Discussion in 'General Fantasy' started by arcanemetal, Dec 24, 2015.
Additional comments are welcomed.
I'm not so sure about this, but this is what first came to mind when I thought about cliches in fantasy literature: In the group of protagonists, there's always one member of each non-human race.
The obvious border between the Good and the Evil/Bad..One can understand ''good'' differently than the other and the same goes with the ''evil''. So i end up picking sides, it happens that i pick the so called evil side
I agree with the Good/Evil border. It was very much a defining characteristic bad in the day.
Most demihuman races are cliches in themselves.
Too many lead protagonists are the same brain-dead do-gooders. Jon Snow, Harry Potter, Rand al'Thor - a bunch of predictable boring idiots who respond to every single situation in the exact same way. And I mean the EXACT same way.
I enjoy writing fantasy just so I can break these BS cliches. My chief protagonist is a teenage Viking girl who's very sympathetic, yet she slaughters and enslaves like Genghis Khan's second coming, utterly merciless.
I don't know why other writers insist on making such do-gooder protagonists. Sometimes it seems as though it's part of an organized effort to brainwash people into accepting modern society with a smile and fries, or something. The problem is seriously that widespread.
Cliches never really get old tbh and most people still like them..When the game of thrones became well known, people were shocked because they didn't expect quite many events and ended up ''crying'' after their favourite character who died unexpectedly and the story was from being over. This is what they were not used to, by that i mean that who portrays himself as good will win either physically or ideologically. The same goes when the main character does something ''unacceptable'' by our society, for example if we take your protagonist, i think quite some people would be shocked by your ending. Writers should really focus on the world the story takes place in and its society, otherwise we get such cliches.
A little blabbering from my side
The wise flawless mentor. I'd like to see them show weakness and doubt.
The young farmboy answering the call to arms.
LOL, Luke Skywalker
.. then the farmboy learns he's the last scion of the old dynasty.
And does magic or can talk to dragons 'n stuff
Now this starts to sound a lot like a monomyth (on which Star Wars is actually based, as well as many fantasy stories, I guess).
Yeah actually a normal person especially a poor one which all of a sudden holds a great destiny is quite a cliche. Not to mention how fast he learns to fight like a master and manages to beat the most known/notorious fighters in the world..
Oh and something to add: Drama speeches right before death..It can be actually cool if done right, but on the other hand, it can end up being as cheesy as hell
Here is a good blog post that mentions a few tropes that are cliche and faulty:
Six Unrealistic Tropes and How to Avoid Them
Some cliches are the result of publishers and success. If a story about a poor farmboy becoming a mighty hero sells masses chances are similar themed stories are going to be picked up by publishers.
It's generally the way of things that they will follow established patterns more strongly. It also means getting into the formal published market can be tricky if you buck all the trends - then again sometimes you can get lucky with that.
I would also say that fantasy has a hard time because hte world its set in is so different a fantasy author has a harder time straddling the line between story and world building. Thus cliches are often an important part of being able to skip out of whole sections of world building.
If an "elf" appears in a story most of us already have a fairly similar concept as to what the elf might be based upon all the common themes. The author then only has to note the differences and unique aspects of their elf; if any. They don't have to justify that the elf is a pointy eared, nearly immortal beauty because we mostly accept and know that already very readily in other series.
That's true, Overbreed. It's why I write about Vikings - one word and I conjure an entire cultural backdrop. I vent my originality through character development and scenery instead.
Maybe you could also vent your originality by showing them for what they actually were, perfectly normal people of the era, but a bit more clean and gender-balanced than many of their neighbours.
Mentioning Vikings certainly puts a series of mental images into peoples minds - some historically correct, some wrong and most oversimplified.
But its a start; its something the reader can already visualise in their head - ok I've got Vikings! The writer hasn't got to explain longboats, raids, beards, horned helmets, raping, pillaging, etc.. Even the country and the topography are already done by the single word. That leaves the author more time to devote to the differences.
OF course its important that writers understand the romantic/common understanding of these terms not just the pure factual. They've got to realise that most people think Vikings had horns on their helmets; and that even if the people know its not true they still expect them to be there if the fact is not specifically mentioned.
WTF? Clean and gender-balanced? What are you talking about? Wait, you're not taking the TV show Vikings as historical fact, are you? Here's what Vikings left changed: there's not even credible evidence of shieldmays existing, the purpose of the raids was largely to capture women, these raiders thus all had like 10 concubines each, thus Lagertha leaving Ragnarr when he gets with Aslog is dumb (Ragnarr would've had 20 wives by then, and just told Lagertha to shut up and get back in the kitchen). Besides, nowhere in Vikings does it depict them as clean. Where did you get THAT idea from?
I DO depict my Vikings realistically. So, lots of beer, concubines, and drunken fist fights.
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