1. Simpson17866
    Offline

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,742
    Likes Received:
    1,290

    If you could fix any genre...

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by Simpson17866, Jan 26, 2014.

    What genre would you pick, what do you think is wrong with most of the genre as is, and how would you do it differently?
     
  2. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    'fix'?

    I'm not sure what you mean... how can a genre be in need of a fix?
     
    Steerpike likes this.
  3. Steerpike
    Online

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,095
    Likes Received:
    5,305
    Location:
    California, US
    That was my thought when I clicked on the post.
     
  4. Simpson17866
    Offline

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,742
    Likes Received:
    1,290
    Basically, what do most artists in a genre do right now that you think makes for poor stories, and what would you do differently to make better stories for the same genre?
     
  5. shadowwalker
    Offline

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Messages:
    3,299
    Likes Received:
    851
    Write badly; write better.
     
  6. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    Not to recycle the same trappings of a genre.
    Too many writers of a genre read only their genre, or things they think will 'enliven' their genre it may come out okay or good but often times it doesn't feel fresh it just feels familiar - probably because other sci-fi or romance authors or whatever are turning to the same literature or non-fiction.
    I think genre authors have to branch out more.
     
  7. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,724
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    I'd put the optimism back into science fiction. When I was a kid, it was all about the sense of wonder, the possibilities of exploring an infinite universe. The futures were always full of hope - we could confront any issues, solve any problems, do almost anything, with science and technology leading the way. Sure, it's naive, but it was inspiring.

    Nowadays, there's too much dystopia in sci fi. Too often in sci fi, the future sucks. Instead of exploring and colonizing other worlds, we're facing zombie apocalypses. Instead of curing all our diseases and living to be 200, we're mutating into lesser species because of pollution. Instead of robots helping us by doing the menial work and freeing us from drudgery, they're taking our jobs and ruining the economy. Instead of evolving into a better race, we're evolving into a half-human, half-potato race that only experiences virtual lives. Reality sucks, so we want to live in the Matrix.

    I used to find science fiction exhilarating. Now, a lot of it just makes me want to kill myself.
     
  8. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Thank you! I'm glad i didn't have to be the one to ask this.

    A genre is just an arbitrary classification, a bucket to sort manuscripts into. If you aren't seeing what you want to see in a genre, write something that fills the gap.
     
  9. Simpson17866
    Offline

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,742
    Likes Received:
    1,290
    Personally, I would focus on horror. When I see horror movies:

    I see the heroes killed by their own inferiority, rather than by the villains' superiority. I would like to see more back-and-forth where the heroes are smart, do everything right, look like they could reasonably escape (not win, escape, winning is for action movies), but lose anyway because the villain genuinely outsmarted them.

    I see blood, guts, and screaming, but not desperation or fear. I would like to see more focus on the heroes failing than on them having failed.

    I see heroes whose different skill-sets result in superficially different actions taken, but whose personalities and driving forces for their actions are treated as window dressing. I would like to see heroes whose different backgrounds result in different decisions with different ramifications, not just different dialogue at different times.
     
    T.Trian likes this.
  10. AJC
    Offline

    AJC Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2013
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    60
    I hadn't realized this until I read your post, but I agree with what you wrote. In the past, man used technology for scientific discovery. Now most of the science fiction I read is about man vs. technology or man vs. machines. Writers today have a very pessimistic outlook about technology. I'm not sure why that is. Technology has done some great things for us, and more modern science fiction should reflect that.
     
    Poziga, jannert and Simpson17866 like this.
  11. jannert
    Online

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,806
    Likes Received:
    7,322
    Location:
    Scotland
    Oh my god. Yes. This. Exactly how I feel.

    One of the things I loved about Star Trek, especially the Next Generation and beyond, was that feeling of optimism. There was no feeling of hankering after the old days, when life was simple—which is kinda my personal default mode, and probably always will be. However, I loved Star Trek NG, DS9, even Voyageur and Enterprise (to a lesser extent.) It just seemed that, in Roddenbury's universe, technology had solved so many problems and opened up so many new doors for humanity. I loved that feeling.

    Personally, the genre I would REALLY like to 'fix' - and yes I'm making a stab at it myself, @Cogito! - is the near-defunct 'Western.'

    I would like to see the gunslingers at dawn, white-hat, black-hat confrontations done away with completely. It was a seminal period in US history, and it deserves a much more realistic treatment than the formulaic nonsense that has characterised these books for so long.

    I'd love to see the 'real' West fictionalised, books that contain all the issues that were pertinent to the development of the west, including the 'bad' stuff. It was an incredible period, and in many ways the myths and misconceptions about it still persist. I'd like to see them demystified. It's still fascinating stuff, and there are still many stories to tell.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
    Catrin Lewis and minstrel like this.
  12. Tesoro
    Offline

    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2,825
    Likes Received:
    290
    Location:
    A place with no future
    I'd tell the aspiring fantasy-writers to stop imitating the ones that reach huge success, just to have a piece of the cake. Imitating someone else will not make you famous. So stop copying the ones that write about vampires etc and get your own ideas. What do I know, find a creature no one has written about in the last decades or try to predict what The Next Big Thing will be. Take the lead, instead of following.
     
    Poziga and jannert like this.
  13. jannert
    Online

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,806
    Likes Received:
    7,322
    Location:
    Scotland
    Yes. Fantasy means you can create anything you want. Anything at all. So why keep repeating what everybody else does?

    I don't believe that wannabe fantasy writers are crassly thinking: 'Hey, lets copy what we just saw and maybe WE can make big sales, too.' I do feel their interest in the genre is genuine, most of the time, and they have been truly inspired by what they have read. But they would be better off passing on the inspiration to others, by creating an entirely DIFFERENT sort of world, than merely setting stories in the world others have created.

    Think of the Fantasy 'greats.' CS Lewis. Mervyn Peake. Tolkien. JK Rowling. George RR Martin. Joe Abercrombie. And yes, even George Lucas, in his ORIGINAL Star Wars movie. These guys all broke new ground.

    I cringe when I see the word 'wizard' connected to any book that's not satire. Ditto 'elves, dwarves.' And even 'orcs' for heaven's sake. That's a Tolkien-created creature, and not even traditional fairy-story stuff. A direct rip-off. And don't get me going on vampires and zombies...lord. Surely there are more creative things to do with a genre as unrestricting as Fantasy?
     
  14. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,724
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    I agree. I think many, if not most, of the wannabes are so blown away by the fantasy stories they've read that what they really, deep down inside, want to write is fanfiction. I'd argue that anybody nowadays, especially young people, who want to write fantasies involving elves and wizards and so on, really want to write Tolkien fanfiction. They know they shouldn't, if they want to be published, so they do the next best thing: they invent worlds that are very much like Middle-Earth but without hobbits or orcs, and charge right in.

    Real fantasy would be entirely original. Brand new ideas that bear no resemblance to Tolkien's or Rowling's or anybody else's. They'd be startling, fascinating, exciting. But too many young writers just want to write fanfiction in disguise.
     
    Mike Hill, Simpson17866 and Tesoro like this.
  15. Tesoro
    Offline

    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2,825
    Likes Received:
    290
    Location:
    A place with no future
    yes, that's probably it.
     
    photoann and Mike Hill like this.
  16. Steerpike
    Online

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,095
    Likes Received:
    5,305
    Location:
    California, US
    Horror movies are pretty bad, as a rule. Fortunately, there are lots of good horror novels around. If you like a more literary approach to the genre, for example, try Glen Duncan's The Last Werewolf.
     
  17. PensiveQuill
    Offline

    PensiveQuill Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2014
    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    210
    Location:
    Australia
    If there is one thing I'd like to see more of in fantasy, it's truly inspiring villains. Most villains are just unnamed evil or some nebulous threat off in the distance that will shortly engulf the entire world and throw everyone into darkness. I'd like to see less of that and more personal villains with conflicts, wants, desires and foibles of their own. I'd like them to be more evenly matched to the hero's of the stories and I'd like for their weaknesses to be exploited cleverly and then brought down. I want villains I can respect even if I don't like them.
     
    Simpson17866 and Mike Hill like this.
  18. Catrin Lewis
    Offline

    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,675
    Likes Received:
    1,072
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Exactly! When I was in architecture school in the early '70s, people would often put a little image of the Starship Enterprise on their elevations. It was a open sign that despite all the stupidity currently going down we had faith there would be a future and it would be exciting and good.
     
  19. Selbbin
    Offline

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    3,244
    Likes Received:
    1,810
    Location:
    Australia
    Vampires.

    Dark, mysterious, brooding, lurking, cursed and rare Gothic creatures hidden in the shadows because they are the embodiment of evil are fantastic.

    These ultra cool, youthful, super-trendy, party-animal, live in clans, anti-werewolf, gotta stay secret from humans bullshit stories are fucking awful. They are a disgrace to literature, entertainment, and everything ever in the history of the world.
     
    Wyr, jannert and minstrel like this.
  20. Selbbin
    Offline

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    3,244
    Likes Received:
    1,810
    Location:
    Australia
    And that would be what they mean by fixing it.
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  21. Catrin Lewis
    Offline

    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,675
    Likes Received:
    1,072
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Although if you read the original Dracula, the Count certainly hits the social scene on his arrival in London, and in the daytime, too . . .
     
  22. Selbbin
    Offline

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    3,244
    Likes Received:
    1,810
    Location:
    Australia
    Yeah, but it's not overdone. And there's a reason he can do it. He doesn't have 16 vampire friends and getting into gang fights with werewolves on their way to midnight rave parties where they drink psuedo-blood.
     
    Mike Hill and Catrin Lewis like this.
  23. maskedhero
    Offline

    maskedhero Active Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2013
    Messages:
    365
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    America
    Teen novels. Make them both more positive and a bit less about the relationships.
     
    peachalulu and Wyr like this.
  24. daemon
    Offline

    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    Messages:
    1,361
    Likes Received:
    982
    Unless your name is "Christopher Paolini".
     
  25. daemon
    Offline

    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    Messages:
    1,361
    Likes Received:
    982
    You would love the villain that I designed.
     

Share This Page