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Fantasy Writer's Quiz

Discussion in 'Writing Resources' started by TheokinsJ, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. TheokinsJ

    TheokinsJ Troubadour

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    Below is a link I thought many people would find useful, please understand that this is merely someone's opinion and the things they say should not put you off writing your story, it's just a quiz that determines how chliché stories can be, or how unrealistic. In the quiz, there are seventy or so questions, the idea is to honestly say "no" to as many questions as you can, however I must admit that I myself found that I said "Yes" to almost half a dozen of them. Saying yes to a couple of them doesn't mean that your work is cliché, but should you find that you have answered a good amount incorrectly then maybe you might need to do some thinking. Still it's your story, you can write whatever you want, don't let this phase you. I just thought it would be a good source for people to look at to see how original their story is.

    The Fantasy Novelist's Exam
     
  2. TheokinsJ

    TheokinsJ Troubadour

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    lol, had no idea it had been done before
     
  3. The Unseemly

    The Unseemly Troubadour

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    Lovely! I'm the one for scamming unoriginal concepts (the Lord of the Rings rip off), and turning them into cliches. Much appreciated.

    EDIT: Apologies. On a more serious note: sometimes these questions are a bit inappropriate. Certainly, no-one likes a Lord of the Rings rip off, because that just gets boring. However, there are certain questions which I disliked, mainly because it can (but most definitely doesn't have to) simplify the story, and allow readers to relate with something they understand well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2013
  4. Mockingjay Ignis

    Mockingjay Ignis Dreamer

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    I have already came across this before :D, luckily, almost all of them were not in my fantasy project. Not to shabby for me.
     
  5. Filk

    Filk Troubadour

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    Number 53 made me laugh. It's a pretty funny list overall.
     
  6. teacup

    teacup Auror

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    Huh. I only had like 3 or 4 at a push. A couple of "kind of" ones too that I wouldn't say fit enough.
     
  7. glutton

    glutton Inkling

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    My hopefully amusing reactions -

    15 - she worries sometimes because she's horribly scarred...
    19 - no she's good with both, she needs to cook on the road for herself after all...
    29 - an 8-9 book series actually.
    44 - no, but I imagine the heroine is over Level 20 by the time she's 17...
    50 - yes.
    53 - not in the more serious books but I have used the term in a parody...
    56 - any of the elite warriors could EASILY do this, but haven't done it specifically.
    58 - any of the elite warriors could EASILY do this, but haven't done it specifically.
    59 - of course.
    60 - real swords don't. My heroine's weighs 30 pounds though.
    63 - no, she can eat hits from either like candy.
    64 - a regular man, no. The elites can have a dozen arrows sticking out of them and be only slightly bothered though.
    73 - sort of.
     
  8. PlotHolio

    PlotHolio Sage

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    I posted a similar thing. It's good as a guideline and it can be fun to take, but you shouldn't let it shape your story.
    Here are some choice answers.

    Does your novel contain a character that is really a god in disguise?
    Several, and they don't all like each other.

    Is the king of your world a kindly king duped by an evil magician?
    He's a meh king who dies in the first chapter.

    Is any character in your novel best described as "a dour dwarf"?
    The only dwarf in my novel is Grimly of Moiria, and he's not dour.

    How about "a half-elf torn between his human and elven heritage"?
    I actively work to keep Tanis Half-Baked out of my business.

    Is your novel thicker than a New York City phone book?
    I've never seen one.

    Is your name Robert Jordan and you lied like a dog to get this far?
    Hello? I'm not Robert Jordan.
    I'm James Rigney. Harriet put me in cryo-stasis until last December. My death was a lie.

    Do you see nothing wrong with having two characters from the same small isolated village being named "Tim Umber" and "Belthusalanthalus al'Grinsok"?
    You know Tim and Belthie?

    Have you done up game statistics for all of your main characters in your favorite RPG?
    My main character is a Level 19 Human Shaman.

    Do you think horses can gallop all day long without rest?
    Yes, because my horses are all magical!

    Does anybody in your novel ever stab anybody with a scimitar?
    No, simply because they don't use scimitars. Have you seen a scimitar? They're meant for slicing, but they're still swords.
    [​IMG]

    Does a large portion of the humor in your novel consist of puns?
    I like puns...

    Do you really think it frequently takes more than one arrow in the chest to kill a man?
    Depending on the kind of bow, yes. Shortbow from medium range? Dead. Long range? Plink.

    Do you not realize it takes hours to make a good stew, making it a poor choice for an "on the road" meal?
    Unless you bring it with you and warm it up. Some of these questions are pretty short-sighted. Either that, or they underestimate how much people like stew.

    Is your book basically a rip-off of The Lord of the Rings?
    Yes.

    Read that question again and answer truthfully.
    No.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
  9. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

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    As with a great many things, I think this exam should be taken with a fairly large pinch of salt. I don't think saying yes to any one question means your novel should be discarded. You've got to be careful with cliches. Actively avoiding them can be as damaging to a story as deliberately including them if you don't know what you're doing. I've written about this in my blog already: How to deal with cliches in fiction. But the gist is, be aware of cliches, consider how they (like any other element you include in your story) will impact upon other characters and events. Don't just use them to fill a gap and assume the reader will just go along with it.

    Having said that, I do see where the exam's creators are coming from, but they don't explain or encourage readers to examine the underlying problems; use of these cliches in fantasy is not the disease, they're the symptoms. And in the same way sneezing can be a symptom of a cold or it could just be a sneeze, using cliches doesn't necessarily mean the story is bad. Using a lot is probably not a good sign though.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
  10. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    That pointy thing on the end will stab nicely, it will not penetrate metal armor though without a good chance of breaking off. It is a slashing weapon, but can stab too.

    Stew: I believe when traveling, you kept the stew and added water and other items found along the road to keep it from running out, it would change the flavor(mixing of flavors and probably some mold or dust seasoning, plus the new additives, maybe even some fermenting.) Dried meat probably got old very quickly. Also the cooks could use breaks to cut up contents and drop them in the pot as they went. So the hour long stew would be divided over several breaks during the day. (remember horses/livestock need rest breaks during the day.)
     
  11. Nihal

    Nihal Vala

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    I hope this test is a warning in form of joke, but I have this impression that who made it is just strongly biased and grumpy.

    At the beginning: "Answering "yes" to any one question results in failure and means that the prospective novel should be abandoned at once."

    Hahaha! While these tests are good to set off some flags and make you rethink seriously some aspects of your creation you should by no means follow it as a sacred set of rules.

    Now, excuse me while I'm going to murder all my sisters because they have names composed of more than 3 syllables and accordingly to the number 37 it's absurd. =P
     
  12. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    That's funny about the scimitars. I have an elementalist stab someone with a scimitar (from behind with no armor), to which the fighter is like, "Uhh, you know that's not designed for stabbing, right?"
     
  13. druidofwinter

    druidofwinter Sage

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    lol! that was great! though i must admit in answered "yes" to four of them.
    thanks for posting that:)
     
  14. Meyer

    Meyer Minstrel

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    I'm bored and avoiding work so I answered them all.

    The Exam
    1. Does nothing happen in the first fifty pages? Nope.
    2. Is your main character a young farmhand with mysterious parentage? No main character.
    3. Is your main character the heir to the throne but doesn't know it? N/A
    4. Is your story about a young character who comes of age, gains great power, and defeats the supreme badguy? No major characters under mid twenties actually.
    5. Is your story about a quest for a magical artifact that will save the world? Nope.
    6. How about one that will destroy it? Nope.
    7. Does your story revolve around an ancient prophecy about "The One" who will save the world and everybody and all the forces of good? There is a ‘chosen one’ prophecy, but it is a subversion of the concept.
    8. Does your novel contain a character whose sole purpose is to show up at random plot points and dispense information? No.
    9. Does your novel contain a character that is really a god in disguise? Maybe. Haven’t decided on that point yet.
    10. Is the evil supreme badguy secretly the father of your main character? Nope.
    11. Is the king of your world a kindly king duped by an evil magician? No.
    12. Does "a forgetful wizard" describe any of the characters in your novel? No.
    13. How about "a powerful but slow and kind-hearted warrior"? No.
    14. How about "a wise, mystical sage who refuses to give away plot details for his own personal, mysterious reasons"? Sort of, but not entirely.
    15. Do the female characters in your novel spend a lot of time worrying about how they look, especially when the male main character is around? No, they’re too busy racking up body counts in the hundreds.
    16. Do any of your female characters exist solely to be captured and rescued? No.
    17. Do any of your female characters exist solely to embody feminist ideals? No.
    18. Would "a clumsy cooking wench more comfortable with a frying pan than a sword" aptly describe any of your female characters? No.
    19. Would "a fearless warrioress more comfortable with a sword than a frying pan" aptly describe any of your female characters? Yes.
    20. Is any character in your novel best described as "a dour dwarf"? No.
    21. How about "a half-elf torn between his human and elven heritage"? No.
    22. Did you make the elves and the dwarves great friends, just to be different? No dwarves.
    23. Does everybody under four feet tall exist solely for comic relief? No.
    24. Do you think that the only two uses for ships are fishing and piracy? Military transportation, commerce, passenger ships, warships, defense pickets, blockades, etc.
    25. Do you not know when the hay baler was invented? Got me there.
    26. Did you draw a map for your novel which includes places named things like "The Blasted Lands" or "The Forest of Fear" or "The Desert of Desolation" or absolutely anything "of Doom"? Closest would be ‘The Wastes’.
    27. Does your novel contain a prologue that is impossible to understand until you've read the entire book, if even then? No prologue.
    28. Is this the first book in a planned trilogy? Hope not.
    29. How about a quintet or a decalogue? See above.
    30. Is your novel thicker than a New York City phone book? Hope not.
    31. Did absolutely nothing happen in the previous book you wrote, yet you figure you're still many sequels away from finishing your "story"? Hopefully I can resolve the story in under 500,000 words.
    32. Are you writing prequels to your as-yet-unfinished series of books? That’d be dumb.
    33. Is your name Robert Jordan and you lied like a dog to get this far? Not even the same initials.
    34. Is your novel based on the adventures of your role-playing group? Never Rped.
    35. Does your novel contain characters transported from the real world to a fantasy realm? Hell no.
    36. Do any of your main characters have apostrophes or dashes in their names? Yes…I did that. /hangs head in shame
    37. Do any of your main characters have names longer than three syllables? I don’t think so.
    38. Do you see nothing wrong with having two characters from the same small isolated village being named "Tim Umber" and "Belthusalanthalus al'Grinsok"? Would be difficult to justify.
    39. Does your novel contain orcs, elves, dwarves, or halflings? Orcs and Elves only.
    40. How about "orken" or "dwerrows"? Hell no.
    41. Do you have a race prefixed by "half-"? Nope.
    42. At any point in your novel, do the main characters take a shortcut through ancient dwarven mines? No dwarves to make mines.
    43. Do you write your battle scenes by playing them out in your favorite RPG? What the feth?
    44. Have you done up game statistics for all of your main characters in your favorite RPG? No, but I did make profiles for them in Warhammer. LMAO
    45. Are you writing a work-for-hire for Wizards of the Coast? Nope.
    46. Do inns in your book exist solely so your main characters can have brawls? No.
    47. Do you think you know how feudalism worked but really don't? Is Feudalism even real?
    48. Do your characters spend an inordinate amount of time journeying from place to place? Not really…I hope…
    49. Could one of your main characters tell the other characters something that would really help them in their quest but refuses to do so just so it won't break the plot? Nope
    50. Do any of the magic users in your novel cast spells easily identifiable as "fireball" or "lightning bolt"? Perhaps
    51. Do you ever use the term "mana" in your novel? No
    52. Do you ever use the term "plate mail" in your novel? Maybe
    53. Heaven help you, do you ever use the term "hit points" in your novel? lol
    54. Do you not realize how much gold actually weighs? I’d research it
    55. Do you think horses can gallop all day long without rest? Hell no. I actually have a scene written that describes a communications system where horses are switched out every 40-50 miles for fresh ones at various stips.
    56. Does anybody in your novel fight for two hours straight in full plate armor, then ride a horse for four hours, then delicately make love to a willing barmaid all in the same day? Hell no
    57. Does your main character have a magic axe, hammer, spear, or other weapon that returns to him when he throws it? No magic weapons
    58. Does anybody in your novel ever stab anybody with a scimitar? If they were dumb
    59. Does anybody in your novel stab anybody straight through plate armor? Maybe with a magic weapon *winks*
    60. Do you think swords weigh ten pounds or more? [info] Maybe if it was a ten foot long sword
    61. Does your hero fall in love with an unattainable woman, whom he later attains? Nope
    62. Does a large portion of the humor in your novel consist of puns? I dislike puns
    63. Is your hero able to withstand multiple blows from the fantasy equivalent of a ten pound sledge but is still threatened by a small woman with a dagger? No
    64. Do you really think it frequently takes more than one arrow in the chest to kill a man? Arrows hurt
    65. Do you not realize it takes hours to make a good stew, making it a poor choice for an "on the road" meal? On the road meal would be salted meat and dry bread at best
    66. Do you have nomadic barbarians living on the tundra and consuming barrels and barrels of mead? Nope
    67. Do you think that "mead" is just a fancy name for "beer"? No
    68. Does your story involve a number of different races, each of which has exactly one country, one ruler, and one religion? Yes and no
    69. Is the best organized and most numerous group of people in your world the thieves' guild? No Thieves’ Guild
    70. Does your main villain punish insignificant mistakes with death? Maybe for the luls…no not serious about that
    71. Is your story about a crack team of warriors that take along a bard who is useless in a fight, though he plays a mean lute? I really hate bards
    72. Is "common" the official language of your world? Got me there damn it…I’ll have to fix that
    73. Is the countryside in your novel littered with tombs and gravesites filled with ancient magical loot that nobody thought to steal centuries before? No magical loot
    74. Is your book basically a rip-off of The Lord of the Rings? I hope not
    75. Read that question again and answer truthfully. LotR is a big inspiration, but any similarities should be minimal and coincidental
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  15. glutton

    glutton Inkling

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    Or animals you catch. :D
     
  16. Meyer

    Meyer Minstrel

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    Point. I will counter that hunting can be very unreliable though.
     
  17. glutton

    glutton Inkling

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    True, it would help if you can shoot down birds consistently unless there aren't many birds around.
     
  18. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    A steak knife isn't meant as an offensive weapon, but it works. Just like the tip of a scimitar could stab.
    I agree a scimitar is a slasher weapon, but if it has a pointy tip, it can stab.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWvsHorqldM
    Interesting description of the scimitar.

    How about these sword maidens:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5kKmjsUjbI


    maybe a group of women dancing for royalty, looking to be only beauties dancing with ceremonial swords, a threat to no one. But they are well trained, assasins or secret defenders of the leader.
    The dance does use blocks and thrusts, attack and defence.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
  19. glutton

    glutton Inkling

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    Yeah, I hope the reason the fighter is able to say that is cause he/she is superhuman.
     
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