1. Published on Amazon? If you have a book, e-book, or audiobook available on Amazon.com, we'll promote it on WritingForums.org for free. Simply add your book to our Member Publications section. Add your book here or read the full announcement.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Dismiss Notice

Writing fantasy? Take this exam.

Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Tenderiser, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. KhalieLa

    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Messages:
    692
    Likes Received:
    405
    Location:
    United States
    But, I don't see this as being exclusively a fantasy problem. If someone waxes poetic about how great it was when Regan was president and his handling of 9/11 then you've got the same problem. Or a historical fiction piece set during the Civil war who claims they could fear the planes flying over head, it's the same deal. Bad research is bad research regardless of genera.
     
    Oscar Leigh and doggiedude like this.
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,412
    Likes Received:
    5,558
    Location:
    California, US
    In a fantasy setting, a hay baler can be invented whenever the author pleases. It doesn't have to correspond to any kind of real-world time frame. The problem arises when you have a baler (or evidence of one, namely bales) without either 1) a corresponding level of technology that would make it reasonable to assume a baler exists; or 2) some explanation for the existence of hay bales without that level of technology.
     
  3. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    6,291
    Likes Received:
    5,787
    And it depends on the kind of fantasy you're writing. The Outlander example is time travel fantasy... it doesn't really make sense if the characters travel to an alternate time AND an alternate universe, unless that's specified. For other settings, though? Sure, as long as the author makes it make sense.
     
    Oscar Leigh and Steerpike like this.
  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,412
    Likes Received:
    5,558
    Location:
    California, US
    Yep. A fantasy that goes back into what is supposed to be real-world history has constraints that aren't present if you're inventing your own world.
     
    Oscar Leigh and Simpson17866 like this.
  5. Greenwood

    Greenwood Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2014
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    124
    Location:
    Banished to the Void
    That's what I thought as well, until I contemplated on it and found this sentence in my 2nd chapter; ""He almost felt as if being a part of the tied bundle of hay he was resting on."

    :D

    Do you even hay-stack, bro?o_O
     
    Oscar Leigh and Tenderiser like this.
  6. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,401
    Likes Received:
    1,600
    Location:
    [unspecified]
    But wouldn't it, rather than taking the form of a technological invention, be a hay-baling spell? :)
     
  7. ChaosReigns

    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2013
    Messages:
    1,090
    Likes Received:
    460
    Location:
    Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom
    why didnt i think of that for my novels? a spell rather than equipment... i mean they do it for log stacks, but not hay, but then in the country it's mostly set in now, hay isn't all that common
     
    Oscar Leigh and Sack-a-Doo! like this.
  8. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,401
    Likes Received:
    1,600
    Location:
    [unspecified]
    I suppose you might write it off to: they've never seen a hay bale and so don't see the need.

    I believe that invention isn't necessarily the child of necessity, but the weird step-brother of experience. In other words, we don't know we need something until we see it (otherwise, advertising wouldn't work worth a damn and we would most likely be conversing as pen pals instead of via computer and online forum). And if your characters have never seen a bale of hay—as they have a stack of logs—they won't know what a great idea it is and so wouldn't see the need for a spell to make them. ;)
     
    Simpson17866 and Oscar Leigh like this.
  9. ChaosReigns

    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2013
    Messages:
    1,090
    Likes Received:
    460
    Location:
    Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom
    true, true, for sure. if needs must they will do it right :)
     
    Sack-a-Doo! and Oscar Leigh like this.
  10. Wild Knight

    Wild Knight Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2013
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    32
    Why does this test annoy me so much? Hmmm... oh yes. THESE following questions:

    15) Do the female characters in your novel spend a lot of time worrying about how they look, especially when the male main character is around?

    What main male character? This centers around a female character, DUMB ASS! The closest one I can describe to the "main male character" is out of the picture for now, AND he's in love with someone else. NOT with the main character.

    56) Does anybody in your novel fight for two hours straight in full plate armor, then ride a horse for four hours, then delicately make love to a willing barmaid all in the same day?

    ASS-umptuous much? I guess that there is a lady that owns a very small hotel, but she's too busy closing shop and hiding from enemies in the chapter she's introduced in to even care about "making love" to anyone.

    61) Does your hero fall in love with an unattainable woman, whom he later attains?

    Oh, I don't know: have you ever stopped to consider that the story doesn't revolve around a straight white male? How about tailoring that to a possibly aro/ace black woman?
    (I say possibly because she doesn't have anyone I could consider a possible love interest, man or woman, and she doesn't seem particularly interested in anyone, as of this time, and it's a bit late in this game to even think about making a love interest.)

    ... Sorry, I'm done.
     
    BayView likes this.
  11. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    2,021
    Likes Received:
    1,507
    I think that's kind of the point ;)
     
  12. Wild Knight

    Wild Knight Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2013
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    32
    :oops: So I'm aware. I'm slow to get these at times.:D
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  13. NeeNee

    NeeNee Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2016
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    33
    It's okay Wild Knight, it's actually a good thing that your story doesn't have any of these things.
     
    Oscar Leigh and Tenderiser like this.
  14. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,878
    Likes Received:
    2,635
    My favourite questions :D
    31. Did absolutely nothing happen in the previous book you wrote, yet you figure you're still many sequels away from finishing your "story"?
    38. Do you see nothing wrong with having two characters from the same small isolated village being named "Tim Umber" and "Belthusalanthalus al'Grinsok"?
    56. Does anybody in your novel fight for two hours straight in full plate armor, then ride a horse for four hours, then delicately make love to a willing barmaid all in the same day?
    59. Does anybody in your novel stab anybody straight through plate armor?
    63. Is your hero able to withstand multiple blows from the fantasy equivalent of a ten pound sledge but is still threatened by a small woman with a dagger?
    64. Do you really think it frequently takes more than one arrow in the chest to kill a man?
    70. Does your main villain punish insignificant mistakes with death?

    Unfortunately I was guilty - worse than guilty - of the one below :bigoops:
    68.Does your story involve a number of different races, each of which has exactly one country, one ruler, and one religion?
    - My answer: that would still be better than what I had, because my world consisted of exactly one country, with one race, and one religion... :wtf:
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  15. doggiedude

    doggiedude Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    1,468
    Likes Received:
    1,261
    Location:
    Florida, USA, Earth, The Sol System
    Yes, but in your example, it could be explained away if there is no other countries or races as far as the story teller knows.
     
  16. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,878
    Likes Received:
    2,635
    You're very kind :D there's still the issue of one ruler and one religion though haha!
     
  17. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,401
    Likes Received:
    1,600
    Location:
    [unspecified]
    It could still be worse: one galaxy = one race, one religion, etc. It's a good thing most authors don't think on this scale, eh? :)
     
    Oscar Leigh and Mckk like this.
  18. halisme

    halisme Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2015
    Messages:
    1,313
    Likes Received:
    823
    One race can be done well. The idea that humanity is ultimately alone in the universe is really quite terrifying, though I suppose the idea we aren't is equally so.
     
  19. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,412
    Likes Received:
    5,558
    Location:
    California, US
    Familiar with Warhammer 40k? The God-Emperor on earth rules how many systems? Of course, there are plenty of heretics that don't follow along and have to be killed into submission.
     
    Oscar Leigh, zoupskim and Shadowfax like this.
  20. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,689
    Likes Received:
    5,623
    Location:
    London, UK
    I kinda want to write a novel that fails the entire test. I bet it'd be funny if nothing else.

    I'd have to legally change my name to Robert but it'd be worth it.
     
  21. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,878
    Likes Received:
    2,635
    @Steerpike - I know the name but actually have no idea what Warhammer is about!

    @Tenderiser - do iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit! :-D
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  22. halisme

    halisme Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2015
    Messages:
    1,313
    Likes Received:
    823
    Even then, there's plenty of variations on the imperial faith. Some have the whole "guy on the golden throne" while others have "guy living in the sun who liberated us from psychic worms".
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  23. Vrushali

    Vrushali New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2016
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    5
    Haha good one and a no to all the questions! Yay! :cheerleader:
     
  24. zoupskim

    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    Messages:
    771
    Likes Received:
    643
    Does nothing happen in the first fifty pages? A Civilization is purged by Christians
    Is your main character a young farmhand with mysterious parentage? She is a princess and General
    Is your main character the heir to the throne but doesn't know it? She is still the heir to the throne and knows it
    Is your story about a young character who comes of age, gains great power, and defeats the supreme badguy? She dies in the end
    Is your story about a quest for a magical artifact that will save the world? She possesses an artifact, but it simply grants fortune and success
    How about one that will destroy it? No
    Does your story revolve around an ancient prophecy about "The One" who will save the world and everybody and all the forces of good? No
    Does your novel contain a character whose sole purpose is to show up at random plot points and dispense information? No
    Does your novel contain a character that is really a god in disguise? No
    Is the evil supreme badguy secretly the father of your main character? No
    Is the king of your world a kindly king duped by an evil magician? No, he is a warrior, but his kingdom is no match for the Crusade
    Does "a forgetful wizard" describe any of the characters in your novel? No
    How about "a powerful but slow and kind-hearted warrior"? No
    How about "a wise, mystical sage who refuses to give away plot details for his own personal, mysterious reasons"? No
    Do the female characters in your novel spend a lot of time worrying about how they look, especially when the male main character is around? The female MC worries about her bearing as an heir and general.
    Do any of your female characters exist solely to be captured and rescued? No
    Do any of your female characters exist solely to embody feminist ideals? No
    Would "a clumsy cooking wench more comfortable with a frying pan than a sword" aptly describe any of your female characters? No
    Would "a fearless warrioress more comfortable with a sword than a frying pan" aptly describe any of your female characters? One is a priestess, general, warrior, hunter, mother, demigod.
    Is any character in your novel best described as "a dour dwarf"? No dwarfs
    How about "a half-elf torn between his human and elven heritage"? No elves
    Did you make the elves and the dwarves great friends, just to be different? No
    Does everybody under four feet tall exist solely for comic relief? No
    Do you think that the only two uses for ships are fishing and piracy? Not many ships present at all
    Do you not know when the hay baler was invented? No
    Did you draw a map for your novel which includes places named things like "The Blasted Lands" or "The Forest of Fear" or "The Desert of Desolation" or absolutely anything "of Doom"? No
    Does your novel contain a prologue that is impossible to understand until you've read the entire book, if even then? The prologue is the two main character's births
    Is this the first book in a planned trilogy? No
    How about a quintet or a decalogue? No
    Is your novel thicker than a New York City phone book? I never finished it
    Did absolutely nothing happen in the previous book you wrote, yet you figure you're still many sequels away from finishing your "story"? Huh?
    Are you writing prequels to your as-yet-unfinished series of books? No
    Is your name Robert Jordan and you lied like a dog to get this far? No
    Is your novel based on the adventures of your role-playing group? No
    Does your novel contain characters transported from the real world to a fantasy realm? No
    Do any of your main characters have apostrophes or dashes in their names? Yes. The Lizard people use apostrophes to denote family and tribe affiliation.
    Do any of your main characters have names longer than three syllables? Lizard people.
    Do you see nothing wrong with having two characters from the same small isolated village being named "Tim Umber" and "Belthusalanthalus al'Grinsok"? No
    Does your novel contain orcs, elves, dwarves, or halflings? Worse. Christians.
    How about "orken" or "dwerrows"? Fascist, murdering, crusading Christians.
    Do you have a race prefixed by "half-"? Christians call everything unchristian half-demons.
    At any point in your novel, do the main characters take a shortcut through ancient dwarven mines? No
    Do you write your battle scenes by playing them out in your favorite RPG? No
    Have you done up game statistics for all of your main characters in your favorite RPG? have character notes
    Are you writing a work-for-hire for Wizards of the Coast? No
    Do inns in your book exist solely so your main characters can have brawls? No
    Do you think you know how feudalism worked but really don't? I understand feudalism
    Do your characters spend an inordinate amount of time journeying from place to place? The entire story is the main characters running from the crusade
    Could one of your main characters tell the other characters something that would really help them in their quest but refuses to do so just so it won't break the plot? The princess general doesn't tell her companions the power of the artifact, or that she has it, until later.
    Do any of the magic users in your novel cast spells easily identifiable as "fireball" or "lightning bolt"? There is no magic except for the artifact, which serves whoever possesses it
    Do you ever use the term "mana" in your novel? No
    Do you ever use the term "plate mail" in your novel? Maybe
    Heaven help you, do you ever use the term "hit points" in your novel? No
    Do you not realize how much gold actually weighs? No
    Do you think horses can gallop all day long without rest? No
    Does anybody in your novel fight for two hours straight in full plate armor, then ride a horse for four hours, then delicately make love to a willing barmaid all in the same day? No
    Does your main character have a magic axe, hammer, spear, or other weapon that returns to him when he throws it? No
    Does anybody in your novel ever stab anybody with a scimitar? No
    Does anybody in your novel stab anybody straight through plate armor? Yes. Lizard matrons can cleave an armored horse and rider in half.
    Do you think swords weigh ten pounds or more? Lizard matrons' swords do
    Does your hero fall in love with an unattainable woman, whom he later attains? Yes
    Does a large portion of the humor in your novel consist of puns? There is very little humor
    Is your hero able to withstand multiple blows from the fantasy equivalent of a ten pound sledge but is still threatened by a small woman with a dagger? No
    Do you really think it frequently takes more than one arrow in the chest to kill a man? A main character gets shot in the stomach and dies
    Do you not realize it takes hours to make a good stew, making it a poor choice for an "on the road" meal? No
    Do you have nomadic barbarians living on the tundra and consuming barrels and barrels of mead? No
    Do you think that "mead" is just a fancy name for "beer"? Yes
    Does your story involve a number of different races, each of which has exactly one country, one ruler, and one religion? Navigating the complex tribal hunting grounds of the Lizard people delays the heroes for a long time
    Is the best organized and most numerous group of people in your world the thieves' guild? No
    Does your main villain punish insignificant mistakes with death? Yes. One moment of sin was enough to destroy Eden.
    Is your story about a crack team of warriors that take along a bard who is useless in a fight, though he plays a mean lute? No
    Is "common" the official language of your world? Imperial is wiped out by the Christians, who speak Gothic, and the easterners speak 'Skilth'
    Is the countryside in your novel littered with tombs and gravesites filled with ancient magical loot that nobody thought to steal centuries before? It was, but the Christians destroyed it all, purging all magic from the world
    Is your book basically a rip-off of The Lord of the Rings? No
     
  25. zoupskim

    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    Messages:
    771
    Likes Received:
    643
    Inns were always relaxing in my fantasy attempt. Soft golden light, big warm fire to dry the rain off, plenty of dry bread and milk. Sleep in the corner with a pile of sacks under your head, huddled with friends.
     
    Sack-a-Doo! likes this.

Share This Page