1. Albirich
    Offline

    Albirich Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Norway

    Quick to judging fantasy

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Albirich, Jun 9, 2016.

    So I've been working on my novel for three years, and I categorize it in the dark fantasy genre. With this in mind I've found that people are quick to judge without even knowing the wider plots. It is a medieval fiction, yes, and as a high percentage of such fiction it is inspired by the medieval ages of England.

    For a realistic portrayal of how things worked there will have to be court (political) intrigue, and of course in most stories there are betrayals and dramatic turns of events. One would also want, for a realistic portrayal, different major houses, vassals and barons and so forth. (This is fiction however, so everything doesn't have to be spot on, there can be differences). This is where the trouble sets in, I'm sure a few if not more think of A Song of Ice and Fire and / or Game of Thrones. (Which the court intrigue is a twist of the War of the Roses, of course with GRRM's personal touch here and there)

    So if I am questioned "what is your book about?" I'd not go into a lot of details, I'd rather explain it's a dark fantasy with a lot of political intrigue, betrayals and of course battles and war. It also has a high touch of religion, in which there is an inner battle of two different doctrines. Then there's the fantasy aspect which I won't go into detail because of spoilers, and the brewing of conflict between two sovereign nations, and a third subdued one. And then I get the reply "Well so it's just a Game of Thrones copy, or?"
    I know this is not the case for a number of reasons, but I have a hard time getting the point across without just blathering out spoilers. (Even then I dunno where to begin because it's massive) I can tell them I worked on it before I even knew of the books or the TV show, but who's going to believe me? They might, but yeah...

    I don't get particularly upset about this, but it's like a needle in the toe, one that I frankly get a bit annoyed about. I know the fantasy genre is one that is quickly shot down for being blatant copycats of previous works, and or that it doesn't have any real depth or the story is bad and blablabla. I get that the description I tell interested people reminds them of the GoT universe, but I suppose that's because it's closer than any previous bestselling works at how the medieval society worked. (Like, one could argue the broader strokes of the Westeros plots are copied from the War of the Roses. I wouldn't say that, but it's an argument for the same type of people that quickly call out things as copies of other peoples work)

    I'll finish my novel(s), I'm dead certain of that, but I can't help but feel a trickle of doubt at times when it comes to the quick judgments made. I'd like to figure out how to perhaps swoop around that. Realistically you wouldn't want 'copy' to be the first thought to come into your readers mind, especially later if published. (Published would be different though, that short description on back and such, but it's something to keep in mind, and I think for other fantasy writers / authors too). New work is often compared to the current famous and trendy work. In truth I could say "Yes, my novels foundation is comparable to GoT because GoT is comparable to Medieval England (in which my novel is also comparable)." The thing is people wouldnt say I copying Medieval England, they'd say I copy Game of Thrones.

    I'd like to hear some thoughts about this from you, better yet if you are writing fantasy (maybe if you're feeling you're in the same boat). Or maybe you're one that dislikes the fantasy genre, I'd like to hear those inputs too. All in all I'd like to hear other people's voices when it comes to the topic of judging fantasy and or the problem of which I presented.

    It might seem like I'm going head over heels with the long post but I'm just trying to gather my thoughts around the subject and the issue at hand, and to best convey them to you.
     
    Seraph751 likes this.
  2. Lifeline
    Offline

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    1,392
    Likes Received:
    1,544
    Location:
    UK - the place betwixt and between
    This sounds to me like you should make up an unique logline, and maybe sit down and boil it down to - also unique - three to five sentences. And then memorize them to perfection ;)

    I can't help you with quick judgement, my own first WIP (also dark fantasy) never suffered from that. But then, I never wrote medieval so I am not one who can judge.
     
    Seraph751 and Shadowfax like this.
  3. JoshuaLuke
    Offline

    JoshuaLuke Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2016
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Kent, England.
    The thing is with so much out there for every genre and plenty of stereotypes created by popular media including tv series like Game of Thrones, books, comics etc. This means that people are often quick to judge for example if someone said they were writing a zombie fiction someone would likely relate it to The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later or something similar. So the best thing is to not take it to heart and create an original idea that is interesting and different to what is already out there and if people aren't willing to believe you or give your book a chance based on their views that they think it's a copy and unoriginal then it is their loss really.
     
  4. Gareth MH
    Offline

    Gareth MH Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2016
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    53
    My initial thought would be to describe the story from the perspective from your main protagonist. For example, Its about a man/woman learning to navigate the politics of a corrupt ruling class and ascending to power while trying to remain uncorrupted themselves. Something like that. You'd have to taylor it to your particular story to make it more applicable but its a better start than describing the setting etc. Know what I mean?
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  5. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,821
    Likes Received:
    2,377
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    Imagine during the hype of Twilight every writer that had to admit they were writing about vampires and the groans that followed. I don't think it's the aspect of fantasy that gets knocked it's the fact that you are compared to Game of Thrones which is very hot right now. I'm with the others - come up with a fantastic logline or talk about your characters.
    I've come across a lot of writers discussing their game-of-thrones-medieval-setting type novels and unfortunately they sound a lot alike mainly because they use Game of thrones or something like it as a sounding board - rather than games of thrones I'll be doing - sort of thing.
     
    izzybot likes this.
  6. Tenderiser
    Online

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,281
    Likes Received:
    5,149
    Location:
    London, UK
    If you think you have it bad, try saying "I write romance" and see the stereotypes flicker behind the other person's eyes. ;)

    How many 50 Shades of Grey rip-offs are there on Amazon now, many of them doing well? A LOT.

    How many vampire/werewolf YA stories are there right now, many of them doing well? A LOT.

    People have their favourite tropes and will buy them. Either own your book's similarity to GoT and embrace it as a selling point, or be confident that it has only a rudimentary similarity and stop caring if others call you a copycat. Because you will never stop people stereotyping your genre or sub-genre.
     
  7. JoshuaLuke
    Offline

    JoshuaLuke Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2016
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Kent, England.
    @Tenderiser Very true, just because you're book is compared to being Game of Thrones doesn't mean it is a negative thing. People who like it are likely to want to read your book due to this :)
     
    Seraph751 likes this.
  8. AASmith
    Offline

    AASmith Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2015
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    119
    I've made a conscious decision to not share anything about my book with people I know in real life. I find when you answer one question you end up answering 100 more. A while ago I started to open up and explain to people my stories but then i get more questions and it's annoying so from now on when people ask what my book is about I said "its a fictional story about a teenage boy." and that's it. If they push I am honest and say "I don't like discussing it at this stage. So much can change."
     
    peachalulu likes this.
  9. Shbooblie
    Offline

    Shbooblie Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2015
    Messages:
    334
    Likes Received:
    181
    Location:
    North East England
    I agree with what a few others have said, in that you should develop your own unique logline, that will separate your work from the others. That being said if people like the genre, they will buy it, especially if it's something with a unique stamp on it.
    People know what they like and when they like something they will want more of it, so comparisons are not necessarily a bad thing.

    There's been times I've finished a book and searched for similar books or even authors who write in a similar style just cause I need more. I'm sure that may be the case with your work too.
     
  10. izzybot
    Offline

    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    848
    Likes Received:
    932
    Location:
    SC, USA
    I'm really only echoing others at this point, but fads come and go. GoT is popular now, so any dark medieval fantasy story is going to be compared to it. High fantasy still gets compared the LOTR. Sci-fi still gets compared to the likes of Asimov. That's just how it works. If you want to write dark medieval fantasy, do it, and if people act judgmental, fuck'em. They don't know your story and the ways in which it's interesting and different, so their opinions on it don't really matter.
     
    Shbooblie likes this.
  11. Mumble Bee
    Offline

    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

    Joined:
    May 18, 2015
    Messages:
    785
    Likes Received:
    1,299
    Here's how you make your dark fantasy nothing like GoT.
    Set it in Winter.
     
  12. Albirich
    Offline

    Albirich Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Norway
    Thanks for the answers, you've surely given me a few things to think about. Think I'll try to focus maybe on a broader stroke of the story instead of explaining how the world is...I think. Anyways your words of logic popped my little bubble of doubt so I appreciate it :)
     
    Shbooblie likes this.
  13. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,504
    Likes Received:
    1,337
    I agree with @Lifeline - decide what your Unique Selling Point (the big thing that sets it apart from GoT makes it an interesting story) is, write it down and stick that bit of paper onto your screen, so that you have to move it out of the way before you start work on your MS.

    As has been said, similarity to GoT is a two-edged sword; lovers of GoT will probably buy yours - even if they rubbish it because "it's too different" (F*%# 'em!) - and haters are gonna hate (F*%# 'em!).
     
    Seraph751 likes this.
  14. Tomlan
    Offline

    Tomlan Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2016
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    10
    I have had many similar experiences. The novel I am writing focuses along the same sort of plot points as your does, except mine is more focused on a single family and their history and there is only a light touch of religion. But regardless of how much you try to explain the nuances, I think it is just in our nature to compare it to something we know so that we may understand it better.
    My story is not fantasy, but as soon as I mention the word 'swords' or 'houses', people think GoT. I don't really mind though anymore, because if people want to read my work then think of an author as prolific as GRRM, then I am honoured ;)
     
    Shbooblie likes this.

Share This Page