Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Fantasy Novelist's Exam

Here's a fun link to the Fantasy Novelist's Exam. Basically, it's a list of questions about your fantasy novel. If you answer "yes" to any of the questions, the teacher will give you an "F" and suggests you should abandon your novel.

The list is a joke. It mentions many of the overused tropes in the fantasy genre (Is your main character a young farmhand with mysterious parentage?) (Is the evil supreme badguy secretly the father of your main character?) (Is your main character the heir to the throne but doesn't know it?)

However, I have written a fantasy novel or two or three that I would have to answer "Yes" to a few of the questions.

Is this the first book in a planned trilogy? (Yep - Woman of Honor is book I in a trilogy)

Do any of your main characters have apostrophes or dashes in their names? (Trolls do in Knight of Glory and Champion of Valor - there are new races that I explore in Champion of Valor and made sure there weren't any more apostrophes or dashes in them.)

Does your novel contain orcs, elves, dwarves, or halflings? (Orcs - no but they are mentioned. Elves - well, Drow are. Dwarves - yep. Halfings - no.)

All in all, it's a funny list. What tropes are you sick of seeing in fantasy? What ones don't you mind? Do you think elves are better than dwarves?

14 comments:

Faith said...

I think the only thing I really don't like in fantasy is the token female... if she's just there to be a pretty face without any personality (or with the cliche 'I'm a tough woman and that's the extent of things' without any OTHER side to her), I'll throw the book down in frustration. I want to see well-rounded female characters! Fortunately, I think this is much more common these days.

Creepy Query Girl said...

Oh, this does sound like fun! lol. I wrote my first urban fantasy a couple months ago so I'll hve to check it out!

Angela Felsted said...

This is funny, though I admit that I stopped reading about half way through. This is a really long list!

Amie B said...

funny list!

i don't read a lot of high fantasy, but as far as urban fantasy i never want to read another fairy novel again.

Cherie Reich said...

That was a fun list, and I have to sadly admit there were a few things that are in my YA epic fantasy, but there are only a few I said yes to, so I think we're still good. *laughs*

I'm a little tired of the orphan trope, even if I use it later on in my YA epic fantasy, but she's 16-17 at that times, so it's not quite the same as being orphaned by birth.

I don't mind trolls, elves, or orcs...or any of those fantasy creatures. I like seeing them, but I like seeing new ones too.

I think in the end you have to find a balance between what has been done before and what is new. If it is too new, sometimes people don't like it. If it is the same ol' thing, people don't either. It's a fine line we writers walk.

Beth said...

Elves are way better than dwarves.

beth-project52.blogspot.com

Carol Riggs said...

Yep, elves are definitely better than dwarves. Dwarves are pudgy and grouchy, and have big noses and long messy beards. Elves are lithe and have doe-eyes and neat little pointed ears.

Ha, yes, that fantasy list. Gulp, I'm guilty of some of those! Way overused and cliche I suppose. I think the key thing is to try to breathe life into these cliche ideas, and put a new twist to them.

Aubrie said...

I have a trope in my fantasy novel: two twins-one is good the other is evil :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'd heard about this list from another fantasy writer who moaned that he said yes to a lot of those things.
What am I sick of? Placing vampires and the supernatural in fantasy. It's horror, not fantasy!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Elves are definitely better. Sexier. At least they were in the Lord of the Rings movie. Orland Bloom. Ever so sexy. :D

Theresa Milstein said...

We all try to be original, but it's hard to reinvent every type of character, plot, and so on. I'll check out the link.

Theresa Milstein said...

Out of all my manuscripts, I've only done 5 of them, so I feel pretty good. Except the part about having so many unpublished manuscripts.

Holly Ruggiero said...

Are the elves evil?

Rachael Harrie said...

That's one very funny list!!! :) And rather uncanny in how spot-on it is for so many books I've seen.

Rach