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On generic tropes

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  • #16
    Originally posted by David Mosley View Post
    So, can you write a fantasy story that doesn't use *any* of the cliches and/or tropes of fantasy? And if you could, would it still be fantasy anyway?
    I don't think you could. But, on the other hand, you could mess them around a bit, mess with the reader's mind/expectations, etc, have a fair bit of fun that way.

    About the worst thing you can do is to write without thinking things through. If you have a magic sword, how does it relate to the rest of the world it's set in? Mike made an amazing twist with Stormbringer/Mournblade, where instead of being mere afterthoughts, they are part of the cosmogony ...

    Perhaps one could also look at the way modern events and people, etc, are mythologized and used. Abe Lincoln, backwoods lawyer, rising to be President, killed on the eve of his triumph ... the Gypper aka Ronald Reagan, b-grade actor, b-grade president, speaking in Berlin and liberating millions of communist smurfs - oops -- serfs ... you get the picture.
    sigpic Myself as Mephistopheles (Karen Koed's painting of me, 9 Nov 2008, U of Canterbury, CHCH, NZ)

    Gold is the power of a man with a man
    And incense the power of man with God
    But myrrh is the bitter taste of death
    And the sour-sweet smell of the upturned sod,

    Nativity,
    by Peter Cape

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    • #17
      Originally posted by DeeCrowSeer View Post
      Originally posted by David Mosley
      So, can you write a fantasy story that doesn't use *any* of the cliches and/or tropes of fantasy? And if you could, would it still be fantasy anyway?
      Exactly!

      As a writer currently attempting a Fantasy thingy, that list really knocked the wind out of my sails. I mean, it implied that you should only write about worlds with fair elections in them (no monarchies or theocracies), because to do otherwise is "cliche". Eep!

      The problem with cliches (aside from the accent over the "e") is that they often have some truth or value in them. Personally I don't want to read a story where the hero takes four pages to restring his bow, and check the flights of his arrows. Magic bow = Happy reader.

      The story is the thing, and in the process of telling a story some things have to be sacrificed or fudged. Shakespeare is considered one of the finest writers in the English language, but can you honestly say he didn't repeat himself or cut corners? In fact he often repeated other writers' hooks and tricks, so what chance do the rest of us have?

      Good list though! Gave me some laughs... very nervous, guilty laughs...
      But who requires you to have monarchies or theocracies anyway? Who requires a neo-mediaeval world? That I think came in with Spenser and the Fairie Queene. Mervin Peake made a wonderful world without magic, an elaborate world running on empty ... have a read of the Gormenghast Trilogy sometime. If that doesn't shake the cobwebs from your head, then read John Calvin Batchelor's The Birth of the People's Republic of Antarctica ... followed by Mike's Mother London.
      sigpic Myself as Mephistopheles (Karen Koed's painting of me, 9 Nov 2008, U of Canterbury, CHCH, NZ)

      Gold is the power of a man with a man
      And incense the power of man with God
      But myrrh is the bitter taste of death
      And the sour-sweet smell of the upturned sod,

      Nativity,
      by Peter Cape

      Comment

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