1. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Anyone writing 'Dark Fantasy'?

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Lifeline, Jan 7, 2016.

    I am not talking about horror outright, nor wild sex, nor dystopian fantasy, but a hm, unusual setting and general atmosphere. I would love someone to talk to about my chosen genre.

    Anyone out there beside me? :p
     
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  2. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Isn't dark fantasy like Richard Morgan's A Land fit for Heroes?

    It's basically the more realistic grim medieval setting, where roads are made of dirt, people die, and murder is just as normal as breathing.
     
  3. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    No it's not :) at least that's not what I am writing.

    Oh there are novels aplenty out there who are also in this subgenre (Joe Abercrombie comes to mind, who also deals with dark characters), but I am talking here not of blood and guts spilling but of a subtle! horror in the mind.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2016
  4. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have one. I think. Haven't started writing it. I suck at Genre. So you tell me if this is Dark Fantasy. I myself see it as a mix of Urban Fantasy with Horror undertones.

    The MC, whose mother is suffering a fatal illness and is destined to die later this year(just to add to her delight) is kidnapped during a movie with friends(including her boyfriend). From this point they learn the place holding them is this... not sure what to call them. They have been kidnapping people for genetic experiements to try and create god-blood in order to in a sense open the pits of hell!

    The MC is a powerful girl though, with a bit of luck, and a lot help, she manages to break out with all her friends except one. Now she wants to go back to save her, but everyone soon learns she should be the last one allowed near this organization again. Because the organization as abandon its plans to make god-blood. Why? Because they found it. Inside the MC.

    So? lol
     
  5. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Lets talk abou this in PM then :)
     
  6. Mordred85
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    Mordred85 Active Member

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    Well, I'm considering writing Urban Fantas
    This just sounds like every other anime or manga, which basically focuses on antagonists and their hunger for power. Godlike powers via god-suit, god-blood or being of an "ancient" blood-line, but that doesn't mean it can't be good.
     
  7. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't really follow. How exactly is that anime? Some anime, actually from what I hear a lot of animes, don't even have magic. lol.

    I mean if your saying it is cliche because of god-like power and an power hungry antagonist. Okay, sure but there are tons of non-anime things with that same premise.
     
  8. Mordred85
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    Mordred85 Active Member

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    Whether it's deemed magic or not, there's still supernatural abilities in those anime. And many anime use magic.
    Here's a whole library of them :D : http://www.anime-planet.com/anime/tags/magic
     
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  9. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I still don't get it. Let me explain.

    Anime is short hand for Japanese Animation. Since this is not animation and I am not Japanese or in Japan, it is not Anime.

    But lets assume you just meant, the style reflects. Well. How? I fail to see how such a short excerpt really plays into such a culturistic style. It sounds like your saying. "Oh your making rice, so your Asian?" okay, maybe that is an extreme case. I don't think you mean any ill will towards me. So I will apologize in advance if my response comes off aggressive.

    I just don't follow. And I have seen many people say something similar. From "oh magic. So it is a kids book right?" to "oh, a girl lead. So it is a romance book right?"

    It kind of rubs me the wrong way. It sounds like your saying. "Oh gods, so it is an anime?" Which, no. English movies feature gods and god like powers. Marvel's Thor is based on a Norse God. Plenty of TV shows too feature magic. Supernatural being maybe one with a contrasting enough style to make my point. I mean you don't call these Anime's do you?

    Sorry, again. I feel like I am being a bit harsh here. I guess call it one of my buttons.
     
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  10. Mordred85
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    Mordred85 Active Member

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    No, I love anime and didn't mean anything ill towards you. It reminds me of a lot of Japanese animated series, manga and even Japanese video-games.
     
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  11. Matt E
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    Matt E Stormblessed Supporter

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    @GuardianWynn Sounds like a good concept to me. :) I don't think it's too much like anime, nor do I think it'd be a bad thing if it were.

    Eastern media, such as anime, tend to incorporate gods more often than western media. I think it's because they play a more important part in eastern folklore than in western. Instead of elves, dwarves, dragons, and gnomes, there are death gods, etc. The difference is more cultural than anything else, and just because a story contains gods, doesn't make it eastern. While western cultures also have their gods, western religion has been dominated by staunchly monotheistic religions for on the order of two thousand years: Christianity, Judaism, Islam. Medieval folklore, which Fantasy draws from, comes from a time where folklore centering around gods would have been frowned on severely by the church. The equivalent period for the east (Feudal Japan) had a very different religious composition, which I imagine resulted in different folklore.
     
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  12. Mordred85
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    Mordred85 Active Member

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    I agree with you, but it seems to me like you're genuinely kissing ass. How doesn't it read like something you'd find in a manga? I'm guessing you just got into Japanese culture then?

    And I never said it would be a bad anime. smh
     
  13. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    My work is extremely dark in nature, but the setting is also very unusual and complex. My openness about how bleak it gets was broken around the 280,000 word mark once I hit "Chapter 4" and everything spiraled into unfettered madness. This was cemented by my beta reader having an asthma attack and telling me to burn it... So now I just give vague descriptions and put a happy face on the overall matter and avoid some of the gruesome matters. It is not for the faint of heart.
     
  14. Matt E
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    Matt E Stormblessed Supporter

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    Kissing ass? :p

    Sorry, but I just don't see any connections between @GuardianWynn's idea and anime/manga. Anime and manga are just two forms of media. The people who write them think in pretty much the same way as those who write books and movies. The only real difference is culture, and the book idea doesn't strike me as being overly Japanese or anything. :p
     
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  15. Greenwood
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    Greenwood Active Member

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    The sequal to the fantasy novel I am currently writing will definatly cross over into the "darker" side of fantasy. The events of the first will unleash something that will eat society as well as the people from the inside out, literaly and figuratively. The whole athmosphere will become more grim, dark and hopeless due to this, which will definately translate into description and dialogue. Looking forward to it, but still have a long way to go before I'm there.

    It's already a very "grey" world from the start, but when shite hits the fan, it's going to be real dark. Not as in that there are going to be vampires, psychos and death-cults everywhere, but despair will truly seap through every layer of society. Decay, apathy, hollowing. I want this to be felt by the reader. All hope will seem lost to even the most hardened and positive characters. Can't wait.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2016
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  16. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    @Greenwood that sounds really cool! If you care to exchange tips regarding ie style, structure (or music to hear while writing :twisted:) drop me a PM!
     
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  17. Greenwood
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    Greenwood Active Member

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    Will do, this weekend. Need to get to work in about 30. Ugh... :)
     
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  18. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Me too *sigh*
    Really looking forward to this weekend here!
     
  19. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    @KaTrian and I dabble in dark fantasy or what some seem to call grimdark where you basically focus a bit more on the more unpleasant aspects of life.

    In general, our writing style is closest to the Finnish literary genre, "inhorealismi" (yeah, shocker since we're Finnish), which is a compound word formed of "inho" (disgust) and "realismi" (realism). Typically the style is heavily rooted in realism with... not so much emphasis but, rather, unwillingness to shy away from the nastier aspects of reality.

    For instance, we're currently in the planning stages of a new medieval fantasy story. The MC is a girl in her late teens who winds up accused of murder after she, a lowly peasant, killed a middle class youth in self-defense in a war-torm country. Long story short, because of various reasons I won't go into right now, she has to cut her hair short and dress as and pretend to be a teenage boy, escape her home town, and travel through the land in an attempt to shake off the mercenaries hired to catch her and bring her to "justice."

    We've both done hiking, we've trained both modern and historical European martial arts, we ride horses etc, so we have some idea of the realities of traveling through the woods for days on end, of fighting, and other realities of medieval life. What we try to do, stylistically speaking, is to give the reader an experience that mirrors the character's as accurately as we can, warts and all.
    We've even read up on medieval medicine too, so when a wound received in her fight with the guy she killed gets infected, the quack of a healer is more likely to resort to blood letting and a hearty enema instead of modern cures and methods (such as disinfecting the wound, giving her antibiotics etc), meaning even a small wound received in training or when doing the various tasks around a camp could easily prove lethal instead of having the MC get bedridden only after an epic battle with the bad guy or whatever.

    We likewise pay attention to other sanitary issues: when she hikes through a forest for a week in the summer heat without a chance to wash much less bathe, she's going to stink to high heavens and itch in all kinds of places. When she gets her period, things will get even worse because the medieval world she lives in doesn't have modern sanitary pads, panty liners, or tampons.

    We're fully aware that such a "foul" style isn't for everyone; some readers prefer "tidier" stories or ones where everyday challenges are glossed over etc, but we've accepted that and have chosen to stick to this style regardless for this particular story at least partly because we're tired of fantasy stories where these very real issues are either glossed over, ignored as irrelevant (as they can be), or erased completely, which means quite often the realism of the story suffers. Sure, usually suspension of disbelief is a part of the literary experience, but we feel it's taken too far too often, and while such stories can still be entertaining, lack of realism, especially when you have even a cursory understanding of the realities of life on the road, violence etc, can also get quite frustrating.

    NOTE: We aren't attaching any inherent value to any particular style, in case anyone thinks we think our style is better than everything else. It's simply a matter of taste, nothing more, nothing less.

    It's an experiment of sorts: we kinda want to see how far we can push the envelope with this stuff, how realistic and how gritty can we make the story? We wouldn't necessarily approach our first agent with such a story, but we believe it's entirely possible to be super realistic and entertaining at the same time to readers who like that kind of stuff. Obviously some readers won't want to read about the challenges of medieval menstruation, spilling guts, starvation, disease, and blood poisonings etc. amidst the action, political intrigue, betrayal etc. (which are the main focus of the story, don't get me wrong), but we figured since we and our friends like books like that, there must be an audience for dark fantasy/grimdark/disgust realism/whatever you wanna call it.

    Then again, since nobody is paying us to write at this time, our personal enjoyment of writing the story takes priority over everything else, so even if nobody else liked it, we'd still write this particular story in this style because it's what we enjoy at this time. Maybe we'll write another, cleaner and nicer fantasy story at a later time, but right now we aren't interested in or inspired to write such a story, so there, sue us.
     
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  20. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    I.. this sounds real good! I write also this way, but not necessarily in medieval settings. I put tons of research in, and so far my Alpha has commented that it shows through. It pays off if you DO know what you are writing about, if you write ie. about a desert than you ought to at least once have been there. If you write about war, well, there are some true accounts which you can draw on if you have a good imagination. Not that it is easy.

    Of course there is an audience. But you might have to self-publish, or at least that is what my genre RL group tells me. And I believe them. That does not retract from writing, I believe that anything doing is worth doing well.
     
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  21. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Another thing which a friend has commented on (and which I just remembered): If you complete your work you could include a list of references, for the reader to follow up or not as they please. I will do this, I hope it will be an eye-opener of sorts. That such stuff truly is going on, and is not based on an overly dark imagination.

    Certainly news stories of ie. 'Rebels have seized Goma' have now another dimension for me which I believe would do a world of people a world of good in terms of trying to prevent such things.
     
  22. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    I consider myself a writer in the grotesque tradition. Unlike many dark writers, I don't necessarily see my work as realistic in and of itself, but rather as a metaphor for real pain and suffering, a way of approaching things that can be difficult to write about directly. (For instance, I've used a graphic description of turning into a monster to represent how my immune disorder feels, and I once represented bullying and self-hatred with a character literally carving her soul into pieces.) Most of my stories are ultimately idealistic and hold out the hope that things can get better, but the characters need to claw and struggle to reach that point, and not all of them reach the end intact.

    Mind you, I'm not above writing light-hearted romance. All doom and gloom all the time wears on the mind.
     
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  23. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    I want to read the unedited version now. A lot.
     
  24. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    I have a gritty epic fantasy and a paranormal horror. So if you combine the two, they balance out as dark fantasy. Close enough? :p:p
     
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  25. Misterkilljoy
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    Misterkilljoy New Member

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    A good example of Dark Fantasy would be H.P. Lovecraft's writings! If you haven't read any of his stuff I recommend it, his work I would say would be a good definition of Dark Fantasy. And I too am writing in the Dark Fantasy genre :)
     
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