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Rocket Sheep
November 9th, 2005, 03:30 AM
Exam time!

Please take this exam before you submit your fantasy novel anywhere:

The Fantasy Novelist's Exam (http://www.rinkworks.com/fnovel/)

Hereford Eye
November 9th, 2005, 06:37 AM
Oh, come on, now! What other kind of humor could there be besides puns? Without a good pun, fantasy is just another tall tale. I bet if someone had asked him, even J.R.R. regretted not having included any good ones in the LotR.

Murrin
November 9th, 2005, 06:44 AM
Wahey - I scored a zero.

James Barclay
November 9th, 2005, 06:46 AM
I replied 'yes' to six of those questions. I shall go immediately to the highest tower in the tallest building on the most distant peak and consider where I have gone wrong. :)

Or alternatively I'll stick to my premise that different for different's sake is always a mistake and that familiarity is quite often a very good thing because readers, those people who are by far the most important, happen to like it - when it isn't overdone to the point of stereo-typicality (if that's a word).

Originality is a fine and wondrous thing. But not when it makes no sense whatsoever.

Tell me I'm wrong.

NOM

JamesL
November 9th, 2005, 08:06 AM
I replied 'yes' to six of those questions. I shall go immediately to the highest tower in the tallest building on the most distant peak and consider where I have gone wrong. :)

Or alternatively I'll stick to my premise that different for different's sake is always a mistake and that familiarity is quite often a very good thing because readers, those people who are by far the most important, happen to like it - when it isn't overdone to the point of stereo-typicality (if that's a word).

Originality is a fine and wondrous thing. But not when it makes no sense whatsoever.

Tell me I'm wrong.

NOM

I agree completely. The best fantasy in my opinion mixes familiar, popular elements with a variety of original material.

Take George R.R. Martin - he mixes traditional, popular elements like dragons and knights and combines this with more original stuff like the Others, the Wall and the shapeshifting. The end result is a rich tapestry that is both comfortingly familiar but original enough to want us to find out more. :)

I scored 0 in the test, so I shall press ahead with my story! ;)

tracyt1800
November 9th, 2005, 10:33 AM
Some of those were hilarious!

My previous attempts at novels were guilty of many of those. The current one is not, so I'll take my zero and move on.

Dawnstorm
November 9th, 2005, 03:32 PM
How do you answer some of these questions if you (a) have no clear main character, (b) have no clear villain, and (c) try to get through the thing without a single battle.

What's a god for the purpose of the test?

Does a "badthingy" count as a "badguy"?

How does ignorance about hay balers improve my novel?

Is it okay to write about moody outcast princes with semi-sentient weapons who give them incredible power but kill all their friends?

KatG
November 9th, 2005, 09:41 PM
What's a god for the purpose of the test?

Deity or demon.


Does a "badthingy" count as a "badguy"?

No, it's a magical object. Perhaps one that will destroy the world category.


How does ignorance about hay balers improve my novel?

They feel ignorance of when the hay baler was invented is a bad thing, as in putting in anachronisms like a hay baler in a medieval setting. Though frankly, if you have an imaginary realm, I don't see why you can't have both a hay baling machine and characters in tights.


Is it okay to write about moody outcast princes with semi-sentient weapons who give them incredible power but kill all their friends?

Isn't that Moorcock's Elric?


What I want to know is, why are all the questions about epic fantasy? Why are they always obsessed with what they feel are overused aspects of epic fantasy and not of any other type of fantasy? Why do they read epic fantasy if they don't like it?

Also, I don't get why the young farmboy comes up all the time in conjunction with Tolkein and Lewis. Neither has a young farmboy in their stories. The closest they come is Tolkein's Frodo, who's a landowner. They don't have any princes who don't know they are princes or guys who are the son of the great evil. Lewis doesn't even have a great evil exactly. So if authors use those elements, drawn from different sources, shouldn't they be exempt? :) Not that I care. I had one yes answer, because I'm planning a series, but the notion of only stand alones being allowed is silly. I mean, nobody gets on the mystery authors for writing series for twenty, thirty years.

Of course, they're joking around, and it's funny and fun to take the test. But this sort of thing does perpetuate myths about fantasy fiction. Which I guess is sort of appropriate. (Get it? Myths about myths? That was for you, HE!)

Dawnstorm
November 10th, 2005, 05:24 AM
Deity or demon.

I can hear my characters bickering back and forth whether the entities in question are demons, monsters, or even illusions. I'm not much wiser...


No, it's a magical object. Perhaps one that will destroy the world category.

Then I used a bad word. Perhaps I should have said "bad-hell-if-I-know-what-it/they-is/are". Doesn't roll of the tongue though. (And it doesn't threaten the world with destruction. Actually, I'd say it's threat level isn't very high; the basic principle, I'd say, would be on the danger level of a pack of starved predators (whose number is limited), and the mutated level would be upgraded to natural desaster level (more lethal than, say, an earthquake, but also a lot more confined in area of impact).)


They feel ignorance of when the hay baler was invented is a bad thing, as in putting in anachronisms like a hay baler in a medieval setting. Though frankly, if you have an imaginary realm, I don't see why you can't have both a hay baling machine and characters in tights.

That's what I thought, but:

"Answering yes to any one question results in failure and means that the prospective novel should be abandoned at once."

And: " Do you not know when the hay baler was invented?"

So, if I answer "Yes, I do know," to that one, apparantly I have failed. Therefore, I infer that a good fantasy author must be ignorant of hay balers.


Isn't that Moorcock's Elric?

But... but... I didn't say "moody outcast albino princes with semi-sentient weapons who give them incredible power but kill all their friends"...

JRMurdock
November 10th, 2005, 12:32 PM
The bigest problem I see with a list like this is that Cliche works. Rehashing the old works. People like familiar territory. People like what's safe and been trod upon. Voyaging out into new grounds can be dangerous for both writer and reader. There's nothing wrong with reuse.

I read through some of the questions (not all) and got a chuckle out of a few. I highly doubt that any serious writer would follow this as law, but as has been stated, it does cause many to question and propogates the stero type of what makes good fantasy.