1. Infel

    Infel Senior Member

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    What Do You Enjoy Seeing in Fantasy?

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Infel, Oct 21, 2016.

    I'm a low-to-high fantasy sort of person; it's what I enjoy reading, and its definitely what I enjoy writing. All the tropes and cliches in the world can't stop the thrill I feel from learning about new worlds and wishing I could shoot fireballs from my hands. And I know I'm not alone in that!

    So as a fun, it's-almost-friday-and-we-can-all-relax-maybe sort of thread, what are things you guys really enjoy seeing in a fantasy novel? Or a fantasy story in general? What makes the story 'fantasy' for you? Someone once said something along the lines of "It simply isn't an adventure worth telling if there aren't any dragons", so I know everyone has their preferences and dislikes.

    Me, I like a protagonist with a heart of gold who's simply too stupid to realize that his saving people is putting him in mortal danger. Bonus points if he has magic and never says the words "But I just want to be normal!"

    Also I like maps. All of the maps.

    How about you guys?
     
  2. Kinzvlle

    Kinzvlle Active Member

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    DRAGONS! Even have a dragon hourglass, and two little dragon sculptures on my desk. Dragons all the way!

    As a mythology, and history buff I enjoy stories that can add aspects from say English folklore, Germanic traditions, and etc. Originality is good too, fantasy does give you quite a bit of freedom. A story can draw inspiration from wherever but originality is always a good thing.

    Magic, I like magic. I just plain love the idea of it, I mean who doesn`t want to be a wizard? It`s a plus if magic follows at least enough rules so that ti`s not a solve anything card.
     
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  3. Lea`Brooks

    Lea`Brooks Contributor Contributor

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    I really like fantasy stories about normal people who stumble upon incredible power for some reason or another. Though I just realized, that's either all fantasy stories or just the ones I read.

    In the Darkest Powers trilogy, Chloe hits puberty and discovers she's a necromancer. In the Darkness Rising trilogy (same world), Mia discovers she's a shapeshifter.

    In the House of Night series, Zoey becomes a vampyre.

    In the Percy Jackson series, he discovers he's a demigod.

    In the Wings series, Laurel discovers she's a faerie.

    In the Inheritance series, Eragon discovers a dragon egg.

    I just love it. Normal people who either aren't actually normal or who become abnormal through some discovery. I can't get enough.
     
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  4. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    When I used to read fantasy, I was a huge fan of the obligatory inn scene.
     
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  5. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Supporter Contributor

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    I'm with Kinzvlle--dragons are awesome! I guess what I like best about fantasy is how fictional it is. History, topography, races, animals--everything and anything is fiction. It's easier for me to leave the real world and become engrossed in something completely different with fantasy.

    Lea`Brooks I love those kinds of stories, too! They can be tons of fun:D.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
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  6. TheWriteWitch

    TheWriteWitch Active Member

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    I like newly discovered powers that are hard to control. It usually adds some comedy, but it also fuels my imagination with the question, 'what if that happened to me?' Naturally, I'd be more of a natural at it than the character in the story. :p
     
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  7. Zombocalypse

    Zombocalypse Member

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    Personally, I like learning about backstory. All fantasy books, in my opinion, have interesting and enjoyable-to-read backstories.

    I also like the style of dialogue used. They always speak so cool. What makes it interesting is the fact that no one speaks like that in real life.

    I personally love Beowulf's dialogue. It's poetic.
     
  8. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Writing is a form of Sadomasochism. :P Contributor

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    Well now...that might be a tad graphic. :supergrin:

    To be honest something that is a good story, that doesn't get boring.
    Originality and fun. I think a good Fantasy story would be a nice
    change of pace since there is the whole Urban-Fantasy thing.
    Tired of Paranormal creatures that don't have rules to follow
    and all that Were-animal nonsense. Time to go back to the
    roots of what made Fantasy, well Fantasy.
    FairPrincess.jpg
     
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  9. Infel

    Infel Senior Member

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    Good talk, folks! Good talk all around!

    How do we feel about different races in our fantasy worlds? I've always been a proponent of anything a fantasy race can do, you can do with humans to better effect. I think people often use different fantasy races to diversify the population of their world, but I've always thought that giving humans enough back story to make them elf-ish or dwarf-ish is just as fun.

    How about magic? Do you guys like magic as a mystical yet consistent force, or do you prefer it to be meticulously planned out and explained? Do you like it to do the unimaginable and fantastic, or is it more interesting when it just accomplishes things we can do in the modern age (like a fire spell in place of a lighter).

    I'll suspend my disbelief as long as you can trace magic to a point of origin and make it consistent within the story, but when it starts being a catch-all for an author to move plot forward, it starts to grate on me.

    Go fantasy!
     
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  10. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    I love a rich, lush new 'world' in fantasy. Something like what Tolkien created for Lord of the Rings. A world with different sorts of terrain, lots of different kinds of sentient and non-sentient beings, interesting new plants, strange weather conditions that don't exist 'for real.' I absolutely love stories that take place in worlds like this—although a good writer should never dump all the details of the world on the reader, but let them unfold in a natural way. In other words, on a need-to-know basis.

    I know Dune is considered sci-fi, but I always thought of it as fantasy. I got hooked immediately by the sandworms.

    I am not a huge fan of magic, however. My idea of a great fantasy novel is one that doesn't contain magic at all. I don't think it's been written yet, but hey....

    I like characters who seem real and believable within the fantasy world, with all sorts of traits that make them 'human,' if that makes sense. And I like a story to surprise me. A lot. Like the climax of Lord of the Rings, when Gollum inadvertently does Frodo's job for him. That was SUCH a surprise. I did not see that coming. Or the conclusions of the various storylines in Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy. I like it when things I didn't expect happen in a fantasy story.

    I love rich worlds as setting, but what really hooks me is the story itself. Same as I love Earth and all its bounty, but Earth alone is not enough to make a story. Things have to happen within the setting, using the setting, to make 'story.'
     
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  11. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    There are a number of these. Mervyn Peake, KJ Parker, Jennifer Fallon, Guy Gavriel Kay, I think Steven Brust and Emma Bull wrote one, Ellen Kushner, etc.
     
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  12. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Contributor Contributor

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    What I enjoy seeing in Fantasy... something other than stories that depend too heavily on one or more of the following... Supernatural Magic, Vampires, Zombies, Elves, Dwarves, White Guys with Swords, etc.

    Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman. Now that was a good story that broke with traditional Fantasy.
     
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  13. G. Anderson

    G. Anderson Active Member

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    I like it when the fantasy world interacts with the mundane world as we know it. Eg. magical realism or Harry Potter! :) That way, as a reader, I feel a little more welcomed into the world.
     
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  14. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    It's been so long since I read Mervyn Peake ( I was in my late 30s and I'm in my mid 60s now) that I'd forgotten. I think I've still got them on my bookshelf somewhere, though. I do remember absolutely loving the 'world,' and I think you're right. There wasn't really magic in it, was there? The other authors I've not tried, but I'll look them up.
     
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  15. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    No magic in Peake. Kay's book The Lions of Al-Rassan is excellent and doesn't have magic (a lot of his other work does).
     
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  16. Lea`Brooks

    Lea`Brooks Contributor Contributor

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    I like when magic has restrictions, when there's only so much the caster can do. I don't like reading about someone who can do anything whenever they want. Like in the new Gods of Asgard series, one of the characters is restricted to this bag of runes he carries -- he can only cast magic based on them. And if he uses too many, it makes him so weak, he passes out. But the magic in Eragon was borderline unacceptable to me.

    I haven't read too many books set in different worlds, but I suppose I enjoy the ones I have read. I'm mostly an urban fantasy reader.
     
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  17. Kinzvlle

    Kinzvlle Active Member

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    Beowulf is actually considered a poem, hence it being poetic. If you enjoyed Beowulf, though you should look into"The Wanderer" or "The Battle of Maldon". They may not be considered fantasy but there good examples of Old English poetry so you might like them.

    I enjoy different races, especially if they each have their own customs and way of life. In a secondary world setting seeing all types of races and beasts is part of the fun. As for magic, I enjoy magic but it shouldn`t be a catch-all. I once played a browser based game that made a running gag of explaining things using "because magic!". It was ok, as a gag but if that`s you legitimate solution to something plot wise...ya that`s lazy. I like magic that follows certain rules, as to keep it from being a catch-all. Magic should remain somewhat within reason as well, I`ve always liked the idea of magic being energy's that are being controlled rather than just things occurring out of thin air.
     
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  18. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    Thanks for the tips. I don't totally hate the concept of fantasy magic, or refuse to read anything with magic in it. It's just that I like it to be secondary to the rest of the story. A little bit of magic here and there, but too much reliance on magic to create a story can put me off.
     
  19. hawls

    hawls Active Member

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    Things I like in fantasy?

    Well as a kid I liked when the protagonist stumbled into an enchanted magical world through some deceptively mundane portal, like down a rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland or through puddles or wardrobes in Narnia. Always loved that moment where they realize they're not in Kansas anymore.

    I loved anthropomorphic animals. Foxes wearing dapper suits and field mice wearing little overalls, rabbits losing their shoes in vegetable patches and so on.

    I fucking loved dragons. My imaginary friend was a dragon.

    As an adult I....actually I've never grown up I still love all this crap.

     
  20. I.A. By the Barn

    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

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    I just like the fantasy seeming real.
    If this means restrictions in magic, I don't mind.
    If this means just the odd magical object, I don't mind.
    If it means no elves, no dwarves, I don't mind.
    If it means no dragons- STOP, PUT THE DRAGONS IN IT! :D
     
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  21. Lyrical

    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    I love fantasy and all its trope-yness. I love dragons, like others here have said. Everything is better with dragons! I have a fantasy WIP that began as a contemplation on dragons. Someday I'll get back to it.

    I love rich worlds, full of lore that gets hinted at, but not too explained. I too like the maps. I enjoy magic in moderation. I don't love epic wars, but I love long journeys over varied terrain. I love fantasy mythology, the religions authors give their fantasy worlds. And I just really love medieval fantasy the most. Give me old Britain-esque settings and peasants and kings and all that nonesense, and I'm a pretty happy camper.

    I don't like Urban Fantasies, but for some reason I find myself writing one. One that @Cave Troll would hate because it definitely has vampires and werewolves. I don't even really like admitting that I'm writing something so cliche, but it's a story that wont leave me alone so I feel I have to get it out of my system. I'm on my second draft and its still not out of my system. No sparkly vampires though. Trying to keep some traditional aspects.
     
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  22. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Writing is a form of Sadomasochism. :P Contributor

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    @Lyrical Why?
    Why not a strange organized crime syndicate with Gizmo as the Don Boss...
    Gizmos.jpg He will make an off you can't refuse. :supergrin:
     
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  23. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Contributor Contributor

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    That's it exactly.
    It's when the supernatural aspects become the story, that I just can't get invested in the characters.
     
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  24. Kerilum

    Kerilum Active Member

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    -ADVENTURE
    -Restricted and explained magic
    -History
    -Actual character motifs and individuality
    -Philosophical aspects
    -A balance between being the 'Chosen One' and being an ordinary person stumbling accidentally onto this whole new situation.
    -Un-heroic main characters
    -Pre-Industrial fantasty
     
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  25. Grub-r

    Grub-r Member

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    I like fantasy that's set so far into the earth's future it's unrecognizable. But just subtlety hints to it, like and old ruin described like a decrepit skyscraper. Not like falling into a cave a reading a sign that says "PENN STATION" on it. Something like the past is our future kind of thing. For some reason or another magic has found its way back.

    I like penalties for magic not restrictions. I like when the option to use or draw as much magic as you want is available but too much will kill/corrupt/maim/ what have you. The only problem with that is its too easy to do wrong. Too often the magic user gets a pass by using too much "just this once" in order to overcome something.
     

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