1. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    No more portal fantasy? :(

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Wreybies, Sep 11, 2015.

    I am discovering that my newest story idea may in fact be a mild flavor of portal fantasy. I'm finding a lot of no-more-portal-fantasy-ffs verbiage across the net.

    I know, I know. "You can write whatever you want if you write it well."

    Blah, blah, blah - blah, blah - blahblahblahblah. [​IMG]

    For those who love or hate or have an opinion on portal fantasy, in your opinion, what makes a good one, a mediocre one, one that makes you ask for your money back? Why all the hate for portal? Clive Barker made portal his thing and his shit is awesome! Why is this a thing people have an opinion on?

    [​IMG]
     
  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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    I've been reading a lot of manga, if that counts, where the characters are summoned to a new fantasy/rpg world.
    I adore them, especially the more video-game type ones :3

    Is the idea of portals/crossing-worlds cliche/disliked nowadays?
    I dream everyday of waking up in a new world filled with magic and adventure, so I find that odd!
     
  3. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    It is abused to such an extent in fanfiction and by poor authors who use it as a means to rip characters into a world where they can use their genre-savvy wits to great effect while serving facilitating pure escapism while serving the emotional attachment and providing a righteous point of view. Might as well replace the main character's name with "You/the author" in many of these instances, because that is how badly they are often done.

    The issue is not the mechanic, but the execution by those who do it poorly. This is like authors trying to be the next J.R.R. and pitch trilogies of a shallow rip-off world that reads like a bad D&D replay.
     
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  4. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    You can write whatever you want if you write- *is shot*

    Seriously though, some people hate it because there had been an overabundance of that concept done poorly, so when they see a new one, they get nauseated and go, "Aw crap, not again!!" Same with the vampires and the zombies; they're afraid of it being the same thing they've seen a million times already.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Portal Fantasy? I can't believe there is a specific name for it. But it's such a versatile plot device, I don't see it fading anytime soon. You have everything from Hyperion to The Golden Compass to Daughter of Smoke and Bone. The variety is immense.

    I'd suggest finding some novel way to make your portal. Back of the wardrobe, cut in the fabric of space, wormholes, clicking your heels ... all done already. Invent something new and no one will notice it's an overdone portal fantasy. :D
     
  6. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    The Magicians by Lev Grossman is a fairly recent portal fantasy. It was handled well and was very realistic. I ended up not liking the book because of the characters, but it was still well-constructed and mechanically sound. I believe it also got pretty good reviews.
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    To add to this, it seems that there doesn't even need to be an actual portal for the story to get classified as such. It seems - for some at least - that there just needs to be a shift from the normal world to one that lies out of sight, parallel to, behind, etc. My story answers more to this dynamic. The fantasy world exists discreetly alongside the normal world. There is no portal, no wardrobe, nothing like that. Just an introduction to this world for the characters and a learning process that things and places in the normal world have another purpose and existence in the other world.
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    All about the execution. I don't think the idea itself should give you pause.
     
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  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I like this idea. :agreed:
     
  10. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    Tv Tropes calls this a Masquerade.
     
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  11. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It does. :bigmeh:

    But that's ok. :whistle:

    Everything's
    a trope to TV Tropes. :agreed:
     
  12. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    If there's anything I care about less than what TV Tropes says about something, I'm having a hard time coming up with it :)
     
  13. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    The TV is a portal! It's where imagination goes to die.

    I have been hanging out on the wrong websites, clearly. I have not read anything besmirching any mechanism for story creation.
     
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  14. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Well, Fantasy is rather new territory for me. Or true Fantasy, anyway. I've written stories in the past that were Science Fiction that looked like Fantasy (think Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels or MZB's Darkover novels), but Fantasy that's not tethered by the restrictions of Science Fiction, never. I was perusing info concerning the creation of good systems of magic (so weird to think of that as a thing, but I do get it now) and ran across all the portal hate. I think perhaps my story isn't a true portal fantasy in a purist sense, but there were plenty of mentions of dynamics that I could see coming up in my story. Perhaps it's all just insecurity on my part, trying something new, but... whatevz. :)
     
  15. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Narnia, right? First portal styled novel I ever read.

    I think the story you're developing will grab a reader long before they contemplate any semblance of a portal. I find writers to be far harsher than readers yeah? It's perhaps something to keep in mind.
     
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  16. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Same here, about Narnia. The next true portal fantasies I read were all by Clive Barker. I don't think I've read anything by him that wasn't a kind of portal fantasy. For those not familiar with his stonkingly good written works, he also gave us the Hellraiser film franchise, which is very much a portal fantasy as well.

    Pinhead is holding the portal in his hands.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I haven't read much sci-fi just some vintage stuff, and the only portal stories I know about is John Carter?, Stargate ( the movie - though my brother watched the series, loved it and used to talk about it a lot ), Sliders, and Phantasm. Forgot Narnia.

    I think the idea has a lot of potential. The only concern would be to make it sound too much like something you like - ala all those teen vampire stories that came out at the height of Twilight rather than finding something new to say about vampires.
    As long as you can do something new - or fresh with the idea, I'd say go for it.

    P.S. I always wanted to do a portal story about a man trading places with his reflection in the mirror. Never got around to it, though.

    Oh forgot your question - I don't know enough about this genre to hate it. Maybe that the culture is too similar to earth? Kinda done with similar earth type scenarios. I prefer a crazy Dune style world.
     
  18. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    There's plenty of portal fantasies I've enjoyed.
    And my own novel is a portal fantasy of sorts. It's a take on the subject which avoids the author insertion/Mary Sue objections and hopefully is a little more unusual.

    But I've seen the general hate for portal fantasy too, plus agents making sceptical noises on the concept, and it does worry me that it'll make my work harder to sell. - though it's not going to make me ditch my novel.
    I like to read and write about multiverses, I don't want them to fall out of fashion.
     
  19. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    Tv Tropes can actually be surprisingly helpful, if only for getting you to look at a writing problem from a different angle. Anyway, I only brought it up because the Masquerade (magic was there all along, you just didn't see it) is different from Portal Fantasy (going from our world to another, where magic exists).

    You could also check out Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. Lots of gothy Gaiman goodness in that.
    The Thursday Next series, by Jasper Fforde is a particularly interesting example, as the MC passes from one imaginary world into another.
     
  20. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    The issue at stake has nothing to do with the portal fantasy, and everything to do with the way horrible authors use it. If your novel is just an excuse for a world building exercise, in which the newcomer will be exposed to new and interesting concepts, fight new and interesting governments and have sex with new and interesting creatures, it would be better for you to just write a table top gaming book.

    Publishers are not interested in your day dreams about another world, and if that's the whole point behind your story they'll tosh your stuff in the trash.
     

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