Hot answers tagged

66 votes

Is it bad if I don't like the "best" books in my chosen genre?

Short answer: J.K. Rowling claims never to have read a fantasy book in her life, and she did just fine. For that matter, J.R.R. Tolkien hadn't read much fantasy either. Long answer: who considers the ...
user avatar
56 votes
Accepted

How do I avoid the "chosen hero" feeling?

To answer this question, I think it would be useful to look at The Lord of the Rings. We are explicitly told that Frodo is "chosen" for the task: Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its ...
user avatar
42 votes

What are the standard genre characteristics of contemporary women's fantasy

As a female reader of SF/F who enjoys fantasy books with protagonists of whatever gender and plot, my advice is: Make it interesting. It doesn't matter if the basic plot structure is older than dirt....
user avatar
41 votes

How do I avoid the "chosen hero" feeling?

So this is a bit of a frame-challenge answer, but I think it's worth answering: Maybe it's the abilities the MC has, maybe there is a prophecy, maybe it's something in his/hers birth or upbringing: ...
user avatar
40 votes

Problems Blending Sci-fi & Traditional Fantasy?

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. - Arthur C Clarke There's a reason that science fiction and fantasy are frequently shelved together - separating the two is ...
user avatar
37 votes

Mixing humour with horror in fiction

Horror works on building tension. Humour breaks it. On the face of it, you've got two cardinally opposed directions here. How do you mix the two? First, there's gallows humour. Gallows humour doesn't ...
user avatar
34 votes

The role of inexplicable events in hard science fiction

A little before Einstein's time, people were saying there's no sense in going into physics, since almost all the questions have already been answered, we understand everything that can be understood, ...
user avatar
33 votes

Is it bad if I don't like the "best" books in my chosen genre?

I notice the books you don't like you consider "too long", "too long for something to happen", "too boring"... Despite you saying you like characters, longer books without much happening are likely ...
user avatar
  • 91k
31 votes

How do I avoid the "chosen hero" feeling?

Add other characters who also fit all the "not replaceable" chosen-one requirements. You could have several heirs, a highly trained merc squad, a prophecy which covers all first-born daughters ...
user avatar
30 votes
Accepted

Is genre ever relevant to the writing process?

I can think of three specific cases where genre conventions can be an important part of the writing process: You are writing a formulaic book, where the familiarity of it is the core of the appeal. ...
user avatar
26 votes
Accepted

The unknown and unexplained in science fiction

I think you may be thinking a little too hard about things as the writer. Instead look at things from your characters' perspectives. Unless you're writing an engineer or someone actually building X, ...
user avatar
  • 1,344
26 votes

Can I bring back Planetary Romance as a genre?

This is literary science-fiction. I identified it by taking the genre it definitely must fit in, and then looking for a commonly used, readily understood modifier that subtracts the "gee whiz" ...
user avatar
25 votes
Accepted

Story that's too depressing?

It depends on your target audience. If you are writing for adults, go with the flow and let terrible things happen as long as they make sense in your paradigm. If you are writing for young adults, ...
user avatar
  • 12.4k
22 votes

Story that's too depressing?

Are these many layers of misery inflicted upon innocents too much for a reader to handle? You must be careful here: the way you phrase that statement, you appear to be laying the blame on the reader -...
user avatar
21 votes

Is every story set in the future "science fiction"?

Books set in the future are Speculative Fiction Speculative fiction is an umbrella genre encompassing fiction with certain elements that do not exist in the real world, often in the context of ...
user avatar
20 votes

Can You Mix Readers of Fantasy and Sci-Fi?

The only caveat I would offer to mixing SF and fantasy is not to scramble the level of technology. We are all steeped in Papa Tolkien's example of fantasy, which is Middle Ages technology and ...
user avatar
19 votes

What makes a poem a poem?

There is a continuum between poetry and prose. Some prose is very poetic, and some poetry is deliberately prosaic. At one time, the distinction was easier to draw, because poetry was chiefly ...
user avatar
19 votes
Accepted

Series: How can I get my reader to not expect any one genre?

Other than an explicit "disclaimer" in an author's note or something, I really don't think you can. If I buy five books set in a dystopian fantasy (I might), I will be disappointed if the sixth book ...
user avatar
  • 91k
19 votes
Accepted

What should tie a collection of short-stories together?

If you can make a good case, you could potentially group the short stories by whatever common thread you want, including author. You can also subgroup them. Some examples: Main point in common: ...
user avatar
18 votes
Accepted

I cannot figure out the exact genre (and target audience) of my book

Your novel has a major supernatural element in it: people come back from the dead. No matter how you spin it, the central premise of your novel is supernatural. Correct me if I am wrong, but if you ...
user avatar
  • 24.2k
17 votes

Problems Blending Sci-fi & Traditional Fantasy?

The reason this is often recommended against is because by mixing them you find yourself unable to meet certain genre conventions. Fantasy readers want swords and lords, sci-fi readers want spaceships ...
user avatar
  • 403
17 votes

The unknown and unexplained in science fiction

"Scientific plausibility" can be tempered by exoticism, time, and distance. It can also be flatly ignored because it's just a plot convenience, or substituted as a metaphor for the real story you are ...
user avatar
  • 24.2k
17 votes
Accepted

Is there a difference between historical fiction and creative non-fiction?

Creative non-fiction recounts factually-accurate narratives in a literary style. It reads like a story, but it is in fact real history. It will be severely criticised for containing factual ...
user avatar
16 votes

What are the standard genre characteristics of contemporary women's fantasy

This is an interesting question, and while I don't believe there is a "prototypical" plot, let me try to find the answer by defining a contrast between typical male and typical female protagonist. I ...
user avatar
  • 5,888
16 votes
Accepted

Where's the middle ground between genre conventions and originality?

Being original is more than just avoiding what everyone else is doing. In a sense, doing exactly what everyone else is doing, and doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing are equally ...
user avatar
16 votes

Is every story set in the future "science fiction"?

To be science fiction, the story must depend upon fictional science or scientific achievements. Although that is most plausible for the future, it could be set in the present or past; e.g. we could ...
user avatar
  • 91k
15 votes

Where's the middle ground between genre conventions and originality?

You know when you are going against the conventions too much when you are feeling forced to go against the conventions just for the sake of going against the conventions. The work then starts to ...
user avatar
  • 5,586

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible