What's the worst thing fantasy authors do?

What's the worst thing fantasy authors do?

  • Infodump

    Votes: 9 25.0%
  • Overly graphical sex or gore

    Votes: 3 8.3%
  • Take too much time writing next in a series

    Votes: 15 41.7%
  • Kill off favoured characters

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Make up words

    Votes: 5 13.9%
  • Fail to engage with their readers

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Be too familiar /presumptive with their readers

    Votes: 1 2.8%
  • Rehash old ideas

    Votes: 3 8.3%
  • Get defensive about their work

    Votes: 2 5.6%
  • Add lots of rambling description

    Votes: 15 41.7%
  • Become obsessed with relationships in their work

    Votes: 2 5.6%
  • Exploit feminity in some way

    Votes: 2 5.6%
  • Deus ex machina

    Votes: 9 25.0%
  • Consider themselves morally enlightened and wise

    Votes: 10 27.8%
  • "Of course, as you know..." Protags explaining plot

    Votes: 7 19.4%
  • "Nebulous, poorly explained magic systems"

    Votes: 4 11.1%

  • Total voters
    36
Their magic is organic and they are part of the natural order
Interesting points. I do like that you reference fairy tales, because those are some of the most classic examples of modern fantasy magic and are rooted in cultural heritage. But while they didn't have magic systems, the magic reflected nature or the witch's personality in some way, as you said. It is organic. But everything organic is governed by the laws of science. If magic is consistent with the natural world or psychological workings it is by extension still governed by science (if indirectly). So I think I still agree with you, so long as the magic is consistent and grounded in reality.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
But while they didn't have magic systems, the magic reflected nature or the witch's personality in some way, as you said.
I'm trying not to be nitpicky but I'm going to be anyway ;) Sorry. That's not what I said exactly. I said that witches were seen as part of natural order (before Christianity conquered Slavic gods anyway). Same as animals or trees, humans or magic weren't separated from the world they inhabited.
In South Slavic languages the word for witch is 'vještica'. It's female gendered and it has its root in the old slavic verb vesti, which means 'to know'. So 'vještica' is a person, a human not a creature, most often old woman who has knowledge to either help or hurt and skill (which is 'vještina' in South Slavic, same word root as you see) to see the future. These skills and knowledge are not science based. They are the essence of the witch.
If you wanna argue that you could scientifically explain the essence of a witch, you can. Although as I said the whole concept of a witch in my culture is so far removed from magic systems and science, that I personally think approaching it in that way would miss the point of the concept entirely.

When I referred to exaggerated personality traits and characteristics, I was talking about creatures. Witches are humans.
 
humans or magic weren't separated from the world they inhabited
Thanks for the brief background on witches. To an extent, I concede to your points. For something like Harry Potter, that isn't centered around a mythology, I would still argue that a logical system of magic is necessary to limit the capabilities of spells/enchantments and to keep the magic consistent. But for stories like tLotR, worlds rich with cultural mythology, the magic is just an organic part of the world. I've done a lot of research into Ancient Egypt and Ancient Egyptian magic (Heka), and the spells, charms, curses, and enchantments they believed in were inseparable from their other religious and cultural beliefs. For someone with a good understanding of mythologies and cultures, I think you are completely right. But an author has to be careful to not overplay the magic and take it out of those cultural roots.
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
Interesting points. I do like that you reference fairy tales, because those are some of the most classic examples of modern fantasy magic and are rooted in cultural heritage. But while they didn't have magic systems, the magic reflected nature or the witch's personality in some way, as you said. It is organic. But everything organic is governed by the laws of science. If magic is consistent with the natural world or psychological workings it is by extension still governed by science (if indirectly). So I think I still agree with you, so long as the magic is consistent and grounded in reality.
Which ones would you cite, out of curiosity?

I'm not sure I'd have held up Harry Potter as a logical system of magic either ;)
 
not sure I'd have held up Harry Potter as a logical system of magic
Haha, no, I agree. I should have said Harry Potter should have had a logical system of magic.
I think it is true that magic is inseparable from nature, religion, and humans in many historic cultures. Witches (and shamans and mediators and druids...) were seen as part of the natural order. So the magic wouldn't necessarily be a separate system.
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
It should, although I sometimes think its appeal lies in the fact it doesn't and that magic is an outgrowth of character emotions.

Also, I just realised I totally misread the bit I bolded, so ignore that :D
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
But an author has to be careful to not overplay the magic and take it out of those cultural roots.
I think they should be able to take it out of the cultural roots. I mean what's a fairy tale re-telling if not that. Authors should have the freedom to modify/mold/use any folklore/myth/magic they want. I admire and appreciate people who do their research and try to keep recognizable at least some of the elements of the mythology or folklore they are starting from. But far be it for me to advocate for purity of those things in fiction.
I agree with you on the overplay of magic. In my opinion it's a kind of a writer's crutch when he uses magic to get the characters out of dead end he wrote them in. That's just a magical version of deus ex machina.