So lets start with my week at a glance.
- Posted Weekly Quote #5 ~ Robert Jordan
- Reviewed "Exile" by Rowena Cory Daniells
- Did some Social Media stuff
- Spent too much time on Pinterest
Now on to the question. This week's question is one of those serious ones. But still, it is something I'm curious about and it should still be fun!
So this week's question is:
What are the most important aspects of a well-written fantasy story!
Everybody is different. Some of you may like action over sympathetic characters. For some, worldbuilding is of first importance. For others, if it doesn't have a unique magic system, it is going back into the TBR pile. The interesting part of all this is that those differences often define the reasons why I loved a book and you hated it.
I'll start you off with a sample list, in no particular order. Your mission is to pick as many (or as few) as you want, or add your own, and create your own list in order of importance. If you are so inclined, you can do something like 5 most important and 5 least. I'm just getting the ball rolling. You can determine which direction you want to kick it!
The Sample List:
- Secondary World
- Character development
- Unique magic
- Magic with rules
- Worldbuilding physical - architecture, landscape, clothing etc.
- Worldbuilding - social, cultural, economic, religious
- Satisfying ending
- Dragons! (and/or other mythical critters)
- Period (Medieval, Victorian, Pre-history, Modern etc...)
1.) Period. My first pick starts with the TBR pile. The first thing I consider is era. Odd choice maybe but I really hate fantasy with guns. I can tolerate some, like in a good pirate story, but as a rule, guns = back into TBR pile. And no Modern elements! I am trying to escape this world. If I want to read about it, I'll read the news.
2.) Mythical Creatures. If it has Dragons (or any mythical creatures) it is going to be hard to keep my hands off of it. (OMG! Dragons! Swoop! Snatch! Devour!)
OK, What is next.
3.) Characters. Now they aren't a deal breaker. There are plenty of great books where I could have cared less about the cast. But, to win my heart, give me great characters to love -- and hate -- and I can forgive much.
4.) Dialog. You might think this is an odd choice but let me explain. Dialog can be internal and of course it can be external. Irregardless of type, great dialog makes you feel like you are part of the story. I can't tell you how many books I've put down simply because after 4-5 pages of no dialog at all, I lost interest.
5.) Conflict. The more the better. I want local, global, external and internal conflict. I want cultural, religious, and my favorite, political conflict. And I want layers upon layers of it. Kinda explains my love of Epic Fantasy huh....
1.) Pace. While it is possible for pace to be painfully slow, it is one of the things I can easily forgive. As long as the book can keep my interest, I don't care how fast or slow it is.
2.) Worldbuilding: physical - architecture, landscape, clothing etc. You likely noticed I split worldbuilding into two types. That is because I only really enjoy one of them. Visual descriptions -- for reasons I can't explain -- are lost on me. I may get a vague impression of size or opulence, landscape or season but my "mind's eye" is pretty blind.
3.) POV. I don't have a preference. Any can be done badly. All can be done well.
4.) Magic. Now you'd think magic would be a required aspect but over the years I've read too many books which had either none at all or it was so vague and secondary it barely mattered. And yet... they were definitely fantasy and some were really great books. Though if it does have magic, I'm pretty unforgiving if the magic has no structure and rules.
5.) Romance. I can live with it or without it. I prefer that it not be the main focus but I can deal with it as long as the fantasy elements are extremely strong. As a rule, romance leaves me rolling my eyes and ruins my "suspension of belief." Yes I'm a cynic but most book romances are just too fantastical for me. (Says the woman who has no problem believing in dragons!)
♦ Answers from Elsewhere ♦
Andrew J. Peters ~ on Facebook
The "Old Bat" poses an interesting question to fantasy readers. For me, it's good characters and an intriguing--and internally consistent--plot. Atmosphere and mood are bonuses.
Don't like this question? Look here "Fun Fridays" and see if there is one you do like! Comments are always welcome, even on older posts.