What would you like to see less of in fantasy books?

Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Maark Abbott, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. Maark Abbott

    Maark Abbott Journeyed there and back again

    1) Characters not sitting around moping incessantly
    2) Characters not sitting around moping incessantly
    3) No fucking useless interludes
    4) No using words for the sake of having more words
     
  2. TomTB

    TomTB The Master Tweeter Staff Member

  3. Silvion Night

    Silvion Night Sir Readalot Staff Member

    1. Moping characters
    2. Pompousness on the side of the author (acting like a know-it-all)
    3. Unrealistic romantic relationships
    4. Books that are overly zealous in pushing a political or social agenda
    5. Mary Sues and Gary Stus (like in KKC)
     
  4. Sparrow

    Sparrow Journeyed there and back again

    1. Dragons
    2. White guys thrashing about with swords.
    3. Elves, vampires, zombies, and cruel overlords.
    4. Magical jewelry.
    5. Stories with little to no thematic purpose and having no literary merit.
    7. Stories either set in, or evoking England!
    8. A super secret government agency charged with protecting its citizens from the supernatural realm.
     
  5. rudyjuly2

    rudyjuly2 Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    Deus Ex Machina. I see too many narrow escapes for the good guys at times. When it happens too often I get annoyed.
    Overly Powerful Magic. I like magic in books and different magic systems. But one magic wielder/wizard/sorceress should not be nearly omnipotent. And too often "new" magical abilities present themselves that never appeared before to get out of a jam.
    Characters that are Too Similar. This can happen when we don't have enough grey characters. I don't want all the good guys to have hearts of gold and act similarily.
    Making Up New Words just to be Different. Having a few unique words for a world, including swear words is OK. But creating new words for every day of the week, month, a new word for school, etc just confuses and clutters things. Keep it simple stupid.
     
  6. rudyjuly2

    rudyjuly2 Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    Deus Ex Machina. I see too many narrow escapes for the good guys at times. When it happens too often I get annoyed.
    Overly Powerful Magic. I like magic in books and different magic systems. But one magic wielder/wizard/sorceress should not be nearly omnipotent. And too often "new" magical abilities present themselves that never appeared before to get out of a jam.
    Characters that are Too Similar. This can happen when we don't have enough grey characters. I don't want all the good guys to have hearts of gold and act similarily.
    Making Up New Words just to be Different. Having a few unique words for a world, including swear words is OK. But creating new words for every day of the week, month, a new word for school, etc just confuses and clutters things. Keep it simple stupid.

    Edit - couple more
    Every Male Character is as Wide as he is Tall. Sinewy muscles! These guys can be cool but let’s keep it to a minimum.

    Weak Female Characters. One of my criticisms of the Codex Alera series (I did like it) was that almost all women cried over things and get fatigued very quickly when exerted. Weak and strong characters should exist for both genders. Same goes for jerk characters.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2017
  7. Alucard

    Alucard In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge! Staff Member

    Imaginary curse words.
    Nothing replaces 'shit' and 'fuck'.
     
  8. Sneaky Burrito

    Sneaky Burrito Crazy Cat Lady Staff Member

    For me, more specifically dragons that were thought for a long time to be gone/extinct/whatever but have now come back. I'm looking at you, GRRM, Daniel Abraham, Robin Hobb, etc.

    Agree. I hate when people are riding camels or horses called something else but clearly the same damned thing.

    Another one for me is excessive description. I remember one scene in the Dagger and Coin books (maybe the second one) where Dawson is riding around a town he has spent most of his life in, looking at buildings he has been familiar with since childhood, and is having narrator thoughts rather than thoughts appropriate for the character. (I don't think about when my house was built or what color it used to be or who lived there before I did when I walk in the front door every day.) This description seems to exist to set the scene but it doesn't make sense coming from someone who knows the scene. (I don't mind this as much when new people come to a new town; they are better proxies for the reader.) I also don't like long descriptions of food or clothing or donning/removing armor.

    And, if you are writing a chapter (or scene) from the perspective of a single character, using third person limited narration, STAY IN THAT CHARACTER'S HEAD FOR THE WHOLE CHAPTER. Don't have like two paragraphs inside some other character's head and then switch back. (Sorry, I'm dealing with this right now in a book I'm reading.)

    Also, endless repetition. The biggest example will probably always be that Terry Goodkind tells you in every single SoT book how Richard and Kahlan met (and later, also, their political philosophy). This just makes your readers think you see them as dumb (which could be true for Goodkind books, admittedly).
     
  9. rudyjuly2

    rudyjuly2 Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    Savages that aren't savages.

    Every time I read a story that has a group of people considered savages, 95% of the time they are intelligent people that are just misunderstood or have different customs. They aren't brain dead lunatics after all but that sort of defeats the point. In Wheel of Time the Aiel are supposed to be savages but clearly aren't. Logen from First Law is supposed to be a Neanderthal but clearly isn't. Is there a fantasy book out there that actually has savages that are savages? People that can't be reasoned with, dumb and/or overly violent?
     
  10. TomTB

    TomTB The Master Tweeter Staff Member

    The Orcs in LoTR?
    The Trollocs in WoT?
     
  11. rudyjuly2

    rudyjuly2 Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    But those are sort of created beasts or tools. I'm thinking of civilizations or a nation of people. Those orcs and trollocs are under the control of intelligent things.

    The Axe and the Throne did have some north man that were like this. They fought, conquered and raped their victims and took the spoils. But that book also got some flak for some of that. That was one example of a group of people that did have savage behaviour.
     
  12. Darwin

    Darwin Journeyed there and back again

    That's realistic, though! People have ascribed subhuman intellect to different-looking foreigners for time eternal, but that's never been the reality, just a justification for theft, slavery, or genocide. You can't have a violent and cruel society filled with morons. Survival in such environs requires a certain degree of cleverness. Or other people protecting the idiots; that was sort of a theme in First Law, with the Northerners constantly disbelieving the ineptitude and weakness of the Union leaders. You can't order people around in the North if you're that weak and stupid. Idiocy is a privilege.

    For true savages in WoT and First Law, you've got Trollocs and Shanka, both unnatural monstrosities that were created to be cruel and stupid.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2017
  13. Darwin

    Darwin Journeyed there and back again

    I want to see less:
    1) Over-explaining. Tell me once, succinctly, then never again. I don't need a recap of basic aspects of magic in the 14th book of a series, Sanderson!
    2) Dragons. Good call, @Sparrow
    3) Romance. Go kill shit, bro. A little romance goes a long way.
    4) Christian themes regarding good and evil.
    5) Smart people making stupid decisions because the plot requires it. I'm looking at you, Tyrion, with your 'let's catch a zombie' idea.
     
  14. Sparrow

    Sparrow Journeyed there and back again

    There's an interesting passage in an article I read last year as to how we see foreigners, how we've always looked down our nose at cultures different than our own... it was an account of an emissary for a wealthy Chinese merchant. It records his first contact with Scandinavian traders on the Silk Road, whom he likens to, "apes".
     
  15. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater Journeyed there and back again

    This. ^


    And these three. ^


    Plus these two. ^


    And describing in detail every single snowflake on every single mountain and/or describing the color of every single cloud in the sky on every single sunrise and every single sunset. Especially using metaphors. Zzzzzzzz.....
     
  16. Noor Al-Shanti

    Noor Al-Shanti Philosophizes with Kellhus

    This! I think people mistake these excessive descriptions for good world-building or good characterization or something.
     
  17. Cyphon

    Cyphon Journeyed there and back again

    I think the biggest one for me would be less of the same exact military battles. I am so sick of tens of thousands of troops lined up and crashing into each other and flanking this, or scaling that or pike formations. There is only so much you can do with it and it is so repetitive and boring.

    Another one would be nations or groups of people that don't like each other coming together to face a common enemy. In fairness there are only so many ways you can go about setting up a book but still.
     
  18. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Journeyed there and back again

    The word barbarian (as I have read it) comes from Rome, and their description of a supposedly savage nation, when it was said that they talked going " bar bar bar bar bar bar"

    The reality was Romans were relying more on collective knowledge, I would say individual vs individual it would be pretty comparable, just with different subjects.
     
  19. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Journeyed there and back again

    I really like Sneakys spin on sparrows answer of dragons. Dragons themselves are neat, but very cliche to say they were thought myths or extinct. I will add some icing myself. Dreaming or wishing dragons into existence. I cannot believe how often I see this bad idea.

    2. Unneeded unnecessary pathos that is rendered meaningless by a) forgetting about it. B) barely or no introduction to the dying character c) having the main character defined by one event that repeats,

    3 . Resurrection. Once could be okay for fixing a mistake already published, or for a plot device. More than once renders death meaningless and boring. Killing people at this point is as useless as saying "they ate" this is really bad when you make your reputation on killing off prominent characters.

    4. Deus ex machina. On its own can be good, and its hard to find stories completely void of this. But overused in a series its lazy. And impossible events doubly so.

    Grrm you violated all 4, but your not the only one.
     
  20. rudyjuly2

    rudyjuly2 Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    In terms of savages, I would clarify that and not say absolute imbeciles. I'm talking people with potential but just much further behind in terms of development with social rules and justice. Think of how our modern society might react if we discovered a civilization similar to the United States 200 years ago where they had slaves and didn't allow women to vote. They didn't have cars or planes or electricity. We would consider them savages or barbarians.

    In fantasy worlds where people are often far more isolated, separate societies might evolve at very different speeds.
     

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