Monday, October 7, 2013

Fantasy Cliches

Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of posts and comments made where people have said that fantasy has become old and clichéd.  It’s always the same – the dragons, the elves, the epic battles and magic, or maybe vampire sand werewolves.  They’ve lamented that there’s never anything new in fantasy.

I disagree.  I honestly can’t remember the last fantasy I’ve read with dragons.  Probably Eragon, several years ago, when I was stranded in Newark Airport for a day and a half.  We all know the popular or well-known mainstream fantasies.  And the complaints reminded me of something I’d found years ago – Something called the Fantasy Novelist’s Exam.  Check it out.  If you want a chuckle, this is what you’re been looking for.

Though it is funny to read the entire list of clichés in fantasy writing, there’s still some truth in it.  How many of us have come to expect something from this list, just because it’s fantasy?

The trick is to avoid the cliché.

Does every story have to have magical creatures, epic battles or wizards?  No.

I posed this question in a fantasy writer’s community, and I was surprised by the quick and insightful thoughts.  I was told that if someone is only finding these kinds of stories, they’re looking in the wrong place.  Fantasy is anything that has an element that doesn’t exist in our reality.  I write fantasy, and I have the tendency to minimalize the fantastical parts so that they almost seem a part of everyday life. 

Every reader will find their own unique niche.  There are so many options available and all we need to look.

What clichés are you tired of?  Not just in fantasy, but in books in general?