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Unpopular Opinions About/Within the Fantasy Genre

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Maybe the most unpopular opinion in this whole thread:

I don't like the epic faux-medieval fantasy. Everything that genre is built on, like the bulky descriptions for immersion, the detailed magic systems, the kings and queens, the quests, the battles and big-scale politics... Basically everything that fans adore about this genre, that's the stuff that makes me squirm: "Get that dragon away from me!"

It's a big problem for me. Most of the writers I talk to about writing, yeah, they write this genre, and I have never read any of the books they discuss (except stuff that's really old and I hardly remember because I was in my teens). I also have to explain all the time to people that it's the subgenres of fantasy that I enjoy, because most regular people only think Tolkien and Martin when they hear "fantasy". I don't ever have any advice to give when it comes to sewing your own cloak or if this or that sword is too heavy to lift for a woman. I don't know how a stew is seasoned, or how to skin a rabbit. I'm epically challenged, and thank you for this opportunity to address my troubles. 

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13 hours ago, Pinchofmagic said:

Maybe the most unpopular opinion in this whole thread:

I don't like the epic faux-medieval fantasy. Everything that genre is built on, like the bulky descriptions for immersion, the detailed magic systems, the kings and queens, the quests, the battles and big-scale politics... Basically everything that fans adore about this genre, that's the stuff that makes me squirm: "Get that dragon away from me!"

It's a big problem for me. Most of the writers I talk to about writing, yeah, they write this genre, and I have never read any of the books they discuss (except stuff that's really old and I hardly remember because I was in my teens). I also have to explain all the time to people that it's the subgenres of fantasy that I enjoy, because most regular people only think Tolkien and Martin when they hear "fantasy". I don't ever have any advice to give when it comes to sewing your own cloak or if this or that sword is too heavy to lift for a woman. I don't know how a stew is seasoned, or how to skin a rabbit. I'm epically challenged, and thank you for this opportunity to address my troubles. 

But you like mead though, right?

😉

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21 hours ago, Banespawn said:

I like coming up with chapter titles. I even do scene titles. They are a short-hand for me to know what the scene is about. They may or may not end up in the final draft, or I might just keep the chapter titles. In any case, chapter titles aren't necessary. Many books just number the chapters and leave it at that.

I have nothing against naming the chapter after the POV character. I didn't bother me at all when GRRM did it. It let me know right away that the POV was changing and that I could put the book down if I didn't want to start another POV at that time. Yes, the narrative does that anyway and GRRM is very good at that, so the titles probably aren't needed, but I don't think they hurt the story in any way.

With multiple 1st person, I can see using names as chapter titles. Yes, each character should have a distinct voice and it should be clear enough from the context who the POV is without naming them, but naming the chapter after the character removes all doubt from the reader. They aren't left trying to figure it out via the context clues. Also, by naming the chapter after the character in 1st person, the author isn't obligated to force the name into the narrative. It's easy to forget the names of the POV characters in 1st person. Having the name as the chapter title helps in that regard.

Yeah, to me chapter titles are part of the artistry of it. I like being a little poetic with them.

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6 hours ago, bdcharles said:

But you like mead though, right?

😉

One might think, lol! No, I just know this is sensitive topic on a fantasy forum where a lot of people write epics, so instead of going into specifics, I tried to lighten it a bit. The joke didn't land for everyone, though. 😄 I think I just have a problem with traditionally trope-heavy genres (I also don't enjoy crime fiction or romance for the same reason), the stories just appear so similar in too many aspects. The popular epic fantasy books I tried in recent years didn't surprise me at all, they just seemed to be pretty much what I read as a teen. 

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On 5/14/2019 at 9:47 AM, Banespawn said:

I like coming up with chapter titles. I even do scene titles. They are a short-hand for me to know what the scene is about. They may or may not end up in the final draft, or I might just keep the chapter titles. In any case, chapter titles aren't necessary. Many books just number the chapters and leave it at that.

I have nothing against naming the chapter after the POV character. I didn't bother me at all when GRRM did it. It let me know right away that the POV was changing and that I could put the book down if I didn't want to start another POV at that time. Yes, the narrative does that anyway and GRRM is very good at that, so the titles probably aren't needed, but I don't think they hurt the story in any way.

With multiple 1st person, I can see using names as chapter titles. Yes, each character should have a distinct voice and it should be clear enough from the context who the POV is without naming them, but naming the chapter after the character removes all doubt from the reader. They aren't left trying to figure it out via the context clues. Also, by naming the chapter after the character in 1st person, the author isn't obligated to force the name into the narrative. It's easy to forget the names of the POV characters in 1st person. Having the name as the chapter title helps in that regard.

I mean, I suppose if I thought really hard about it with this particular story, I could probably come up with chapter titles and use those instead of the character names. I'm not even very good at titles in general (I technically didn't come up with the title for my current project, someone else suggested it to me and I thought it worked really well). We'll see what happens. XD And I'm writing in third person, past tense, so I suppose there's less reason for me to do it this way, but...-shrug- Maybe I'll try and come up with chapter titles for the next draft.

On 5/14/2019 at 5:31 PM, Pinchofmagic said:

Maybe the most unpopular opinion in this whole thread:

I don't like the epic faux-medieval fantasy. Everything that genre is built on, like the bulky descriptions for immersion, the detailed magic systems, the kings and queens, the quests, the battles and big-scale politics... Basically everything that fans adore about this genre, that's the stuff that makes me squirm: "Get that dragon away from me!"

It's a big problem for me. Most of the writers I talk to about writing, yeah, they write this genre, and I have never read any of the books they discuss (except stuff that's really old and I hardly remember because I was in my teens). I also have to explain all the time to people that it's the subgenres of fantasy that I enjoy, because most regular people only think Tolkien and Martin when they hear "fantasy". I don't ever have any advice to give when it comes to sewing your own cloak or if this or that sword is too heavy to lift for a woman. I don't know how a stew is seasoned, or how to skin a rabbit. I'm epically challenged, and thank you for this opportunity to address my troubles.  

You wouldn't like my novel then. 😛 Especially since it has dragons in it.

I mean, I get it. It's getting past the point of being overdone. But it's what's popular, and that's what's bringing people money. It's never going to completely fade away. I do think that more and more people are pushing toward different settings, though, like Japan or China or pretty much almost anything else. Personally, I really don't have an interest in writing in any other setting. I guess that's what sets me apart from a lot of other writers, though - I want to get published, but I'm not really looking to make a career out of it at this point (I mean, obviously if by some miracle my book did by some chance become a best seller and all that, that's a different story, but the chances of that are basically nothing), so I don't really care that much about catering to what people would prefer for settings? I just want to have a physical copy of a book with my name on it in my hands at this point. If I decide to go the self-publishing route, I'll market it as best as I can but I'm not going to go crazy over it unless I need to.

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21 hours ago, Pinchofmagic said:

One might think, lol! No, I just know this is sensitive topic on a fantasy forum where a lot of people write epics, so instead of going into specifics, I tried to lighten it a bit. The joke didn't land for everyone, though. 😄 I think I just have a problem with traditionally trope-heavy genres (I also don't enjoy crime fiction or romance for the same reason), the stories just appear so similar in too many aspects. The popular epic fantasy books I tried in recent years didn't surprise me at all, they just seemed to be pretty much what I read as a teen. 

I got the voice of the joke pretty clearly.  And while I have written some adventure epic type stuff, that's not my usual/only fare.  I think my stuff actually veers slightly more between Renaissance and Victorian eras, or something 'older' than medieval.  Usually I just dispense with earth altogether and write up my own worlds.  The way I write isn't terribly focused on where and when so much as who and why, so I don't know what 'era' readers will think my stories are in, or, at least, what era they're analogous to.

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9 hours ago, Jedi Knight Muse said:

Personally, I really don't have an interest in writing in any other setting.

I don't think you should write in any other setting than the one you love, so I'm so glad to hear that. :) The epic medieval genre has so many fans, and it's the most popular fantasy-genre, so even though some people want different settings, they seem to be a minority (just a very visible one, because controversy is exciting, lol!). And I don't want to change the traditional epic fantasy either, I just stay away from it, like any other genre that doesn't really give me what I want in a book. That the medieval epic fantasy involves so many people and they get into everything surrounding it, like role-playing and making costumes, is great. Aesthetically I do like it. The stories just don't give me the same kind of surprises and entertainment that other fantasy genres do. So if a dragon turns up in a Steampunk story, I'm all for dragons. 😄   

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7 hours ago, Mynoris said:

I think my stuff actually veers slightly more between Renaissance and Victorian eras, or something 'older' than medieval.  Usually I just dispense with earth altogether and write up my own worlds. 

Oh, that sounds incredible, Mynoris! I also like to write Victorian and even Regency to some extent, but I haven't been brave enough yet to write Renaissance. Might do someday, because the era is fascinating with so many things happening. Like a thousand different areas to pick and choose from. That you make up your own worlds, that's very cool. Even if I invent a country or a city, it's usually pretty much based on something existing. :)

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7 hours ago, Pinchofmagic said:

Oh, that sounds incredible, Mynoris! I also like to write Victorian and even Regency to some extent, but I haven't been brave enough yet to write Renaissance. Might do someday, because the era is fascinating with so many things happening. Like a thousand different areas to pick and choose from. That you make up your own worlds, that's very cool. Even if I invent a country or a city, it's usually pretty much based on something existing. :)

Well, as I said, it's rather vague.  One story is probably loosely analogous to the 'old south' in America and deals with slavery issues.  I have another one that's probably roughly in the same era, or perhaps even a little later, but no particularly technology is mentioned, though I think that the printing press, or similar tech, must have been developed because at one point I mention someone casually buying books.  There are no castles at all in these stories, or dragons, or elves.  There are, however, vampires.  No quests, magic items, spells, or adventuring parties.  So I guess they're supernatural/low fantasy, because the focus isn't horror.

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