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Thread: Just Another Fantasy Novel...

  1. #1
    Rather Bewildered brainstrain's Avatar
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    Red face Just Another Fantasy Novel...

    I'm 16, and I'm working on the fantasy world for what I hope will someday be a succesful book. But I would never be content to write an average best seller (not that I could).

    If this book were to become popular, I wouldn't want it to be like any other book out there. Not neccesarily better, but certainly different.

    I wouldn't want it to be like the books of Charles Dickens or J.K. Rowling, relying heavily on coincidence and last minute plot twists, which I find get boring quickly.

    But I wouldn't want it to be like the Septimus Heap series, with clever writing and a vividly imagined world but unrealistic and two-dimensional characters.

    And I could never hope to achieve the splendor of Ursula K. Le Guinn, with her incredible raw talent as a storyteller. But I wouldn't want to have a world as dark as hers, or as impersonal.

    I could only hope to gain the loyal following of the Inheiritance Trilogy, but I would not want a world so blatantly copied for my predecessors or a plot so rediculously complicated. And I sure as hell don't want that many words - there's a difference between being a writer, stringing together big words in complex ways to make characters and settings - and being an author - describing your fantastical world without boring the reader, and keeping the plot simple enough to be vaugley realistic.

    So I know much of what I want Asengard not to be, but little of what I want it to be. Any thoughts?
    "...thought is the arrow of time, memory never fades."

  2. #2
    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    Well, if you want it to be your original world, I'm afraid that only you can figure it out. I think you're right in saying that you should aim for originality in fantasy (that's the one thing I find greatly lacking in the genre).

    Sorry to start of by criticizing you, but on your quest for originality, did you consider the name of your world (a little like Lord of the Rings, no?) but that too is your choice.

    Although I cannot tell you what exactly you should write about, I could add to your list of cliches you should probably avoid.

    1. Someone having to save the world by either retrieving or destroying an object in a far off place

    2. A war between magic and non-magic in an attempt to justify the lack of magic in a modern day world.

    3. An overly distinct protagonist and antagonist (yes, it's a fantasy but that doesn't mean your characters can not have a certain realism to them, and I'm not saying don't have a good vs evil, because that could still work out really well, but no one is 100% in either direction)

    4. If the subplot to your story is a war, be careful! (that's all I can really say)

    Those are just some, I hope it helps. Creating origional fantasy works is harder than it seems (I tried it). I developed this idea a few years back that didn't really go very far (mainly becasue my computer crashed and I didn't back it up and was in no mood to start again). What I think made my idea interesting (and what makes me want to pick it up again) is the characters and the fact that there is no clear protegonist/antagonist.

    So good luck to you and I have you are successful!
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

  3. #3
    Registered User aeroport's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Darnay View Post
    Sorry to start of by criticizing you, but on your quest for originality, did you consider the name of your world (a little like Lord of the Rings, no?) but that too is your choice.
    From Norse mythology, isn't it? Similar, at least...

    1. Someone having to save the world by either retrieving or destroying an object in a far off place
    Agreed! The idea of the "quest" seems to be one of the more important things in literature, but I find the continued obscuring of its real purpose (personal growth) by the cut-and-dried journeying-to-this-place-for-this-item-to-kill-monster/save-world kind of silly. I'm not saying the physical quest is something to avoid - it's one of the central elements, it would seem, of fantasy literature - but the world-saving business does indeed get pretty old.

    3. An overly distinct protagonist and antagonist (yes, it's a fantasy but that doesn't mean your characters can not have a certain realism to them, and I'm not saying don't have a good vs evil, because that could still work out really well, but no one is 100% in either direction)
    Agreed again. Unrealistic fantasy is pretty self-defeating. I don't know how extensively you've read in the genre, brainstrain (more than I have, I suspect), but if you are unfamiliar with Raymond Feist, I would highly recommend taking a look at some of his stuff for a glimpse at what can actually be achieved with realistic fantasy. On the other hand, you might just want to stop reading everything while you get going on your work, so whatever works. Also, I'd suggest reading a little bit of nonfiction - histories of nations, wars, etc. Absorb all you can in this respect. If you have a research library in your vicinity that sort of leans toward history (I work in one, so I know they exist), this would be the first place to look, but most libraries have something like this that could help you.
    Good luck!
    Last edited by aeroport; 08-26-2007 at 12:13 AM.

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    My best advice would be sure that you have real characters with real problems. This isn't to say that the problem can't be a little far fetched, you are writing a fantasy, but it should still be a more real issue. Stick with simple themes and ideas. You are already creating a fantasy world. A simple message in a fantastical setting can work well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mkhockenberry View Post
    My best advice would be sure that you have real characters with real problems. This isn't to say that the problem can't be a little far fetched, you are writing a fantasy, but it should still be a more real issue. Stick with simple themes and ideas. You are already creating a fantasy world. A simple message in a fantastical setting can work well.
    I would like to thank you for this post, so much I felt the need to register here just to do so.

    I suffer from being able to create, in my opinion, immersing and believable fantasy worlds with no realistic characters to populate them! Your post might have just saved my fantasy writing, so thanks!

  6. #6
    Rather Bewildered brainstrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesian View Post

    ...Unrealistic fantasy is pretty self-defeating. I don't know how extensively you've read in the genre, brainstrain (more than I have, I suspect), but if you are unfamiliar with Raymond Feist, I would highly recommend taking a look at some of his stuff for a glimpse at what can actually be achieved with realistic fantasy. On the other hand, you might just want to stop reading everything while you get going on your work, so whatever works. Also, I'd suggest reading a little bit of nonfiction - histories of nations, wars, etc. Absorb all you can in this respect. If you have a research library in your vicinity that sort of leans toward history (I work in one, so I know they exist), this would be the first place to look, but most libraries have something like this that could help you.
    Good luck!
    Wow, thanks! I'm taking an AP course in U.S. History at the moment, so I've definitely got the historical reading part covered. Even in the 4 weeks or so I've been in that class I've learned a HUGE amount and begun work on some highly promising stories - not set in Asengard.

    The sad reality is that the problem with it's name reflected many, many other issues. Overall my first great imaginary land will probably never be the setting to one of my stories. Not for a while, at least. I have another land that I'd like to develop first, which I call the Southern Kingdom - although it does change names periodically, in keeping with who is currently ruling. Anywho...

    I am, as you thought, very well read in fantasy, so I'm quite surpised that I've never heard of that author. I'll definitely look into it - although I have read some fantasy that comes very close to what you see as ideal: The Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guinn.

    And, to everyone, thank you so much for posting!!! You've been a great help.
    Last edited by brainstrain; 09-24-2007 at 10:21 PM.
    "...thought is the arrow of time, memory never fades."

  7. #7
    I'd be quite happy if I could write like Charles Dickens!

  8. #8
    Rather Bewildered brainstrain's Avatar
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    If my aim was to make money, then yes, that would be great. But if all you want out of your writing is to make money, than you might as well own a sweatshop.

    Besides, Charles Dickens relies far too heavily on coincidence to propel his plot along - he's hailed as a genius for doing so, but I've always thought it to be the mark of a writer too lazy to bother connecting events...

    Sure, events in real life aren't always connected, but if I want to read about real life than I'll open the newspaper. Books aren't supposed to be realistic.
    "...thought is the arrow of time, memory never fades."

  9. #9
    I hope you are not saying that Dicken's works' only merit was that they made money?

  10. #10
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    You're off to a rough start on originality by attempting to toss a dart somewhere between a dozen established writers...

    You may want to try coming up with some new ideas. That would be original.

  11. #11
    Rather Bewildered brainstrain's Avatar
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    How did you get that from my statement? I'm just saying coincidence isn't the mark of a genius. Certainly, the other elements in his books are (A Tale of Two Cities is one of my all-time favorites) but it irks me when certain people (My english teach) praise him for using coincidence as the main propulsion of plot.

    KidTruth - What? NEW ideas? Wherever did you get such a silly idea =P

    Um...I've kind of given up on this idea. I'm pursuing several short stories at the moment, I'm hoping I'll come up with a grand plot someday...
    "...thought is the arrow of time, memory never fades."

  12. #12
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    This is the tricky thing about writing, books are rated as best sellers and not best stories. I have read many books that were not best sellers that were very well written, and then I have read some best sellers that were not well written. Writing and the publishing of books is a business. Businesses can be cold, scary things that involve marketing to the masses. Books like Harry Potter work because a large amount of people can relate to them from young kids to grandparents. It's easy to market a book when it can appeal to virtualy every age group, and be written in an easy to read format.

    And, I'd also say that it is very, very hard to come up with a completely earth shattering, never been attempted fresh, new idea. But, it is easier to take old ideas and find new ways to combine them and mix them and tweak them to construct a new thing.

    It is hard to be the first one to invent the wheel, but not so hard to be the one to invent a different kind of wheel.
    Last edited by Caravaggio; 11-20-2007 at 12:29 AM.

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