Every time I see a post like this one, I remember that they aren’t really for me. So here are mine*
The Martha Jones test: a Black woman character exists. She is complete and faceted. She has a family and a life that is visibly represented. She has a personality. She is complete.
The Cookie Lyon test: a Black woman character exists. She is allowed her vulnerabilities. She is funny and the jokes aren’t made at her expense. Her story is not related to a white male.
The Coach-Winston test: two Black characters (any gender) exist in the same television show or movie. They are not of familial relation. They have conversations with each other that do not revolve around the white characters.
*the bar is so low for all these, of course but I felt I should share what comes to mind every time I sit down and tune in.
…and it’s super cliché. I kid you not. Why is there always a bar or a tavern in a fantasy story? And why are the main characters starting fights in them? What if the main characters are underage? Admittedly, that doesn’t stop modern kids. But here’s three cliches in fantasy stories that I think should stop. 1. Everyone Has Swords Let’s face the facts. Swords are really expensive and take a long…
…and it’s super cliché. I kid you not. Why is there always a bar or a tavern in a fantasy story? And why are the main characters starting fights in them? What if the main characters are underage? Admittedly, that doesn’t stop modern kids. But here’s three cliches in fantasy stories that I think should stop.
1. Everyone Has Swords
Let’s face the facts. Swords are really expensive and take a long time to make. And we’re just expecting peasants to randomly have swords available? They probably won’t. I want to see someone who fights with a pitchfork or something. Can we make this a reality? I think we should. Or give them a hammer. Or get them a sledgehammer even, mainly because that’s awesome. But please don’t give all of your heroes swords.
2. The Obviously Evil Badguy
Since we’re on the topic of bad guys, let’s talk about one that continues to bother me. Why are all the bad guys these ugly deformed things? I get the thought that deformity somehow equals corruption, but it’s just not right. Even Satan himself is considered the most attractive angel out there. He does not have horns. We gave him those.
That’s what’s so attractive about evil. It looks real good. So, if you want a really good novel that’s going to be remembered, make the reader question the good guys. It’s more fun that way.
3. A Great Lack of Variety
The Hobbit movie changed this up a bit, but I do have a qualm with Lord of the Rings. Gasp! With the father of all fantasy? How dare I! But here it is… all the elves and dwarves pretty much look the same. The elves all are prudes with smooth faces with blonde hair. The dwarves are all fat and bearded grumps. So I am thankful for the Hobbit movies in regard to changing that. Change things up!
I realize that I’ve not even put out a book and I’m telling you all how to write yours. I’m not speaking as a writer, I’m speaking as a reader. Books without the issues I’m describing are things I would love to read. I could always be wrong. Maybe fantasy needs these to be a good fantasy. But I don’t think so.
What cliches would YOU like to see removed from the fantasy genre? Tell me in the comments!
Inspired by the prompt Fill in the Blank.
So, I made a semi-important decision which, in the end, was not really that hard to do. Here’s a little backstory to the whole decision. When I first started writing the book that I am, it was the short story of four courageous adventurers who turned out to be me, my brothers, my cousin, and a family friend just having a very wild imagination. From the original version, only two characters have…
So, I made a semi-important decision which, in the end, was not really that hard to do.
Here’s a little backstory to the whole decision.
When I first started writing the book that I am, it was the short story of four courageous adventurers who turned out to be me, my brothers, my cousin, and a family friend just having a very wild imagination. From the original version, only two characters have stayed – a female general named Zenti and the family friend. With the latter, it has only been a reference to him, as one of the characters bears the same name.
I realized today that something was off. I have been trying to find a way to have a more racially diverse cast of characters. The answer was staring me in the face (pardon the cliche). My family friend is, in fact, African American.
I mean, I was aware of this beforehand. In regards to the book, this is a new concept.
So why not make the character with his name dark-skinned, too?
To be fair, he is not the only dark-skinned character in the first book. A good portion of the people in the book are olive-skinned, including the protagonist, just due to the placement of their continent. But there is one other character who is distinctly mentioned as being dark-skinned, Rük. It just means that now there are two in the first book – Cedric and Rük.
+1 for Diversity in Fantasy!
We’re getting there, folks.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a character description to change/add to.
I am sure at this point a lot of people are wondering why I’m so adamant about racial diversity in fantasy. After all, I’m not a racial minority. If you can’t tell from the Gravatar pic, I’m just a young white dude who loves writing. I’m not trying to make up for any racism I’ve had in the past. I just didn’t grow up that way. I’m not trying to make some statement about racism. To be honest, I’m not totally sure why I’m so adamant about it. I’ve just come to realize that there isn’t a whole lot of representation in current fantasy, and I think it would be cool to change that up a bit. I’m not saying everyone needs to write a minority character in their book. That’s their call. As for me, I have my own way of doing things, and that’s just fine. Gabriel out.
So I grew up in this town I’m going to call White McWhitington City. See where I’m going with this? There were about twenty thousand people in this town, and in my high school years, about three black kids at the high school total, plus a few (adopted) Asian kids. I did not…