I don't know if you all remember this, but a while back, I mentioned working on a fantasy series that I called "Dwarfsaga", which was supposed to be about a kingdom of dwarves on a quest to rescue their king's newborn child from an evil vampire lord.
Well, guess what? I've abandoned the idea for that fantasy series and have come up with an idea for a much better, sophisticated one.
The new one I am currently working on is a dark fantasy/horror series named "Atarchus", and it is about this mighty kingdom being invaded by a horde of vampires leaded by an evil vampire lord named Sinistroth. These vampires name themselves The Order of the Dark Serpent and worship the God of Darkness, Skrygorath. This kingdom is completely taken over by the vampires,and their demonic armies comnsisting of zombies, wraiths, demons, werewolves, and skeleton warriors. One such vampire in this dark cult, Atarchus, is who the story revolves around. He starts out as an evil, vicious, sadistic vampire and later turns into a somewhat reluctant anti-hero.
The races that are in this dark fantasy series, I've tried to make very original and exotic. There are no dwarves, elves, or hobbits in this tale, but there are dragons.
So in these novels (if I get them published) you will see brand new races and creatures in this fantasy world which takes place in the High Kingdom of Rystad.
I wish I could tell you more, but I'm afraid that I would be giving away parts of the story! http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
January 30th, 2002, 04:42 PM
Hi Zsinj16, and welcome back! http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
Your new project certainly sounds exciting, and I for one wish you every success for it!
January 31st, 2002, 11:48 PM
I find it a bit amusing that you say you're using original and exotic races...
Don't you think that zombies, wraiths, demons, werewolves, vampires, dragons, and skeleton warriors are pretty unoriginal?
The thing is, (and this applied to your dwarfsaga idea before) the idea you've come up with is just a very generic fantasy plot. If you really want to make it original then you'll probably need to discard most of the ideas - or, at least, the ones that you've mentioned in your post.
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure the books will be exciting, but if they follow your initial ideas then they sure won't be original.
Still, good luck!
February 1st, 2002, 05:18 AM
Well, I'm talking about the other races that inhabit the world of Rystad that are original, and I don't believe that every race has to be a new race in a fantasy novel in order for it to be enjoyable, good, and exciting.
February 1st, 2002, 06:07 AM
Yup, I agree.
It's often just as effective to use old fantasy cliches in new and exciting ways as it is to try and come up with completely new and original ideas. I'm sure you'll do a good job!
By the way, what motivates Atarchus to turn from an evil, blood-thirsty vampire into a reluctant anti-hero?
Oh yeah, and you mention that you want the story to be a dark fantasy. Well, it is the themes that you explore that will make the story dark, not the presence of Vampires and other horror archetypes. You should bear this in mind as you formulate the story.
[This message has been edited by LeMort (edited February 01, 2002).]
February 1st, 2002, 06:29 AM
Thanks for your kind comments and suggestions, LeMort. As for how Atarchus turns from a vicious vampire to a reluctant, anti-hero, well, I'm sorry, but I don't want to tell you that yet because I don't want to spoil the story for you! http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
But I have a question that I'd like you to help me with, if you would be so kind: You said that in order for my series to be a dark fantasy, that just the presecnce of vampires and demonic forces wouldn't cut the mustard, that I would have to delve into dark themes. And I wonder, could you please seuggest to me a way that I could do that. I mean, I've come up with some ways of delving into dark sinister themes, such as how the vampire cult worships their dark god and their sinister blood rituals to appease him. And scenes of them brutally and viciously killing innocent victims and villagers. I'm even planning on showing scenes in the Dark Underworld, (hell, in other words), where I'll show condemned souls being hideously and cruelly and horrifyingly tortured by demons. Do you think this could possibly help to make the story darker?
February 1st, 2002, 07:03 AM
Just adding more-or-less gratuitous scenes on violence won't make the story darker. Setting can make the story darker. Intent can make the story darker. Good old fashioned dark gothic horror is often made better by leaving a good bit of the nasty images up to the reader. My favorite gothic novel is The Monk, by Mattew Lewis. It's got demons, sex, and violence, and is all about the corruption of a monk. It's the intent that makes it chilling, and the trap that has been set up for the monk and how there is no way for him to resist it. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein would not be nearly as interesting if she had documented how the monster came to life. It just mysteriously happened.
A really excellent example of dark fantasy is the new French movie the Brotherhood of the Wolf (Le Pacte des Loup). You never even see the monster terrorizing the countryside for at least the first half of the film. It's quintessential gothic horror.
So to answer your question, I would not add random scenes of terrified villagers being slaughtered for effect. Have you ever seen the awful Mel Gibson movie, the Patriot? There is a scene where the Redcoats burn down a church that they first trapped the entire populace of a small town inside. It's pointless. It doesn't add to the story at all. And it makes the viewer mad to watch it. They can tell it's gratuitous, and therefore the rest of the story from there on in is weaker because of that one scene.
[This message has been edited by cassandra (edited February 01, 2002).]
February 1st, 2002, 07:11 AM
Hm, you didn't ask for my opinion but I'll give it anyway, as you wait for LeMort to answer. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
To write Dark Fantasy (IMHO, the most difficult style to keep up with in a whole story; a long one I mean) you don't need elements like blood rituals, killings of inoccents, discription of hell-like places (althought they might add to the story) --these things you find in heroic/epic fantasy too. In order to write Dark Fantasy you need to create a dark, brooding atmosphere.
How is that created: That is also very difficult to answer; you [i]feel[/i[ it most of the time. But a kind of formula (?) would be: create mystery; create a feeling of damnation and foreshadow a bad ending in your story (even if the end turns out not to be that bad! --thought it must be kind of bad, not a happy ending, surely); no character must be absolutely good in a Dark Fantasy story, and, if someone is, his/her goodness must mainly be a flaw, not a virtue; characters must have a "dark past", not all but some of them.
Those, of course, are just some ideas/suggestions. I generaly dislike formulas and cliches, and avoid them as the Devil. But I hope I've helped a bit. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif
Edit (for Cassandra's post was not there before): The Brotherhood of the Wolf was a great movie indeed, and a perfect example of Dark Fantasy. Thought there is no magic in it, it IS Fantasy, IMO. And Dark. Watch it; it gives you that brooding, dark feeling I mentioned. You think the ending is going to be hell, thought it is not --not so much. Perfect example --and a perfect movie.
The Patriot is a light war movie, not dark at all; avoid it. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/biggrin.gif
Another good example of Dark Fantasy is Elric of Melnibone by M. Moorcock.
[This message has been edited by Bardos (edited February 01, 2002).]
February 1st, 2002, 08:23 AM
What with the sound advice from both Bardos and Cassandra, I can't really think of anything else to add!
Still… Taking your own story idea, here are some suggestions on how you could twist it and make it somewhat darker.
I realise that this might very well break your story, but here goes...
Sinistroth, the Vampire Lord, is rampaging across the land - terrorising people with his army of Vampires, Demons, and Skeletons etc.
Atarchus (beginning the story as your standard high fantasy hero-type person) sets out to enter the lair of the Vampire Lord and destroy him, once and for all.
He confronts the Vampire Lord, but in the ensuing battle, Atarchus is defeated. Rather than let him die, Sinistroth inflicts the ultimate punishment upon him. He turns him into a vampire...
It would be quite fascinating to read about Atarchus’s internal struggle as he tries to reconcile himself to his fate, his moral/spiritual turmoil and the clash of good and evil impulses that would arise from his vampiric nature.
Through the first half of the book, we would witness the decline of Atarchus, as he gradually succumbs to his vampiric impulses, and his will to do good being slowly eroded.
Of course, in the end Atarchus would redeem himself.
Perhaps he could confront Sinistroth once again, and defeat him using the very vampiric abilities that the Vampire Lord gave to him at the start of the story.
And perhaps the destruction of the Vampire Lord would cause all those vampires that he created to die too - including Atarchus.
Or maybe, after destroying Sinistroth, Atarchus returns home, only to be ignorantly shunned and hated by the very people that he has saved.
They aren't great ideas, I know. But compare my revised idea to your original plot outline and you might be able to pick up a few pointers on how you could possibly "darken" your story.
I hope this is helpful to you!
February 1st, 2002, 11:51 AM
Yes, I have developed a plot like that before you gave your advice on how to make the story darker, only I didn't want to tell it because I didn't want to spoil the story for you. And the plot I mentioned happens to be a lot darker than the example you gave to me! http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif