What's the worst thing fantasy authors do?

Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by wakarimasen, Jan 26, 2017.


What's the worst thing fantasy authors do?

  1. Infodump

    9 vote(s)
  2. Overly graphical sex or gore

    3 vote(s)
  3. Take too much time writing next in a series

    15 vote(s)
  4. Kill off favoured characters

    0 vote(s)
  5. Make up words

    5 vote(s)
  6. Fail to engage with their readers

    0 vote(s)
  7. Be too familiar /presumptive with their readers

    1 vote(s)
  8. Rehash old ideas

    3 vote(s)
  9. Get defensive about their work

    2 vote(s)
  10. Add lots of rambling description

    15 vote(s)
  11. Become obsessed with relationships in their work

    2 vote(s)
  12. Exploit feminity in some way

    2 vote(s)
  13. Deus ex machina

    9 vote(s)
  14. Consider themselves morally enlightened and wise

    10 vote(s)
  15. "Of course, as you know..." Protags explaining plot

    7 vote(s)
  16. "Nebulous, poorly explained magic systems"

    4 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune

    Regarding the Celts, I listened to one particular history podcast, The Naked Warriors, dealing with this common practice. It concentrated on the tribes, which spread across Europe (South Germany, France, UK, Ireland, Iberian Peninsula and North Italy) I will omit the long list of names of these tribes in order to keep it brief, but basically it is believed that the most logical explanation to why these warriors fought naked was, firstly, to mark themselves as elite fighters (mercenaries) and, secondly, as they used to decorate their naked bodies with either tattoos or with paint using some sort of symbolic designs, it seems plausible that these warriors thought to be then gifted with the protection of their Gods, and/or perhaps it was a way of honouring them, invocating their Gods’ attention and therefore help.
    E.G. The Picts tribes from current North Great Britain was the Roman given name, because Pictus means "painted/decorated" in Latin.
    It was also common amongst these tribes to use alkaline water to dye their hair white. It might have a been a terrifying image for the Romans facing these naked, tattooed, white haired warriors howling like berserks...
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2017
  2. Olli Tooley

    Olli Tooley Told lies with Locke

    Yep, that all rings true from my research.
    There was one claim about them shedding clothes to avoid snagging on thorns, but I'd say walking naked through thorns would be easier with clothes.
    It makes sense; a belief that if you are going to die the gods have made that decision, and therefore you honour them by fighting naked.
    They may have been under a geas (bloody took me ages to find the proper damn spelling of that :D )
    Another possible side idea (and one which I chose to treat as fact in my book, on the grounds that nobody can prove otherwise) is that they were more like actual berserkers, in that they were possibly using a drug, and or worked up into a frenzy. (Although I don't labour the point)
  3. Anti_Quated

    Anti_Quated Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune

    I'm in the minority likely, but it doesn't bother me at all. Scantily-clad warrior woman. I don't see the big deal... someone created a character and dressed them in a way guaranteed to attract attention from the (until someone otherwise corrects me) traditionally male comic audience. Or the author/creator themselves happens to like the character that way. My ephemeral understanding, limited as it is, is that by and large it's blokes buying comics (or at least was for a considerable time). Blokes who aren't averse to fleshy, lusty gals clad in bugger all. Pandering to the target demographic, sex sells, etc. Nothing wrong with appreciating the female or male form, and I think any reasonable person that took issue with the sexually charged representation of a woman would intervene as a parent accordingly and either educate their children or provide appropriate context to understanding.

    Big-breasted warrior gals in little clothing. Historical archetype as far back as the Greeks with Penthesileia and the Amazons (even if they only had one). Most of the artwork I've seen of empowered warrior women, Boudicca chief among them, is captured/rendered by female artists, and have her and their subjects more oft than not as tits out for all and sundry. If you were to take Conan's talent at using his natural proclivities and iron-thewed physical assets to best advantage, a woman dripping flesh for every gawping onlooker in a less-civilised and enlightened world... easy way to distract the foe. I loathe the idea of censoring an artist or heckling them to change their design because it doesn't fit with whatever flag-waving progressive or conservative agitation is the mos maiorum. Censorship is fucked, yet so many people seem to welcome it lovingly until it bites them in the arse. Bland, utterly trite and disposable art is the future that awaits any book-burner and everyone that gets dragged along for the ride. Some women, if I've understood whichever wave of feminism it was, don't want to be judged and called 'whore', 'slut', 'attention-seeker' etc because they take charge of their sexuality and flaunt it, demonstrate it, or display it at every opportunity and demand the right to do so without shame, societal regulation, or condemnation. Can't help but appreciate our paradoxical world.

    She's a warrior chick with a sword. Is her costume impractical for the close combat and rough-living that accompany a steely-eyed adventurer? Absolutely. Verisimilitude broken, and it wouldn't be among my purchases if I were a comic enthusiast. Is she oppressed? 'She' isn't real, and I can guarantee without reading the comic that she kicks legions of arse of every gender, race, age, species, etc because she's a tough-looking chick and it's what she's about. I understand that sexual objectification is an arrow in the quiver of misogyny, but fuck... once upon a time, man and woman could appreciate each other's natural forms and beauty, without it turning into some pseudo-rape oppression/victim thing. Some universals of morality are absolute, I concede, but appreciation of physical beauty in an adult member of the opposite or same sex isn't one of them. Eye of the beholder. What one finds misogynistic, the other finds as cynical marketing ploy, where another sees a hot chick that kicks butt and says "Yep, I want to read more". Fan service in anime is another fine example of this in action. Plenty of people loathe it and find it unconscionable (or pointless), but if a large part of the audience didn't want it, it wouldn't be there.

    I saw the first Thor movie and thought it a very poor reception piece indeed compared to the original source material and the traditions it embodied (despite the Christianised filter of Snorri). I do the sensible thing and take my time and money elsewhere. Female Thor is, to my mind, along the same sort of demographic pandering as D-cup bikini chainmail. It's a nice idea to provide a more inclusive and balanced superhero universe for little girls to aspire to, but cynically it smacks far less of inclusive representation and more of simply wanting to expand profit - art and commerce being mutually exclusive for the most part, unless you count brainless pastiche retreads as an acceptable standard.
    The current crop of Star Wars flicks, even though I enjoyed them, are much the same. Ditto Game of Thrones, Vikings, Walking Dead, or any other of the 'big' entertainment products out there. I would like to think the artists behind such shows are simply wanting to explore the nuances of reality in that people and relationships are vastly complex and quite different across many spectrums, and obviously feature more than just ol' whitey, but there's so much additional 'coverage' at times that seems shoe-horned in, forced, proselytising - not to the benefit of the narrative or character development, but simply demographic baiting or value-lecturing. Propaganda is perhaps too strong, but I have seen examples where it wouldn't be a long draw of the bow.

    Black Sails was a great example with
    Flint's whole bi/gay past thing. Fulcrum of his transition into murderous pirate rebel was the repudiation and tarnishing of his relationship with Thomas - neither saw it as foul, wrong, or anything, it just was, very much in the Classical sense - two men who 'loved one another, and goodness, wisdom, and noble ideas passed between them' (and one could insert a tawdry, vulgar joke but I'll refrain). The trauma of Thomas' real or imagined fate, the immolation of Flint's otherwise budding career trajectory with the Royal navy, and the loss of their enterprising ideas for Nassau - ample catalyst for his ruthless pursuits of a big f-you to Empire and sundry. I bought that, and thought it great storytelling, nuanced, and completely unexpected. Then you get the three episode-ish lesbo romp/threesome with Anne, Max, and Jack Rackham. Which became such a non-event it surely had to be there for one of two reasons - baiting on inclusion, or pandering for titillation's sake . As a result, it spoiled all three of the characters and detracted enormously from the established characters and the show's pacing detrimentally

    Battle of Telamon, 225BCE or roundabouts. The Gaesatae. Mad bastards, and as you've suggested, likely a berserker-type state of spiritual, pre-combat ecstacy (possibly informed by psychotropic substances). Michael Speidel has a great book about ancient Germanic fighting styles (covers some Celtic/Gallic aspects as well). Attested archeologically and from source material. I think Powell's Celt book from a while back made mention of this as well as the head-hunting and importance of warrior prestige based upon different weaponry (swords, lances, fibulae, etc) found in votive deposits - likely expanding on Caesar and Tacitus, but a good argument otherwise corroborated strongly by what has been exhumed.
  4. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Journeyed there and back again

    I don't think this is weird at all. Its not new and every major religion is exploited this way.

    During the era of big Christian epics in cinema, Jewish producers, directors and writers were pumping the stories out as a huge profits poured in. (Greatest Story Ever Told, Ben Hur, Barabas, et cetera).

    Recently an atheist director made a non religious aethiest version of a bible story into a film.

    Muslim stories right now are pretty common, there are even a few depicting sections of the Koran.

    Comedies are also big business with religion. Don't mess with the Zohan, life of Brian, are both made by the faithful.

    There are a lot fewer people worshiping Aesir gods than the ones I listed as profit makers. And Aesir God worship is tainted by a large neonazi white power presence in worship areas (like wotanism, The Odinist group which recruits in prison, and three of the groups calling themselves Asatruists. )
  5. Olli Tooley

    Olli Tooley Told lies with Locke

    Eloquently argued Anti_Quated, you make some valid points.
    I will continue to clad my heroine in appropriate attire for the job in hand. That doesn't mean she never gets down to her undies, just that mostly she dresses according to conventions of the period. She hasn't worn any armour so far, although she does carry weapons.
  6. Tanniel

    Tanniel Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune

    You misunderstood me. I am not at all surprised that this is happening; it just affects me negatively to witness.
  7. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Journeyed there and back again

    I got what you were saying.

    My thought is that worship of Aesir gods ceased to exist for centuries, and stories that manipulate the Aesir God stories are now older than the faith. The big movement of setting up different sects and big recruitment drives only began occurring after the comic had been out for a while and was selling a lot (late 60s early 70s, thor was first published 1962). So one could say the comic helped convert (though numbers are still small according to what I have read, it's not yet a full blown religion) but that also means to me, the modern revival movement is younger than the comics and many other modern stories. Can you ask someone to stop writing a fiction, that's older than your convictions?

    I am a religious person( not Aesir worship). I don't care at all if my faith is used to make someone money, I don't care if it is mocked on South Park (I'll just laugh) I don't care if someone makes a fiction story line based on my faith..I do care if they add a bunch of spaceships, but only as a strictly "I hate ancient alien theory" sort of way, not in the "I'm offended" sort of way.

    I respect your opinion if it is different. I just think it's not a big deal.
  8. Tanniel

    Tanniel Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune

    1. You're arguing from an American view point. I've never seen an actual Thor comic book in Scandinavia; until the movie, I barely knew it existed. What you're saying may be true for the US, but Norse culture has always existed in Scandinavia, completely unaffected by Marvel. Norse culture wasn't dead until Marvel revived it. I grew up with these stories as a cultural foundation.

    2. I don't mind stories being written that are inspired by the mythos and treat it with respect. For example, I thought American Gods by Neil Gaiman was an interesting concept, and the Norse characters seemed true to their origin. With Marvel, they reduced the complexities and intricacies to make yet another lowest common denominator story. Imagine someone made an adaptation of your favourite book, but they re-wrote everything about it to make it as mainstream as possible and sell as much as possible, and generally treated the material with complete indifference and irreverence. Or maybe that would not be a big deal to you either.
  9. Silvion Night

    Silvion Night Sir Readalot Staff Member


    Ever heard of Hofstede's theorem (and the above Hofstede's union - the root vegetable, not the gathering of workers-)? It explains quite succinctly how and why people get offended by certain things, as well as how different cultures (or individuals of different cultures) can clash. The outer most layers of the union are easier to see (and to change) than the inner layers. However, it is often the inner layers that people get most worked up about. It is wat drives people and what is most difficult to change in people.

    During my studies I've often found this to be one of the best sociology books out there. And it's written by a Dutchman to boot!

    Now of course a lot of it also has to do with personality or character. What offends me might not offend my neighbor and vice versa. However, looking at Nordic culture and the Nordic religion I feel safe to say that Marvel messed with at least 3 of the layers of Hofstede's union, and possibly even all of them. No wonder some people are ticked off.
  10. Tanniel

    Tanniel Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune

    I have not, but it makes excellent sense as you present it. Bonus points for the visual aid too.
  11. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Journeyed there and back again

    Well I am American, one cannot remove all bias. That's why I love this forum, we get a good mix from all over and can hear from different POV s .
    OHH. I think I get it ( correct if wrong) while I am arguing on the basis of a religious context you are referencing it as a strictly cultural offense. Like baseball's Atlanta Braves and their offensive chop. Or Disney's Peter Pan cartoon movie and their highly stereotyped portrayal of native Americans.

    I'm not sure how I feel on those lines.

    Wagners opera 'ring of the nibelungs ' also strips Nordic culture down to base common denominator, pushing stereotypes and reducing the complexities to a short story that could have a byline of (in an Alternative Universe) . Should this also be shunned and vilified?

    Is a reinterpretation of a culture by another culture with ties to it, part of this newer culture?

    It takes me a very long time to make up my mind on topics like these. So I will leave with these questions in my head and ponder this, it may take years.

    Edit: I have seen my favorite stories stripped down like that, some I like, some I don't, the ones I don't I just don't acknowledge. Neither is a big deal to me)

    Edit2: I also grew up on reading about the Aesir gods...ancestral lineage and all ( "COUSIN TANNIEL!!! lol:)
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
  12. Noob

    Noob A Muggle

    Have characters kill others so easily.

    120lb woman takes out 3 armoured men with ease...there are some things that skill just cannot overcome when it comes down to size strength and athleticism.

    Likewise: Man takes on 12 enemies or kills with one blow. Its like watching a horrible Hollywood movie sometimes!

    It's as if a lot of authors just watch movies or cartoons and have never seen mixed martial arts or put on a pair of boxing gloves, despite having battles and fights being such a big part of their novels.

    When fighters get ko'd they come to in seconds, I've watched thousands and thousands of cage fights over the last 17 years. Nobody gets hit over the head and wakes up when its convenient for the plot 3 hours later. Almost never can a small woman take out a large fit trained male if he's also a skilled fighter unless weapons are involved. It drives me bonkers. Watch some UFC or other organisations where mixed martial arts is involved. Boxing wrestling and grappling are the only arts that really work. All this single chop to a nerve is absolute rubbish. Its been proven since it started in 1995 over thousands of fights that unless you're eye poking or headbutting, all those fancy martial arts are ineffective against even the most basically trained mixed martial artist. The fight will end up on the ground with Mr/Mrs wing chung choked out.
  13. Noob

    Noob A Muggle

    PS: mods, are all posts requiring approval to post, or just for new accounts? Thanks!
  14. TomTB

    TomTB The Master Tweeter Staff Member

    Just new accounts. Only the first few posts ..
  15. Maark Abbott

    Maark Abbott Journeyed there and back again

    Generally, for the above to work, the character in question has to have some special attribute that allows them to kill easily. I'll give the example of Shiza (pronounce it like you're Joseph Joestar, and you've just entered Wamuu's house and found a slab of stone with a bandana on it) from my own work. He's an Incarnate (think of that as a demi-god) which allows him to wield the power of his patron Ageless. Because of that, he has ridiculous strength and speed, enough to tangle with groups of a dozen or more with little issue. He does note in my WIP that he wouldn't be able to handle above a certain amount, but it's the fact that he's carrying part of the pantheon around with him that makes him powerful, and not just as a plot point. By contrast, other characters (Herik, Venkus) are very hard pressed when faced with multiple opponents, unless they have some sort of backup.

    Oh, and I'm rather happy with his sword. It's basically a door on a stick. Even Guts would be afraid.
  16. Olli Tooley

    Olli Tooley Told lies with Locke

    When we're talking fantasy, we are allowed to give our characters special powers.
    It's important to limit their powers, mind you.
    If you are channeling the pantheon, then of course, you will have that. One of my chars, Kaito, has ridiculous powers, but he chooses not to wield them except in defence.
    Having said that, I'll try and take care not to give ordinary fighters too much ability against the odds.
  17. Maark Abbott

    Maark Abbott Journeyed there and back again

    There's a limiter that he wears because otherwise when he gets going everything around him tends to die, and that wouldn't be too much fun, would it?

    That said, the ridiculous ability level and godly strength are undercut by someone who wants the best for his people, and he can still die if he takes either enough hammer or a well-placed shot. In book 2 he spends a great deal of his time teaching Kaenna what her limitations as an Incarnate are.
  18. Noob

    Noob A Muggle

    Who are these characters you're talking about...I've never heard of them!

    I'm all for powers allowing them to be strong but I just finished reading the Emperor's Blades (Unhewn Thrown) trilogy and I started getting sick of highly trained guys like the Ketteral just being able to cut through armies of armoured soldiers like butter even when theres just a couple of them, or the monks/assasins who kill people so easily it just cheapens the plot, IMO.
  19. Maark Abbott

    Maark Abbott Journeyed there and back again

    Well I did specify that in terms of the ones I mentioned, they're from my own work, Mr Saibot. Alas, it's yet to be released. I'm working on that.

    My main contrast is in terms of demigods vs mooks. Herik isn't quite a mook (more of a slightly enhanced human) so he doesn't struggle as much as a rank-and-file might, but compared to the demigods he's severely overmatched and only pulls through either by dumb chance or when he has stronger folk backing him up.
  20. Rebelliott

    Rebelliott Stood on the wall with Druss

    One of the worst things they do is get lost and lose the story thread, turning a potentially great tale into a meandering mud trudge through the pages. Snore.

    Another thing that grates on me is when they lack the testicles to kill off a character because they have grown so attached to them. Maybe I'm just sadistic but killing off my own characters is quite satisfying, especially if I've written it well enough that it has the desired effect on the audience.

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