Those who know me know I like to overanalyze everything, especially literature. I used to apologize for it, but have come to understand I’m growing more and more stubborn as I age. With that said, I’m continuing with my platform of ranting about irksome practices/methods used in story writing. This time, I’ll dissect fantasy novels. It ought to be said that I’m a fan of the fantasy genre, but some things within it just doesn’t work for me. Here’s what gets my blood boiling (in a bad way) whenever I read or watch fantasy fiction.
- When all the characters have some forced, unpronounceable name, as if the author’s trying too hard to be like J.R.R. Tolkein. 99% of the time it just doesn’t work. Remember, if you’re copying the ‘greats’ to that detail, you’re putting yourself in the position of having to compete with them–and that’s a difficult thing to do. Names like LaZandarius Krylsaryon are going to make most of your readers puke.
- When a farm/blacksmith boy becomes king or is really heir to the crown but just doesn’t know it. I’m sorry, but how often would this happen in real life? And if someone of the royal order were to place a boy in that position, wouldn’t they keep better tabs on him? (“Ooooh, he has the birthmark of nobility!!!”) More than anything, it reminds me of how in horror slasher films everyone starts off by having sex with someone else in some cabin located in a remote part of the woods–it’s just a tad overdone.
- When loves solves everything. This is a copout to me. Now, if love were to be what motivates the hero into doing something great, then fine. But the action should be what brings victory. When something wonderful and mysterious occurs out of the blue and the villain is defeated because of it, and then the only explanation is that love had something to do with it (I’m looking at you Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone)…um…*raises hand for questions*.
- Magic without explanation. What’s the science of it? How does it work–at least in basic terms? If it’s only a matter of saying a word and POOF, there’s a rabbit…then BOO!
- When a fantasy novel takes more than 100 pages before anything happens. Get an editor and get on with it, please.
- Epic fantasies that are altogether too long. I’m sure I’m only speaking for me, but after page 1,000 I’m long past asleep.
- When a fantasy author has to describe…every…little…damn…thing, from the colors of each character’s eyes to their pooping schedule.
- When the villain’s motivation seems to be nothing more than “they’re evil.”
- When everything in the novel turns out to have been a dream all along (unless it’s cleverly done).
- When the foundation of the novel is a gimick (I’m looking at you Twilight).
There, another rant. I feel better. What are you pet peeves of fantasy novels?
Don’t forget to check out my other pet peeves: