Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Writing High Fantasy...

Half the time I use this blog to post about "Oh, I'm moving" or non writing related stuff. That's the Musings and Other Such Nonsense of this blog.

I seriously need to get back to the "Writing" part of this blog. I'm looking around for some fun topics and trying to offer up advice I've been given along the way. Right now, I'm going to write about what I know best. Fantasy.

I have discovered that what I write is closer to High Fantasy. I'm sure I have said this before in previous blogs. Maybe I haven't. What classifies it as High Fantasy?

Well, according to Wikipedia: "High Fantasy is defined as fantasy fiction set in an alternative, entirely fictional (secondary) world rather than the real or 'primary' world."

That's pretty much what I write. My stories are set in a world of my creation. If you've read any of this before, you can just pass over my blog today. I won't be heartbroken. But I have talked about this before. However, I have lots of new followers so I'll pretend I'm a broken record.

There are lots of 'Don'ts' in writing fantasy, more specifically, high fantasy. Personally, one of my pet peeves in fantasy is graphic sex scenes. I sort of have issues with this to begin with, but it really gets on my nerves in fantasy. I'm a sword and sorcery kind of gal. I want to get lost in an epic tale with mystical creatures, wizards duking it out and honorable knights battling the forces of evil. I do not want to know who is sleeping with who... (Insert needle scratching on a record sound here).

I mean really, would you have wanted to know the sordid details between Samwise and the sweet girl, Rosie, from the tavern? How about Aragorn and Arwen? You want those details, write fan-fic and leave it at that.

Some of the other don'ts, according to lots of fantasy authors out there: Don't have a orphaned, young boy who doesn't know he's supposed to be king living with a kindly old grandfather who happens to be a wizard.

Been there. Done that. Dozens of times.

If you write fantasy, don't plagiarize either. Making up your exotic sounding names is all well and good. Even more fun! I've used several fantasy name generator sites, but they all said the same thing: Feel free to use these names! Basically giving you permission. I still have changed and altered those names, but a good majority of them have just come off the top of my head. I have pages upon pages of notes with names. But to take a name from say, "Conan the Barbarian" (the old one with Schwarzamuscle) and use it in your book... meh. Unoriginal and copy-catting. Combine that with the use of Tolkien's Elvish, (which, by the way you are NOT allowed to use, I was told) and you're still copy-catting and not working at being unique or even slightly creative. Trust me, a book comes to mind with these two no no's and at least a dozen more.

Gods in disguise? Done. Quest for magical artifact that will save the world? Done. Kind kings duped by evil magicians/advisers? Done and done. I have a whole list and I found it while Googling. Look here, if you write fantasy. If you don't write fantasy, you still might get a good laugh out of it. But if you do write fantasy and any or all of those apply, you might get a little butt-hurt. You've been warned. A couple apply to my writing, but no worries. It is hard to write fantasy and NOT come up with a couple of those things. Writing styles are infinitesimal, I mean, I've been told I write like Tolkien. But I don't. I still have my own unique twist and so does everyone else.

So I hope this is helpful to fantasy writers out there looking for a good start. It does help to write what you know if the majority of your information is fantasy. I'm a nerd and proud of it. :D


Laura M. Campbell said...

I'm not a fantasy writer. My imagination doesn't think in those terms, but it's interesting to see some of the pitfalls one can find themselves in. I would love to hear more about how you come up with fresh names and story ideas.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm with you on the sword and sorcery aspect!

Mel Chesley said...

Amen Alex! And Laura, I may just post about that soon. :D I love sharing my cleverness... creativeness? Well you know what I mean. :D

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

dang blogger...ate my first attempt to comment! (watch it show up now.)

Glad you posted a link to that list.

Made me chortle many times.

But I'm irate you can't have a name like Ash'et.

IMHO...that is a great dragon name.

Regards, Mac

Mel Chesley said...

Nope, I just got this comment. I love that list, was pretty funny. But you know what, I have two families with an apostrophe in their last names as well as a couple of kingdoms and all that. I don't care, I like it and I like your dragon name too. Totally awesome. ;)

Fantasy Name Generator said...

I don't have a talent of a writer but I always wanted to be a fantasy writer. Thinking up stories to tell and let the public read it. It widens your imagination and forces you to think outside the box.

T.R.Harold said...

So that list is basically saying... "No one's ever allowed to write a really good high fantasy novel ever again?" i think a fairer test would be... "Does your fantasy novel involve any more than 5 of these aspects?"

Mel Chesley said...

I agree, T. R. It does come across that way. I would think you would want to limit those aspects anyway, but I am still reading books these days with more than a dozen of those aspects.