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Author Topic: Existential Writing Genre Crisis  (Read 3276 times)

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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Existential Writing Genre Crisis
« Reply #25 on: December 01, 2012, 12:19:39 AM »
Quote
Breakdown of the final image block:

Pretty Elf (gender is immaterial)
Stoic dwarf
Someone badass with a bow
Scoundrel with a heart of gold
A dingus that drives the plot (usually magic)
Magic!
A Prophecy
A Climatic battle
A fantasy wedding

At least keep the redhead!


I thought you were going to give Americana Goth a go?

There will always be a place in my writing for redheads, no matter the genre.

I still have that out, it's not gone. But I've only been working on AmGoth for a few months, compared to the 14 years of genre fantasy. I have our story discussion written out in one of my lunchbox spiral notebooks.


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Offline Murometz

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Re: Existential Writing Genre Crisis
« Reply #26 on: December 01, 2012, 12:28:17 AM »
Quote
Some random rambling. Drinking, it happens

1. The Map is Wrong

Put out the map, but the map is wrong. The orc lands are horribly wrong, marked as blank, vast trackless wastes because orcs are stupid and have no cities. The Dwarven Lands only show the trade cities, and nothing of their real cities and agricultural centers. The human land maps are all messed up because its maps made with technology 500-1200 years old. Find an old map of the New World, some parts are amazingly accurate, while others are horribly horribly wrong. Alternately: the map is a lie.

2. Travel isn't important

There are no scenes on the road, travel is wrapped up in 'They Go There' Alternately, all the events happen in one location, such as a single city or rural area.

3. The Bourgeois Hero

The hero isn't a farmer, the main character is a person of a specific craft or skill (that is not magic). Also not allowed: farmer, rancher, forest guide, blacksmith, mage's assistant.

4. The Holdfast Villain

Rather than being rich, the villain despises wealth. He can be a disgruntled noble who has gone Bonfire of a Vanities and has decided that everyone needs to become a Farmer for whatever reason. Conflict of interest: the main character is a skilled laborer, or skilled person, and the villain has decided that said group of people need to be chicken farmers.

5. The Other Tropes:
Beautiful Elves: elves are all really molasses fire victim ugly but magic everyone into thinking they are hawt, they can also be ugly on the inside, or have deplorable practices, such as being paleo-foodies, eating all meat raw, or seeing no issue about eating human.

Stoic Dwarves: are stoic because of constant drug and alcohol abuse, but normally are horrible cowards, or are really just halflings with beards who are good with PR and buying metal goods.

No one uses a bow, or everyone uses one. Both would work.

The scoundrel with a heart of gold is still a liar, thief, and a conman. He won't kill you, but he will still steal your horse, your gold, and leave your girlfriend knocked up. Alternately, he really is a magnificent bastard and he can't believe you fell for that heart of gold ruse. He was just on your side because he owed the baddies a lot of money.

There isn't a dingus, or if there is, the dingus is something that can't be affected, such as the price of a bushel of wheat

The magic exists within a specified paradigm and doesn't exist because magic is a staple of fantasy genre. This is an area where Lord of the Rings needs to be held up because just how many magic spells does the great Wizard Gandalf cast in the book? There is magic, but there is no RPG magic.

The only prophecy is the typical Nostradamus/Edgar Cayce fair and is in no way relevant to the story.

The endgame is settled with negotiation or diplomacy, rather than war (okay, now there is an idea that has piqued my interest)

The hero and the hot single girl decide that once the adventure is over, they can go on to see other people


1. Took me two reads to get it, but yeah, that's a freaking twist and a half!

2. Pluses and minuses to that me'thinks

3. okay that works

4. Mao?

5. nasty, filthy elves. Me'likes.

6. Stoic dwarf idea rocks!!!!!!

7. can't think of anything constructive to add to all bows or no bows.

8. A real person! Yay!

9. No dingus. Wow. *Pondering*

10. No rpg magic=Good

11. Hmmmmm

12. Now that's different. Way to slay a trope!

13. So real people? Yay!
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Triumph of the Dungeon Master!

Ah, how I have come to love that sense of accomplishment and victory that I get when I pull the wool over the eyes of a clever player character. What DM Triumphs have you had?

Some of mine:
1. Finally killing an incredibly powerful, lucky, annoying player's character.
2. Finally achieving a TPK (Total Party Kill)
3. Finally achieving a TPK using only traps
4. Finally working out how to make it so that d**n wizard doesn't steal the spotlight all the d**n time.

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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Existential Writing Genre Crisis
« Reply #27 on: December 01, 2012, 12:41:31 AM »
2. Notes on Travel

Travel is expected in fantasy, it is the same in RPGs. It's important in games because that's where you level grind, gaining XP and gold. It's also where gamers get some awesome game experiences where they high five over critical hits against boulettes and banditos. But in the context of a story, unless the story is specifically about the trip and not the destination, the traveling need not be detailed. We follow Sam and Frodo to Mt. Doom because it is important in that they realize that their is no plan for them to return, they are going to die in a horrible barren place so people in the Shire can go on living peacefully. And we have to know that they are despairing, almost brought to tears over things like a pinch of seasoned salt or thinking about grass. There is no time spent describing how Aragorn and company moved the Gondorian army to the Gates of Mordor. We rush there, and we prepare to fight. Well, who says that the gates of Mordor are an hour's walk from Gondor. We don't need the walk through of the army gearing up and marching for a week, fighting skirmishes against orc outriders and scout parties. It's not important to the narrative.

4. Pol Pot came to mind, actually, but Mao works too.

7. In England, back in the Ye Olde Day, everyone was trained to use a bow in case the continentals decided to invade they would be made into pincushions. Everyone has a bow, so having a bow and skill at archery is a moot point, because big deal everyone can shoot a bow and arrow. If everyone does it, then its not that big a deal if no one does it. The archer basically acts like a gunman or a sniper anyway.



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Offline MysticMoon

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Re: Existential Writing Genre Crisis
« Reply #28 on: December 01, 2012, 06:27:23 AM »
I'd like to see a prophecy that turns out to be nothing more than wishful thinking.

Perhaps an oppressed culture develops a prophesy of a messiah out of a desire to be saved from oppression, leading to a number of false saviors (tidbit: In Jewish history, Jesus was not the first or the last to claim that role; he's just the most famous.) This approach says more about the culture than being a divine force for the story.

Or maybe the original cult leader (now deceased) of a fringe group had his own set of prophecies which have since driven them to bizarre acts in order to make these prognostications come true. In this case, it could be the villains working off of a prophecy that promises them ultimate power rather than the good guys having a map to success.

What about a complex prophecy that promises the good guys that everything will be well but is a lie? They base many of their actions upon it, only to discover that parts of it are not coming true. In some cases the opposite has happened. What do our good heroes do then? (Seems like a good "end of Act II" plot point.)
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Offline Murometz

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Re: Existential Writing Genre Crisis
« Reply #29 on: December 01, 2012, 12:20:54 PM »
Scras, check it out. This is meant to re-inspire you! (the bolded words are my own doing)

Quote
Ambrose Bierce: (Wiki) "was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist. Today, he is probably best known for his short story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" and his satirical lexicon The Devil's Dictionary. His vehemence as a critic, his motto "Nothing matters" and the sardonic view of human nature that informed his work all earned him the nickname "Bitter Bierce".[3]

Despite his reputation as a searing critic, Bierce was known to encourage younger writers, including poet George Sterling and fiction writer W. C. Morrow. Bierce employed a distinctive style of writing, especially in his stories. His style often embraces an abrupt beginning, dark imagery, vague references to time, limited descriptions, impossible events and the theme of war.

Bierce was considered a master of pure English by his contemporaries, and virtually everything that came from his pen was notable for its judicious wording and economy of style. He wrote in a variety of literary genres.

In 1913, Bierce traveled to Mexico to gain first-hand experience of the Mexican Revolution. While traveling with rebel troops, he disappeared without a trace.

Here is an honest-to-goodness trope-Slayer for you. How can you not love this guy??!!
« Last Edit: December 01, 2012, 12:40:57 PM by Murometz »
Authentic Strolenite™©®

Triumph of the Dungeon Master!

Ah, how I have come to love that sense of accomplishment and victory that I get when I pull the wool over the eyes of a clever player character. What DM Triumphs have you had?

Some of mine:
1. Finally killing an incredibly powerful, lucky, annoying player's character.
2. Finally achieving a TPK (Total Party Kill)
3. Finally achieving a TPK using only traps
4. Finally working out how to make it so that d**n wizard doesn't steal the spotlight all the d**n time.

-Captain Penguin

Offline Gossamer

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Re: Existential Writing Genre Crisis
« Reply #30 on: March 15, 2013, 01:25:52 PM »
I remember when I started out my current campaign setting. It was originally supposed to be an easy going ad-lib to give an exscuse for a bunch of combat. But as time went by, I needed to keep track of my Npcs, what they had said, names of places and dates etc. And that was just a homebrew style adapted from the game Talisman, which has now turned into D&D 4e, a massive timeline stretching back to the birth of the planet (several million years) and over 100+ Npcs (and god do I regret not having planned things better from the start now).

It sounds like I'm digressing, but guess how the campaign started out? A whole bunch of clichés. We had the prophecy, the great destiny, a darth vaderesque father and of course the ever present mysterious Mcguffin, which was just an exscuse to get him out traveling(yes him, it's a solo campaign). It didn't feel like such a big deal, but then I stumbled upon Tv tropes... And all of a sudden I saw my folly. So now I try to focus on politics, the actions of factions instead and avoid all the obvious pratfalls. And even though I have a big ass map, I have no intention on letting him travel all over the whole world. His character personifies another archetype though, the dishonoured noble turned rogue.

Having said that, fantasy as a whole seems to be moving away from these stereotypes as well. The beautiful woodland dwelling elves now live in ghettos, they've gone from good to arrogant and insular. And tieflings are a fresh take on things. But as always, dwarves will be dwarfs. Which is as should be in my opinion.
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