Aspiring author and random thinker

On Writing: Need Opinions

So basically, I wrote the first book to serve as an introduction to the world I intend to use for my stories. As I am not a writer nor have good writing skills, the process took me a while to improve to acceptable industry standards.

Now that I am comfortable with general writing, I am interested in knowing what makes a fantasy book great. The things that tie you to a story the most, is it the characters or the plot. Perhaps you are a type of reader that likes to see real life issues depicted in fantasy form. I am interested in amassing as many responses as possible before starting on my next book.

What do you want to see in a fantasy story?
What kind of characters do you like?
How many characters do you prefer following?
What level of detail do you like to be provided regarding side characters?
Do you prefer benevolent or malevolent heroes?
Are you interested in neutral, good, or evil sides of the story?
How long do you like the book to last?
What level of detail do you like to be supplied regarding trivial objects or items?
Do you prefer a direct plot or an indirect plot where the truth is kept from you through the series?
Do you like Easter eggs?
Which mythological stories do you prefer reading about?
Do you like a story that is inspired by real-life events and translated into fiction?
What is the span of time that you like to follow through a saga?

These are just a few questions from the top of my head, please be as detailed as you can.


4 responses to “On Writing: Need Opinions

  1. avianstudent December 5, 2012 at 12:58 am

    Ooh, I’ll bite…
    In order: in a fantasy story, I’m happy to read anything, really, so long as it’s well-written. It depends on whether you mean historical fiction, or science-fiction-y fantasy, or just pure fantasy-fiction (Narnia). Actually – I like them all, but my favourite is fantasy-fic.
    As to kind of characters, I’m not really sure. More on that?
    I prefer following less than 5 characters. Anywhere in between is good. One is pretty traditional. Any more and I tend to get confused or forget crucial bits.
    I like a good amount of detail concerning all characters. If they’re written in, they’re important, so I think they deserve the attention – why else have them?
    I prefer neither kind of hero – I prefer ‘real-life.’ So they’ll choose well and poorly, but they’ll have that human side at all times. I’m not always worried about sympathising, either… Think George R.R. Martin and Game of Thrones.
    Again, good and evil are cliches… so I like realism. Very few people are purely good (or evil), so a balance tends to please me.
    The first-time author rule of 90,000 words absolute max is a good guideline for length, I think, though around 100,000 is okay, too.
    I’m happy with indirect or direct plot. Direct can be boring, however, or indirect can be confusing – so it’s another balancing act. When I write, I like to use some suspense in the plot combined with the directness, if that makes sense.
    Hmm, for trivial objects – a medium level. The only author who can get away with describing the minutiae is Tolkien, and he actually wasn’t that great a writer (personally) – he just had amazing ideas.
    Yes to easter eggs.
    Any myths, really. I like Egyptian mythology, and medieval history, assuming that’s what you mean. And completely fiction myth, too.
    When things are translated from real life into fiction, I can end up loving it or hating it, as with anything. I PREFER things that are completely fictional, but I am happy to read just about anything.
    Span of time is completely up to the author. In general, I like a close span of time (1-50 years). But I’ve also been known to enjoy stories that take place over several generations.

    Hope that helps!


  2. beetleypete December 6, 2012 at 12:27 am

    I won’t answer every point in detail, but here are some observations. My favourite fantasy books are The Dune trilogy. I know that they are considered to be science fiction, but I would argue that they have similar characterisations, fantastic worlds and creatures, and people with unusual skills or powers, just like those of fantasy novels. I like the concept of shorter books, as part of a series, as I like to wait for the next ‘episode’, rather than wade through a book the size of a loaf of bread. I would not say that there has to be a defined time span, as this will naturally be driven by the plot. It could be a few months, or hundreds of years, if relevant.
    Regarding detail, I would say that I prefer more, rather than less. Good descriptions of objects, places, and physical appearances, are more or less essential in print. As for the amount of characters, I find it is possible to follow many, as long as they are well realised, and continue to reappear at stages. For a time period, I don’t personally mind something set during real events, as long as those real events are not changed. For example, I would be happy to read something set at the time of the American Civil War, even if was not necessarily about that conflict.
    I don’t like Easter Eggs. The chocolate is never as good, and they are always a lot smaller than the box would suggest. Regards, Pete. England.


  3. Dante December 6, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Even though I’m not a published author (yet), I would still like to give my opinion. So you have a choice to take my opinion seriously or to scrap it.

    Most of your questions can be answered with “it’s up to you” or “whatever helps the story”, because you can basically do anything, as long as it’s done correctly.
    You should focus less on what other people want and more what you want, while keeping in mind what other people want. It does not help if the story you write isn’t one you want to write, but then again, it does not help to write a story that no one wants to read. It’s a fine line, so one should learn how to balance it.

    People have different tastes. You’ll find that some people like to concentrate more on the story and some like to concentrate more on the characters.
    A good place to start to see if people will like your idea is to research what has been published. It usually gives a good indicator on what people want to read, and also tells you what to avoid. For example, Vampires used to be the biggest trend, now no one cares for a vampire story anymore.
    The research will also tell you more of the style that people want to read. In the past, like in the 19th century, it was very trendy to write thick novels with poetic descriptions of everything – nowadays people get bored with such lengthy descriptions and want more things to happen.

    The reason why I’m not directly answering your questions is because I don’t think it will help you if I do. You’ll have to decide it by yourself. However, I will say that one criterion that should be met is that an idea must help better the story and make it stronger. It’s no use if the idea you want to include does not help the story.
    For example, if your story is about a boy that goes to the grocery store, it does not help to span the story for 50 years or to have 7 people accompany him. It’s a really stupid example, but hopefully you get my point.

    I hope this helps. If not, then sorry. Good luck with your writing journey! 😀

    PS. I actually do like a good Easter Egg 😉


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