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How do you add epicosity to your epic?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Svrtnsse, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

    This thread here brings forth what a big deal epic fantasy really is:
    I was thinking of asking this question in that thread, but I figured it might derail the discussion too much so I'm making a thread of its own instead.

    Basically, what makes an epic, well, epic?

    Is it just the sheer size and scope of it, that it's a big long story with multiple characters in a vast and varied world, or is there something else to it.

    Is it over the top heroism and feats of bravery? Is it long journeys to distant lands? Is is strange creatures and magic? Maybe it's just that you read for so long about the characters that you get to know them as friends - or foes?

    What are your thoughts?
    What's epic?

    Here's how WoW made The Maelstrom more "epic": Epicosity -- WoW Insider
  2. Graylorne

    Graylorne Archmage

    Butterfly likes this.
  3. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

    I think it's all about stakes. "Epic" stories need to have entire countries in the balance and thousands of individual lives at stake and stuff like that. Most things like size, scope, number of characters/locations and so forth are used to help put more things in danger. Heroes like "chosen ones" and royalty and villains like evil overlords and destructive gods are also there to put a lot of stuff on the line.
    I think the appeal of epic stories is the idea that the things that are going on are super important because there's so much on the line and so much going on.

    That's my assessment anyways.
  4. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

    That was a good article. I'm a fan of looking at modern epic fantasy in the light of the ancient cultural epic poetry. I think they both serve the same need. I'd say that The Lord of the Rings was the first real epic fantasy. Tolkien's goal in his writing was essentially to write the equivalent of the ancient cultural epic. In my opinion, he's the only one who's ever really succeeded at it.

    Most of the tropes you find in epic fantasies nowadays are entirely modern tropes. Including the Dark Lord and the Chosen One. People make the mistake of thinking those types of things are necessary for epic fantasy and they really aren't.
    Scribble likes this.

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