Fantasy Cliches to Avoid: Part Three

Posted: August 1, 2009 in writing update
Tags: , , , ,

Continuing on working through the list of Fantasy Writing Clichés to Avoid as listed on Obsidian Bookshelf.

Fight Scenes.
The improbable and the overly detailed.
Improbable? No – I like to think I keep it realistic. Overly Detailed? Maybe. I like writing good long fight scenes, while at the same time keeping them a bit hectic. I guess you could call them on the gritty side, for which I take my queue from a few of my favourite authors, like David Gemmell and Bernard Cornwell. If they are overly detailed, then so am I.

Flashbacks.
Try not to use them AT ALL!
Very rarely use, so I get a pass mark for that. And if they do crop up, it is generally only a line or two, a person remembering something someone had said or done. Not looking into a pool of water and going into a long winded recount of every detail type flashback.

Heroine, Too Pissed-Off
Girls just want to kick ass!
I can safely say I have never fallen into this trap. My Heroines are normal people – well as normal as you can be for adventuring types – and don’t fall into the traditional traps of being either 1) A bimbo or 2) more blokey than the blokes.

Horses.
Apparently, you don’t guide with your thighs.
I admit to knowing little about horses, but I am certain I’ve never had anyone guide them with their thighs. Many of my characters walk everywhere anyway, horses not being cheap. They weren’t like cars after all where everyone had one. And if they don’t ride, I can’t make many mistakes about horses.

Info-Dumps.
Don’t drop all the details on your reader all at once.
I admit that I have, and still do, info-dump at times. It is hard not to when trying to convey important bits of backstory. Something I still need to work at not doing as much of. I could whack it all in an appendix or footnote, but that may seem a little pretentious 🙂

Languages, Arcane.
Leave it to the readers’ imagination.
I’m not Tolkien. I don’t have his gift for languages. As such I don’t make an effort to make up in story languages. There may be the odd phrase or word (Yes and No for examples), but normally it is just a mention that someone is speaking in another language, one the characters don’t know, and maybe a description of how it sounds. It is safer that way – just look at how jarring a lot of these made up languages appear when used by other authors.

Tomorrow we shall conclude the list of clichés to avoid.

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Comments
  1. chadoates says:

    You have the same reason for avoiding horses as I do! haha
    I also fall into the text dump at times, but generally do my best to be able to avoid it and instead spread it out evenly over time… Character introductions on occasion tend to be different, but reading Les Miserables has given me an understanding of just how tedious text dumps can be believe me!

  2. qorvus says:

    They say to write about what you know – I know the first time I try and write something about horses beyond the common stuff then someone is going to pull me up on it.

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