Day #9 – Mysterious Objects (and a Quest) + A Dash of Romance

By Jennie Goloboy

Many who write novels found their love of writing through some related activity: gaming, role-playing games, or cosplay. Plus it’s normal for a creative work to start out as something else; and there are some inherent flaws to overcome before it evolves into a true novel.

Once again, these are queries that seen frequently:

1. A group of characters say a thief, a wizard, a paladin, and an elf- gathers in a bar to begin a quest for a mysterious object.

One of the hardest things to do in writing a novel is to get  readers to care about the characters. If the characters are based on your gaming friends, they may be a problem–you already know and like these people, but readers won’t necessarily. No matter how exciting the plot is, if a reader doesn’t connect with your characters, s/he won’t read the book.

This is also why fanfic helps one learn to write. Just remember it it won’t get you all the way there–as one needs to learn how to create lovable characters too.

2. All of the book’s characters are between eighteen and twenty-five, and their primary motivator is sexual attraction/fear of sexual rejection

Often this is a problem in fantasy novels sent my direction; so much that it makes me wonder if I’m reading a transcription of someone’s cosplay.

Yes, romance is exciting to read about– but let’s say the mayor of the city/state decides to go to war based on whether the mayor one town nearby loves him.  It’s clear that something under-cooked about your universe.

Let me be clear: I like role-playing games. I think it would be great if a person’s novel inspired some role-playing games, or if someone shows up at Worldcon dressed like one of the book characters. That is always a sign the writing (i.e. the story) meant something to its readers. A novel is a different sort of literary creation from a role-playing game, and it’s necessary to ensure work makes the transition smoothly.



Latest Posts

1 Comment

  1. Tex Thompson on November 10, 2012 at 10:02 am

    I am loving this series!

    I think one of the reasons why there’s so much “meet at an inn and kick off a quest” beginnings in fantasy is because it’s so easy and natural to start with creating those lovable characters you mention. “Here’s this guy and here’s what he’s like, and here’s this other guy and this is what HE’S like.” And once you’ve created this quirky group of rag-tag heroes, THEN you sit down and think, “right, what’ll I have them do?”

    At which point, it’s mighty tempting to introduce a big Encroaching Evil or Magic McGuffin to force them to action, because once you’ve posed all your GI Joes and lined them up next to each other, it can be hard to think of them as anything but a single mass – or rather, hard to think of any conflict or story *within the group* that would drive the plot forward. Which is a dang shame, because a group of ANY kind is the single most potent source of drama in the known universe!