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110

If I had to play out this scene from the POV of the protagonist, it would be hard to transition from "redshirt" to "heroine" in a first person narrative. She - as a person - is the heroine from the start no matter what the reader thinks. Her personality doesn't change. That's why I would play this scene out from the monster's point of view. For the monster ...


73

This is a great question. I think being aware of the problem is a good first step. If you really do want to use the traditional creatures but without the baggage, I think you'll have to take on the suggestion from the comments section, and subvert the tropes --either by inverting, replacing or mixing up the coded racial signifiers, or by revealing the ...


71

What pattern are you breaking? In this case, you are hoping the accumulation of other people's writing clichés will carry your opening. You want to subvert the trope, but unfortunately this trope subversion is almost as cliché. It's used when the protagonist is a strong female, and it's used when the villain is a strong female. Maybe the only reader this ...


71

These terms are very often used to mean magic, and I've never before encountered anybody discussing the ancient greek etymology. You are totally safe using the modern meanings. In general, words often do have multiple meanings, and we understand from the context which meaning you are using: if you were writing a historical text about ancient greek ...


49

There are at least as many problems with "pyromagus": "Pyro-", "necro-" and "-mancy" are Greek, "magus" is Latin. "-mancy" (manteia) is a practice, a magus is a person. Magus is, originally, a Zoroastrian fire worshiper. So "pyromagus" is redundant, and "necromagus" is contradictory. Any clearly invented word will can prompt the reader to ask, "wait a ...


49

The best villains (and villainous plans) are ones that are relatable. And by that I mean ideally the reader would be able to understand why the villain is doing what they are. One of the ways I've used for doing this is asking myself "But, why?" repeatedly until it either a) becomes something interesting or b) is exposed as the boring 1-dimensional sham that ...


47

Why do people seem to think that if a character isn't a straight white male, then the story must address homophobia, racism, and sexism? When was the last time you saw a movie with a black actor that didn't "talk funny", and without jokes or antagonism related to race? One of the things that made the original Night of the Living Dead movie memorable was ...


45

I am not on the autistic spectrum, and I confess that it is not obvious to me to what extent and in what manner you plan to characterize your character. On the other hand, I think that your problem could be common to other types of characterizations. To show that a character has certain features, for instance being on the autistic spectrum, there are some ...


44

Readers establish a sense of the story they are reading in the opening pages. That's where you set the contract. If you open with the death of this evil being, the readers will expect that being to be important and assume that the evil being will return. But if you tuck it in after the contract, maybe combine it within local lore of the world along with a ...


40

Waving a wand and wiggling the fingers while magic happens is theatrics. In Faust, Goethe has the Devil make fun of a witch for being too precious and ceremonious with her magic, so you are in good company cutting out the silly hand gestures. Addressing copyright fears, wands are "stock items" in stories with magicians and wizards. No one can claim to own ...


39

This is really a version of the Chekhov's Gun problem. Things aren't in a story unless the writer puts them there, so readers tend to expect significance from important-seeming things that are mentioned. It doesn't really matter if they know the tropes or not. So the question becomes, why is this detail in here if it's not going to play an active role? Is ...


38

Humans don't all look the same, dress the same, speak the same language. Why should $FANTASYRACE? So you have Legolas elves. You should also have Rhea Perlman elves. You should have Lupita Nyong'o elves. Benedict Wong elves. Peter Dinklage elves. Your dwarves can look like Gimli and Thorin, and they can also look like Michelle Pfeiffer. You should have ...


37

Plagiarism would be taking exact text from the various game manuals and representing it as your own. So don't do that. But you probably weren't going to anyway, because you want to tell a story, not publish a game log. Think of your story as being inspired by your game, but retell it as a story. When you tell a story you use the language of description, ...


34

The concept of the 'Magic Wand' predates Harry Potter by at least a handful of millennia. Consider the 'Rod of Circe' in Homer's Odyssey which is used to magically transform Odysseus's men into pigs. A wand appears again in C. S. Lewis' 'The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe', where it is the eponymous Witch's most powerful weapon. Wands are a common idea ...


32

Read authentic Christian voices Find works written by religious Christians on religious subjects, and read them. These can either be non-fiction works, or stories with religious themes. Ideally, you'll read both. Try to find a variety of voices, and consider how the authors' other demographics (and their specific denomination) will affect their voices as ...


31

A world with races (or species) so dissimilar from one another, without a continuum between them, ought to be racist. Subverting the trope, which is a trope in itself, is going to just flip the racist viewpoint, without removing it. You can make short dark elves with long beards, and you simply switched names between your previously established racial tropes....


29

Foreshadowing is your friend. Your example of Harry Potter isn't quite right. Chapter One is titled The Boy Who Lived. Now that's a bit ominous. Magic is hinted at on page 1* and is outright on page 2. "You-Know-Who" is first mentioned on page 5. By page 11, when the name Voldemort is first mentioned, we already know he was a danger and now believed to ...


27

I would like to offer a frame challenge: you're asking "will X make my story not fit the 'dark fantasy' sub-sub-genre". I say, write your story, make it a good one, then think what genre or sub-genre it fits. Does the twist you're planning make your story a good story? Neil Gaiman says "Fiction is the lie that tells a truth" (source). Are you telling a ...


26

You have two problems here: Lots of good people dying, "on stage" - in front of the children Good people killing other good people The first is dealt with very well in The Hobbit, for example. Already behind [Thorin] among the goblin dead lay many men and many dwarves, and many a fair elf that should have lived yet long ages merrily in the wood. And as ...


26

Psychopathy is characterised by persistent antisocial behaviour, impaired empathy and remorse. (source: Wikipedia) Your character needs to care for others. Watching a person get hurt, let alone killed, isn't easy. It should never become easy. That's something your character would respond to. That is what distinguishes them from a psychopath. Now, how does ...


25

The protagonist is the person whose story you tell. The protagonist can be a witness to important events that he doesn't have a hand in, or she can be the sidekick to a hero, but the story must focus on how the protagonist experiences these events. The protagonist might not be the most important person from the perspective of a historian evaluating an ...


25

Firstly, it's certainly not going to be a 'waste of time' to write the story you want to tell, regardless of which genre it might end up being described as. Fantasy is a very broad genre; any story recognizably set in a world other than our own can easily be described as fantasy if it doesn't focus strongly on themes that would suggest another (the effects ...


25

I don't think you do need to address it, you can just ignore it. One example I can think of is the superhero-comedy movie Hancock, with Will Smith. He's black, and plays John Hancock, a black superhero (with amnesia). He lives like a bum, dressed in rags, filthy, drunk, sleeping on public benches. He does fight crime, sometimes with a bottle of whiskey in ...


24

I think the main thing you need to do is figure out what tropes are connected to coming back from the dead, and which of those you want to avoid. This TVTropes page might help. Keep in mind that a common trope need not necessarily be boring - they're common because they're popular. That being said, there's a lot of overused ideas in connection to ...


24

I think you can look to Harry Potter for inspiration to answer your question. Every book introduced new species. Some at the beginning of the book, and others in the middle. But they were always introduced before they became important to the story. In the first book, the dragon egg showed up with no real fanfare and became something that fleshed out Hagrid'...


23

I shall kick off with anecdotal evidence: when I was a kid I couldn't distinguish the sounds 'v' and 'f' as they both sounded like 'f'. I had trouble with all the voiced consonants (which are produced when the vocal cords are vibrating: v, z, j, b, d, g), but 'v'... I couldn't even hear that sound. All I heard was 'f'. This was over 30 years ago. My primary ...


22

The audience takes its cue from you. If you build this up, they'll assume its for a plot twist reason. If you mention it in passing, they'll assume its background knowledge. Imagine two different treatments of your very old, very dead, god. In the first treatment, you're so keen to ensure the audience knows it's dead and how bad it would be if not, that ...


22

Some of the best worldbuilding is done gradually. If you introduce all the elements of your fantasy world very near the beginning, you risk boring your readers with a massive infodump. It's often better to introduce it piece by piece, as long as you do so in a way that seems 'natural'. This is why a lot of fantasy follows the standard Tolkien motif of the ...


21

The easiest way is to have someone say the name while looking at the animal and having a frame in your comic where the animal is the center. If you have an animal that plays the role that cats play in our real world for example you could have someone angrily say "Get the damn qutie from our table!" with a frame where this person is getting a water spray ...


21

I noticed something interesting in the way you phrased your question: I want to draw on traditional, arguably "cliché" (?) fantasy species You don't want to re-invent the wheel, you only want to avoid using the old, racist-looking one. I think what you're looking for is archetypes. Every concept which you refer to has it's own archetype. There's a ...


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