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  1. Wuggums47
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    Wuggums47 New Member

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    Fantasy book quests and antagonists

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Wuggums47, Jul 13, 2014.

    I'm writing a fantasy book, but I'm trying to keep it distanced from the typical elves and dwarves. As I was writing it became clear that my character is there for a reason. I came up with the idea that he is meant to take down a fascist king. The problem with that however, is that almost every fantasy novel I've read seems to have some sort of evil king. What other antagonists and quests could exist in a fantasy setting? Also what are your opinions on including an occasional illustration in a book for adults. I know illustrations are typically reserved for children's books, but some of the creatures I'm describing so far sound so fantastical it makes me want to make art of them. I usually work in fiber, and there are some interesting felting techniques that can make flat images.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2014
  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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    Anyone can be an antagonist, it doesn't necessarily have to be someone in power.

    It could be a count, duke, baron, an alchemist, healer, secretary, banker, smuggler, thief. Hell, it could be an evil baker that poisons people or smuggles weapons in his dough or something...

    Illustrations used to be mopre prominent in fantasy books back in the day. Nowadays, the practice has fallen out of use and I persponally blame a lack of quality artists willing to do it for a pittance, publishers not willing to spend extra money on a book that may or may not sell to make up the cost, the amount of ink, and the fact it proved unpopular with a sizable chunk of readers. No rules against it, though.
     
  3. KatieValino
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    KatieValino Member

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    I'm writing a fantasy book, but I'm trying to keep it distanced from the typical elves and dwarves. As I was writing it became clear that my character is there for a reason. I came up with the idea that he is meant to take down a fascist king. The problem with that however, is that almost every fantasy novel I've read seems to have some sort of evil king. What other antagonists and quests could exist in a fantasy setting? Also what are your opinions on including an occasional illustration in a book for adults. I know illustrations are typically reserved for children's books, but some of the creatures I'm describing so far sound so fantastical it makes me want to make art of them. I usually work in fiber, and there are some interesting felting techniques that can make flat images.



    I completely get you, it seems everyone and their mum is using elves and dwarves!

    I would not be too quick to discredit them if I were you. I understand you want to be original and I wholly commend that. But maybe you could take the stereotypes of these character tropes and turn them on their heads. Elves are somewhat darker than they are often shown or dwarves less into drinking and actually the most intelligent and serene of all the species.

    As for the plot with the King. All I can say there is no such thing as an original story. You can, however, take a recurring theme such as an evil fascist King and blow your readers mind by developing such a character and plot with twists and turns out the wazoo that will make your novel stand out.

    I think Illustrations would be wonderful, no matter how improper literature snobs will deem them adults truly love them as much as children. I actually did a whole section on the merits of illustrations on my degree course and I learnt just how influential in continuing the story they can be. I would say that sometimes imagination an be better than having the images spoon fed to the reader so only do them if you really feel it will help the story.

    Let us know how it goes :D
     
  4. richardclayton53
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    richardclayton53 Member

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    I agree with Katie, illustrations would look good in any book, and wouldn't detract from the story, would enhance it in my opinion.
    You could write a fantasy book with no other races at all, just sticking with humans, and as long as the story was strong it would still be a good fantasy book!
    Good luck!! :)
     
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  5. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    You could always invent your own races. They do not have to be completely different from ordinary humans. Take a human, give him/her pointy ears, long life/immortality, above average physical capabilities, and you roughly have yourself an elf. Everything else that makes them unique is all back story and setting. I really do not see why Elves and Dwarves have to be a staple of fantasy. The only time I would probably ever use them is for a comedy parody.

    I think the whole idea of evil kings is that it creates overwhelming odds for the protagonists. It is used often because it is convenient. You just need to give your imagination a jolt and come up with something different. It is really not hard. You just need to get yourself out of the usual plot devices for a while.

    For example, in one novel, I have a high-ranking person that successfully overthrows the king as the antagonist. In another, I have a martial arts-crazed person going to great lengths to gain power in order to master a difficult technique. In my fantasy romance novelette, I have the cousin of the main heroine as the antagonist.
     
  6. Wuggums47
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    Wuggums47 New Member

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    Thanks. You know, I've been thinking about where to take my story, and I kept going back to the King and his people. I've decided I won't use the word king, and instead devise another political system with it's own words and concepts. I've also decided that outwardly the king(or whatever I'll call him) is extremely cruel, wrathful and sadistic, however internally he has a great deal of conflict and melancholy. His wife hates him and cheats on him, but he really loves her. He wants to kill her but can't bring himself too. When he thinks nobody is watching he often cries. I thought that making the king a bit more multidimensional would make him less cliched.
     
  7. Domino355
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    Domino355 Contributing Member

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    You are right, alot of fantasy novels have an evil king, and a good army trying to bring him down. If you keep coming back to that, go with it, but do it in a way you don't usually see. How about the main character instead of joining another side, decides to convince the people to rebel and create a Republic (and no, not join a group of helpless rebels, actually go from town to town and talk to the people to rise on their own). Something like the French Revolution. Or maybe the MC takes over, becomes king himself, and struggles with the temptations of power. By the way, I really liked your idea of the evil king actually being human and not straight up evil
     
  8. PensiveQuill
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    PensiveQuill Contributing Member

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    It really is unlimited. The evil monarch is so popular only because that's usually where the balance of power is held in a feudal society. My favourite fantasy quest is actually about finding a fallen star (who happens to be a character) so that's another kind of quest plot. As are holy grail searches (some magical item usually). One of the best fantasy series I ever read was multi-threat orientated. The overall plot was following the karmic connection between three characters over the course of several lifetimes, the karma had to be resolved. But while that was happening they battled several threats to life, power and liberty in the realm in the space of each lifetime.
     
  9. Chaos Inc.
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    Chaos Inc. Active Member

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    There's a trend in story telling, for better or worse, that has some major event that isn't the focus of the story. I The Walking Dead, it's not a zombie series, but rather an atypical drama set in a world with zombies. I'd also argue Game of Thrones is not entirely about the war to topple a mad king, but the drama within the world that is ruled by a mad king.

    Bad examples of this trend are Law and Order, CSI and Criminal Minds. The primary focus of these shows loose the freshness. There's only so many times the lawyer catches the witness on the stand revealing some shocking fact before there's no more blood to squeeze out of it. They become long running shows that aren't about the crimes, but about the people investigating the crimes.

    How does this apply to you? Your MC is attempting to topple this tyrant king. Cool, don't focus on that. Focus on the people they run into during their quest. It's not always about the destination, but the quest along the way.

    P.S. If they do yet another hospital show, it needs to be on Mars during early colonization. That's some serious drama right there.
     

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