PHONEIX, i knew that i wanted the story to be
a straight heroine's journey, probably the most
typical set up of most fantasy novels. from classic
fantasy tales like THE HOBBIT by tolkien--where bilbo is
convinced to leave the safety of his home in
search of a treasure guarded by the dragon, smaug.
to a more recent fantasy novel, GRACELING by cashore,
where katsa travels with po to defeat an evil
ruler in another kingdom.
other classic journeys include A WIZARD
OF EARTHSEA by ursula le guin as well as
THE THIEF by megan whalen turner.
and what is a journey without a quest?
the two go hand in hand. whether it's gen's
intent to steal from the gods or bilbo's
to find hidden treasure.
and often, our fantasy heroes are guided
or helped by "wise men", be it gandalf in
THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS to silas
from THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. he is bod's guardian
at the graveyard, a constant guide to him
as the boy grows into a young man. ogion the
silent is the gontish mage who takes ged under
his wings to teach him magic in A WIZARD OF
which leads us to the hero who is adopted
or of "unknown parentage", seen in THE GRAVEYARD
BOOK by neil gaiman as well as HARRY POTTER
by rowling. how does the loss of parents and
family contribute to the making of a hero?
and what is a fantasy novel without magic?
whether it be a grace from GRACELING or
a gift from GIFTS by le guin, to learning
how to become a wizard in A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA
or HARRY POTTER.
and the use or search of a magic item :
be it sword, necklace or ring?
seen in both THE THIEF and THE HOBBIT.
and finally, probably the ultimate theme
among fantasy novels, the idea of GOOD versus
EVIL. whether it's saving the entire world
in THE LORD OF THE RINGS to defeating a
man with a compelling and frightening grace
and evil in his heart in GRACELING.
can a fantasy novel be effective without
the idea of good versus evil, whether it's on
a large or small scale?
these were all fantasy elements, tropes, cliches,
themes, whatever you wish to call them that
i used in my debut. when i wrote the story,
i didn't think about what i was incorporating
that had been done so many times before. i was too
focused on my heroine's journey and her personal
story. no matter what, in my mind, it is her
story--even if it may have all these familiar
elements used in fantasy.
and the books that i listed (with the exception
of harry potter, which i've yet to read) are all
books that i enjoyed very much and loved.
what were some favorite fantasy books that
you loved that contain these elements?
what are your thoughts on fantasy tropes?
as a reader or writer?
do they take away from a story or do they add
to it? what would it be like to write a fantasy
novel without any of these elements? would it
be possible? and would it be so different that
fantasy fans would feel bereft almost, lacking
the familiar and expected?
is it possible to write something "new" and
still have these classic elements in your story?
the enchanted inkpot is open for discussion!!
Silver Phoenix : Beyond the Kingdom of Xia
greenwillow books / harpercollins