Haven’t you heard of Lincoln’s Doctor’s Dog? It is the world’s biggest bestseller, or it should be, if this old saying from the publishing industry was true. Apparently book about Lincoln, books about doctors, and books about dogs all sell extremely well (at least before the internet came along, and fell in love with cats instead…) So clearly a book about all three of those things should be amazing.
Everyone knows this is a kind of silly way to look at manufacturing a bestseller. I agree, and so does the Amrah Publishing House – their latest post, Manufacturing a Bestseller, pokes several holes in this theory. Clearly I, along with several thousand other authors, would’ve written a highschool vampire love story if we’d known beforehand what a big hit Twilight was going to be. But that’s the way of these things, they’re somewhat unpredictable.
All the same, I know many of you reading this blog did enjoy Why Polly? when I posted it chapter-by-chapter here. Well, I’ve been busy editing and polishing it some more, another part will be available on Kindle on Friday. It doesn’t contain a doctor, a dog, or anything about Lincoln, but I think it’s a pretty entertaining story all the same.
OR, Not Another Prophecy About ‘The One!’
I just ran across this list of tired, overdone clichés in fantasy novels, and decided to post it up here. Since, after all, I didn’t get a proper post out on Thursday…
I was SO surprised to see the fantasy I’ve started posting on this blog doesn’t fall into too many of the clichés… which means it’s got a few original elements in it, I guess.
Here are the first couple items:
- Does nothing happen in the first fifty pages?
- Is your main character a young farmhand with mysterious parentage?
- Is your main character the heir to the throne but doesn’t know it?
- Is your story about a young character who comes of age, gains great power, and defeats the supreme badguy?
- Is your story about a quest for a magical artifact that will save the world?
- How about one that will destroy it?
- Does your story revolve around an ancient prophecy about “The One” who will save the world and everybody and all the forces of good?
The rest can be read here.
But I will be the first to argue that re-telling an old story is not always bad – see this previous post of mine. Also, this page on TVtropes sums it up quite well. But clichés can be quite tiring and irritating, especially in fantasy.
What about you? If you’ve ever tried your hand at fantasy, how many of these traps have you fallen into? And do you think any of these so-called “clichés” can still be useful for writers?
Check out Why Polly? to see for yourself if I avoided any of these clichés!