Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Yes, but...

Via Denver-based agent Kristin Nelson, I've taken this Fantasy Novelist's Exam. And failed. But only on a couple of questions (which got my ire up, actually). Some of them are just plain funny.

9. Does your novel contain a character that is really a god in disguise?
She's only in disguise to specific groups of people in my story. The reader knows she's a "god" from page 1. Does this count as a failure?

10. Is the evil supreme badguy secretly the father of your main character?
No. Definitely no. Considering what I have in minde for Book 3, that would give everything a decidedly VC Andrews bent. No.

16. Do any of your female characters exist solely to be captured and rescued?
Actually, my male character is the one who gets captured and rescued, but that's Book 2.

28. Is this the first book in a planned trilogy?
D'oh! But this is where I started to get mad.

29. How about a quintet or a decalogue?
OK, so my Velorin series is sitting at a projected six books, the first three of which are a trilogy, the latter three being their own stories in the series. Now I'm irked. Just because a fantasy story is epic in its structure means that it must be a Tolkien derivative and therefore bad?

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?
Ah, my pet peeve in all fiction, fantasy and every other genre. If your story goes on for pages only because folks who had good reason to talk about the matters at hand suddenly decide not to, I will Get Mad. I did read a good exception recently, but the characters all realized they weren't talking to each other and why, and it was actually a bit of a big plot point and thematic for different cultures coming together under difficult circumstances. (Really, go read Elizabeth Vaughan's Warprize.)
53. Heaven help you, do you ever use the term "hit points" in your novel?

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?
I can't help myself: would it be more believable if he forced himself on an unwilling beerwench instead?

65. Do you not realize it takes hours to make a good stew, making it a poor choice for an "on the road" meal?
Obviously the examiner has never experienced one of Rachel Ray's 30-minute "stoops."

My mini-rant about trilogies and such aside, this was a fun little test that pokes at all the tired fantasy cliches. But many a wise editor and author has said that cliches are cliches because they work. The trick is to write them well.

No comments: