Archive for July 31, 2009

Continuing on from yesterday’s post, looking at the Fantasy Writing Clichés to Avoid list from Obsidian Bookshelf, seeing how I fair.

Characters, Names.
Don’t create names that sound randomly generated by software!
I go about names through a couple of steps. First, work out which culture they belong to in the world. People who come from Tirhan and Shekan have different styles of names than those from Chelos or Maedar or Tuafi. Each region has an Earth equivalent culturally, so I come up with names that sound similar to real Earth names. Then I run through the name a few times, modifying it here and there until I get a name I like the sound of.

For example, Tirhanites have names like Abhiala and Khiria (females) and Kazniah, Kesiad, Elial, Elaniah, Achiar and Elezair (for males)
Maedari names include Heric, Halir, Halraen, Cavraen, Jal, Awn, Raevak, Taenar, Ravaian and Laetan for males and Jaessa, Fianna or Remaia for females.
A Chelosian may be called Palidas, Adrasto, Kiriastas, Lastrasios, Skanaos or Lachanon.

Dialogue, too Modern.
Yo, baby, no slang. Okay?
I write dialogue much as I speak. It isn’t archaic, nor is it slang. Just simple conversational speech, normally. I do toss in a few Australianism from time to time, but most of the world won’t know them so they can pass, and plus most of them are also seldom used nowadays anyway.

Dialogue, too Weird.
By the Deity’s private parts!
Ah yes, I used to do this – back when I was young and though coming up with such expressions was the norm for fantasy – Phoenix’s Teeth, Mother of All Horses, that kind of thing. It fell away long, long ago and I don’t even have anything closely resembling it any more.

Dialogue, too Wordy.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Most of my characters are fairly plain speaking folk who use everyday language much like me, as previously mentioned. No thees and thous and foreasmuches. There are the occasional more wordy, intellectual types who do at times use more flowery speech and dialogue, but that is to make them stand out a bit from the others, to show they are a bit different. It is not like we haven’t met people in real life who use big words all the time to try and impress.

Dreams.
Freud thought they were the royal road to the unconscious.
Again, one I did one use, but seems to have fallen out of favour. Sometimes people to have visions, but they tend to be brought about by shamanistic type rituals or forced onto people by outside forces. One thing I recently worked on did have a dream, from the POV of the villain. It was one he was forced to have nightly by outside forces, reliving a terrible day in his life that changed his character. It was put in to flesh out the character and shoe he wasn’t quite the one-dimensional villain he had appeared to be earlier in the book.

That is enough for part two; tomorrow we continue to work the way through the list.

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