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Do you like the fantasy genre? Ideas
Old 08-10-2016, 11:57 AM   #1
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Do you like the fantasy genre? Ideas

I am writing a fantasy novel and have run into an idea block. I am interested in hearing what other people like to read about in such stories.

The story is set on a different world, with five continents. The animals/plants are different from earth's, while the people are regular human beings. Technology is fairly low; there are no internal combustion engines. People do use steam, but I am not attempting steampunk. mportant: There is no sorcery, no telepathy, no talking animals. There could be special powers/talents, as long as they are not magic or sorcery.

There are two villains. The first villain did something terrible, that set the whole world on its ear. An even badder villain is taking advantage of the resulting chaos by making a power grab. Also, there is a shadowy organization that is trying to restore order.

Meanwhile, the very reluctant hero and heroine are separated by a disaster. Each has to make his/her own way across thousands of miles of unfamiliar territory, with adventures all the way. They meet people from different cultures with various customs and expectations. I am running into a mental block with respect to the adventures. I can't think up enough good ones, and they all end up sounding like something that might happen to ME. I badly need other points of view!

Given these vague guidelines - if you were reading such a story, what kinds of things would you like to read about? You can be as far-out as you want as long as it's within the guidelines. Oh, and I'm not expecting people to write plots; that would be my job. I am just looking for ideas that I can think about and work with.

I hope I have managed to intrigue a few of you, and am really looking forward to hearing from you.

Amethyst
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Old 08-10-2016, 12:36 PM   #2
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You've intrigued me.

How about cultures that expect a single traveler expecting assistance to participate in X,Y, or Z when visiting with that culture (and any/all of those conflict with what the hero[ine] not present would prefer). Think "sex," but could be anything. A recurring theme, but works.

I've read "too many" fantasy quests over the years... (Silverlock to Terry Pratchett, and a bunch more....) I enjoy anything as long as it is well written/developed and not too outlandish.

Key is to have it contribute to the character development in the end, I think.
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Old 08-10-2016, 01:54 PM   #3
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Consider me intrigued, as well.

Assuming that your hero and heroine are on this long, arduous journey across unfamiliar lands in order to hook up eventually and help defeat the villain(s) or help restore world order, you may want to consider having their adventures tie into that ultimate goal somehow. For example, each adventure would give the hero or heroine some small insight into the nature of the dystopia and how it might be undone. This might happen via their interactions with various people or their exploration of dark and mysterious places. Then, after going through all their individual adventures, they would be able to put all the puzzle pieces together at the end to reverse the worldwide chaos.

In terms of the adventures themselves, all I can really suggest is to have some of them set in places like underground caves or caverns, or swamps, or ancient castles built into the sides of mountains, or maybe on and within islands in the middle of a vast lake. Each setting would provide a unique environment to help the hero(ine) gain a new perspective of the world and the nature of the evil that's gripping it.

Looking forward to reading this riveting tale one day! Best of luck on your writing journeys.
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Old 08-10-2016, 03:01 PM   #4
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You could have 1 of the hero/ines kidnapped to be sold into slavery or for ransom or for a meal menu item by intelligent carnivores.
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Old 08-10-2016, 03:52 PM   #5
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I like fantasy a lot, especially if it revolves something at a conceptual level. I'm picky though.

Changing a fundamental aspect of reality and changing it, then exploring the consequences. And crossing plotlines, with everyone acting from his perspective and interests vs. centered on the one true hero with destiny.

Stumbling in the dark. A hero or villain who always knows what to do next chasing a mcguffin is a bit silly. Unless it's done in jest "My name is Guybrush Threepwood, and I want to be pirate!". And serial 'fetch-quests' are also a bit meh ("get the stone of glory, bring it to the smith, he'll make you the sword of destiny. Oh no, the stone is in the temple of the ancients, and you need a key!"). Even something as simple as not knowing where to go next can be a nice plot development. Stay stuck in the same place in utter confusion. Crisis of faith.

Why not have something happen that questions the motivation to reunify the heroes? How does the hero know he's a hero? Very few real life villains think of themselves as evil.

Find the birthplace of the order, change perspective on the villains objectives. Run into a person who looks like an identical twin of your lover.

Kill off a main character. Have a guy switch sides. Or better yet, no sides, just self-interests.

Or watch a few fantasy animes, read some storylines. The Final Fantasy series are amazing. Watching Fullmetal Alchemist now, that's cool too.

In terms of different cultures and expectations: alot of star trek plots handle those. Tribes where people commit suicide at 60 for example, or where everyone is twins separated at birth (where's your twin?) or married at 25 or be expelled. Men or women as property.

Just random ramblings, hope there's a trigger there for you ..
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Old 08-10-2016, 03:52 PM   #6
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Not bad...she has already barely escaped rape by the son of the owner of an exotic hotel where she was working in disguise...

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You could have 1 of the hero/ines kidnapped to be sold into slavery or for ransom or for a meal menu item by intelligent carnivores.
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Old 08-10-2016, 03:57 PM   #7
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I know -I want to avoid such cliches. "Only bring together the six magic stones, and all will return to the way it was! Oh wait, the blue stone was lost 1,000 years ago and nobody knows where!" That's why I refuse to have any magic, except that the planet itself is subtly magical. People have to get in and out of their scrapes by their wits, strength, and/or with the help of friends.

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I And serial 'fetch-quests' are also a bit meh ("get the stone of glory, bring it to the smith, he'll make you the sword of destiny. Oh no, the stone is in the temple of the ancients, and you need a key!"). .
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Old 08-10-2016, 04:34 PM   #8
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You may want to introduce other helper characters. I've noticed that some of the most successful fantasy books of the past 20 years have all had threesomes:

Harry Potter
Twilight series
Hunger Games trilogy

In all of them there were two heroes and one heroine. And in all of them two of the three became a couple.

I agree with different environments. The environment can provide some of the challenges in the quest. Kind of sounds like Zelda games without the magic.


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Old 08-10-2016, 04:42 PM   #9
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Yes, Helpers can be interesting in themselves. I want to avoid too many characters, since I believe each one needs a backstory, and it gets difficult to keep track of who had which childhood, etc. (Maybe there is software for that).

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You may want to introduce other helper characters. I've noticed that some of the most successful fantasy books of the past 20 years have all had threesomes:

Harry Potter
Twilight series
Hunger Games trilogy

In all of them there were two heroes and one heroine. And in all of them two of the three became a couple.

I agree with different environments. The environment can provide some of the challenges in the quest. Kind of sounds like Zelda games without the magic.


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Old 08-10-2016, 05:07 PM   #10
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I'd be interested in the survival techniques employed by the heroes/villains in the various terrains they encounter en route to 'wherever'. (Australian Aborigines/Apache Indians/Botswana Bushmen finding water in deserts, as an example.)
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Old 08-10-2016, 05:20 PM   #11
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Two things come to mind:
1. I've heard from authors that novels are an escalating series of crises. Every time your heroes solve one problem, the Law of Unintended Consequences produces a bigger one. This could therefore lead to the Final Showdown with the Big Bad.

2. Do you want your characters to grow in some ways to prepare them for meeting with the villain? You could have every encounter help them develop or discover a new skill.

OK, make that three.

3. Have you read Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces? The Hero's Journey archetype may seem to be a trope, but it always works because it speaks to us on a fundamental level.

I think Orson Scott Card wrote a nonfiction book about writing, and what of it I read was really informative. See if your library has it, it may give you some inspiration!
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Old 08-10-2016, 05:24 PM   #12
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...

3. Have you read Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces? The Hero's Journey archetype may seem to be a trope, but it always works because it speaks to us on a fundamental level.

...
Excellent recommendation.
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Old 08-10-2016, 06:01 PM   #13
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How about making it a world without metal (somehow all of the metal sank to the core during the formation of the world and is out of reach...this is not really that far fetched). I think most of earth's accessible metal comes from asteroid strikes...I know that is where the really heavy metals like gold come from.

So what would one do if stuck in the stone age because...well, there is only stone? It is an interesting concept, maybe already done?

Perhaps science somehow developed to the point where people knew there *should* be metal, but they don't have access to it (not sure if that is possible, but I think we have predicted elements in the past that we had not found yet...Mendeleev?)

And now word has come that a asteroid has finally hit the planet after billions of years, in some remote corner of one of the continents. The bad guys are racing the good guys to be the first to the iron age. Who will win? What will they make?
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Old 08-10-2016, 06:31 PM   #14
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Cool! Jack Vance's Durdane comes to mind. Durdane has very little metal, so its military scientists must concoct weapons out of glass and strange bio-things grown in tanks. I absolutely loved that trilogy when I was a teen.

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How about making it a world without metal (somehow all of the metal sank to the core during the formation of the world and is out of reach...this is not really that far fetched). I think most of earth's accessible metal comes from asteroid strikes...I know that is where the really heavy metals like gold come from.

So what would one do if stuck in the stone age because...well, there is only stone? It is an interesting concept, maybe already done?

Perhaps science somehow developed to the point where people knew there *should* be metal, but they don't have access to it (not sure if that is possible, but I think we have predicted elements in the past that we had not found yet...Mendeleev?)

And now word has come that a asteroid has finally hit the planet after billions of years, in some remote corner of one of the continents. The bad guys are racing the good guys to be the first to the iron age. Who will win? What will they make?
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Old 08-11-2016, 07:07 AM   #15
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Well, no ideas for you but I will look forward to reading your story. I steer clear of most fantasy because I don't like the magic and powers junk although I am afraid I may be missing some good reads. I periodically read some SF/fantasy that I thoroughly enjoy (e.g. Dune, Shadow of the Torcherer, Handmaid's Tale...) but usually only on a personal recommendation or a great review.
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Old 08-11-2016, 07:29 AM   #16
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Perhaps science somehow developed to the point where people knew there *should* be metal, but they don't have access to it (not sure if that is possible, but I think we have predicted elements in the past that we had not found yet...Mendeleev?)
Neat idea.

From the periodic table and other theories we have and did derive properties and chemical behavior - since it's mostly based on the number of free electrons.

You can additionally introduce a plot where discovery as to why there is no metal to be found, neatly accessible.

Note that even granite has 14% or so aluminum. So it could be accessible, but hideously (energy) expensive to extract.
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Old 08-11-2016, 07:39 AM   #17
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I've noticed that some of the most successful fantasy books of the past 20 years have all had threesomes:
How about a story about an advanced species where there are three sexes? Some notes:
• the act of mating would involve three sexes uniting to mix DNA to create a new individual.
• research the genetics carefully - make it plausible
• the old-fashioned egg/sperm dichotomy could be replaced with something a bit more complicated. Or, there could be two sperm-carriers and one egg-carrier within each union.
• since a 'love-triangle' would be the standard arrangement, a 'love-quadrangle' could be a source of dramatic tension.

I don't read fantasy but I do like hard sci-fi. Good luck!
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Old 08-11-2016, 07:47 AM   #18
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I thought about the breeding aspect a bit too.

What if for some reason on each continent, you became unable to breed with your own countrymen/women but could breed with people from other continents. The problem is, if you live on the other continent, you eventually die due to something associated with this localized sterility. Your child would randomly be of one of the parent's type and would have to soon leave with that parent to return to that continent.

It would be a massive constantly moving mess, but interestingly sad.
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Old 08-11-2016, 09:11 AM   #19
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Latching onto some of the aforementioned breeding posts, and incorporating the "It takes a village to raise a child" mantra......what if it took an entire village to conceive a child?
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Do you like the fantasy genre? Ideas
Old 08-11-2016, 09:12 AM   #20
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Do you like the fantasy genre? Ideas

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Cool! Jack Vance's Durdane comes to mind. Durdane has very little metal, so its military scientists must concoct weapons out of glass and strange bio-things grown in tanks. I absolutely loved that trilogy when I was a teen.

Sorry for the side track but I couldn't resist:




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