Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Any Fantasy Writers Out There?

While I admit to wandering from my nonfiction roots and trying my hand at fiction--Wait! One of my characters is talking! I need to get this line of dialogue down before I continue this post.
Sorry about that.
Anyways, while I'm having some fun with fiction this summer, I'm sticking with this world, rather than delving into fantasy. But I came across The Fantasy Novelist's Exam, with thanks to Josh over at Through a glass, darkly.
The exam was compiled by David J. Parker and Samuel Stoddard. Here's reasoning for the exam:

Ever since J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis created the worlds of Middle Earth and Narnia, it seems like every windbag off the street thinks he can write great, original fantasy, too. The problem is that most of this "great, original fantasy" is actually poor, derivative fantasy. Frankly, we're sick of it, so we've compiled a list of rip-off tip-offs in the form of an exam. We think anybody considering writing a fantasy novel should be required to take this exam first. Answering "yes" to any one question results in failure and means that the prospective novel should be abandoned at once.

Here's a glance at some of the questions, picked at random because they made me laugh. Go here for the entire exam--there are 75 questions in all.
  • Does nothing happen in the first fifty pages?
  • Is your story about a quest for a magical artifact that will save the world?
    How about one that will destroy it?
  • Does "a forgetful wizard" describe any of the characters in your novel?
  • Did you make the elves and the dwarves great friends, just to be different?
    Does everybody under four feet tall exist solely for comic relief?
    Do you think that the only two uses for ships are fishing and piracy?
  • Did you draw a map for your novel which includes places named things like "The Blasted Lands" or "The Forest of Fear" or "The Desert of Desolation" or absolutely anything "of Doom"?

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