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May 17th, 2004, 01:35 PM
How original would you rate your fantasy writing? I find much fantasy is derivative, consisting of Arthurian type medieval worlds,similar fantasy creatures, and many common elements (Lol I fear to mention any others for fear that they creep into my work at some point; I don't want to be a hypocrite!)

Basically, most fantasy is 'a bit like LOTR'. There are a few exceptions, but I find that when things get radically different from the vaugely Tolkienesque, such works tend to be classed as Sci-Fi, rather than fantasy.

I was wondering what people thought of this, and whether they followed this pattern. I've got a happy medium in my work I think, some parts and central themes are very different and the type of thing I have never even seen alluded too in a fantasy work, however, there are also a good few nice familiar elements to it that are quite nice to have once in a while.

As I said, how do people go about making their work original? I know a few people here just go completly off the wall and have a (damned if im gonna conform) sort of additude, which is fair enough, if thats what they agree with. I don't know anyone who is a hardcore (if it aint got Elves I'll burn it) generic fantasy fan but there might be some.

I'm not really pretentious enough to sit here and claim nothing in my trilogy is inspired or influenced by other works, but I try to keep things original, or at the very least, away from Tolkien (lol, imo Magician by Feist practically IS LOTR, especially at the start.)

May 17th, 2004, 05:15 PM
I also would never claim to not pull work from other readings. I've read Eddings with the typical youth comes of age and saves the world, Williams with the typical youth comes of age and saves the world (I said that already didn't I?). Coming of Age stories are popular among fantasy. So are quests (for a ring {or to destroy it}, swords, gems {Sorry Gemquest}). Wars are also popular for the conflict such as the Riftwar saga which was a mix of fantasy and sci-fi. Donaldson did a geat job with an original, but again used a magic ring.

Most characters are handsome, pretty, fair, just. Some are Dark, evil, manipulative.

Myself, I think I've got an original idea (read more here (http://www.ofgnomesanddwarves.com)) and I'm quite happy with my own story. It needs a lot of editing and I'll get around to that one day. I've got an ugly, orphaned gnome for one main character, an amneisaic dwarf for another and my third main character is a bastard half-elf. They aren't required to do anything special. They are given simple tasks to do. Yet their actions set into motion events that will change the face and reality of the world they live in. It's planned for 18 books and is a very ambitions project. All books will be around 70K works as I want them to be easy to read and follow as stand alone adventures. But I also want to weave tale that will span all the novels. When the reader finishes book 18, I want them to sit back and think about events that started in book 1 and how those came to resolution.

One thing I will not do in my tale is tie everything up with a nice pretty bow and send the reader off with a sense that the world is safe once again. I won't kill everyone off either. I will bring to resolution all major threads I begin, though. When done, I plan to have a work that will make readers want to come back. I don't want to bog them down with new languages or new names for common items (such as days of the week or months). I don't want readers to have to learn 177 main characters each with their own story line. I do want the reader to be able to get through one book a day (hence the 70K words per book). I want the reading to be light, but the story heavy.

With all I've set forth for myself so far, yes, I think I've got an original idea. :) thanks for asking.

May 17th, 2004, 05:51 PM
My project is a trilogy, basically about a man sent to another world and charged with the responsibility of saving it. It is very character driven, and coming of age is a theme, however all the characters in it develop as the story proceeds. I think the main originality I have put into it is by telling the story from the main hero's pov for the majority and concentrating a lot on his feelings about the new world he is in. However, interspered with that are sections following the story of other characters within the plot, dealing with all the plots, intriuges, twists and world building that are occuring at the same time. I think its quite original because I have both the mirco and macro stories proceeding together.

May 18th, 2004, 06:33 AM
I don't read or write that much fantasy, I'm more of an SF guy, but I find when I do dabble with fantasy, it tends to end up in the style of REH.
Not surprising as that's mostly what I read in the genre.
I find fantasy hard to write manly because it seems limited to me (or maybe I'm just limited as a fantasy writer! :o )
SF gives me more scope to work with.

ironchef texmex
May 19th, 2004, 02:18 PM
I find much fantasy is derivative, consisting of Arthurian type medieval worlds,similar fantasy creatures, and many common elements (Lol I fear to mention any others for fear that they creep into my work at some point; I don't want to be a hypocrite!)

Isn't that the truth!

I think this may have to do with the fact that so many fantasy buffs played Dungeons and Dragons. We've all been saturated with a particular viewpoint (knights and drarves and orcs and such) during our formative years.

Having said that, if there is a genre where a little cliche is forgivable this is probably it. I like a good fantasy story even if it is familiar. Most of Martin's Fire and Ice series has been done before. But maybe not quite like this and he's doing it really really well.

And no, you're right, it doesn't have to be familiar. Not every hero has to be the son of the greatest swordsman ever, etc. There is still plenty of fresh earth waiting to be turned even in familiar Sword and Sorcery environs. I was working on a story that occurs on a penal colony that contained a bunch of fantasy elements. That is, I waaas working on it until my wife got put on bedrest. She's five months pregnant with twins. The original fantasy has sort of been put on the backburner at the moment, along with a lot of other things (eating, sleeping, showers).

Oh well. :)

May 19th, 2004, 06:04 PM
Hey congratulations! Just four months to go then. Twins as well. Lol orignal fantasy might be put on the back burner for a while longer :)

I think people sometimes complain about generic fantasy too much. It still has a lot of scope, and at least most of us still include many new ideas. Look at detective fiction. Surely thats far more generic, yet no-one ever complains. Oh well, its the way of the world, I suppose. My manuscripts off now, so I'll let the experts make the judgements