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Old 09-18-2013, 06:44 PM View Post #1 (Link) How to Write Cliche Fantasy
Demon Hunter (Offline)
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A How To on writing cliché fantasy


First things first, your main character. He (Or her, but for this thread I’m going to use he and him.) has to start out in penury or service, so we can see how far up the ladder he’s climbed by the end of the story. (BTW, if you are taking this seriously so far, just stop reading.) Serving a lord or lady is nice, and being mistreated is even nicer. Bad relationships with parents help readers sympathize. (ugh.)

Good looks. You have to describe your MC as the most beautiful/handsome in the land, with dazzling/piercing blue/emerald eyes and silver/golden hair. (This beauty causes jealousy in family or in neighbors or the lady herself, which you work with). Scars and freckles are a no-no.
They can’t be normal. They must to be one of the following wonderful clichés:

>Young Prince/princess. All the ladies/men are falling in love with them.
>Angsty person (usually a girl… a guy in a tower looking romantically into the horizon is just weird) awaiting rescue.
>Heartless assassin. Oooh. He/she can kill without a second thought.
>Poor, mistreated servant/ farmer, who by author’s fate’s intervention, is… *shudders in disgust*… The Missing Heir/Fulfillment of Prophecy/Bearer of Mystical Object/ Chosen One/ Only Hope of the World/ Be original


A Dark Lord is indispensable, who cannot be good in the least sense. His name can’t be normal – it has to be something like ‘Sauron’ or ‘Galbatorix’ or ‘Van Badness Shadowsky’. He usurps the land, causes widespread suffering, and kills some of his own just to show how very very dark the Dark Lord is. You don’t have to explain why - never mind the fact that no real person would do things like that just because. He does, right? Just because you (the author) say so. Who dare ask for common sense?!

There has to be a True Love. If your MC is a guy, the girl must be a year or two younger than him, she must be delicate (or the super-warrior-woman), and hard to get. Abuse in her childhood just forces the readers to feel sorry for her, cause no one understands her, and she doesn’t want to get married, and oh, and poor thing, and gross and grow up. She has to be poor or super rich – she can’t just be in the middle. And the MC has to rescue her somehow. If the MC is a chick, she has to be better than the guy at fighting and hunting, and he has to be slobbering over her at every eye contact made, and she has to rescue him and act like she doesn’t like it… or fall helplessly into his ‘strong, comforting arms’. There mustn’t just be a normal relationship. Imputing normal characters is a foreign thing called being original, or being realistic. Good cliche writers must abstain from this thing.

There has to be a mentor, the prophet who knows that the kid is special, or something of the sort. Just look at all of the other great fantasy heroes; they all had mentors, so that means you must too! Just look at them: Frodo and Gandalf, Eragon and Brom (BTW, some people have tried to convince me that the name Eragon was not a copy of the LOTR Aragorn, or of the place Aragon, and they failed), Harry and Dumbledore, Thomas and the Spook… so you see, a mentor is irreplaceable. Don’t look at Game of Thrones. Martin doesn’t have mentors. He’s weird.

Secondary characters. They can die, cause they only exist to gawk at the MC or comfort him when he’s down. They can be ugly. You can bring up secondary characters just to kill them, so that the MC has a really good reason to angst. Yup, angst. If you don’t know what it means, look it up, because if you’re going to write a good cliché book, your characters HAVE to angst a lot. Speaking of angst, a good thing a cliché author can do is mortally wound the mentor and have him stay alive just long enough to give a moving speech to the apprentice. (Never mind the fact that a heart wound kills in seconds, a groin wound in little more, and any other wound that would make the person last is agonizingly painful and wouldn’t let the person speak).


As mentioned previously, your MC (And there has to be only one) needs to be identified from the start. Let the reader know he is the hero off the bat (that shouldn’t be hard, right? That with his dazzling looks and ununderstandedness). And when he finds out about his destiny, he is shocked and says the following kind of bull stuff: “Why me? Why, if I am so poor and so humble, would destiny/prophecy choose me? Are you sure? This must be a mistake! I don’t want it! I want to stay poor/humble/stupid/ at peace.”

Anyway, after he gets over it (and he must, without bad consequences) it’s journey time. The mentor mentors him, or takes him on a ‘long adventurous journey’ to join the rebellion or further his education. When the mentor starts teaching him to fight/use magic (cause he must), he learns spectacularly fast. In fact, after two months of juggling rocks the charming farmer boy can enter a ‘tester’ battle and come out without a scratch on his pretty face. (Who cares that in real life fingers and ears are lost, if you’re lucky) The beautiful maid can dance around swinging iron morningstars without getting out of breath.

There is one bad army, the servants of the Dark Lord, and one good army, that fights for honor and glory and doesn’t rape or plunder like real life armies do.
And the bad guys don’t have emotions. They can’t have reasons of their own. They can’t have families of their own. They don’t love people, because you don’t want the reader to feel sorry for them if – no, when, they die.

The MC goes through supposedly hard trials and battles and tests, gets the True Love to fall in love with him/her, and despite the circumstances, defeats the Dark Lord in a glorious, cliché, incredible, spectacular battle. If the Dark Lord had captured the True Love, she is released unscathed. Together they ride towards the sunset, or crack a joke. Or any other peaceful ending that doesn’t leave the reader wondering what happens next. Wow. You can write a book like this on one page.

And boom. There you go.


You could NOT do all that. I think this outlines the average Fantasy story. Just an incredibly overused rut you really want to stay out of.

Sincerely sarcastic,
the Hunter.
"There are billions of normal people in the world... we don't need one more." - Joshua Lenz.

I will crit upon request, but... Acknowledge: Though my punches may be soft, i will not pull any.

Professional Artist. Musician. Singer. Downhiller. Magician. No, I'm not a grown up yet, but I would give it all to be able to write the way I want to.

A Quick Reality Check
How to write Cliche Fantasy
ELEMENTAL: Characters.
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:50 PM View Post #2 (Link)
Spiders (Offline)
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Trouble is, stories are still being made that follow this formula. Probably because it stems from some mythology or something that's actually good. But I'll have to do research into that.
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Old 09-18-2013, 09:59 PM View Post #3 (Link)
Dabs (Offline)
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Originally Posted by Spiders View Post
Trouble is, stories are still being made that follow this formula. Probably because it stems from some mythology or something that's actually good. But I'll have to do research into that.
Typically a mix of mythologies and older epics.
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Old 09-20-2013, 01:00 AM View Post #4 (Link)
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So true, this is wow.
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Old 09-27-2013, 12:35 PM View Post #5 (Link)
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It is almost depressing how many stories I've read that follow this format...
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Old Today, 12:40 PM View Post #6 (Link)
AlisonClark AlisonClark is online now
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