forum What are your fantasy pet peeves?
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Deleted user

Hey! Let's talk about some of the worst issues in fantasy writing. What personally bothers you about some novels? Do you think some types of magic are too simple? What are some fantasy world traits that seem underdeveloped? What characters are just the worst to read? Do you have any villain traits that you really dislike? How about some basic dialogue cliches?
If you have any ideas, free feel to share them! This chat is for authors looking for advice on what not to do. That being said, if you do post something you dislike, say a random cliche, then please make sure you also post a few solutions or ideas to counter it.

@Masterkey

What personally bothers you about some novels? Okay… for my whole life I loved dragons, but I always thought they were done in the most cliche way ever. Like everyone was copying everyone else. So I never dabbled in books with dragons in them, like hardly ever. It was literally something that would turn me away. The only stories that I let myself enjoy were How To Train Your Dragon, The Hero's Crown, The Hobbit, and fairy tales with dragons in them (somehow those feel far less cliche, at least in today's cliches). I might have read a few others with dragons in them, but I really just feel like somehow, some way, the way most people write about dragons makes me want to roll my eyes. I dunno. That's just how I've felt since I was really little. :P

Do you think some types of magic are too simple? YES. And by simple, I mean "overpowered." To be honest I was raised on fantasy, but I was always too scared to read any modern YA fantasy (I didn't have any faith in them, I didnt want to cringe), so I've only really read older stuff that my mom recommended to me. I've kind of never really read anything recommended by her that I DIDN'T like. So the "simple" magic I've seen are on the synopses of YA books I make fun of at the library. (I'm so mean, sorry) I can't really judge those if I haven't actually read them though.

What are some fantasy world traits that seem underdeveloped? GOVERNMENT. EVERY DANG TIME. I wish books would flesh out their government, politics, economy, and society more. It's hard to balance that along with the MC's story, but the book would be on a whole other level if it had both.

What characters are just the worst to read? Antiheroes can be the most fun OR the worst to read. The "emo cool guy that seems like he hates everyone but doesn't really and everyone loves him even though he's a jerk" annoys the heck outta me.

Do you have any villain traits that you really dislike? When they say "we're the same, you and I." It can be done well, but usually it's just a cheap trick to make readers feel on edge. If that's gonna be a plot point, I'd rather the author NOT spell it out for us and instead just write in the parallelism and let us figure it out if we can.

How about some basic dialogue cliches? ANY TRITE PHRASES AT ALL.

Thanks for giving me an opportunity to rant. XD SORRY FOR THE ESSAY.

Deleted user

@Masterkey
Wow, that's a lot! I have to agree with you on the dragon part and mostly everything else. Dragons were a huge part of my childhood, but a lot of the time dragons were so stereotypically bad or unexciting that I just couldn't read about them. Oh, and overpowered magic bothers me a lot as well. My least favorite in particular is when the main character is so unbelievably special and powerful for practically no reason. If they end up in a random magical land, why in the world would they just happen to be this amazing, perfect wizard? It just doesn't make any sense sometimes and it's way too easy for them to win fights.
The government is bothersome a lot to me, too. I think it's mostly because a lot of fantasy books only have two or three types: the good, pure, and strong leader that somehow knows exactly what the main character should do; the evil king that's spreading war across the land (also usually for no reason); and the grand Council that does absolutely nothing to help the main character outside of kind of waste their time with pointless arguments and, eventually, come to predictable conclusion. Other times, the economy is just too similar to Earth's. It's as if people make this whole nature system and then decide not to use any of it for commercial purposes. In a real fantasy world, I'd like to think the systems could vary greatly. If a kingdom is self-goverened and a character goes to a market, they're likely to see a lot of different goods. That kingdom might specialize in fishing, but that doesn't mean they're going to only have fish. Imports and exports both make up successful cities.
"We're the same, you and I," IS MY ABSOLUTE LEAST FAVORITE LINE IN ANY BOOK. Seeing those words makes me just want to throw the novel away instantly. It's just so cliche and expected that it almost seems funny now. Why don't people try other, more creative lines that are similar, like, "I know what you think about. We have the same goals, the same will. (Name), you dream of becoming me, but you won't dare admit that to yourself." or, "Hiding it is no longer an option. The more you pull away, the more you distance yourself from who you used to be." I mean, those are also pretty bad, but you get the point.
No, no, the essay was so good :) don't apologize! I also kind of wrote an essy, and actually, I was worried that nobody would comment here at all, so thank you so much!

@Masterkey

Agreed agreed and agreed. I like complaining about stuff I don't like, it's so much easier to put into words than stuff I love for some reason.

Deleted user

Same. Sometimes, I feel like I'll get criticized for certain aspects I like of my book.

@Yamatsu Earthbender

Y'see, this is why I enjoy some of the storytelling that can be found in videogames. Now, while they are two radically different ways of sometimes telling the same story, I feel like some authors can't really get all the fun details of their world without it cutting into the meat and potatoes of their novel. I enjoy sometimes going to a market in a JRPG and seeing all the different items aside from weapons, armor, and potions. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 does a fantastic job of this with different foods, textiles, games, even beauty products, and it injects so much more flavor into the world (though it is a tad annoying when I have to look up a guide so I can give someone their favorite items).
I enjoy it when writers put a bit more personality into their world, even with an offhand line about trade or something, though sometimes it can feel flat or even anachronistic if trade is almost exactly like the real world.

As for your dragon issue, I think the Wings of Fire series will help you get your dragon fix. It's dragons! With political intrigue! And shipping! What more could you guys want?!

@Lord_Hellstrande

Not all monsters are dumb and just want to ruin everything in their path. A lot of typical fantasy monsters (trolls, dragons, giants, unicorns, etc.) are seen as being unable to talk, but I know that they have languages of their own. Just because it's not a normal, humanoid creature does not mean it is incapable of speech. I hate people who make monsters that are just animals, basically….

@Masterkey

Not all monsters are dumb and just want to ruin everything in their path. A lot of typical fantasy monsters (trolls, dragons, giants, unicorns, etc.) are seen as being unable to talk, but I know that they have languages of their own. Just because it's not a normal, humanoid creature does not mean it is incapable of speech. I hate people who make monsters that are just animals, basically….

That's super interesting, I've never thought of it like that before. Thanks for the tip.

@Lord_Hellstrande

No problem. You can look through RPG monster manuals/bestiaries and most creatures will speak/understand something. I think an intelligence lower than 3 (very poor) is where creatures lose the ability to speak (animals usually)

@Masterkey

As for your dragon issue, I think the Wings of Fire series will help you get your dragon fix. It's dragons! With political intrigue! And shipping! What more could you guys want?!

I've heard good things about it, I should try it out

Deleted user

The cultures are all or mostly European-based, which is the single most annoying thing to me. In my ideal fantasy world there's the Western cultures, like the Greeco-Roman and Norse archetypes, while the middle consists of Egyptian and Yuroba archetypes and the East deals with Indian and Japanese archetypes or something like that.