Fantasy Tropes:
What to avoid writing?
What to include in your novel?

Fantasy - What to avoid? What to include?

My Fantasy novel wish list:

You said you play Fantasy games. Witcher perhaps? We can definitely use more books like the Witcher series. Only 5 volumes in the set and I'm desperately wanting more books on that same vein (battle mage, wandering the world, fighting monsters).

Wizards as main characters. So very hard to find. Most Fantasy has wizards as sidekicks or the wise old dude the hero gets advice from. (Too many Gandalf wannabes) Or even worse, are young kids training to be wizards. (Too many Harry Potter wannabes.) Why can't an ornery old wizard, be the main character? Why must he always be the sidekick or the cameo? Why must all main character wizards be teenagers? I want to see more elderly wizards as main characters. They have stories that need to be told too.

Elves who are actual Elves. As in Elves before Tolkien came along. Elves from Norse mythology, who originated from ancient Hebrew Kabbalism. Badass Fallen Angels who had their wings cut off because they were too hung up on raping women (see the book of Genesis, Enoch, and Tobias in the Bible, for the origin story of Elves aka The Alfar aka The Watchers aka The Grigori Angels aka The Fallen Angels.) Angelic beauties with Demonic personalities. Lustful, sex crazed, evil fathers of the Nephelium. You almost never see anyone use the old school demonic, pre-Tolkien style Elf - immortal beauties, angels cast out of heaven, their wings ripped from their backs. Cursed to live among the Humans, whom they hate, because they were once angels who flew in the heavens, and now they live among the lowly Earthbound Humans.

Elves from other time periods and cultures. Okay medieval, European Elves are great and I love them, but what about Elves who live in the Arctic? How about Elves in ancient Egypt? Why not Elves in medieval Japan? Elves in space? Elves in the distant future? Elves competing against Humans in the Yukon gold rush (1860s)? Colonial era Elves? Persian Elves? French Canadian Elf trappers? Elves in Victorian England? Elves in Rococo France? More "Native American" Elves like in ElfQuest. Hippie Elves in the 1970s? Flapper Elves and Elf gangsters in the roaring 1920s? Elves starving to death in the Great Depression of the 1930s? Why are Elves only ever seen in medieval Europe? If they are creatures that live 500 to 1,000 years or more, then most Elves alive in medieval Europe were either alive when Jesus and Caesar walked in rome or are still alive today in the 2018 era. Where are the stories telling us of the Elves in the Roman empire? How were Elves affected by the World Wars? What are Elves doing today? I want to know. I love Elves, I just wish their was more variety in their culture - they seem to be eternally stuck in medieval Europe.

Less hero and questing stories. Less battle and political intrigue stories. More stories of the common folk. I loved The Little House on the Prairie series. 7 books that held my undivided attention (difficult to do). The books follow the life of the average, ordinary common farm girl, through her life from her 5th birthday, until her late 40s when her husband died and she stopped writing in her diary. Now, granted, The Little House on the Prairie are non-fiction reprints of a real farm girl's rather mundane diaries... but, it's captivating see how her family struggled through blizzards, tornadoes, droughts, famines, brush fires, scarlet fever, malaria, the death of two of their daughters and all 3 of their son (characters who were not in the tv show if you only know the series from the tv series)... there was no adventures or quests or battles... but is was still captivating because, they had to fight against nature at every turn to try to survive... devastated when the blizzards hit Florida and destroyed their orange groves... yes... that's not in the tv show either, in real life they lived on Florida not Kansas and grew oranges, not wheat. The books are so insanely different from the tv show.

But my point is... why can't their be more Fantasy books written in the style of The Little House on the Prairie books? Why must every Fantasy novel farm boy be "the chosen one" and have to set off on some quest? Why can't he just be an ordinary farm boy struggling to plough the fields, fight against locusts and famine, struggle to stay warm in the winter? Why? Stories of the mundane lives of common folk, who have no magic powers, are not chosen ones, and never leave to go on a quest, are just as fascinating. I realy, realy, realy, really, wish more authors were writing this style of more "historical family drama" Fantasy. I'd love to see these from all over the world too. Every culture. Every time period. I think this sort of Fantasy novel is far too often overlooked. I would love to see more of these.

You know what I'd like most of all? An old Elf wizard, leading a mundane common, ordinary life. What does he do between quests? How does he live his everyday life? Who are his lovers? What does his family think of his career as a wizard? What are his hobbies? Does he have a farm of his own to tend between doing wizardy-things? I want to know. I love Elves. I love wizards. I love The Little House on the Prairie style family drama. I want there to be more Fantasy books like this out there. (Yes, there are a few, but they are very rare. More are needed.)

All that said...

It's best, if you were to make up your own wish list for things YOU want to see more of in Fantasy, and then write that, because in the end, the most satisfying part of writing, is to write the thing that you personally want to see more of.

And, by the way.... yes, I did write that old (non-Tolkien/pre-Tolkien type) Elf wizard in the The Little House on the Prairie style family drama. He's Persian, and he lives in colonial era Quebec, Canada. See, that is what I wanted to read, and since no one had written anything like that, I went ahead and wrote it myself.

I write Literary Fantasy, that follows the life of an elderly Elf wizard, once the world's most feared and most powerful necromancer, a former wizard-for-hire whom was in high demand and called upon by royals and governments the world over to solve their problems, defeat enemies, and get rid of monsters, he's now in the final years of his life and just wants to retire from wizarding and live a "normal" life for a change. The series (which currently has 130 novels and 2,000 short stories already published, 2018 being it's 40th anniversary and no plans to stop writing new stories for it) is on one hand Epic Fantasy that spans a HUGE world, and encompases time travel and portal magic, resulting in stories set anywhere from 938 to 2525, not only on Earth, but on planets in 3 solar systems as well, and alternate dimensions of Earth.

The wizard is a wandering vagabond, and travels on foot, walking 10 or 12 miles a day across a wide variety of landscapes as he treks across the entire planet. Meaning there are stories in deserts, forests, tundras, arctics, savanas, jungles, inland, on coasts, you name it. He's looking for a place to settle down, but his fame precedes him and people either fear and loath him, thus chase him away, or want to hire him for some quest or mission, thus he flees because he doesn't do that sort of thing anymore and just wants peace and quiet. He's forced to live on the road, traveling constantly to get any peace or quiet away from haters and adorerers.

The series follows his every day life as he travels. Sometimes he travels alone, and sometimes he travels with random strangers he met on the road, sometimes he joins a caravan and travels with them, but usually it's him and 2 other wizards (one a Faerie and the other a half-Elf/half-Demon) who are his best friends, just traveling aimlessly, with no end goal of where they want to go, them just following a road to see where it leads them.

A lot of the series reads like a travelogue road-trip/camping-trip as a result. If they find a town, they look for a inn or tavern or hay loft or some place they can sleep inside. So what of the series is not on the road, is usually in an inn or a tavern.

even though the series is Epic Fantasy, genre wise, very High Fantasy with Elves and Dragons and magic, (the Elf wizard also has a pet Unicorn and a pet Dragon travelling with him); style wise it is Slice of Life Literary Fiction, following his very mundane everyday habits.

He could use magic to do everything. He can wave his wand and have a meal cook itself, but he's also actively refusing to use magic at all. He's used magic for everything his whole life and he doesn't want to rely on magic anymore. But having relied on magic for everything, means he has no clue how to cook, how to find food, how to grow food, how to build a fire, how to build a shelter, how to defend himself in a fight. Though he is an insanely overpowered wish granting, Di'Jinn wizard who can snap his fingers and make anything happen, he also desires to live a "normal" life like "common folk". He wants to live as though he didn't know magic existed.

Quaraun is continually frustrated with the simplest, most mundane of activities, because he was never taught how to do them and he sees other people do them with ease. He's used to grabbing his wand and poof he doesn't have to do a damned thing, so the series becomes a survival story of him just trying to figure out how to do common, ordinary things that everyone just knows how to do, but he's never done before. A large part of the plot is his struggle to survive without using magic.

In other words there is no action, no questing, no adventuring, no battles, no fights, no political intrigue, no wars, no wizard duels, or any of the typical stuff one would expect in the Fantasy genre. It's a very slow moving story that is pretty much like a video camera is just following him around every day as he hunts for food, cooks his meals, tends to his injuries, searches for a place to sleep for the night, then repeats it all the next day.

It's more or less an everyday look into the life of a common person who is not a hero and not on a quest and is just trying to live his life.

Shortly into the series, he meets up with the Faerie and they become lovers, but he's also sleeping with prostitutes in every town they visit which triggers a lot of arguing between him and his lover, bringing into the stories a very Soap Opera/Family Drama style to it.

Think of it as Little House on the Prairie meets Lord of the Rings and tossed into Days of Our Lives, and that'd just about describe it. Extremely NOT what you normally see in Fantasy, but very typical of what you see in Slice of Life Literary Family Drama.

It's not your typical Fantasy, but I have fun writing it, because it was the thing I passionately desired to read, so I wrote the thing I wanted to read. I wrote this, because it's what I wanted to read. It doesn't matter to me is anyone else likes it or not, because I like it. It's been an added bonus that a lot of people did like it.

TL:DR: My point is, that's what I suggest you do. Just look deep inside yourself and figure out what you most want to see more of in Fantasy, what things do you like and dislike, want more/less of? And then write it the way you want to see it. Write the novel, you most want to read, that no one else has written yet. Love what you write, write what you love and have fun doing it.

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