Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! Make sure to wear green, or you'll get pinched (that's what happens in my house)!
By the way, don't forget to check out DAY ONE and DAY TWO of this challenge, if you missed them.
So, today's challenge is: a trope in your genre that gets on your nerves.
I'll be honest; I had to look up what "trope" meant.
Trope - a: a word or expression used in a figurative sense : figure of speech
Ooookay. A cliche! I got it now. Why didn't you just say so?
So, what is a cliche in my genre (fantasy) that gets on my nerves? I have no idea. Cliches very, very rarely get on my nerves. There is something about the predictable that makes it familiar, like an old friend, and I like that.
Thinking about it now, there is one cliche in fantasy that, only recently, I have come to find a little annoying. It is the super strong, tough, battle hardened, young female characters.
In most of the fantasy books I have read, the female characters are either warriors, assassins, mages, barbarians, or some other type of Xena Warrior Princess or Red Sonja "bad-A". Plus, they are always young and hot. Now, I'm not saying that tough, young, hot chicks are bad or unrealistic. I'm a tough, young, hottie if I say so myself, but not all women are young, hot warriors. Some are gentle and delicate - the healer, and the priestess. Some are quiet, regal, and proud - the queen, the duchess, and the farmer's wife. Some are fun-loving and flirty - the bar maid, the gypsy girl, and the merchant's daughter. And don't forget about the sassy boss - the cook, the store keeper's wife, and the governess. Not all women are Xena warrior princess, or Lessa the dragon rider, or Arya the elfin princess. Also, battle hardened warriors are definitely NOT young and hot. They are beautiful in their own way, but they have many scars and they are tired and worn thin, because they have seen many, many gruesome battles.
The only reason this cliche has started to bug me is because of the reviews a friend was getting on his first book (The Heroes of Ravenford by F.P. Spirit). I LOVED his book. I adore one of the female characters introduced in it. But many of the reviewers who read it were upset because of the "lack of strong female characters".
Excuse me? What in the cube kingdom of gelatinous are you talking about? What happened to the "stop using cliches" sermon?
Everyone wants "fresh content", but as soon as one of their favorite cliches are avoided, they throw a fit.
I guess what actually gets on my nerves in the fantasy genre is the readers. Authors are always getting preached at to create original stories free of cliches. But then they get bashed if they publish a book without cliches.
Shut up, you picky readers! Either read the book and enjoy it, or go write your own. Then let's see how well you handle criticism from other readers like yourself who love/hate/love/hate/love/hate cliches.
OH! And one other thing that annoys me about the fantasy genre: NOT ENOUGH DRAGONS.
When I read a fantasy book, and there aren't any dragons, I feel just like this chick from Game of Thrones:
Where is Hell? What is its purpose? Do bad people go directly to Hell when they die?
The Bible explains all of this, and to the surprise of many, the answer is nothing like the mental picture that comes to mind when one thinks of Hell.
I am going to go on a really quick walk through the Bible, which means that I am going to go through the Bible chronologically and point out several of the most prominent verses about Hell. I made a YouTube video and have it posted below, if you would like to watch/listen to it. But I also have the verses listed below, just in case you would rather read them for yourself without my comments.
Here are the verses:
Job 4:8-9, Job 21:30 & 32, Psalm 37:10 & 20, Ezekiel 18:20a, Ezekiel 28:18-19, Malachi 4:1-3, Matthew 3:12, Matt 10:28, Matt 13:40-42, 2 Peter 2:4, 2 Peter 2:6, 2 Peter 2:9, Rev 20:9b
I also strongly encourage you to read this free, short 36 page PDF about hell called "Hell-Fire: A Twisted Truth Untangled.". It is very well laid out, based completely off the Bible, has common sense, and explains everything in much better detail, yet it is short enough that I could read through it in 15 minutes (yes, I pre-read it to make sure everything was in-line with the Bible).
As I prepared to launch my book in March 2014, I received several questions regarding my book and some suspicion from Christian and secular readers alike.
The skeptical Christians were asking:
Is it written from a Biblical worldview?
Is there anything that makes it distinctly Christian?
Is there anything in it that would offend Christians?
Is it consistent with Philippians 4:8?
And secular minded people were asking:
Why did you put Christian stuff in it?
Do you do a lot of preaching in it?
Is there anything in it that would offend someone who wasn't a Christian?
Allow me to answer these questions with a few questions of my own:
Have ye skeptical Christians ever read ye ol Bible from cover to cover? How about Deuteronomy? What about Genesis or Judges? What about Isiah, Jeremiah, or Daniel? Is there anything in those books that would offend Christians? Is all of it consistent with Philippians 4:8? Is there some fantastic creatures mentioned in those books?
The answers to the last three questions is: Oh yeah, not really, and definitely.
But I can guarantee that my book is not nearly as "bad" as those books in the Bible.
My book does not have any cussing, sex, incest, or rape like most of the Old Testament tales are full of.
What my book DOES have is:
-Dragons (Job 41:1-34, Job 40:15-20, Isaiah 34:13, Psalms 91:13)
-Violence (Aside from the fact that the Bible is FULL of violence, from Cain killing his brother to God wiping out the cities of Sodom and Gamorah, just the simple fact that Jesus was "as a lamb to the slaughter" suggests violence)
-Monsters & Strange Creatures (Isaiah 6:2, Ezekiel 1:4 - chapter 2, Daniel 7:7, Job 40:15-24, Job 41)
-A bad witch who uses magic (1Samuel 28, 2 Kings 9:22, Exodus 22:18)
Why did you make a Christian fantasy book?
Why do you have finger nails and hair? Because it is a part of you. My love for God and His Son, Jesus, and my love for the Bible is the reason I wrote a Christian fantasy book. They are a part of me. I am not putting that aside because it makes YOU feel uncomfortable.
Is there anything in it that would offend someone, Christian or otherwise?
When I was a little girl, I tried to please my friends AND my parents and quickly learned that I could not. I cannot make everyone happy - it is completely impossible - and so I do not try to make everyone happy. There are some people who my book would offend for the simple fact that I wrote it (purely personal). I do not try to purposely offend anyone at all, but if something offends you in my book, I'm sorry. Here's a tip: if you think it might offend you, DON'T READ IT. Go read something soft and squishy, like a romance novel.
Is there anything in it that makes it distinctly Christian?
I think there is: the constant mention of Dayspring (God), bad guys being bad vs. good guys being good (the clear line between good and evil is a constant in the Bible, after all).
Is it consistent with Philippians 4:8?
Okay. I'm going to be a bit sarcastic: (Mom: you had better close your eyes.) Are YOU consistent with Philippians 4:8?
I always try to keep Philippians 4:8 in mind as I write, because Philippians 4:8 was written as a basic guideline of how Christians should speak, think, and act.
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
We all interpret Philippians 4:8 differently, I am sure. But, when I write, I try to write what is true, my characters and I try to be honest and just, I try to keep my story pure, my good guys lovely. My story will have a "good report" as far as content, and I and my good characters endeavor to be virtuous. Even my bad guys are clean cut.
Yes. There is evil in my stories. Yes. There is death in my stories. Yes. There are dragons in my stories. But if you have read the Bible from cover to cover, then you must have run across talking snakes and donkeys, dragons, unicorns, seraphim, giants, witches, sorcery, ghosts, miracles, a thousand wars, and even naked people. I seriously doubt my book can be much worse.
If it would make you feel better, I could write a book about my family history... but in the end I think you would rather read The Dragons Son, because my family kinda has an R rated history. No lie.
Author of the fantasy series, Tales of the Wovlen, Kathryn spends a great deal of time in the world of her imagination, having tea with fire breathing dragons, writing books on flying space ships, and practicing her mad scientist laugh with gusto. However, on occasion,she returns to this world just to play with her dog and blog about her fun.
Grab a Button!