23 March, 2012

Focusing on the Easy Stuff

What is the focus of most discussions about writing fantasy fiction?

Frankly, it's the easy stuff: historical details, magic systems, horses, swords, clothes, government. The stuff you can go read a couple of books about and get a perfectly good handle on, and because you read a couple of books about it, you're way ahead of most of the people reading the book you write as a result.

What's missing? Character. Story structure. Narrative flow. Building tension over a novel-length story.

There are very few discussions of these topics. It's not hard to see why; these are the difficult parts of writing, the elusive parts that are at the core of every great book ever written, and nobody who hasn't been pretty successful is going to be considered much of an authority on those topics.

Should we be trying to encourage more discussions about these kinds of topics? Is there any point? Will we get anything out of it, or would that time be better spent actually writing our own work? Is it even possible to discuss these things in any meaningful way without some sort of formal scholarly framework behind it?

No comments:

Post a Comment