a cardboard prop...he's part of the story.)


message 14: by George (new)

George Straatman Thus far, it is pretty well agreed that mindless and undefined villainy is something that fantasy (indeed, all fiction) could do without. To a lesser extent, it would not be a sorry occasion to see the invented languages and character names that torture the tongue go the way of the dodo bird. If cookie cutter villains offend the sensibilities, what of the cardboard cultural depictions that seem to plague fantasy. Fantasy should be the most creative, boundless genre that fiction has to offer…no constraints…no conventions…and yet, every Elvin race is the same, every dwarf is a surly, but good-hearted fellow who is a master smith and loves to dwell in dark tunnels….plainspeople are dour, nomadic…stern and intimidating…the list could go on and on…these cultures are often depicted in such a conformist to the norm fashion that it can be difficult to recall exactly which author you might be reading at any given moment…By it’s very nature, one would think that fantasy would be the last genre where this sort of ‘racial profiling’ (for the lack of a better term) would hold sway. Does this not seem odd to other fantasy enthusiasts?


message 15: by Paul (new)

Paul Yes, strange. It can be explained in many cases by fantasy writers (I point no fingers) just accepting the stereotypes because they're too lazy or lack the imagination to do any different. Another fctor might be fear of upsetting the audience by trying something different.

But perhaps the biggest factor is that many people write fantasy because there are no absolutes. They imagine it's easy, requiring no thought or research or consistency of approach. So you get a lack-lustre, sub-standard product - sadly, in all too many cases.


message 16: by James (new)

James Hurley (AngusHurley) | 6 comments How much of that, though, is driven by commercialism or marketing, I am forced to wonder? I mean, one only has to look at the back of a book cover to see the comment, "written in the spirit of...." whomever,or some other such banal comment suggesting the worth of the book simply because it has a similar feel to something already written. And the urge to publish, drives conciously or subconciously, the story sometimes.(not that it should, but I imagine it might for some)

In the end, the desire for recognition through publication and commercial success also reinforces this trend in some ways..


message 17: by George (new)

George Straatman It's not that there should be no constant in dealing with cultural subjects...I do believe in respecting some conventions...I hate the concept that vampire now strut about and glitter in the sunlight and have become pretty boys with long flowing hair...but fantasy seems to have taken it to the extreme in creating conventions without deviation...to the point where every Elf or dwarf seems like they've rolled off an assembly line...by our very nature, we humans will often paint other cultures with one brush, trying to ascribe unvarying characteristics to other races in the name of national identity...it is a sad reality of the world we've created...as fantasy is...in part...escapist, It might be better if that inclination to brand and label with rigid cultural traits did not find its way into so many fantasy works.
I do also agree with James in the sense that...if you write with commerical success in mind...writing a novel populated with fat elves who are clumsy and live in the deep recesses of a mountain...it is probable that the average fantasy fan might not be pleased and you would go very hungry indeed.


message 18: by Laurel (new)

Laurel | 1 comments WOW! this is great!! I am currently writing a fantasy series and I LOVE reading this thread... makes me go back to the board and brush up some back story not only on my 'evil villain' but the relationship he has to the protagonist.
I appreciate the fact that everyone here is treating Fantasy as though it is a perfectly legitimate genre.
The best part is that all the comments are succinctly executed and well written.
I'll be back.


message 19: by Pam (new)

Pam Riggins | 8 comments While we are on the subject of glittering vampires, I would like to see the death of all hybrids. The Fairy-vampire-witch-werewolf, or the half-dragon-witch-fairy-satyr, or whatever other combination of strange DNA gets mixed up in the fantasy soup.

I think in the case of elves and dwarves and such, though, some of it is less about laziness than "if it aint' broke, don't fix it." The archtype works, and it provides a common knowledge for the reader and the author. I think the idea of changing the archtype just for the sake of change is what brings on the glittering vampires of the world. People trying to be different just for the point of being different.




message 20: by Lord (last edited Feb 25, 2010 05:35AM) (new)

Lord Hugh | 1 comments I think Pam has a good point. Including classic characters such as elves, dwarves, and wizards is rarely a sign of laziness. Traditionally, fantasy has been based in mythology; Scandinavian mythology for the most part. It isn't as if one author created these races from nowhere and now everyone is copying him. It's actually quite Jungian to see similar elements in very different stories.
As for the languages, I think it's brilliant. I'm a linguist so when I can trace fantasy languages back to Old Icelandic, Latin, and Gaelic, I'm thrilled. If a language is complete nonsense, I see no point to including it in a book. But if someone has gone to the effort to resurrect dead languages in some way, we should be able to bite our twisting tongues and appreciate it.


message 21: by Pam (new)

Pam Riggins | 8 comments Thanks, Lord. (that was odd to right, lol)
But yes, if someone says that a character is a dwarf, then I expect the character to at least resemble a dwarf. Don't call it a dwarf and then have it act like, say, a Tinkerbell, just to be different. If you are going to change the reader expectation, have a good reason for doing so. I just finished reading The Doom Guardian: Chronicles of Cambrea and the author introducing different "races" of dwarves and elves and such. One of the main characters is a type of dwarf that can call upon the earth spirits to do things like turn his skin to stone in battle or summon up stone spikes to impale enemies. There is another type of dwarf race that worship this giant fire elemental and can turn part of their body into metal objects. She also presents them with different social structures. One dwarf community has a chieftain and shaman, another is more a traditional small town with local government, another has a king. It stuck close to the traditional idea of dwarves, but also sort of presented them in a way that gave them more believability.

But speaking of Latin, people should not use latin words in fantasy settings unless Latin is a native language. People use Latin as a universal "language of magic" and it is annoying. Of course, you see a lot of new age magic books that do the same thing. Maybe that is where they get it from!


message 22: by Pam (new)

Pam Riggins | 8 comments Yea! I got the little add book/author tag to work!
(now to try to figure out how to use html...)


message 23: by James (new)

James Hurley (AngusHurley) | 6 comments The Archtypes are okay as structural beginnings in any story, but a writer does have to be careful when archtype becomes stereotype. If you move too far away from the archtype, as it's already been noted, then there is a risk of confusion or annoyance to the reader.
Steven King, in his book on writing, talks about it as being lazy. Every dwarf is sullen and grumpy. I mean, so they don't laugh, and love their children, or have periods of introspection? One of the things that make stories work is that there is character growth. (and one of the reasons why I got bored with the Dragonlance series, I mean, Flint is always gruff...Tasslehoff is always playful...in a general sense this type of writing may appeal to some, but personally, there are too many other books out there to read, so those got put back on my shelf as just part of my library.)
Otherwise fine writing can be ruined by oversimplification of a characters behavior.


message 24: by George (new)

George Straatman James has succinctly made the point that I was hoping someone would touch upon...ascribing unvarying characteristics to a specific race, be it in the fantasy genre or the real world is the first step down the path to racism...dangerous and destructive in the real world...simply boring in the realm of fiction. While a dwarf shouldn't be eight feet tall (unless the story's other constructs are fifteen feet tall) that is the only nod to convention that an author should be obligated to respect...it should be possible that a dwarf can have a sunny, even capricious disposition and not particularly care for mead...fantasy should be the genre with the fewest amount of strictures, but the deeper one delves into the genre, the more it becomes obvious that this is not the case.


message 25: by Dune (last edited Jun 22, 2010 09:02AM) (new)

Dune Elliot (duneelliot) | 14 comments I have to admit that this thread has been eye-opening and very informative. I am a writer of fantasy literature and struggle to write the antagonist, and I know how important it is to create one that readers can relate to. Despite my struggle, I attempted to create an "evil" entity that the reader could understand, and not just one that wanted to take over the world just because they were greedy.
The other point that was brought up in this thread was the familiarity of the races; elves, dwarves etc. One of the reasons I love fantasy is my love of the elven race in Tolkien's LOTR; immortal and fair. I didn't want to change that image that most people have of what elves are, because that is why we like them. However, I did take certain liberties with my elven character and think that they worked well...and I didn't include dwarves in the story...just their descendants.
Creating too many new races throws a lot of confusion into the mix, and so during my writing, I invented a couple (based loosely on other mythical races) and stuck with some of those that are familiar. Granted, my book isn't the MOST original ever written, but according to some of the reviews I have received it is a page turner and keeps readers interested.
I am also aware that creating a language is both a blessing and a bane. As such I have tried to limit my use of elvish to no more than a few phrases here and there to give the book added mythical air. I also agree with not creating long and lengthy places, words or names; as a reader (as well as a writer) of fantasy I struggle with them and will often put a book down if I can't read it smoothly. My names and places are not common and are inventions of my imagination, but I have kept them short and easy to read.
Thanks for reading

Dune Elliot

One more thing to add, and it's when authors create brand new names for creatures that already exist...it was one of the issues I had with Trudi Canavan's Black Magician Trilogy. If it's a spider, call it a spider...it makes things flow so much easier. Or you end up bulking out the story with too much description of what the creature is, when one word would have sufficed.


message 26: by Marc (last edited Jun 21, 2010 03:32AM) (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 97 comments This is an interesting thread, and one that I don't recall seeing before. Certainly I would have commented on it if I had, since I write my fantasy novels with many of these points in mind. I don't focus on my villain to the extent that Dr. Horrible, Soon I Will Be Invincible, or Evil Genius do, but I do try to give them some human failings, or more human goals than world conquest. Since I write my books from the point of view of the characters in it, I do occasionally have to come up with new words for the things they see, but I try to stick to a sensible structure. If it's a creature of great familiarity, the name for it will not be 15 syllables long. Languages are abrasive, the more a word gets used the more it gets rubbed down to the smallest necessary bit. I needed a dog-analog, so I created daks. As for elves, I deal with that by not using them at all. (Not entirely true; I did use them in 'Off the Map', but I made caricatures of them for comic purposes, and they weren't the heart of the story anyway.) I have a story with dragons ('A Soft Spot for Dragons', which is part of my current WIP, Tales of Uncle), but that deals with their origins, not with the dragons themselves. My werewolf novel St. Martin's Moon is about the people who become wolves and the men who hunt them, rather than werewolves themselves. My vampires (in 'Bite Deep') are the most different, since I related them strongly to a number of the worlds mythologies, and left out the ruffled silk shirts and boudoirs.


message 27: by Lisa M (last edited Jun 21, 2010 09:48AM) (new)

Lisa M | 8 comments I really enjoy this thread, and these are great points. I agree with them all. The main advice new writers always hear/read is to be unique. Unfortunately, I've noticed several very popular books that seem to ignore this advice. Two of those have been mentioned in this thread already: Eragon and Twilight (those infamous sparkly vampires). It pains me to say it, but stereotypes sell. Personally I dislike both series. I can't stand them. But writers are going to see their success, and publishers are going to eat up Twilight and Eragon clones.

There are a myriad of good, unique fantasy stories out there, but they don't have the exposure of those two. It's sad, really.

(Sorry, personal pet peeve of mine. :P)


message 28: by Brendan (new)

Brendan Carroll (brendancarroll) | 26 comments This thread is truly enlightening and I am happy to say that I agree with almost all the points noted here. Especially LISA MH's post about the unique fantasy stories out there without the exposure of TWILIGHT and ERAGON or HARRY POTTER. My own work (which spans several years of my life) endeavors to use mythology and history as a basis for characters, names and places. Familiar things to readers of fantasy and yet not overly extravagant by way of pronunciation or over use of made up words. Even the unpronounceable Gaelic words I sometimes use or the names of Fairy Clans or types can be found by googling them. As far as place names, I use real places and real settings that either come from the concrete physical world in which we live or from historical reference/mythology that has been around for thousands of years. I like to think that my readers (those curious enough) can actually jot down a name or a place and do a little research if they like and find references to them in other works. Almost all of my Knights' names come from real people though I mix and match the first and last names in order to avoid problems. My antagonists are people or monsters you love to hate until you find out what motivates them and then sometimes you might even find yourself liking them much to your own chagrin.


message 29: by Krista (new)

Krista D. (kristadb1) | 5 comments Granted, I have read slush piles for a book publisher and a short story publisher, plus I belonged to a critique group of new authors for a long time. So, I can no longer remember which I've read in slush/unpublished and which I've read in published books.

Nevertheless, here is my list of pet peeves:

1. Women that stand around and do nothing. Now, I'm not suggesting that the princess grabs a sword and kills the zombie horde when she's never held a sword before, but for god's sake, she could try being cunning or something. There is a middle ground!

2. Books where the hero is trying to convince his sister to agree to an arranged marriage. The author shows how strong the woman is by having her throw a temper tantrum that rivals anything my 11 year old can put out. /yawn

3. Every single flipping woman in the book falls in love with the hero. Thankfully, there are only two women in the entire book.

4. There are only two women in the entire book, including the serving wench.

5. Everyone looks, dresses, and sounds the same. Unless they are human.

6. Pompous, ultra-formal language is used by everyone.

Lots of really great comments in this thread about some of my other favourites.


message 30: by Charles (new)

Charles (kainja) | 73 comments I don't think this is a problem if the author remembers to do the names largely phonetically so they can be pronounced as they appear to read.


message 31: by Krista (new)

Krista D. (kristadb1) | 5 comments I'm also ok with names that are "nicknamed". For example, if you are working on an Inuit-themed story (such as I am right now), the names are very different for english-speaking people unused to the language. So, I purposely picked names that were either very easy to say or that could be shortened easily for dialogue.


message 32: by Alan (new)

Alan (coachmt) | 12 comments Charles wrote: "I don't think this is a problem if the author remembers to do the names largely phonetically so they can be pronounced as they appear to read."

You'd be surprised. I worked very hard to make the fantasy language in my story easily phonetically pronouncible but some of my beta readers still couldn't puzzle them out. It didn't seem to affect their enjoyment of the story, but I put a pronounciation guide in the back to help.


message 33: by Charles (new)

Charles (kainja) | 73 comments Hum, I wouldn't have thought that. I like them when they're phonetic because I can just scan read them without puzzling over them.


message 34: by Dune (new)

Dune Elliot (duneelliot) | 14 comments I agree with the phonetically named characters and places, and it's something that I focused on in writing 'Necromancer'. I also kept them short for the most part; one or two long words, but hopefully easy to read. Despite this, I also put a pronunciation guide in the back, just in case.
Some of the best stories can be marred by an inability to read the names easily...I have even give up on a book when I struggled to read the names and places.


message 35: by Robert (new)

Robert | 3 comments For my part, I find the concept of fate to be irksome -- both in fantasy and in perceived reality. Self-determined action is far more interesting, and believable to me, than pre-determined action.


message 36: by Lisa M (new)

Lisa M | 8 comments Something I find over-used in fantasy (and this is tied strongly to Robert's fate comment) is prophecy. In adult books, at least, that plot device is tired and worn. It just screams of lazy writing. With children's books I can be more forgiving, because the core audience wants to get straight to the action and not build up whys and hows. There's a prophecy: nice and simple.

Don't get me wrong. Prophecy books can be well written. There can be tons of backstory in them, and they can be engaging. It just seems that, unless there's some unseen twist to the prophecy, it's been done before. And done a lot.


message 37: by Krista (last edited Jul 06, 2010 03:24PM) (new)

Krista D. (kristadb1) | 5 comments I have an (unpublished, but at a publisher for consideration) fantasy novel that has a prophecy at it's core and all of the scholars are debating what it means. And they really have sucked figuring it out, resulting in yet another innocent person getting killed.
:)


message 38: by Marc (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 97 comments Lisa MH wrote: "Something I find over-used in fantasy (and this is tied strongly to Robert's fate comment) is prophecy. In adult books, at least, that plot device is tired and worn. It just screams of lazy writing..."

I sort of make fun of prophecies in my first book, The Flame in the Bowl: Unbinding the Stone. There's a whole series of books just filled with them, that a god references at one point, and he and the hero try to figure out what they might mean, over breakfast.


message 39: by Dune (last edited Jul 09, 2010 08:08AM) (new)

Dune Elliot (duneelliot) | 14 comments I think that using prophecy is okay in a fantasy book as long as it's not something that the author focuses on primarily. Everything shouldn't revolve around the prophecy and how the character's life fits in to making the prophecy work.
Prophecy works when it's a background deal; yes the character is supposed to do something...but what if he/she doesn't want to? What if they need to be convinced? It shouldn't be about the prophecy, it should be about the character learning who he/she is!


message 40: by Terry (new)

Terry Kroenung (terrykroenung) | 3 comments Agreed. In BRIMSTONE AND LILY I have a prophecy, but my protagonist Verity ridicules it every chance she gets, even lamenting how bad the verse writing of it is. But then, the whole book is a gentle parody of YA "quest lit" anyhow. :)


message 41: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Hair | 26 comments Another really irksome thing, I know we've discussed it a little bit, is when fantasy authors assumed you know how the military/religious order/or hierarchy naturally breaks down, and throw it at you every turn. Just picked up Tracy Hickman's Song of the Dragon, and didn't get three pages before getting disgusted. How am I to even understand how the 1st captain acts towards the Bazik without someone telling me. I believe that "my supierior" would be sufficient.


message 42: by Kim (new)

Kim (kimdkus) | 10 comments Hi all, I'm new here, but thought I'd jump right into this conversation. What drives me absolutely batty is when the main character, who has never picked up a sword,but knows the pointy side goes away from him, meets up with a fencing instructor, takes TWO weeks of fencing lessons and can suddenly fight in any war, with any meanie despite his experience and can take out a hord of orcs, knights, enemies, whomever in one swipe. ARG!!! Sorry, no!!!! It takes YEARS to learn any weapon. Not TWO WEEKS, not TWO MONTHS!! NOT TWO YEARS!!! BUT at least five years or more to learn to kill with a sword, bows and arrows, whatever. Sigh . . .


message 43: by Kim (new)

Kim (kimdkus) | 10 comments Terry Goodkind says the scariest bad guy is a guy who thinks he is doing good for everyone. He used the example of the terrorists who flew the planes into the towers. They thought they were doing the best for everyone by killing thousands of people. he's right, that is scary!!!

James wrote: "It seems to me that the scariest 'villian' would be someone we can relate to because for the most part, we identify with them.

A villian who says I care about my people, I care about my family ..."



message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

Being an author of YA fantasy, I've found this discussion interesting. Yet there seems to be a line of thought that is blurring the difference between YA and adult fantasy.

Several have mentioned Eragon and LOTR as examples. The problem with those book is one was written for YA and the other for adults, so comparing what to do and not do is fantasy doesn't work. Most kids won't read LOTR since it is well advanced and written specifically for scholarly reading - not for the mass market. They struggle with the names and languages Tolkien created. Yes, they grabbed onto it due to the movie and all the merchandise it has spawned, but not many have actually read the long, complicated book.

What I've learned from speaking with kids about my book ALLON is they want the familiar. It's something they can relate to. I purposely keep my names easy and use a known language for the "Ancient" tongue. Yes, you can say I use some typical cliches of the genre, but different enough to capture the imagination while dealing with issues kids want. It's not the 'vampires' in Twilight that sustain their interest, but theme of teenage angst.

The key to any genre is knowing the audience.


message 45: by Marc (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 97 comments Kim wrote: "What drives me absolutely batty is when the main character, who has never picked up a sword,but knows the pointy side goes ..."

Me too. I had no desire or interest in a training montage of any sort, so I invented Triple-Distilled Elixir of Warrior to get the job done while letting my story continue on pace.


message 46: by C.C. (new)

C.C. Cole (authorcccole) | 30 comments Can I humbly introduce my book "Act of Redemption" by me, C.C.Cole, which the female heroine is a serving wench, has used a multiple number of weapons many times, does not fall in love with a hero, and the villain shows his/her strategy...4 books in all "Children of Discord" coming out soon!


message 47: by Dune (new)

Dune Elliot (duneelliot) | 14 comments I have decided that the most annoying and irksome thing in fantasy fiction is that every writer has to write a trilogy; what is wrong with a story that begins and ends in one book?
Granted there are some great stories out there that make good trilogies, but realistically, most of them shouldn't be (Alison Croggan's is one that comes to mind).
When I set out to write my first story, I was certainly thinking how great it would be to have a LotR type trilogy. Only when I finished it did I realize how unrealistic and dumb that was! My first novel 'Necromancer' is a stand alone book in a series; each book contains it's own story, but each is relevant to the other. You can read one without a need to read the one before (it does help some, but not completely necessary).
Why is writing a trilogy so completely necessary?


message 48: by Larry (new)

Larry | 17 comments Well it seems everyone has covered all the major bases but I want to add a couple.

Any story where I have to check the map at the front of the book, if I am that lost then I am that bored. While I appreciate the time effort and detail I want to be immersed into the story and the geography is part of the context but as it affects the character. Not sure if this is clear but that's how I feel.

Over done anti heros, it seems to be all the craze amongst the books I have picked up for awhile.

Gimmick powers or saves that have no foundation previously in the story, like a good mystery I should be getting clues about the cool power or item the protagonist suddenly can do or finds. It's like one of those Christie books where she drops in clues at the very end.

Characters that are characters (I know repeating old issue)that goes for good guys, bad guys or gals, orcs, goblins, etc etc. Every sentient being has motivations so why not include that so we can relate on some level to the cast of characters not just make them props.

So that is it, hope I added something to the discussion.


message 49: by Marc (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 97 comments Larry wrote: "Well it seems everyone has covered all the major bases but I want to add a couple.

Any story where I have to check the map at the front of the book, if I am that lost then I am that bored. While..."


You've just described my own books,
The Flame in the Bowl: Unbinding the Stone and A Warrior Made. How weird is that?


message 50: by Larry (new)

Larry | 17 comments Marc wrote: "Larry wrote: "Well it seems everyone has covered all the major bases but I want to add a couple.

Any story where I have to check the map at the front of the book, if I am that lost then I am tha..."


Yikes, I wasn't aiming for you, but now I will have to read your book and see if this really holds true, although I do not as a rule lack the conviction of my words, I am willing to revisit my opinions.


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