25 April 2011

T is for Timescale (A-Z of Fantasy Writing)

12 comments:

I'm not sure if I'll be able to finish the A-Z Challenge due to lack of available computing power (yet another hard drive death) but I'll do my best to post small entries from my iPod Touch.

I've noticed that most epic fantasy novels use a year as their benchmark for the plot i.e roughly 12 months have elapsed between the beginning of the story and the end. I've not read a whole lot of fantasy that deviates from this timescale, but I think this timescale works on the whole. With a 12 month time slot, there can be enough change for the reader to see development of both characters and plot. Of course, there are also stories that accomplish this just as well in the space of a few days.

What do you think is a suitable timescale for fantasy stories?

- Posted from my iPod Touch

23 April 2011

S is for Scope (A-Z of Fantasy Writing)

1 comment:
A-Z Blogging Challenge

Written by  

Today's post in the A-Z blogging challenge is about Scope in fantasy writing.

One of the benefits of writing fantasy is that an entirely new world is created, and there is virtually no limit to your creativity. The writer selects their own boundaries in which the story happens, and where these boundaries lie define the scope of the story. 

Traditionally, epic fantasy is the most common level of scope for a story, and until recently this was the case for most fantasy novels. Here, the characters embark on a journey that lasts for months, and each 0f he characters is vastly changed from the person they once were. Once again, Lord of the Rings sets the bar for this - Middle Earth is huge in scale, and each area is vast and rich in itself. George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series is of a similar scope. A rider from one end of a kingdom to another is a lengthy journey indeed.

The Marauder's Map from Harry Potter
But fantasy doesn't necessarily need huge scopes to work. J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels are more or less confined within Hogwarts itself, with only Deathly Hallows properly branching out beyond the confines of the school. China Mieville's Kraken is centred around the city of London, and Juliet Marillier's Heart's Blood is more or less confined to the castle of Whistling Tor. These smaller scopes do not detract from the story, nor do they make them any less 'epic'. Rather, it gives the author chance to deeply explore these locales (Hogwarts is a perfect example of this).

Do you prefer to write on the traditional 'epic' scope? Are you more of a 'smaller, more deeply explored areas'?


Don't forget to take a look at the other participants of the A-Z Challenge too! Either click the link above or on the picture in the sidebar and you'll be able to see everyone who entered. Comment, follow, make friends and have fun!

22 April 2011

R is for Religion and Theology (A-Z of Fantasy Writing)

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Today's post in the A-Z blogging challenge is about using Religion and Theology in your writing to create a more in depth and richer world.

Fantasy usually has some form of higher power that lurks behind the scenes, either beatified or vilified by the host of characters that popular the world. As a reflection of history, there can be a multitude of deities (such as the plethora of gods in China Mieville's Kraken) or a dualistic good/evil mythology that is reflective of Christianity (e.g. Terry Goodkind's Creator/Keeper duality).

Gods, demons, spirits and other supernatural omnipotent forces give fantasy an extra level of depth, both for the world building and for the characters themselves. With religion comes mythology and legend, superstition and suspicion, zealots and heretics. Again, as a reflection on human nature, monotheistic religions will usually look down upon those who worship more than a single deity, even in fantasy. Characters traditionally have their patron deity, whose patronage reflects the skills or weaknesses of the character themselves.

Many writers don't include a religious system in their fantasies, since they have a tendency to overcomplicate a story without giving much in return. I'm a big fan of including a pantheon in my writing, since it has the potential to create more complex characters and also open up a potential for conflict. A sinister, tyrannical megalomaniac is one thing, but a sinister, tyrannical megalomaniac with an unshakeable faith that what they are doing is the will of the divine? That's a whole new can of worms.

Do you use religion and mythology in your writing? Do you base your gods and goddesses on historical religions, or are they completely made up?

Don't forget to take a look at the other participants of the A-Z Challenge too! Either click the link above or on the picture in the sidebar and you'll be able to see everyone who entered. Comment, follow, make friends and have fun!

21 April 2011

Q is for Quirks and Ticks (A-Z of Fantasy Writing)

5 comments:



Today's post in the A-Z blogging challenge is about using Quirks and Ticks to enhance the characters in your story.

This is in a similar vein to the post I did on Culture at the start of the Challenge - where characters develop certain habits and traits based on their cultural beliefs and upbringing. Whereas cultural habits enrich the world building in subtle ways, using quirks and ticks enable the writer to give their characters an extra level of depth.

For example, Death in Terry Practhett's Discworld series has a peculiar fondness for cats. Even though he is detached from all other forms of life, he does love his cats, and can't stand to see anyone being unkind toward them. Given he is Death, this might seem to jar with this character. However, the addition of this quirk gives him an extra dimension that shows him to be a more complex character than you would think.

Another example would be a character who plays with their hair when they are nervous, or someone who switches their rings onto alternate fingers when they are thinking. There are usually deep reasons as to why the characters do this, but their mere presence gives the characters extra depth and makes them seem more realistic to the reader.

What are your favourite character quirks and ticks in fantasy? 


Don't forget to take a look at the other participants of the A-Z Challenge too! Either click the link above or on the picture in the sidebar and you'll be able to see everyone who entered. Comment, follow, make friends and have fun!

20 April 2011

P is for Perspective (A-Z of Fantasy Writing)

6 comments:
Today's post in the A-Z blogging challenge is about Perspective in fantasy.


I must admit that, up until recently, I had a certain prejudice against first person perspective fantasy novels. This was because the only novels I read that were written this way were paranormal romance. Luckily, I have since been proven wrong on several occasions, and I've found that using different perspectives can dramatically alter the flow of the story, and each have their own bonuses.


For a long time, third person omniscient was the most common perspective, whereby the story was told by the Narrator and who knew all the facts, including what every character was thinking (think Lord of the Rings).


First person is where the entire story is told through the eyes of a single character, and the reader is aware of their thoughts and feelings. However, they are blind to the true emotions and intentions of others, and what they cannot see, the reader cannot see. This has the benefit of adding suspense, but (personally) it is used too much in paranormal romance and it adds to the 'touchy feely-ness' of the story, which grates with me.


Third person limited is probably the most common viewpoint in modern fantasy fiction. Written in third person, it shares the same limitations as first person i.e. the focus character cannot see or perceive beyond themselves. This perspective also enhances suspense by hiding things from the character, whilst also being written in a more 'traditional' style.


There are a lot more to look at, but these are the most common three in fantasy fiction. If you know of anymore popular ones, please let me know.


Do you find certain types of story associated with the perspective in which they are written?


Don't forget to take a look at the other participants of the A-Z Challenge too! Either click the link above or on the picture in the sidebar and you'll be able to see everyone who entered. Comment, follow, make friends and have fun!

18 April 2011

O is for Overlooked (A-Z of Fantasy Writing)

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Today's post in the A-Z blogging challenge is about fantasy being Overlooked as a genre within the scope of all literature.

I touched on this idea back in February, with the hope that fantasy would soon be welcomed as an equal amongst its more 'literary' brethren. Unfortunately, the consensus seems to be that this is not the case.

The World Book Night event back in March was covered by the BBC with a number of programmes that wanted to revive British reading enthusiasm. According to author Stephen Hunt, genre fiction was very much kept out of the loop,


 The sneering tone that was levelled towards commercial fiction during The Books We Really Read was deeply counterproductive to the night’s aims of actually encouraging people to read novels. The weight that was given to the single sub-genre of literary fiction in the remaining programmes was unbalanced and unrepresentative of all but a small fraction of the country’s reading tastes. And closest to my own heart, the failure to feature a single work from the three genres of horror, fantasy, and science fiction was a disgrace. The official World Book Night list included Philip Pullman’s fantasy novel, Northern Lights. It is a shame the BBC could not.’

A total of 85 authors have signed a protest to the BBC for the complete overlooking of the genre in an event that was meant to promote reading as a whole. Hunt makes a very good point that at some points, one in three books sold in Britain were Harry Potter or Twilight. Surely fantasy has earned its place in the public eye by now?

What do you think it will take for fantasy to be accepted into the literary world? Will we forever be the underdog?
On a sidenote, did anyone catch Game of Thrones last night? What did you think? I completely missed it *whimper*

Don't forget to take a look at the other participants of the A-Z Challenge too! Either click the link above or on the picture in the sidebar and you'll be able to see everyone who entered. Comment, follow, make friends and have fun!

17 April 2011

N is for Narrative (A-Z of Fantasy Writing)

7 comments:
Today's post in the A-Z blogging challenge is about the Narrative i.e. the telling of the story as a whole. You can have fantastic characters, a great world and a solid magic system, but these things are worthless if the overall story does them no justice.

Most fantasy narratives, when you break them down to their most simplistic parts, generally follow around a single theme - the journey. From Homer's Odessey and Dante's Divine Comedy, to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, the journey is the key element of the narrative, and it is this that links and connects the plot threads together into a cohesive unit.

Given the nature of fantasy worlds, this journey is more often not a physical one (especially in epic fantasy). Dante journeys through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven; Frodo journeys to Mordor etc. This physical journey is always connected to the personal journey of the hero, who is a changed person compared to who they were before the journey began. No matter what the conflict, romance, action, suspense etc. that happens during the course of the story, the journey is the constant that links these elements together and drives the plot and the characters forward. 

I find this is the most common narrative in fantasy, but I'm sure there are many more (though I can't think of any right now) so I'll leave the floor open to everyone.

What narratives do you find particularly effective when writing? Is the journey a narrative that is still important in modern fantasy?

Don't forget to take a look at the other participants of the A-Z Challenge too! Either click the link above or on the picture in the sidebar and you'll be able to see everyone who entered. Comment, follow, make friends and have fun!

15 April 2011

M is for Magic Systems (A-Z of Fantasy Writing)

12 comments:
Today's post in the A-Z blogging challenge is about Magic Systems in fantasy. Magic is usually the bread and butter of a fantasy novel, but without proper thought it could be the one loose end that wreaks havoc with your story.

Magic is the physics of the fantasy world, and so it needs rules that govern how it works and how your characters use and manipulate it. Sometimes the rules can be relatively simple (like the Additive and Subtractive magic in Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth novels) or quite complex and intertwined (like Brent Weeks' Black Prism or Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy). In either case, magic can't just be available for everyone and be unlimited and eternal (it is a natural resource, after all) so the rules will help to limit the scope of magic in your story, as well as further define those who use it.

A criticism I have about the Harry Potter books is that the rules of magic aren't clearly defined. Sure, the ability to weave magic is usually inherited (though anomalies exist in the case of 'mudbloods'). They channel this ability through their wands and that's about it. There's no real price to pay for the spells they cast, and the magic is just there. There aren't any limitations on its use and, save for the three 'Unforgivable curses' there aren't any moral fallbacks to using it. If anyone disagrees with this, please let me know :)

Brandon Sanderson wrote a great article on the rules of magic, and there's a discussion on the best fantasy magic system over at Fantasy Faction. I know there are a lot of magic systems that I've yet to come across, and I'm looking forward to finding those out.

What's your favourite magic system in fantasy? What kind of rules to you like to see put in place with regards to magic?

Don't forget to take a look at the other participants of the A-Z Challenge too! Either click the link above or on the picture in the sidebar and you'll be able to see everyone who entered. Comment, follow, make friends and have fun!

14 April 2011

L is for Lanterns and the hanging thereof (A-Z Fantasy Writing)

14 comments:
Today's post in the A-Z blogging challenge is about Lanterns and the hanging thereof. Trust me, this is going somewhere. At no point do actual lanterns appear in this blogpost.


In the fantasy genre, there obviously needs to be a level of suspension of disbelief. In an alternate world where magic permeates everyone and everything, and which is populated by fantastic creatures, the rules of logic don't necessarily need to apply.

I lied. There is a lantern.
However, readers will often pick up on inconsistencies and leaps of logic that the writer may not be able to explain away. Rather than have the readers accuse you of overlooking something important to the story, some writers deliberately draw attention to the inconsistency by having their characters discuss it, so the audience knows that the writer knows what they're doing. This is called 'hanging a lantern' on an element of the story to draw attention to it. Bekindrewrite has a great article on using the concept.


Have you deliberately 'hung a lantern' on something that you've written? Do you think it's effective?

Don't forget to take a look at the other participants of the A-Z Challenge too! Either click the link above or on the picture in the sidebar and you'll be able to see everyone who entered. Comment, follow, make friends and have fun!

13 April 2011

K is for Kicking Ass and Taking Names (A-Z of Fantasy Writing)

5 comments:
Today's post in the A-Z blogging challenge is about Kicking Ass and Taking Names (or action, if you prefer to call it that, hehe).

A good fantasy usually needs to have some sort of action going on in order to drive the plot and to keep the reader interested (sitting in a council room, discussing things for 400 pages does not make for exciting storytelling) and this usually manifests itself as a good old fight scene. This can be a good old fashioned duel to the death, a knife fight amongst criminals, a magician's duel or a bloody conflict as part of a war.

Action is the one feature of writing where I find that it definitely helps to imagine the story as a movie, and each shot in that scene shows how to pace the action properly. I've found that a few stories make the attempt at action but overcomplicate their writing so that the reader is never quite sure what exactly is going on (and in the middle of a fight, that's the last thing you want). I usually take inspiration in this from the movie 300; since the majority of the movie is pure action, and many of the shots match the original comic frame for frame, I'm able to sit back and think how I'd write that shot to make it both exciting and understandable. Flowery prose for character development is one thing, but in the middle of a duel it clutters things up.

How do you find writing action scenes in your stories? Is there any author you think particularly excels at this?

Don't forget to take a look at the other participants of the A-Z Challenge too! Either click the link above or on the picture in the sidebar and you'll be able to see everyone who entered. Comment, follow, make friends and have fun!

12 April 2011

J isfor Just Write! (A-Z of Fantasy Writing)

8 comments:
Today's post in the A-Z blogging challenge is about Just Writing and not over thinking things. You hear in many interviews with authors when asked 'What piece of advice would you give to aspiring authors', they often respond with 'just write and write and write'. Its surprising how many writers don't do that!

I'm guilty of this myself. I'm all one for planning. I get a good idea, work on world building, create character backstories, throw in a solid culture and then I don't touch it for months. Actually putting pen to paper (or even fingers to keyboard) is one of the hardest steps to take. Once you do that, things often fly from there.

This is why events such as NaNoWriMo is such a great idea for writers. The whole point of it is to not over think your story. Prepare for it, sure, but once you're in the event you just write whatever comes out between your brain and your fingertips. It's an excellent tool for overcoming that first hurdle. I'm privileged to know a good number of authors on these blogs, so I'd love to hear how you overcome that first hesitation to start writing (or if you have to face it at all).

Today, I want to play a game. I'll write a 25 word bit of fiction, and then someone continues the story. Everyone post a comment no more than 25 words long that continues from the previous post. Let's see how big a story we can get! Here's the starting point:

Cerys could feel the assassin coming for her long before she saw him. The stench of his greed and cold, righteous hatred almost overpowered her.

Don't forget to take a look at the other participants of the A-Z Challenge too! Either click the link above or on the picture in the sidebar and you'll be able to see everyone who entered. Comment, follow, make friends and have fun!

11 April 2011

I is for Inovation (A-Z of Fantasy Writing)

7 comments:
EDIT: I was initially going to wrote today's post on Inspiration, but changed my mind. I forgot to change the title as well (whoops!) Everything has been fixed now.

Today's post in the A-Z blogging challenge is about Innovation, and how some writers are redefining the genre with their ideas.

Fantasy is considered by some to be a pretty traditional genre. Since most fantasies take their inspiration from Tolkien, who in turn took his inspiration from European folk tales and mythology, writers are perpetuating those old tales in some form or another. Unfortunately, this has led to some calling the genre 'stale' and that many writers are just 'wannabe Tolkiens'.  

There are, however, exceptions to this trend, and boy are they some exceptions. There are writers who have injected their own unique views and spin on the genre that moulds it into something new. Of particular note are Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, China Mieville's Kraken and Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London/Midnight Riot, which use the 'alternate London' idea so that fantasy is no longer part of a different world, but it is embedded within our own.

I also consider steampunk to be quite innovative as a part of the fantasy genre; the blend of fantasy and science fiction, past and future, magic and technology, marks it out as something quite unique within the genre (to the point that it has become a sub genre of its own).

What have you read that you think shows innovation in the genre? What makes it stray away from the 'traditional' fantasy tropes?


Don't forget to take a look at the other participants of the A-Z Challenge too! Either click the link above or on the picture in the sidebar and you'll be able to see everyone who entered. Comment, follow, make friends and have fun!

9 April 2011

H is for Heroes (A-Z of Fantasy Blogging)

8 comments:
Today's post in the A-Z blogging challenge is about using Heroes in fantasy fiction, and how the hero has changed in stories over the years.

If you take a quick glance at the blurbs for a number of different fantasy novels on the shelves today, you'll find a wide range of protagonists that fall under the generic branch of 'hero'. From the unassuming and reluctant hero (Frodo Baggins) to the brutal and proud warrior (Conan the Barbarian). The character types couldn't be more dissimilar, but they are both considered to be heroes. What is it that connects them?

The idea of the hero goes as far back as Ancient Greece (and even further again, but the Greeks coined the word heros) where cults were formed around heroes such as Heracles and Perseus. These original heroes were demi-gods and wielded extraordinary powers (not too far removed from our modern superheroes). Throughout history and across the globe, cultures have found similar qualities in humans that earn them the right to be called heroes. Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces shows these different heroic examples and also shows how they are all connected, meaning that as humans we all look for the same qualities in a hero.

So, be it Heracles, Sir Lancelot, Frodo Baggins or Superman, they all share traits that deem them to be heroes, and are revered in their myths and stories by people across the globe. In writing fantasy, heroes shouldn't be a carbon copy of what is perceived to be the typical hero - a leader amongst men, willing to risk life and limb for the most insignificant of peasants; fighting for the woman he loves; riding out to battle etc. Instead, be sure to focus on the traits that unite all heroes from across time and space.

What traits do you consider to be typically 'heroic'? Which characters do you think would make a good definition of a hero?


Don't forget to take a look at the other participants of the A-Z Challenge too! Either click the link above or on the picture in the sidebar and you'll be able to see everyone who entered. Comment, follow, make friends and have fun!

8 April 2011

Eyes like Stars by Lisa Mantchev (reviewed by Karla J.M. Brading)

1 comment:
Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
The Theatre Illuminata is a mysterious place and not like any other. Magic resides there, giving life to the characters of great plays, all bound in an extraordinary tomb known as ‘The Book.’ None can explain where they go when a character is no longer needed. It’s as if they just disappear. And even when present, they cannot leave the theatre. It’s as if an invisible barrier physically prevents them from setting foot beyond its walls. 


Seventeen year old Beatrice is not an actress. She can’t encourage scene changes without causing a ruckus, and yet, she lives on stage - literally sleeps there at night. It’s all she’s ever known and all she’s ever wanted to know, for the outside world bears no interest to her. Each day is filled with mischief from her fairy companions Peaceblossom, Cobweb, Moth and Mustardseed - winged pests from the pages of a Midsummer Nights Dream - who barely leave her side. They provide a comical balance to a series of dark events: 

Nothing appeals to teenagers more these days than a good ‘two suitor’ plot. You’ve got your Edward Cullen versus Jacob Black and your many deviations of this since Twilight’s success. Eyes Like Stars follows a similar pattern, though instead of a vampire against a werewolf, it’s Nate the pirate versus Ariel, the seductive and enchanting wind spirit. Both are handsome and both are in love with Beatrice. 


Although Ariel is somewhat evil, I found myself wanting him to win Beatrice’s affection. Unhappy in the confines of his theatre prison, Ariel finds Beatrice - the blue haired menace who has been informed ‘she must leave the theatre’ due to ‘a series of negligent acts’ - to be his only means of entertainment. But love and lust is the last thing on Beatrice’s mind. Though brazen enough to sit stark naked in a hot tub with Nate the pirate to discuss her sudden exile, she is more innocent than she perhaps believes, making for an interesting and heart felt work of teenage fiction.

Beatrice’s hopes of remaining at the Threatre Illuminata lie in the directing and restaging of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. But when the handsome and ever manipulative Ariel discovers a way of setting the characters free at last - coupled with the loss of the wonderfully caring Nate to a sea spirit - Beatrice finds herself in deep water. And she’s drowning fast. 

Mantchev proves in this debut novel that her knowledge of the theatre is vast and that her writing is a force to be reckoned with. Her characters are delightfully intriguing and I found stars twinkling in my own eyes at the thought of dipping into book two; Perchance to Dream. The enchanting world Mantchev has created will leave a magical trace in me, for years to come. She deserves her own standing ovation!

Today's post in the A-Z blogging challenge is a Guest Review by author Karla J.M. Brading. The timing of this review for the G post couldn't have been better, so today is something a little different from my other A-Z posts.

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Reviewed by Karla J.M. Brading
Beatrice Shakespeare Smith has Eyes Like Stars, at least, that’s what she imagined her mother had said, before abandoning her at the Theatre Illuminata: ‘I have nothing to send with her besides a mother’s love and best intentions.’ This, however, is little more than a dramatisation, devised by Beatrice herself because she has yet to discover the truth surrounding her neglect.
Karla J.M. Brading
Karla Brading has a 1st Class Honours Degree in Creative and Professional Writing; she models as a hobby, as well as paints and if she has the time, writes the occasional book review for Buzzmag, Cardiff. You can follow her on her Twitter profile.
See all posts by Karla J. M. Brading

7 April 2011

F is for Fantasy (A-Z of Fantasy Writing)

16 comments:
Today's post in the A-Z blogging challenge is about what makes a Fantasy novel, and what elements are crucial in defining the genre.

 This is an often discussed topic that has made its way throughout the blogs, websites, magazines and in discussion groups, mainly when comparing fantasy to science fiction. Understandably, the two genres are often put together (and sometimes one genre is tagged as the other) and some people get annoyed that the genre is 'being misrepresented'. As a genre, we compare ourselves to our galactic cousin so much that we forget to stop and think what it is that makes fantasy special.

Fantasy doesn't have to be filled with dragons, or a Medieval style battle, or even with magic. A novel could leave out any of these 'traditional' fantasy tropes and still be considered a fantasy. There are certain elements within a fantasy novel that mark themselves as being so; things that all fantasy novels contain across the genre. I'm not going to even attempt to define what they are here, so I'm opening the floor to you guys :)
Not just about dragons!

What would you consider to be a defining element of fantasy? Are there any novels in particular that you'd recommend that display this?

Don't forget to take a look at the other participants of the A-Z Challenge too! Either click the link above or on the picture in the sidebar and you'll be able to see everyone who entered. Comment, follow, make friends and have fun!

6 April 2011

E is for e-Publishing (A-Z of Fantasy Writing)

14 comments:
Today's post in the A-Z blogging challenge is about e-Publishing, and the rise of e-Books within the fantasy genre.

It's no longer the case where an author's hard work is eventually transformed into a physical published hardback novel. The continuous rise in popularity of the Kindle, Nook and other e-Readers means that authors and publishers alike have to keep on their toes in order to stay ahead. Whilst many publishers blame e-Books for their declining sales, many embrace the new concept, and are fully integrating this new form of reading available for purchase.

Fantasy Book News track the top 5 fantasy best sellers every week, and for the past month sales have consistently shown that Kindle has dominated the list. [March 13 | March 20 | March 27 | April 3]. So what's an author to do? Do we hide under a rock and hope that everything blows over? Or do we, like with bookblogs, use this as an opportunity to engage directly with readers? e-Publishing allows authors to flesh out their worlds and their stories with short stories, flash fiction, extra maps etc. Stories are no longer confined to 'the novel'. 

The struggle to actually get published is still there, and the advent of e-Publishing doesn't make that process any easier, but I think that once you've overcome that hurdle, e-Books open up a whole new world of possibilities for you.

Does anyone disagree with this? There's some good debate going on between traditional publishing vs. e-Publishing, so I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this. 


Don't forget to take a look at the other participants of the A-Z Challenge too! Either click the link above or on the picture in the sidebar and you'll be able to see everyone who entered. Comment, follow, make friends and have fun!

5 April 2011

D is for Death (again) (A-Z of Fantasy Writing)

12 comments:
Today's post in the A-Z blogging challenge is about Death and its necessity in fantasy fiction.

I did a similar post to this in last year's challenge, so I hope no one minds me going a second round in this. Death is a tumultuous event in anyone's life, no matter the circumstance. People are separated, there's loss, grief, anger, sometimes pride. It can turn people upside down and inside out, so it makes sense that it's one of the most powerful tools to use in fiction, fantasy included.

Back in January I posted about Marvel killing off one of the Fantastic Four. This came as a shock to many, since the series had been going since 1961 and people had become attached to the characters in the 50 years hence. This meant that the death had a profound impact not only on the readers, but on the rest of the Marvel Universe as well. Readers naturally assume that a main character or general protagonist is, for all intents and purposes, immortal throughout the course of the story. If your MC is stabbed with a poisoned blade on page 210, and you know there are another 270 pages to read, you've a fairly solid idea that they are going to pull through. Still, that seed of doubt that they might actually die before they reach the story's conclusion is enough to grip the reader.

There are exceptions, and George RR Martin is one of the greatest examples. His Song of Ice and Fire series employs the 'anyone can die' trope, in that anyone at all, including the MC, can suddenly shuffle off the mortal coil. This adds a lot of tension to his work, but it also runs the risk of the reader not engaging with anyone in particular because the risk of them leaving the story is too great. 

I've not read any Ice and Fire novels (I'm saving myself for after the Game of Thrones series has ended) but I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

And that brings me nicely to the 14 minute preview of the first episode of Game of Thrones. It looks excellent. Again, I'm unable to compare it to the novel, but as a series it looks to be well produced, well cast and I'm excited to start watching it!




Don't forget to take a look at the other participants of the A-Z Challenge too! Either click the link above or on the picture in the sidebar and you'll be able to see everyone who entered. Comment, follow, make friends and have fun!

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