What's with all the Crystals?

A short piece on Fantasy writing today.

Now I know what you're all thinking already. "Oh Good grief not another rant about fantasies." Well yes as a matter of fact - now I'm a big fan of fantasy writing, but it has to meet a certain standard, like any other genre, for me to want to read it. First of all - it needs to sound credible. By that I obviously don't mean that it has to sound like it could have happened, but I don't particularly get grabbed by a story that so righteously proclaims:

The tales of Oamnuan the Thief of Zesdyi can now be told! His chiselled pectorals ensure victory in battle! Our hero seeks glory and riches! Who is the mysterious Mhevluw? Is this person truly our hero's niece?


The amount of fantasy stories I've spotted on the Internet that ACTUALLY sound like this is unbelievable! A story with no real plot, just an excuse to write about something that could never (as far as we know) happen!

Give me a plot, give me something intriguing, give me an idea about a whole other world or race out there that have their own ways of coping, their own pasts, their own trials and make it interesting!

Enough of the fantastically fantastical adventures of Zorg and his double eyed newt. I want to see the Gods, the Histories that we have embedded in a new civilisation, a fantasy that's been created with love and care, or even a funny fantasy that brings a load of humour into the mix, but still sounds credible and worthwhile.

I hate to name people, which is why I'm not going to do it, but I saw a story the other day (not on this site) which really made me laugh - and I thought that's what it was meant to do - I thought it was a sarcastic take on my own pet peeve.

Not so.

I felt really horrible when after I'd given my glowing review of "That was so funny! You've really got a hang on parodying all those clueless writers out there!" I received a reply of: "Actually, it was kind of meant to be serious."


Least to say I apologized for not realising - but did not take back my opinion. It's funny, not good. It's funny because it's not good and it's not good because it's funny (but ever so slightly annoying).

I know I'm not saying much in the way of advice in this - which is why it's not going into my column. But hey, everyone needs to rant sometimes, and this felt so good I'll be doing it again soon. (Beware)