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July 24th, 2001, 08:03 PM
I'm not sure about how other's feel on this particular subject, but I have found that the fantasy genre has gotten rather stale.

First of all, why is it that every uses already created races? I'm sure that dwarves, elves, etc.. were really fascinating when the idea was first developed, but it seems odd that so many authors are still using the same ideas. I'm not saying that they shouldn't be used at all, but with writing, the possibilities are endless. So why do people keep using the same ideas we've already read so many times before?

Secondly, many fantasy plots seem to follow the same path. It usually starts with the protagonist being a boy (or girl) raised in a very rural community and has very little knowledge of his or her surrounding world. And then it turns out(surprise) that this character has some ability that will make him the only person to stop some great(usually reawakening) evil that threatens the land.
This concept gets very old. It is a very classic formula, and when done well, can be a very rewarding and entertaining tale. But the truth be told, it ususally isn't done all that well and ends up being a mediocre and predictable story. So why is it that so many seem to follow this mold? There are so many other ways to tell a story.

To summarize what I could ramble on about for pages and pages, what happened to creativity? In my mind, that is the root of fantasy. It's full of fantastic and creative worlds and people that don't exist in the "Real world". But when people keep writing the same stories with slight twists in the plot and then call it fantasy simply because it has elves or magic, I fail to see what is so creative and fantastic about that.

So my advice is this- Use your favorite stories and ideas as insparation, not as a premise.

July 25th, 2001, 01:09 AM
Hi, Alucard,

Welcome to the Forum!

I guess the short answer to your question is money. A proven formula that sells is obviously not to be messed with; just look at Mills & Boon. They're all the same stories with different covers! http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif

It's the old adage of if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it! But, I agree with you about many fantasy series on the market. A lot just seem to be a reworking of similar themes. But hey, many like to read these tales and while they're so popular, writers and publishers of mainstream fantasy will probably leave things as they are.

It's probably why I tend to read more science fiction than fantasy these days. I find it far more creative as far as originality goes, but even with this genre there are still many formula novels as well.


Neil www.wn.com.au/clubclad/erebus/ (http://www.wn.com.au/clubclad/erebus/)

[This message has been edited by erebus (edited July 25, 2001).]

July 25th, 2001, 01:28 AM
If you're looking to find creativity by following the big commercial fantasy "epic" template then you'll fail.

One of the problems seems to be that people have a very narrow definition of the fantasy genre. They don't seem to want to push at the boundaries that define (what they think is) the genre, or take any risks.

[This message has been edited by LeMort (edited July 25, 2001).]

July 25th, 2001, 03:35 AM
There's a lot of original stuff that's pushing the boundaries of fantasy, or might be if it weren't being classified as magical realism or something else. I agree with you that most things labeled 'fantasy' these days are pretty similar, but the fragmenting of genre labels doesn't help!

Check out The Tooth Fairy by Graham Joyce as well as Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon if you want to see what I mean. Both these authors have also written in the horror genre, btw, so your interest may not spread to their other books.

July 25th, 2001, 03:43 AM
I forgot to mention The Iron Dragon's Daughter by Michael Swanwick... it has TONS of original ideas, almost too many for the size of the book, which is why I actually didn't like it the first time through. Nonetheless, incredibly solid work by a usually incomprehensible author. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif

July 25th, 2001, 06:29 AM
My first reaction to reading this was I agreed with Erebus, however, now that Iím considering it closer, Iím not so sure. Surely the publishing houses want money makers and those formula fantasy books often are. I know that the publishers often beg for originality in books that are submitted. I wonder how many books are actually submitted that are original and the writing is worthy of publication. If they get hundreds of formula books and only a handful of original books, it would stand to reason that most of the time the well written books would be among the formula books.

So considering this possibility, I would say that creativity is indeed lacking. I suppose my own stories could be considered formula - to an extent anyway, though I try to have unique qualities about my races and worlds. Of course, I havenít read many books in the last ten years so my ideas could actually be common place these days.

(And no I have not been published and no I donít have any immediate plans to submit my stories to this site.)

July 25th, 2001, 08:25 AM
These are all very valid points. As always, the business aspect of creative arts can tend to have more infulence than it probably should.

And I'm not comlpetely against the "fantasy formula" as I call it. In fact, I just started reading fantasy about two years ago. But the more fantasy I pick up, the more I hear myself thinking "I've already read this." It just seems to me that very few are pushing the envelope. What attracted me to the fantasy genre in the first place is that there are there are so many possibilities when the impossibilities are the root of a story, but I usually find myself a little disappointed.

If you haven't tried it yet, the golden compass by phillip pullman is amazing. This,I think, is a very good example of how fantasy can be done in an original and non-formula style while still maintaining a somehwhat epic feel.

July 25th, 2001, 08:27 AM
Oh, and thanks for the welcome erebus.