As promised, the conclusion to My Fantasy Writing Checklist.
First of all, fellow blogger, Ben, over at The Chronosphere, mentioned that it would be a good addition to the Checklist to discuss what the authors I’m less fond of do well, or at least could do better. He’s absolutely right, so:
Things These Authors Do Well/Constructive Criticism
- Cassandra Claire – she writes a well-paced story. While I rolled my eyes at her main character and both of the love interests, complained about various plot holes, and growled about the insipid love triangle, I obviously kept reading. The action moves along at a snappy pace, so I never felt like I wanted her to speed things along and get to the point already (except, maybe during Tessa’s longer bouts of whining).
- Stephanie Meyer – Well, she did write a book series that appeals to teen girls and grown women alike, I’ll give her that much. Any critique on what she could do better has probably already been done and would take up an entire blog entry.
- George R. R. Martin – this man is an excellent writer. His world is well-constructed, the societies within are sufficiently complex, and the characters are very well fleshed out. Too bad he kills all of the ones that I wanted to root for. My only comment would be that I don’t think letting a few of the honorable characters live would compromise the established ruthless brutality of the world.
With that done, I’d like to have one last look at “The Favorite Word or Phrase”. It’s decently self-explanatory, but oh-so-easy to do.
Good descriptions are pure gold when you can craft them. The problem comes when you feel the need to describe the same object later in the story – do you struggle to come up with a different (and possibly less effective) way to remind your reader of what it looks like, or do you just recycle what worked so well before?
I mentioned Anne Bishop’s tendency to do this in her Black Jewels novels – usually in regards to voices. It makes sense, since one of the characters switches back and forth between two sides of her psyche, and the only real hint to the change is in her voice. Still, while the phrase, “Midnight, sepulchral tones” is really effective on the first few go arounds, it loses some of its punch when it’s been used repeatedly over the course of six books.
So anyways, that’s what an unpublished, total writing novice thinks about writing Fantasy stories (based on extensive reading, of course). Hope you find it helpful!