Monday, September 06, 2004

You can't tell a day from a knight without a program!

There were some additional corrolaries to the How to Write a Fantasy Best-Seller thing that I analyzed in light of my own fantasy-in-progress the other day, and I figure in the interests of completeness I should enumerate those, too. (And because Will Duquette did, blast him! He shall be blasted beyond the Nine Earthly Realms, to the Dark Demesne of Zogger-zoom-d'pnath!) Here they are:

Bad Expendables. No orcs or whatnot -- my armies are humans only.

Tough Old Warriors I don't have an elite brotherhood, but I do have a few crusty old warriors. Only one has visible injuries (a pronounced limp), but because of this, he's become a Steward and no longer fights.

Pure Maiden Warriors. Huh? None here. I do have a fairly "pure" heroine, but she doesn't die and she's not anything like Joan of Arc. Mine has a lot of self-doubts and she's rather pig-headed and tends to talk out of turn. Yeah, there's no sex in my book, but that's because I am completely uninterested in writing sex. (Minor rant: I'm really getting sick-unto-death of this idea we have these days that everything needs to have a sexual theme, or that if something doesn't have an overt sexual theme, then therefore it is flawed. When Harold Bloom castigated the Harry Potter books partially on the grounds that there isn't much sexuality in them, I wanted to vomit.)

Body Types. (Quote: "Skinny people are wily and intelligent, big strong bear-like people are invariably dumb.") Not in my book, really. I have skinny dunces and one very nasty, and very intelligent, corpulent villain.

Character Names. My character names probably look occasionally difficult to pronounce to persons unfamiliar with Celtic consonants (such as 'dd' sounding as 'th' in 'there'), but that's about it. I firmly believe that names should be pronouncable, and I hate it when writers use names that aren't.

(Bonus funny item: Back when DC Comics did that publicity stunt in which they "killed" Superman, I saw in some magazine a handful of fake celebrity remembrances of Superman. One was by Pat Sajak, who described a Wheel of Fortune! appearance by a drunk Superman thusly: "He kept trying to buy a vowel, even though everyone in the studio knew the answer was 'Mr. Mxyzptlk'.")

Technology I hope my technology is consistent. It's a medieval-type world, but there are wheels and such. I don't put a whole lot of effort into making things hyper-realistic, though, because for some reason I just never quite grok it when fantasy writers strive for realism by pointing out how bad people smell and whatnot.

Magic I have no wizards.

But the magic in my story isn't of the AD&D type, with fireballs and spellcraft and whatnot. The magic that can be worked by mortals is very limited, and the more powerful magic "wielded" by the Gods ("wielded" being in quotes because the magic isn't really something they "wield" in the sense that Lancelot "wields" a sword) is part of the story fabric.

Dwellings Quote from the list: "There are three sorts of dwellings in fantasy novels – caves, huts and castles." Well, not in my book, actually. I have a few towns, a couple of castles that aren't integral to the story, something rather like a monastery, a hermitage, a cottage, and probably a few others I'm forgetting. No caves that I can recall, and no castles "hewn from the living rock".

I do have my rooms (the fictional ones in the book) decorated with tapestries and paintings and the like.

The Enemy's Stronghold. Not really. Neither of my principal villains, the mortal one and the immortal one, have citadels that are integral to the story. Well, the mortal one, a Lord with designs on the throne, does have his own citadel, but it's not like Barad-dur or anything like that. In fact, we never visit his citadel in the book.

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