Fantasy writing cliches

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Silver

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Fantasy writing cliches
« on: May 09, 2017, 03:14:48 PM »
Thought this might be an interesting topic (and possibly educational). What cliches can you think of that show up repeatedly in the fantasy genre?

- Hero has a wise old teacher who turns out the be his grandfather or mother.
- Evil guy wants to take over the world just because he is evil.
- Totally good/evil races.
- Fantasy names beginning with X, Z, G, K, or any other hard consonant.

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GeneBWell

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Re: Fantasy writing cliches
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2017, 03:35:40 PM »
-Prophecies
-Hero's home/family/village getting wrecked as the trigger for their adventures
-Corrupt organized religion/true and good folk religion
Also this might just be Japanese fantasy but it's a pet peeve of mine:
-Angels are bad, demons are good

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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: Fantasy writing cliches
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2017, 09:47:11 PM »
-LUKE I AM YOUR FATHER'S BROTHER'S NEPHEW'S COUSIN'S FORMER ROOMMATE.
Aka, the hero/heroine is related to the bad guy and finds out that this is the case during a climatic moment.
(I am super guilty of this.

I blame Star Wars.)
-Damsel in distress who's been captured by villain/antagonist/enemy/whatever and stuck up into a tower.
-Some kind of super complicated (or not so complicated) prophecy about the main character
-Forbidden love.

Especially when 1/2 of that love is a commoner and the other 1/2 is a prince or princess.

...I'm also totally guilty of this. >.>
-The hero has to find -insert important, ancient artifact here- and protect it so that the bad guy doesn't get it and use it to take over/destroy the world
-Forced marriage between royalty, especially if 1/2 of them is really an evil sorcerer/sorceress in disguise. (I'm probably guilty of this.)

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Arc

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Re: Fantasy writing cliches
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2017, 10:17:09 PM »
In high fantasy at least there tends to be some ancient race or civilization that is gone but was still more advanced then the current civilizations.

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rkcapps

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Re: Fantasy writing cliches
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2017, 10:29:17 PM »
I'm guilty of some of these cliches but I try to twist a little ... like the mentor is usually an older guy. Mine is female and thought to be an aunt but it is revealed she isn't leading to trust issues. I must admit I like to read these cliches so don't stop writing them!

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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: Fantasy writing cliches
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2017, 10:51:31 PM »
I'm guilty of some of these cliches but I try to twist a little ... like the mentor is usually an older guy. Mine is female and thought to be an aunt but it is revealed she isn't leading to trust issues. I must admit I like to read these cliches so don't stop writing them!

Yeah, I always try to twist them, too, to make them more original, or at least as close to original as I can get them. I really like reading and writing them, too.

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rkcapps

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Re: Fantasy writing cliches
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2017, 01:00:13 AM »
they're is something comforting about spending time on a lengthy story....

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ScribblerKat

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Re: Fantasy writing cliches
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2017, 01:30:28 AM »
Dragons
Elves
Dwarfs
Names with apostrophes in them
Farm boy becomes a hero/king
All that is gold does not glitter
Not all those who wander are lost

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Tyrannohotep

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Re: Fantasy writing cliches
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2017, 10:47:21 PM »
Evil guy wants to take over the world just because he is evil.
This is one I'm not such a big fan of. I prefer villains who have a more specific motivation than simply "they're evil". For instance, in the real world a lot of evil gets done either out of greed (either for money or power) or ideological zeal, and I have to say the latter in particular would make a great villain motivator. Think about it, the reason we consider Hitler one of the most evil men in history isn't only because he was power-hungry or a dictator, but because he was motivated by an ideology of white supremacy to a genocidal extreme. That to me is far scarier than simply doing something in the name of the "Dark Lord".

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JayLee

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Re: Fantasy writing cliches
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2017, 11:40:09 PM »
Fantasy names beginning with X, Z, G, K, or any other hard consonant.
Urrmmm... *raises hand in shame "Yeah... I do that" :) I also tend to put "y"s everywhere.

-Many countries/regions/peoples/ect. Who all beleive in the same religion/way of life (I will forgive this when the god/gods are present and constantly show themselves, though I'm sure even then someone would manage to doubt).
-common tongue
-mercs, assassins, and thieves being all super organized and working together under ramshackle codes. Baddies just shouldn't conspire like that :)
-the thief as the hero (I totally have a story with that)
-Elves are way cooler, and way better, and way stronger, and way faster, and way prettier, and live way longer, and way.... than humans. Yet in battle they all die.
-the chosen one
-accidentally release the bad god
-fire magic (in particular when wielded by a red-head)
-the red-haired, green-eyed wonder
-orphan protagonists (but honestly, it makes life so much easier. Otherwise we readers sit there going "How in the world are their parents letting their kids get away with this?)

and I could probably go on.... I read a lot, but probably not enough to see all the tropes broken, and I love looking for this kind of thing. Makes the book even more fun!
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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: Fantasy writing cliches
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2017, 11:48:58 PM »
-fire magic (in particular when wielded by a red-head)
-orphan protagonists (but honestly, it makes life so much easier. Otherwise we readers sit there going "How in the world are their parents letting their kids get away with this?)

and I could probably go on.... I read a lot, but probably not enough to see all the tropes broken, and I love looking for this kind of thing. Makes the book even more fun!

Pretty sure I'm definitely guilty of the redheaded fire magic wielder. >.>

I totally agree about the orphan thing, too. And sometimes it's like...why am I going to bog down the story by having to include the parents, when the parents are barely even involved, or not involved at all? I read this one story on a forum that I used to frequent, called Young Writers Society, and it was SO well written and the world building and plot were amazing...the main character's mother, at least, was alive I believe, and she had an older sister, but outside of some interaction with the sister in the beginning of the story (at least for what the author had posted), the mother wasn't in the story at all, because the focus was on the character being dragged onto this adventure to reveal who she actually was. I think it's fine when it's things like that. But yeah, it definitely makes things easier.

I'm currently reading a book that has a unrequited love interest (I think the love interest is at least vaguely interested, but because of him being royalty, he can't do anything about it), or at least what seems to be unrequited at the moment. It's a slow going read because it hasn't really been holding my attention like I thought it would. But it apparently turns into a love triangle. -_- yaaay.

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Tyrannohotep

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Re: Fantasy writing cliches
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2017, 12:28:06 AM »
-the red-haired, green-eyed wonder
Never heard of this one. Though for some reason the combination of red hair and green eyes is a trait I've always associated with the ancient Celts. So whenever I incorporate a Celtic-based culture into my world-building, I always make them a nation of redheads with green eyes (whereas the ones with Germanic influences, such as Norse or Anglo-Saxon, tend to be blond and blue-eyed).

(And yes, I know both Celtic and Germanic peoples each had more than one hair or eye color present in their populations, in real life. But this is fantasy we are discussing.)

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Sheepy-Pie

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Re: Fantasy writing cliches
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2017, 03:22:07 AM »
-fire magic (in particular when wielded by a red-head)

Pretty sure I'm definitely guilty of the redheaded fire magic wielder. >.>

I definitely am :( however she is now not the MC and has become a tertiary character. Oh shiiiiit but Kali has red hair and wield fire... ._.

I ain't changing it though cause his copper curls are fantastic *sulks*

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JayLee

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Re: Fantasy writing cliches
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2017, 09:01:57 AM »
I definitely am  however she is now not the MC and has become a tertiary character. Oh shiiiiit but Kali has red hair and wield fire... ._.

I ain't changing it though cause his copper curls are fantastic *sulks*
Go red-heads go!! Even if people are afraid they'll go extinct out here in the real world (totally not true by the by) They'll go on forever in literature :)

-the red-haired, green-eyed wonder
Never heard of this one. Though for some reason the combination of red hair and green eyes is a trait I've always associated with the ancient Celts. So whenever I incorporate a Celtic-based culture into my world-building, I always make them a nation of redheads with green eyes (whereas the ones with Germanic influences, such as Norse or Anglo-Saxon, tend to be blond and blue-eyed).

(And yes, I know both Celtic and Germanic peoples each had more than one hair or eye color present in their populations, in real life. But this is fantasy we are discussing.)
It's kinda something that my co-worker Anah and I noticed at some point, we ended up writing a nice little rant about it a short while ago under our series about things that might bother us as editors, if not used properly. Along with three other "We see this character pretty much every submission" characters :) Let's see if I can code in a url properly... http://paperweighteditorial.tumblr.com/post/158690274130/six-things-that-upset-us-as-editors
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bdcharles

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Re: Fantasy writing cliches
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2017, 07:06:54 AM »
    Fantasy names beginning with X, Z, G, K, or any other hard consonant.

Urrmmm... *raises hand in shame "Yeah... I do that" :) I also tend to put "y"s everywhere.

I have a scene pre-written in my sequel WIP where my main character asks this other character their name:



~ * ~

"Your name?" said Echo, dipping a demure curtsey.

A gravelly noise burbled from somewhere beyond the thing's green teeth. It sounded like "X'zz'zgorrth."

Echo chewed her pencil. "How d'you spell that? Z-O-R-T-H?"

The beast began to rock back and forth on stout talons. "X'zz'zgorrth! X'zz'zgorrth!" it wailed. "X'zz'zgorrth!"
« Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 07:09:59 AM by bdcharles »