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Writing test, does your story suck?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Roc, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. Roc

    Roc Troubadour

  2. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    Hmmm...most of the recent published fantasy works I've read include as many as a dozen of those points.

    I'd have to answer yes to about three or four, myself.
    Malik likes this.
  3. RedMorningSky

    RedMorningSky Dreamer

    I take lists like this with a grain of salt, but they do make some good points. Obviously generalizations, but definitely some things to keep in mind.
  4. Alex97

    Alex97 Troubadour

    I actualy read this a while ago. It's a bit generalised and not everything on that list is necessarily bad, but some good points made. Also laughed at a few of them
  5. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

    I've seen this before. It's a rather sarcastic and disparaging list of question which seems to be intended more to make the writer and some readers feel clever, and is thus not very useful.

    There is another list somewhere with a better set of questions designed to make a writer consider their book in greater depth. I'll try and find it.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2012
    Weaver likes this.
  6. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    I only had one, the artifact that could destroy the world. But even that's iffy as to whether it meets the description. It's not one artifact but several different magics which are brought together, and it doesn't really "destroy" the world - but it does do damage world-wide.
  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    The guy who wrote this list clearly isn't fit to give advice, and as such his urging to abandon your novel at once if you answer yes to any of the questions should be ignored.

    According to this list, no one should ever again write a story with an elf, orc, dwarf, or halfling in it (even though a number of the other questions assume that you do have them and are therefore redundant with the prohibition against them). A lot of the other questions are equally lame. Maybe the whole thing is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but if so it isn't very well done.
    Weaver likes this.
  8. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

    I can't seem to find that list I mentioned. Maybe I imagined it. Perhaps we should make our own list of questions, designed to provoke an analytical approach to writing, bearing in mind certain cliches, rather than a scornful approach to reading. If we do, I think the question I would propose is this: "Are all the female main characters involved in romance arcs with male main characters?" I'm not saying a yes would necessarily be a bad thing, but it's certainly something you see a lot, and something I feel writers should think about when they're writing.
  9. Roc

    Roc Troubadour

    This wasn't to be taken seriously, just for some laughs.
  10. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    I thought it was sort of funny. Someone has been reading a lot of Dragonlance books (which don't suck by the way :) )
  11. I dunno, it seems pretty obviously tongue-in-cheek to me. Mostly it's just listing a lot of the most cliché fantasy tropes that tend to show up in first-timer novels. I seriously doubt that they think that any book containing any of these things should be immediately abandoned (like "Is this the first book in a planned trilogy?").

    Maybe you don't think it's funny, but I do :)
  12. Elder the Dwarf

    Elder the Dwarf Maester

    This list has been posted here a couple of times. Maybe if you have most of these things, you could reconsider your novel, but by no means is it to be taken seriously. I'm pretty sure it is impossible not to break at least a couple of the rules if you are writing fantasy.
  13. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

    "Are you writing a work-for-hire for Wizards of The Coast?"

    ... And you're supposed to stop at once if you are? Frankly, good luck to you. For hire works can definitely bring in the moneys... Oh but don't forget the pre-packed fan base.

    This list is both for a laugh, written by someone who has no clue what they're on about, and almost certainly one of those people who mistakes THEIR opinions, built from the context of THEIR reading past, for the word of God.

    Battling cliche is pointless especially if you instead think of them as archetypes and tropes.
  14. The Dark One

    The Dark One Auror

    Was honestly able to say No to every question (although the list is obviously not to be taken seriously).

    Mind you, I couldn't really tell you what my genre(s) are. One is definitely speculative fiction (although with some surreal/fantastical flavours), and another has a definite fantasy element but it's a subplot within a historical novel. I suspect that if you genuinely say No to every question there's every chance that you're not writing fantasy.
  15. JonSnow

    JonSnow Troubadour

    To be fair, its virtually impossible to write fantasy without having some of those elements in it. And just about every work of high fantasy is some sort of a LotR rip off, considering that is what spawned the entire modern fantasy genre. I got a good laugh, though, having read a lot of Dragonlance and Lord of the Rings back in the day. While it is cliche to have the conflicted half-elf leading the party of halfling and befriended dwarf and elf against the evil forces of a dark lord, you shouldn't necessarily scrap your book if you have one of those elements.

    I have chosen to avoid grumpy dwarves, tormented half-elves, busy-fingered halflings, and dark lords altogether. HOWEVER, I am struggling finding another sort of powerful antagonistic force in addition to greedy, violent humans and corrupt lords and kings. Dragons, undead armies, demons and wraiths are always good candidates, but they have been overused as well. It is easy enough to create some race of evil, twisted beings. But who is leading them, if not some powerful necromancer or dark lord? Without some of those supernatural forces, you run the risk of losing the fantasy aspect altogether.
  16. Amanita

    Amanita Maester

    I don't have any of this, or at least not much.
    Still, I don't really like this test at all and I don't think it's really funny either. I'm not a big fan of most of those cliches myself but the idea that every novel written in a specific style is bad and every one that isn't is good, just doesn't work out. It's not as simple as that.
  17. Agran Velion

    Agran Velion Minstrel

    Ah I love this quiz, always gave me a laugh. But it naturally isn't meant to be taken seriously, the website it's posted on is meant for humor. However, I do think that a handful of the questions do warrant some consideration.

    Do you see nothing wrong with having two characters from the same small isolated village being named "Tim Umber" and "Belthusalanthalus al'Grinsok"? ((Unless of course, there's a specific reason))

    Do you think that the only two uses for ships are fishing and piracy?

    Does anybody in your novel stab anybody straight through plate armor? ((Naturally can be avoided, just, plate armor was top of the line for a reason))

    The majority of it though, is just meant for comedy rather than an actual test. Like the Evil Overlord List (although it makes much better points).

    Peter's Evil Overlord List
    DragonOfTheAerie likes this.
  18. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

    I plead guilty to #17, #28/#29, and #50, with a couple caveats. For #17, I do have a group of characters who you could call feminists, but you'd be using the term very loosely. They're a pro-female amazon style cult that routinely practices kidnapping. ceremonial castration, slavery, and human sacrifice, among other things. Obviously I didn't write them to champion a cause, but rather because: A: I thought they'd be cool one-off villains, and B: to ridicule extremism. As for #28/29, while I do already have plans for sequels, I think my first book will be a pretty decent stand-alone if it has to be. And for #50, what's wrong with fireballs and lightning bolts anyway? Besides, my fireballs and lightning bolts are quite distinct, I think.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012
  19. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    Let's see how mine stack up:

    Winter's Queen and Summer's Pawn

    #8, kinda.
    #35, yes.
    #48... dunno if I'd call it "inordinate", as the journey is what Summer's Pawn is all about. There's no real destination, they're trying to find a specific person who is doing her best to hide from those who want to find her.
    #49, yes. She doesn't tell them because it's in her own best interests not to.

    Low Road and its backstory

    #9... uhm? A goddess does act as a catalyst, but she doesn't disguise herself at all.
    #10 more like great-times-nine-grandfather, and neither he nor the hero ever figure it out.
    #28, guilty. XD
    #32, yes. Though the prequels ARE the next books in the series. Hopefully.

    Hm. Interesting.
  20. ScipioSmith

    ScipioSmith Sage

    Spirit of the Sword

    #3 Kinda, but you could argue the villain has a stronger claim.
    #4 Hell yeah!
    #9 She doesn't make any secret of it, but she doesn't announce herself either.
    #19 Well what do you expect, they don't have fire under water.
    #29 Yup.
    #39 Two of four.
    #50 Yes.

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