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  1. pamedria

    pamedria Member

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    Does a fantasy adventure novel have to have magic?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by pamedria, Dec 3, 2016.

    Fantasy - makes you think of dragons, witches, monsters, mythical creatures...

    My novel is based in another world. HOWEVER, there is no "magic". What genre is this?
     
  2. 123456789

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is your world a hypothetical extension of our reality as we know it today, for example, a planet that might exist, or a future we might have? If not, then it's fantasy.
     
  3. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It could be Science Fantasy.... maybe. Depends on other factors. Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels take place in a different world and make use of the Lost Colony trope. There are elements that appear to mimic fantasy elements, but they are simply different animals, not creatures of a supernatural provenance. No magic. Same deal with Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover novels. Also the Lost Colony trope in play. Some "costuming" that appears fantasy at first, but soon makes it clear that we're operating within the restrictions of Science Fiction, not Fantasy. No magic.
     
  4. pamedria

    pamedria Member

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    It is literally just in a new world with a different map, set in times of kings, queens, and knights. It is about their thriving country being invaded 500 years before, but the invaders could only capture the north with the country having a huge mountain range in the middle of the country. Then, when the book starts, the northern king wants to continue what his ancestor started and successfully capture the whole country. It's therefore about war between the north and south of this country.

    There are no mythical creatures. Perhaps a story of this nature requires it? I do not know.
     
  5. Infel

    Infel Contributing Member

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    Sounds like low-fantasy to me. Which is just as popular as things with dragons in it! Everyone likes a good medieval war story. At least, I do.
     
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  6. hawls

    hawls Active Member

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    Is it set in a madey-uppy world? Yes?

    It's fantasy.

    (I know I keep saying madey-uppy but I heard Stephen Fry say it on QI and now it has made its way into my natural vocabulary.)
     
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  7. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yup. Fantasy.

    Personal experience at... well, nevermind, apparently I can't link to Amazon. (Maybe I remember this from before, but it's kinda weird on a site about writing.)

    Anyway, one of my books, no link available - there's no magic in it but it's classed as Fantasy and there have been no complaints about it being mis-categorized.
     
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  8. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    No it doesn't need magic. There are plenty that don't have it. There are also probably half a dozen threads on this site asking this.
     
  9. Tebrim

    Tebrim Member

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    No not at all, at least in my opinion. Haha fantasy is just that, a fantasy. As long as it isn't a realistic depiction of our world as we know it I suppose I classify it as fantasy.
     
  10. Denegroth

    Denegroth Banned

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    It's fiction. Fantasy is a marketing term. It isn't a literary term. Yes, in the west the market and the discipline are said to be one and the same, but the market isn't very demanding. The discipline is. You're better off asking book store owners on what shelves do they place which books. No elves, dwarves (in other words, no Tolkien ripoff) no fantasy. It's fiction.
     
  11. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    This is empirically false, since there are plenty of books with no elves or dwarves (or magic) in the fantasy section of the book store.
     
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  12. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Contributing Member

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    If it's an alternate world fantasy... what comes to mind are books like, The Diamond Age, and The Golden Compass. Strictly speaking, The Diamond Age is Science Fiction... but it reads like Fantasy. The Golden Compass is a parallel world fantasy, very familiar, and those things that we might consider magic, are not. I suppose some of what you're searching for is Gaslamp Fantasy-- a sort of reimagined setting that closely mirrors our own world.

    Malisky and myself are writing such a story.
    We're using Paris circa 1790 as a template; the Revolution, the dawn of industrialization, the changing tides of government, philosophy, society, etc. We're sprinkling in names of real things from real history... for instance a book, one of our main characters is introduced reading, 'Zoonomia: or The Laws of Organic Life'. We mention the book but not that Erasmus Darwin (Charles Darwin being his grandson) is the writer. It's simply mentioned as a "newly translated edition", and no special attention is given it. We want the reader to recognize this a familiar setting in time and place, but it is an alternate world.
    That said, there will be no white guys thrashing about with swords, no elves, ogres, unicorns, swords given pretentious names, and absolutely no... spell-slinging. Anything supernatural, will always have a more reasonable explanation. The reader decides if something magical is at work, or not. We're also bringing in elements of Greek Antiquity, and a convent of wayward nuns... nuns have been underrepresented in modern fantasy!

    I tell you one thing, you don't get to write yourself into a corner and magic your way out of it. Malisky and I have already spent hours on Skype hammering out a detailed plot. It's probably more akin to what a mystery writer goes through. We're constantly returning to our research of the Paris of 1790, the personalities, the events, trying to capture that time in history. In addition to those limitations, our main characters are three adolescent girls. We need to always be writing with that in mind. The reward, is that the story has an intimacy you don't get when magic and pure fantasy are employed... "let them eat cake", and you can still have dragons too!

    This is one of our three protagonists... Mabel, with her dragon pup, 'Ollie".
    The dragons in our story don't breathe fire, nor do they fly, and if you drink their blood the best you can expect-- is a tummy ache. Dragons are used as draft animals, no more special in our story than a horse, or a house cat.
    [​IMG]
     
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  13. 123456789

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    What if you you wrote about a fictional small country that existed in real medieval Europe? Would that be considered fantasy or just fiction?

    My opinion is it would be fiction. Look, if I write a story that takes place now and I come up with a fictional gang war in a fictional city in California, that would be general fiction, not fantasy.
     
  14. Tebrim

    Tebrim Member

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    Did one of you create this? It's a really beautiful piece of art! I'd love to see more XD
    @Iain Sparrow
    [​IMG][/QUOTE]
     
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  15. Mumble Bee

    Mumble Bee Custom Title. Contributor

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    Fantasy doesn't necessarily mean magic, it just means something that would appear (to our perception) to be improbable/impossible.

    Also, the term 'magic' has tons of wiggle room, I mean what is magic if not science we don't quite understand?

    So to fully answer your question, to have a fantasy adventure novel, you need;
    - Some sort of fantastical setting (a world with two suns, something that is seen as highly improbable)
    - An adventure
     
  16. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Contributing Member

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    [/QUOTE]


    Thanks for the compliment!
    It's a painting I did years ago, and sort of what got me thinking that it should have a story behind it.

    I'll post other illustrations from the story as I get them finished.


    This is the only other illustration that has got beyond the sketching stage... it's of a courtesan, name of Valerie, who is visiting one of her old haunts... a liaison that will not end well.:)
    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Tebrim

    Tebrim Member

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    @Iain Sparrow
    Cool, cool!~ I really like your style and use of colour ect :Dc. I look forward to it if you post more ^^ good luck! :D
     
  18. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    I'd have to see the specifics. Sounds more like general fiction. But then there are books in the Fantasy section that have no magic and are heavily based on real world history and geography, but technically in a made up world. Line becomes fuzzy.
     
  19. S~A~W

    S~A~W Banned

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    LOL "empirically false" a book store that misshelves its stock. Funny. Welcome to the land of the heavily indoctrinated.
     
  20. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    It's not mishelved. These books are labeled fantasy by the publishers, categorized as such by Amazon, shelved there by B&N and our independent bookstores. Your ignorance of the boundaries of the genre doesn't equate to indoctrination in others.
     
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  21. S~A~W

    S~A~W Banned

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    Your ignorance of the fact "genre" is a marketing term, not a literary term, and the heavily-indoctrinated of the land where capitalism is the religion can't understand the difference has no precedence to equate to...sorry for dangling that preposition.
     
  22. EnginEsq

    EnginEsq Senior Member

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    It may be fantasy. It may also be military fiction, or a romance. Or all of the above.
    It probably depends on who the main character is and what happens to them.

    For example, if a novel told the story of Arwen from the Lord of the Rings, it could be a romance and a fantasy.
     
  23. pamedria

    pamedria Member

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    Thanks to everyone and their responses. I suppose it would then fall into Medieval Fiction if there is such a thing. I suppose categorising it isn't something to worry about in the writing stage anyway. Just thought of it as many publishers want you to specify the genre, and whenever I have explained the book to people, they always say "oh you have always loved fantasy." which led me to wonder if it really was. Yes, the world is another, however there is one sun, there are four seasons, and there are humans, kingdoms and violence, very much like on Earth in the middle ages.

    I wonder if I should add some fantasy to the book, for more substance? Perhaps some new creatures, another sun, something unique? Or do you think it's not necessary when it's not necessary to the plot (it is not... the plot is entirely about war, politics, love, lust, revenge blablabla... sorry I am terrible about summarising on the spot).
     
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  24. jannert

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I wouldn't change your story to add 'magic' just so it lines up with other stories that contain magic. If it's set in a world that doesn't actually exist, and is unlikely to ever exist, I'd say it's fantasy, no matter what else the story may contain. (If it's set in a world we don't know about yet but could reasonably exist from a scientific perspective, then it's probably sci-fi.)

    Lots of stories straddle several genres, though. Including fantasy/sci-fi.

    If it's set in a period of Earth history that used to exist, and you're loosely basing your story on what you think actually could have happened back then, while not knowingly making research errors—then it's probably 'historical' fiction, even if it doesn't have famous people in it.

    I think you can pretty much market your story however you like. I don't imagine a fantasy publisher is going to turn away a good book simply because it doesn't contain magic. But then again, what do I know...?
     
  25. hawls

    hawls Active Member

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    Write your story your way.

    If and when you getting a publishing contract, let the marketing team decide what genre it is.
     
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