1. Kitbug
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    Kitbug Contributing Member

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    Too strange?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Kitbug, Dec 23, 2008.

    I like writing fantasy, but my problem is always, what's a GOOD fantasy, and what's too over-the-top and ridiculous?

    Say, for those of you who have read the Xanth novels by Piers Anthony, those are insane, but (to me at least) not too over-the-top and ridiculous because they're meant to be highly humorous.

    My problem is that in the fantasy world I like writing (I've created my own little world, rules, species, etc., etc.) there are all sorts of species, many of whom talk and communicate with one another. And I know some people will think that it's far too absurd, and some will think that it's okay, but just, let's say, my question is (to those of you who LIKE fantasy, if you don't, then please don't bother saying anything) what do you generally consider to be too childlike, and what is a fantasy that is far-fetched, yet worthy of reading?

    And did any of that make any sense...? :D
     
  2. Fitz101
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    Fitz101 New Member

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    I won't lie I'm not a big fantasy reader but thought I'd chip in anyway...

    It seems to me that when writing there needs to be some sort of balance between imagination and (and I know I might get ripped apart for this so apologies to anyone who takes offence in advance) some interpretation of skill. If your writing style is something that readers find enjoyable then I think that no matter what you're genre of writing you have more and more of a degree of creative license. If your style is something that to be honest the reader finds somewhat difficult to follow then perhaps that's something that needs to be worked on before you employ too much creative license or overly unrealistic ideas. I'm personally very bad at following this myself but that's just what I think is the right way to go about it. And hey, If you ever feel the need to work on something writing related you're certainly in the right place!

    Anyway that's just what I think...
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It can be as absurd as you like, but don't write it condescendingly.

    The problem isn't how silly the storyline is - it's how well it is written.

    The Xanth novels are delightful, especially for an incorrigible punster!
     
  4. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    What's wrong with being childlike, even if you expect most of your readers to be adult? Besides, it's not the concepts like talking animals that make it just for children (though I personally believe there are no "just for kids" stories). It's how you approach the concept. How innocent is it? Does it challenge the adult mind? Adults enjoy Prince Caspian, and it's full of talking animals. Had the novel been approached in the same way the movie was, it could have done well as an adult book.
     
  5. Nitromidas
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    Nitromidas Member

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    I am not a huge fan of fantasy. or, more precise, I'm not a fan of most Fantasy. The main reason for that is that I find many works of this genre to be a little... for lack of a better word, too much. If I am to believe a story, I need to believe the setting. So, what I've found is that those writers who mange do create a world that is recognizeable, yet unique, are those who's stories I bother to read. A good example here is Martin's 'Songs of Ice and Fire'.

    Another issue I have is the dangers of epic. It needs to be, right? However, it cannot be allowed to overshadow character-building, scenario-development or internal logic. I've read a few books where I get the feel that all this is merely a backdrop for the use of special effects and grand tableus.

    The trick to mastering Fantasy, I believe, is to master the art of clich├ęs. The genre relies heavily on them, but like a rose, it has to be delivered in the right way.

    Lastly, I hold Tolkien's tale about the Ring to be the Holy Grail of Fantasy. The most epic of all tales, with characters everyone remembers, scenes that inspired Jackson to give us views like the Argonath and Minas Tirith. All this in slightly over a thousand pages. Needless to say, I think the thousand-book series, like Wheel of Time, to be a waste of perfectly good trees.
     
  6. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I didn't like what little I browsed of the Xanth books. I'm just not into loads of comedy when I'm reading fantasy or just about anything, for that matter. (I don't mind funny things--I have lots of funny moments in my own fantasy writing--but when it's basically "comedic fantasy," I don't really care for it.)

    I'm not saying it's a bad thing to be over the top--in fact, this is my point. I know the Xanth books are hugely popular--but there are always going to be certain people who find them too childish or over the top for their tastes. It's just a personal preference. Just write your story the way you want it written and then try it out on some people. People like me probably wouldn't like it, but that doesn't mean nobody will love it.

    And I love +1000-page fantasies. The ones I write, anyway.
     
  7. Kitbug
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    Kitbug Contributing Member

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    Thanks for all the great replies, guys. =D

    Perhaps I'll work on one of my stories a bit and then let you guys read a chapter or two to give me some feedback.
     
  8. Shadow Reeves
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    Shadow Reeves Contributing Member

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    i read a book called "the witches of chiswick" which was about a man who got caught up in a conspiracy and travelled back in time with the help of a alien talking time travelling brussle sprout, to the past, which is actually more advanced than the future. the idea of the story is totally stupid, and although more si-fi than fantasy my point is that the book was writen so well and with such a dry witt that i really enjoyed that book, which on the whole made no sense at all.

    the key is to suck the readers in to your world, then when you have them wrapped around your little finger you can do or say what you like. with in limits of cause, but in books like the witches of chiswick, the more outlandish the story is the more i wanted to know how it was going to be solved.
     
  9. CommonGoods
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    CommonGoods Senior Member

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    List of books (comprehensable to not so comprehensable)

    The Hobbit [Easy to read, easy to understand, and pretty damn straight forward]
    The Northern Lights [Still understandable, but with some "huh"-moments]
    Lord of the Rings [Just ignore 50% of the background information given and enjoy]
    Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy [This brushes the limit of my understanding]
    Silmarillion [Yeah... ok... Me no get]
    The Bible [Completely incomprehensable]

    If you try to write a humoristic, barely comprehensable novel, you'll have to stick at the level of Hitchhikers guide. Everything else shouldn't go past Lord of the Rings.

    CG, making the world a weirder place.
     

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