Why is everyone so quick to make fantasy either urban steampunk or medieval? There's so much more.

Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by FireWater, Jul 8, 2017.

  1. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Contributing Member

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    You bring up a good sidebar; modern music compared to what my generation grew up on.

    Where are the Led Zeppelins, Queens, Aerosmiths, Nazareths, etc!? And oh god, look what they've done to country music in America!
     
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  2. RWK

    RWK Senior Member

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    Well, let me be the first to tell you that life itself is unfair. :D

    However, that was not what I was implying. I was simply saying that if you want to reach a large number of people, you must first understand what a large number of people want.

    Campbell's soup doesn't offer bird's net, because the demand is not there.

    That said, I don't suggest you write purely for a paycheck because you'll starve. I write because I have always written, but now I write with an eye to the potential audience, because I want to move 30-40 copies a day (yes, I am small time).

    There are hundreds if not thousands of fine novels pulling five sales a year.

    If you want to be read by many, make sure you're working in a field where many are buying, is all I am saying.
     
  3. RWK

    RWK Senior Member

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    The industry changed. You can't sell music the way you did back in the day, so the musicians are facing a return to where they were before the phonograph: common entertainers. With YouTube and websites, garage bands can get their sound out.

    Writers are seeing this as well: with the decline of magazines and the rise of electronic formats and easy self-publishing the writing industry is changing. The difference is musicians are losing their hopes of glory while authors have more opportunities.
     
  4. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Contributing Member

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    And believe me, I'm no fanatic. I'm usually very pragmatic when it come to pop culture, I do have my own guilty pleasures... I can watch hours of the show, Impractical Jokers and laugh like a madman at their nonsense. But I also appreciate fiction, rare though it is, that engages me, expects more of me as a reader.
     
  5. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Contributing Member

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    And I agree with that. It's sad that we're overwhelmed with musicians that hide behind special effects, software enhanced vocals so they can actually carry a tune, and live performances that look more like a cheap Las Vegas show.
     
  6. 123456789

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you're probably about 75% right. Some of these garbage pop stars can actually really sing (when they want to) and a lot of them seem to deeply admire the greats, probably more than you or I do. It's probably oversimplifying things to say that art is dead in music (and whatever else) however it would be unrealistic to deny that times have changed and yes, money is obviously playing a huge role in how things are turning out today. Does that mean that the the industry leaders are completely evil and greedy? Does that mean that the music is undeniably crap? You can probably argue that that the industry leaders are just reacting to their changing environment, and that modern pop has achieved a new level of aesthetic. That doesn't mean it's as good as the "old stuff" or that greed and laziness have not gotten worse. Like I said, I think you're ~75% right, but if we claim to be 100% right some people here are going to start crying.
     
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  7. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Contributing Member

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    I don't think it's a matter of artistic freedom. In most western cultures we can do as we please. That's the problem I have with most of the movies, books, tv shows we're getting, they don't break any new ground.
     
  8. RWK

    RWK Senior Member

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    I would say that for the most part, they are covering the ground that people want covered.

    What is Fast & Furious up to? 6 or 8? Yet they keep making money.

    Hollywood is in the business of making money, so they go where the money is.
     
  9. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Contributing Member

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    The supernatural, my take anyhow, is a realm that appears to transcend the Laws of Nature as we know them, but that an outside (less emotional) observer could explain in more sensible terms.
    The magic and sorcery in most stories is fairly well defined. It can be learned, secret or forbidden powers harnessed and no fathomable explanation for it can coexist with the real world.
    It makes writing a story in which you limit yourself to the occasional supernatural event very tricky. It forces you to be more imaginative, not less so. You can't just magic your way out of things.:)
     
  10. S A Lee

    S A Lee Active Member

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    I favour intelligent characters myself, so as a result the likes of Family Guy and The Simpsons makes me groan.

    But your point about not 'breaking new ground' I can't help but wonder if the ones that do are just drowned by the ones that fall under the familiar. Justin Somper's Vampirates is set in the future but speaks of piracy seeing a revival. Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver is a fantasy set against a pre-agricultural backdrop.

    Even amongst the three areas brought up by the thread, there are those who defy some conventions. Skulduggery Pleasant, for example, is set primarily in Ireland, which is unusual compared to others in the genre (I find most modern fantasy to be set in England or the US, but then, if they're primarily written by such nationals then it makes sense). I mentioned Vampirates, the protagonists are Australian.
     
  11. TheDankTank

    TheDankTank Member

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    I'm late to this by a wide margin, but I would say that would be late Iron Age?
     
  12. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Active Member

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    Hey I don't mind. Love the chance to talk about my stuff. I'm looking up a bit about it and it does seem to be a good fit for the 'feel' I've got in mind. Thank you! Any recommendations on works to help me get a better idea what life was like in that time?
     
  13. Dracon

    Dracon Active Member

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    Maybe late antiquity, at and after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire might be a good place to start. After the Huns had ravaged Europe and forced mass migration, and Rome had all but collapsed there was opportunity abound across the entire continent for lots of little kingdoms to sprout up all over the place.
     
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  14. rktho

    rktho Active Member

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    Missed opportunity: Fate of the Furious wasn't called F8 of the Furious.
     
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  15. 123456789

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Spin off: F8 of the Furious 2
     
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  16. jannert

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Genre writers of whatever genre sometimes seem to feel as if those of us who don't write in genres look down on them as hack writers. That is not true, at least not from my perspective. There are several genres which I read with pleasure, and there is a lot of talent there.

    What I object to is the other extreme. The notion that if you don't write in a genre that you will struggle to sell your work because most people gravitate toward genres.

    I'm not saying there isn't any truth in that notion, because, unfortunately, there is. However, just as governments can change, depending on how many people change the way they vote, I feel the market can change as well.
    You might find some ideas here ...other books of fiction that give a flavour of the time period @Dracon was referencing:

    https://historicalnovelsociety.org/century/5th-century/
     
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  17. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It occurs to me that a genre is, in addition to being a marketing tool, a way to establish a set of common expectations among a group of people. If you like that set of common expectations, then genres serve you extremely well.

    And that makes me think of NetFlix's fairly successful (at least in the past) effort to recommend movies based on your stated fondness or otherwise for specific other movies, and various music streaming services' efforts to do similar things.

    And that leads me to Amazon's utter failure to do the same thing for books. Its nonfiction recommendations are sometimes helpful, but its fiction recommendations tend to be "Here's more books by the same author!" and as soon as it goes outside that author, it stops being helpful.

    I've always felt that the right web-application-backed-by-a-giant-database-and-brilliant-algorithms could help solve the quality problem with self-publishing. (Help solve it, that is, by allowing the low-quailty books to go underwater and surface the good ones.) Now I wonder if it could also help provide a more fine-grained solution to the problems solved by genres.
     
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  18. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's a problem with the test takers (hack fantasy writers), not a problem with the test (writing good fantasy) ;)

    There is always the concern of what happens when the powers that be disregard genre altogether:

    David Fincher made a movie in the 1990s starring Morgan Freeman, and the marketers decided that since Morgan Freeman had starred in Driving Ms. Daisy, therefore they would emphasize Driving Ms. Daisy as an example of Morgan Freeman's work, thereby attracting a test audience of people who had enjoyed the movie Driving Ms. Daisy.

    Can anybody guess how well this worked?
     
  19. jannert

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yes!!! What if Amazon was to organise fiction books by general topic? I suppose they do, to a certain extent, in that if you pick a book with a certain kind of subject matter they will then list others with similar subject matters for you to 'also' consider. I recently read a few books laid in the Roman Empire, and was given a long list of other fiction books which also dealt with the Roman Empire, and not all by the same authors. (Some were historical military fiction, some were Romances set during the Roman period, and a few were more general.)

    But ...it would be great if you could just choose a subject matter for fiction and then find a more-or-less complete list of what's on offer. It would be a monumental list, I imagine, but it's a thought to begin with. I'm sure it could be refined in some way.

    I haven't really tried it directly. Maybe this facility already exists? I know it does for non-fiction.
     
  20. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    In addition to subject matter, I'd like an analysis on all sorts of things. For example, I just brought up Joan Jett's I Love Rock 'N' Roll on Pandora, and the "Features of this track" display stated that features describing that song include:

    Punk influences
    Electric guitar wall-o-sound
    Heavy use of vocal harmonies
    Repetitive melodic phrasing
    Extensive vamping
    Paired vocal harmony
    Major key tonality
    A dirty electric guitar solo
    An emotional female lead vocal performance
    Prominent percussion
    Romantic lyrics
    "And many other similarities identified in the Music Genome Project"


    I assume that Pandora uses those descriptions, and the listener's "like" clicking, to choose more songs that the listener will like.

    Now, there are of course issues with converting an idea that evaluates and recommends three-minute songs to recommend hundred-page books. Tons of issues. But I find myself thinking about it anyway.
     
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  21. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is already a thing for fiction, and it's called TV Tropes :)

    ... The selection is rather limited to the legendary blockbuster works and the nerdy cult favorites, mind you, but it's still good ;)

    @jannert What's your favorite story, and what's your favorite thing about it? (Or top 5 if you have to)

    @ChickenFreak ?
     
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  22. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Heh. This serves as an argument for the multi-factor matching theory. One rule could be: "If Movie A's attributes include 'heartwarming' and Movie B's include 'serial killer', override all other matching characteristics."
     
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  23. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    TVTropes has over 27,000 factors and counting :)

    Almost 62,000 works, over 27,000 factors for matching... personally, I love it.
     
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  24. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I feel like Goodreads (acquired by Amazon, now) has the potential to serve this way. It's still a very blunt instrument and there's lots of gaming the system and weirdness, but it's partnered up with Listopia somehow so people can create lists on certain themes or topics or areas of interest, and other people can add to the lists, and vote books further toward the tops of this lists, etc. Like, I've got a book coming out in August, and someone (possibly my publisher!) has put it on the following lists: Hockey Hunks, YA Easy Summer Reads, Entangled (Teen) Crush imprint, YA Books Set in Canada, Canadian YA, YA Releases of August, 2017, Realistic YA Novels of 2017, 2017 YA contemporary, Blades Of Glory-Hero Or Heroine Is Ice Skater, Skier Or Hockey Player, and Summer Break Books for YA. One of my older books is on a couple dozen lists (https://www.goodreads.com/list/book/8262408) including Books that made you cry!, Gay Romance Featuring a Grieving Main Character (MC), Best M/M romance involving a "troubled" past, etc. The lists get pretty specific, is what I'm trying to say!

    Anyway, the ratings can be a bit mental and the readers skew pretty young, I think, but it's a site with potential.
     
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  25. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wow. I have a GoodReads account that I've been letting gather dust. I should go play there a while.
     
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