Friday, May 30, 2014

Fun Friday 19 ~ What Is Wrong With Fantasy Tropes?

Mulluane | Friday, May 30, 2014 | 8 Comments so far
First I'd like to start out with an apology. I did not do one of these last week because my muse went on strike. I could not for the life of me come up with a question, fun or serious and I had run through the list I made when I first started. Sorry about that. I'll try to do better...

So here is a short weekly recap before we move on to the fun stuff.

Elf Smelling Flower

Now on to the good stuff! 

I see it everywhere. Amazon reviews, goodreads reviews, reviews on blogs. This book, that book, the other book all have too many tropes!

I mean seriously. Evidentually the problem is so bad that bloggers have come up with whole lists of tropes to avoid. (Links are just examples. Actually compliments since their articles made google search's first page!) And look! Even Wikipedia is involved! Which leads me to a question.


What the heck is wrong with tropes!



Prophecies? Love them! Quests? Even better! Dwarves, Trolls, Ogres? I miss my old friends. Damsel in Distress? Heck Yeah! And it is a good thing that dragons are so universally loved my friends or trust me, they would be gone too. 

Now in some ways, breaking outside of the "box" is a good thing and it has definitely lead to some unique and interesting magic systems and secondary worlds. But... It has also led to the new "Grimdark" works and their cousins "Less Dark but still depressing."

I can get depressed watching the news. I don't need any help.

Rare are those "feel good" books of my youth. The type you close with a renewed hope for mankind and a smile on your face. Somebody has even managed to convince authors that writing in as much profanity as possible gives the world a more "realistic" feel.

Realistic Fantasy? Seriously? Who came up with this trainwreck of an idea? If I want realistic I damn sure wouldn't be reading Fantasy which is by definition... fantastic, unreal, imaginary, fun! What ever happened to "suspension of belief?" I want OUT of the real world when I read. Please don't make fantasy more "real."

So how about you? Are you on the "all tropes must be eliminated" side, the "bring back atleast some our beloved tropes" side or somewhere in the middle?

Inquiring minds want to know...


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.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Weekly Quote #8 ~ Scott Lynch

Mulluane | Thursday, May 29, 2014 | 2 Comments so far

“We’re a different sort of thief here, Lamora. 

Deception and misdirection are our tools. We don’t believe in hard work when a false face and a good line of bullshit can do so much more.”

-- Scott Lynch, The Lies of Locke Lamora --


Quote by Scott Lynch ~ Design by Mulluane


About: This is a weekly feature here in the old belfry. The quote is Scott Lynch's. The designs, along with any flaws, are mine. 

If you would like to suggest a quote (I prefer it be from a SFF author) let me know in the comments and I'll see what I can do. No promises though. If a quote is too big I may not be able to reproduce it in the space available. I do promise to try though!


Usage: Non-Commercial Fair Use is permitted. The following restrictions apply: Please do not remove or mask the watermark url. Do not sell, print or claim this work as your own and when sharing, pinning, reblogging or posting, a direct link to this post is appreciated. Thanks!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Weekly Quote #7 ~ George R.R. Martin

Mulluane | Thursday, May 22, 2014 | 4 Comments so far

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

-- George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons --


Quote by George R.R. Martin ~ Design by Mulluane


About: This is a weekly feature here in the old belfry. The quote is G.R.R. Martin's. The design, along with any flaws, is mine. 

This quote was suggested by Maddalena @ Space and Sorcery. You should check out her blog. She writes excellent reviews!

If you would like to suggest a quote (I prefer it be from a SFF author) let me know in the comments and I'll see what I can do. No promises though. If a quote is too big I may not be able to reproduce it in the space available. I do promise to try though!


Usage: Non-Commercial Fair Use is permitted. The following restrictions apply: Please do not remove or mask the watermark url. Do not sell, print or claim this work as your own and when sharing, pinning, reblogging or posting, a direct link to this post is appreciated. Thanks!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fun Friday 18 ~ Who is Your Favorite Fantasy Witch?

Mulluane | Friday, May 16, 2014 | 10 Comments so far
Happy Dance! Not only is it friday but the storms just ended the 90F weather! Happy Happy, Joy Joy!

So here is a short weekly recap before we move on to the fun stuff.


Now on to the good stuff!

I promised we'd do a female magic wielder poll next time my muse took a walk. Well she has wandered off again so witches it is! Of course it can be mages or sorceresses or goddesses. As long as you love them and they control magic of some sort it counts.



I want to know who your favorite witch of all time is! 


I've got a varied list to get you started but there are a gazillion possibilities. 


Now, this is how I'm going to work this. As you leave your commented choice I will move the answer up the list. (I've tried polls in posts and they don't work very well.) First come, first serve until I get a duplicate answer. Once a witch gets 2 votes, she will then move up to #1. As votes add up, I will manually tally the numbers and slot the witch accordingly. Ties will be placed in order of deciding vote. In other words I am your personal poll assistant. 

*1 vote per commenter please.* 

Oh and your answer does not have to be on the list. Feel free to add your own or suggest I add any others to the list. But only your first choice counts as a vote.


♥ Witch List ♥


♦ 1 ♦
Granny Weatherwax (added by nathan @ Fantasy Review Barn) ~ 1 vote 


♦ 2 ♦
Melisandre, The Red Woman (Game of Thrones) ~ 1 vote

♦ 3 ♦ 
Jaenelle Angelline (Black Jewels Trilogy) ~ 1 vote (me)

♦ 4 ♦ 
Morgan La Fey("Excalibur") ~ 1 vote

♦ 5 ♦ 
Arista - Princess of Melengar ~ 1 vote (Added by Author David Burrows)

♦ 6 ♦
Polgara the Sorceress (Belgariad and Mallorean)

♦ 7 ♦
Jadis of Charn, the White Witch (Narnia)

♦ 8 ♦ 
Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

♦ 9 ♦
Aunt Clara (Bewitched)

♦ 10 ♦
Glinda, the Good Witch of the South (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)

♦ 11 ♦
Morag (The Elfstones of Shannara)

♦ 12 ♦
Medea (Greek Mythology)





So how about you? Who is your favorite Witch, female Mage or Sorceress? And please folks, join in the fun. Don't be shy! We LOVE comments here and I'll personally answer each and every one.


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.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Weekly Quote #6 ~ Brandon Sanderson

Mulluane | Thursday, May 15, 2014 | 4 Comments so far

“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”

-- Brandon Sanderson: The Way of Kings --


Quote by Brandon Sanderson ~ Design by Mulluane


About: This is a weekly feature here in the old belfry. The quote is Brandon Sanderson's. The design, along with any flaws, is mine. 

I really like this quote. Simply because it is so very very true. A good storyteller always makes me think, ponder, examine and draw my own conclusions. 


Usage: Non-Commercial Fair Use is permitted. The following restrictions apply: Please do not remove or mask the watermark url. Do not sell, print or claim this work as your own and when sharing, pinning, reblogging or posting, a direct link to this post is appreciated. Thanks!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Fun Friday 17 ~ What Are The Most Important Aspects Of A Well-Written Fantasy Story

Mulluane | Friday, May 09, 2014 | 19 Comments so far
Guess what time it is? Yep! It is Friday. Time for a quick recap and this week's question. 

So lets start with my week at a glance.


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!


bookworm

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:
  • Pace
  • Secondary World
  • Drama
  • Character development
  • Action
  • Adventure
  • Conflict
  • Romance
  • Unique magic
  • Magic with rules
  • Worldbuilding physical - architecture, landscape, clothing etc.
  • Worldbuilding - social, cultural, economic, religious
  • POV
  • Dialog
  • Satisfying ending
  • Dragons! (and/or other mythical critters)
  • Period (Medieval, Victorian, Pre-history, Modern etc...)



♦ My Answer ~ Top 5 ♦ 

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.... 


♦ My Answer ~ 5 least important ♦ 

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!)




So how about you? What are your preferences?



♦ 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.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Weekly Quote #5 ~ Robert Jordan

Mulluane | Thursday, May 08, 2014 | 4 Comments so far

“The men in my family are strong because the women in my family
kill and eat the weak ones.”

-- Robert Jordan --


Design by Mulluane ~ Quote by Robert Jordan


About: This is a weekly feature here in the old belfry. The quote is Robert Jordan's. The design is mine. Sorry about the slow load, it is an high resolution image

I had alot of fun with this one. Giggled the whole time I was playing around with it. 


Usage: Non-Commercial Fair Use is permitted. The following restrictions apply: Please do not remove or mask the watermark url. Do not sell, print or claim this work as your own and when sharing, pinning, reblogging or posting, a direct link to this post is appreciated. Thanks!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Fun Friday 16 ~ What is Your Favorite Fairytale?

Mulluane | Friday, May 02, 2014 | 17 Comments so far
Friday! Barely. I was out all day so this post is running a bit late but it is not midnight yet so I figure I'm still good... right?

So lets start with my week in a small nutshell.

  • Posted Weekly Quote #4 ~ Patrick Rothfuss
  • Finished "Exiled" by Rowena Cory Daniells, review on Monday
  • Setup a week's worth of photo sets to tumblr
  • Finally decided to cross post some reviews to Amazon. Not convinced it is not a complete waste of time but we'll see.
  • Didn't post much to Pinterest. Man I'd give my right foot to have a way to schedule pins.
  • Did a round of thank you tweets. (Followers, favoriters, and retweeters.) Would look spammy to thank them each individually every day so I make a list. On Fridays I send out my thanks to 5-6 people at a time, scheduled atleast an hour or two apart. Less spammy and it fits in with the #FF tradition.
But enough with the social media tips, on with the question!

This week again depends on viewer participation. (As do they all.)


I want to know what is your favorite fairytale! Could be the first one that stands out in your memory or could be the one that had the most influence on your life.


Fairytale castle Source: layoutsparks.com

It doesn't have to be one from your childhood. Some people don't read their first fairytale until they are much older. It just has to be one that still makes you smile, or sad, or laugh, or taught you a valuable life lesson.


♦ My Answer ♦ 

The one that has always stuck in my mind is a very simple and yet very profound little tale about a dog carrying a bone. He sees his reflection in some water, and doesn't realize it is only a reflection. All he sees is another dog holding a bone and being greedy, drops his bone with the intent of grabbing the other dog's bone. Ultimately ending up with... nothing at all.

This old fable not only taught me the consequences of greed, it did so in a way that stayed with me throughout my entire life. Proving that fairytales are not just for putting little kids to sleep at night!


So how about you? What is your favorite Fairytale and why?

Twitter Answers:




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.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Weekly Quote #4 ~ Patrick Rothfuss

Mulluane | Thursday, May 01, 2014 | 6 Comments so far

“Half of seeming clever is keeping your mouth
shut at the right times”

-- Patrick Rothfuss --


Poster Design by Mulluane~ Book Quote by Patrick Rothfuss, Wise Man's Fear


About: This is going to be a weekly feature here in the old belfry. Until I run out of inspiration anyway. The quote of course is Patrick Rothfuss' but the design is all mine. Sorry about the slow load but it is an high resolution image

I like this spin on an old saying -- this is much more "polite" than the one I grew up on. Who can guess what that old saying was?

Usage: Non-Commercial Fair Use is permitted. The following restrictions apply: Please do not remove or mask the watermark url. Do not sell, print or claim this work as your own and when sharing, pinning, reblogging or posting, a direct link to this post is appreciated. Thanks!

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