Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

21

Seems to me that consistency is a big thing. Internal consistency and external consistency. External consistency: on Numb3rs, they use real mathematical jargon assuming people will not understand it and will accept it at the Wikipedia level of understanding. But I actually do understand many of the techniques they talk about and they simply cannot be used ...


19

It is a better mentality for fiction, no matter which genre. Probably everyone wants to be god-like one way or another (even so I doubt it would be fun if you really think it through). But reading about god-like characters is only one thing: boring! Even if you describe monumental battles, nothing really happens. The reader knows who will win from the ...


18

Look at Stephen Brust's Taltos series. All fantasy, written in a modern voice. I think as long as you're not using obvious modern idioms, it's fine to write in a modern voice. If you want to put in the time and effort to use a vernacular, that's fine, but it's more often done poorly than well. Think about it this way: when you're trying to write ...


15

I have not read it but Soon I Will Be Invincible is the closest I can think of to what you're proposing, other than the excellent short story collection If I Were an Evil Overlord, inspired by the Evil Overlord List. My question is, why should your main guy be only petty, shallow, and selfish? Do you want him to win at the end, or be defeated? I think LOTR ...


15

Basically, anything that the reader considers implausible when he's already suspending disbelief, can spoil the illusion and break that suspension. The key issue to understand is that up to a certain point, your story is exposing the world of the story, and explaining what's allowed and what isn't. Anything you establish clearly, the reader will be willing ...


15

There are two main ways to structure a series: each book is essentially a stand-alone with a continuing story as part of the plot (Harry Potter), or each book is a critical part of the whole and they are difficult to read out of sequence or without the other books (Lord of the Rings). Either is fine; they just accomplish different things. Stand-alone books ...


14

It often helps because fantasy books often involve quite a bit of travel. It is not strictly necessary for the novel to be coherent, but I have found the ones that I've read that lacked maps to be worse off because of it. Namely, "The Blade Itself" by Joe Abercrombie is a good example of a book that lacks a map that really needed one. He talks about wars ...


14

What has worked for me in the past is to simply concentrate on telling the story. I'm assuming you are on your first draft and have yet to complete even that. In that case, you need to spend less time analyzing and more time telling your story. If you spend too much time reviewing as you write, you'll end up with a case of paralysis by analysis. Sometimes ...


14

I think you are giving into the temptation of explaining. Sometimes you don't need to know how - or at least not for sure how - just to make it believable in your world. Take your real life laptop as an example. It has thousands of microchips compacted into a single CPU but, what is a microchip? What is a diode? What is an integrated circuit? People ...


13

Time is based on an Event. We are in the year 2010 because someone inaccurately took the birth of Jesus Christ as the base (hence b.c. And a.d. denominations). Other cultures have other years, I believe either the China or the Arabian countries have a completely different year. In the Star Wars Extended Universe, the battle of Yavin is the base for their ...


13

If I'm following you, it seems that the travelling itself isn't important, but that the characters have traveled is advancing the plot. You can cut out most of the actual journeying, showing the quest in what the characters do when they stop moving. You can have characters refer to the travelling enough to make it clear how far they traveled -- gods damn ...


13

An invented language can be a tool for exposing the traits of a culture. Different languages not only sound different, but they feel different. They shape ideas differently. They are also shaped by their environments. The way a language works can help illustrate the thought processes of the people who speak it. As an example, I recently saw the Star ...


12

Unless your hero's enemies are all intensely stupid, he and his companions will be totally unarmed, and will have been carefully searched for anything valuable. Really, unless your goblins are nobler than those in most stories, readers will expect goblins to take everything from their captives. Your hero can't pull a lockpick or a poisoned pin from the ...


11

So, the inner purpose of the journey is to forge the relationship between the two characters, show the reader how they interact with each other, and also show the reader who each character really is. Conflicts. There doesn't need to be any major conflict, but even a minor conflict, just to show how each character reacts. I'm pulling this out of my head ...


11

If you're writing for an English audience, your readers are expecting an English novel. From a reader perspective, it is utterly tedious to read a lot of dialogue you cannot understand. Providing translations can help, but that's equally tedious, since the POV character won't have those translations. I would recommend keeping use of foreign language to a ...


11

Absolutely. Agents specialize in the genres where they know editors (or they specialize, SO they know editors) and of course some publishers don't publish fantasy at all, while others focus on it. You can get basic information on this by looking at the books you think yours resemble. You can generally find an author's agent just by googling the author's ...


11

I'm assuming that when you say "realistic fiction", what you really mean is "non-fantasy fiction". Then the answer is, of course fantasy has less of a readership than "realistic" fiction, because you're comparing one genre against the collective power of all other genres. If we start looking at comparisons between genres, fantasy is probably at the low-end ...


11

Why just as antagonists? But well ... One of the best monsters out there is a human being. A nice guy. No-one expects (i.e the reader) that he is a monster. A well known pattern with uncountable variations--use them. Reading mythology of all kind (Greek, Northern, Indian) is a good source for monsters (Tolkien has proved that). When your kid next time is ...


11

Every part of your work needs to have its own logical arc and structure. In a novel, this can be a chapter or a scene and in a trilogy or series this a book. Each piece should have a beginning, middle, and end. The parts don't live in isolation, though, and each one should leave give the reader enough to enjoy what they are reading but hold back enough to ...


11

To add an extra perspective into the already excellent answer above. In RP we call characters on a quest to game the rules and create a sort of Mary Sue RP surrogate "Minmaxers" or "Power Gamers" (these are both derogatory terms). As irritating as these people are in a game with an extensively defined ruleset (a "crunchy" system) they have the potential to ...


11

Once a physics professor told me that we, in daily life, measure distance with time. In fact he is right. If somebody aks - "how far away is the mall?", we answer "It's fifteen minutes away". That means that measures are always relative to normal everyday standards, not scientific ones. In old days, moon or sun was a good way to measure time: "It will ...


11

Blending sci-fi and fantasy is actually quite easy, and can produce some excellent results; consider Steampunk for instance. There are definitely plenty of great examples out there of sci-fi/fantasy blending (across many media): Final Fantasy (particularity FF XII), Dishonoured, China Mieville's Perdido Street Station, The Scar and The Iron Council, Neil ...


10

If you look to Tolkien, you see no time. Everything is long ago, far away, in the past, whatever. I am a dork of the numeric kind, so I'm forever trying to squash my tendency to use "real" numbers, because I think it's mostly unnecessary, limiting, and a little jarring...When you speak, you never use exact time. The closest you're going to get is "a few ...


10

Isn't one of the non-Rowling definitions of "squib" "a firecracker which doesn't explode"? So Rowling took something which means "has potential or is expected to do something, and fails to deliver," and used it for slang in a very appropriate way. As I've said elsewhere, copy the work ethic, not the end result. Find or invent some other term which implies ...


10

If everything you write is sounding like overused tropes and clichés, it may be that you're simply showing your influences. And when you see your writing, all you're seeing are those influences. Hence, it feels less substantial to you. What, exactly is "bland, generic fantasy" to you? I suggest you define what it is you're trying to avoid. Make a list if ...


10

I think I see why you’re stuck. Potentially so many ways to escape exist it feels paralyzing, but each idea feels weak. That is, if you think of this problem purely as a plot exorcise. I find that when plot traps me, story and character often show the way. Because this escape is the climax, you’re aware of the need for a quality escape. Perhaps it would ...


10

Novice: Master, if I understand correctly, it looks to me like if we do [insert loop hole] that we could eventually gain unlimited power. Master: Yes, that would be the case and in the early times of magical exploration many magic users tried this. All of them disintegrated. You see, because of the [insert closure of loophole] that means that beings in ...


9

I would limit the use of invented languages as much as possible. I'm not saying this to play devil's advocate, but because I often find that exotic names and words distract from the story. In fact, I've written short stories in which all the characters had names like Brown (has brown eyes), Lightning (very fast with the sword), etc. This somehow keeps the ...


9

On the first draft: you won't. First drafts are almost invariably clunkers. But your first draft is not meant to shine. Your first draft is meant to get the story onto paper and out of your head where it's been languishing for years. Once it's on paper, then you can edit, revise, polish, and get an editor/editors to scrub out the bland and generic. But ...


9

As a rule, when people read fiction from another time period, they expect the culture / thinking style from that period. I can't remember how many books I've read based in medieval Europe, where the hero talks about the rights of man, individuality, democracy etc. I usually throw such books away, as it shows the author hasn't done their research. Second ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible