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Ok so I want to write a fantasy quest...


Lugh

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what exactly do I need?


  1. here is my short list:
  2. one hero
  3. one villian
  4. one object they both desire
  5. one journey
  6. a couple of sidekicks (not more than 3)
  7. one wisened mentor (possibly included in the sidekicks)
  8. one valuable magical item that keeps getting lost
  9. one prophacy (or two that contradict)

 

 

Care to add anything?

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A good world (and all the races, history, etc. that goes with it) in which said adventure takes place.

 

I'm sure there's more, but I can't think of them at the moment. One word of friendly advice from a fantasy lover, try to make the wisened mentor person unique. Nobody wants to read about yet another Dumbledore/Gandalf.

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To make a good fantasy quest you should really do something completely different, try to make it unlike anything you've read before. The amount of books I've read which all follow the basic story of the chosen one who has to save the world, yawn how about something different?

 

And who says you have to have one hero? There was more then one hero in lord of the rings, and why only one villain? But I do agree that you need a good and believable world and history, if you don

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what exactly do I need?


  1. here is my short list:
  2. one hero
  3. one villian
  4. one object they both desire
  5. one journey
  6. a couple of sidekicks (not more than 3)
  7. one wisened mentor (possibly included in the sidekicks)
  8. one valuable magical item that keeps getting lost
  9. one prophacy (or two that contradict)

 

 

Care to add anything?

If you're going for a traditional fantasy quest, then I can't think of anything significant to add, especially considering the other comments.

 

I would probably suggest that at least one of the sidekicks is flawed in some way that makes them vulnerable to either the villian, or just makes them less than perfect as sidekicks (ie. they cause problems that need to be overcome).

 

A long lost city/temple is another staple, though I think it's an optional extra.

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excellent!

 

I was hoping I had gotten them all (for the traditional quest type story) lost temple/city would be interesting, will keep that in mind.

 

Dalmatia -- I'm not saying there CAN NOT be more, I was looking for least common denominator. Nor will everyone be perfect. I'm not even sure I can write a perfect character. Nope, just not in me.

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If you want to have a really unique fantasy, why include a "hero" and a "villain" per se? Personally, I really like stories with moral ambiguity. Perhaps these two polar opposites can simply both be determined individuals with equally good (and evil) motives, but vastly different beliefs and motives?

Edited by AFriendlyFace
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Dalmatia -- I'm not saying there CAN NOT be more, I was looking for least common denominator. Nor will everyone be perfect. I'm not even sure I can write a perfect character. Nope, just not in me.

 

Oh okay, it's always better to read a story where the hero isn

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Good fiction is independent of genre: it's all about character, character, character.

 

Fantasy and Science Fiction have a few points you need to be kept in mind.

 

The "world" of your story must be consistent. Contradictions make readers heads hurt.

 

The culture of your "world" can be as exotic as you want to make it but at some level, it has to make sense. If there are dragons, it stands to reason that there might even be a cult of evil dragon worshipers. There may be another cult of good dragon worshipers. There may be cults, societies or organizations dedicated to exterminating dragons or similar groups that see them as noble creatures and seek to study, preserve and protect them.

 

Not every culture has Judeo-Christian beliefs at its roots. While it may have worked for Tolkien, if you do some work and use some imagination, you can build believable cultures that people will be enchanted by. Much of Western Civilization is so steeped in Judeo-Christian ideology, many authors find themselves using those same arch-types and themes over and over. By stepping out of that mold you can create something unique; not a value-less society, it wouldn't work, but one with fundamentally different values, traditions, beliefs and a very different moral compass.

 

For instance: in the movie the Highlander, there was a villain called somewhat cryptically the Kurgan. The Kurgans were in fact a real people who lived in present day Lappland and North-Eastern Russia above the Arctic circle. They are the kin of the Vikings. Because their neighbors were so hostile, the Kurgans had to be powerful warriors just to survive. No child that was infirmed and could not grow up and pull their weight were allowed to live. Always piratical, the Kurgan used to train their war dogs on weak children, who if they could survive the dogs were allowed to live. One very small, but very sly boy who had to face the dogs tricked them into attacking and killing each other. He grew up and became on of the most powerful Thanes that the Kurgen ever had.

 

While the Kurgen tradition of killing weak children is abhorrent to us, it makes sense in their cultural context. They lived in a land that offered little in the way of food and long, hard winters. They were surrounded by powerful enemies. They could ill-afford weakness.

 

Another example of an "alien" culture The Epic of Gilgamesh.

 

Gilgamesh was an historical king of Uruk in Babylonia, on the River Euphrates in modern Iraq; he lived about 2700 B.C. Although historians tend to emphasize Hammurabi and his code of law, the civilizations of the Tigris-Euphrates area, among the first civilizations, focus rather on Gilgamesh and the legends accruing around him to explain, as it were, themselves. Many stories and myths were written about Gilgamesh, some of which were written down about 2000 B.C. in the Sumerian language on clay tablets and survive unchanged to this day.

 

Gilgamesh, two-thirds god and one-third human, is the greatest king on earth and the strongest super-human that ever existed; however, he is young and oppresses his people harshly. The people call out to the sky-god Anu, the chief god of the city, to help them. In response, Anu creates a wild man, Enkidu, out in the harsh and wild forests surrounding Gilgamesh's lands. This brute, Enkidu, has the strength of dozens of wild animals; he is to serve as the subhuman rival to the superhuman Gilgamesh.

 

A trapper's son, while checking on traps in the forest, discovers Enkidu running naked with the wild animals; he rushes to his father with the news. The father advises him to go into the city and take one of the temple harlots, Shamhat, with him to the forest; when she sees Enkidu, she is to offer herself sexually to the wild man. If he submits to her, the trapper says, he will lose his strength and his wildness.

 

Shamhat meets Enkidu at the watering-hole where all the wild animals gather; she offers herself to him and he submits, instantly losing his strength and wildness, but he gains understanding and knowledge. He laments for his lost state, but the harlot offers to take him into the city where all the joys of civilization shine in their resplendence; she offers to show him Gilgamesh, the only man worthy of Enkidu's friendship

 

Gilgamesh and Enkidu become inseparable friends and have many adventures together.

 

While similar to "the heroic journey", the Epic of Gilgamesh is taught because it is a departure from the usual arch-type.

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Two things...

 

First James - Gilgamesh and Enkidu were a bit MORE that "inseparable friends"...

 

and as to elements in an epic fantasy story - one other that frequently comes up is the interesting, but unexplained, person who helps along the way - yet seems vaguely similar to an ancient folklore type character. For example, Tom Bombidil in LOTR, or characters that seem similar to the Flying Dutchman, or Wandering Jew...

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Very interesting information, James! Thanks :D

 

One comment though:

 

A trapper's son, while checking on traps in the forest, discovers Enkidu running naked with the wild animals; he rushes to his father with the news. The father advises him to go into the city and take one of the temple harlots, Shamhat, with him to the forest; when she sees Enkidu, she is to offer herself sexually to the wild man. If he submits to her, the trapper says, he will lose his strength and his wildness.

Shamhat meets Enkidu at the watering-hole where all the wild animals gather; she offers herself to him and he submits, instantly losing his strength and wildness, but he gains understanding and knowledge. He laments for his lost state, but the harlot offers to take him into the city where all the joys of civilization shine in their resplendence; she offers to show him Gilgamesh, the only man worthy of Enkidu's friendship

 

While similar to "the heroic journey", the Epic of Gilgamesh is taught because it is a departure from the usual arch-type.

This may be somewhat innovative in a literary sense, but it's very much in line with the same tired, gender stereotypes and expectations which I find some contemptible in society. I. E. a woman's primary purpose is to "tame" a man and provide the lubrication necessary for him to interact with society. :thumbdown:

 

I think it's an insult to women and it's definitely an affront to men.

 

 

Interesting story though! :D

 

 

Take care all and have an awesome day :)

Kevin

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Kevin: You're definatly right, but the legend is really old and I guess back then that's the way it was. Wouldn't want to re-use it though

 

We had Campell's literary circle of the hero's journey in Literature class last year. Starwars was based on it and also some pretty good fantasy. Most european medival literature has the structure of Campell's therory (Parcival, The Ring of the Nibelungen) and also many other legends. Maybe you want to take a look at it and find that it is a pretty good "recepy" for fantasy.

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A few females won't hurt... The women are sometimes nice! Or bitches! :P

 

And why not a flawed hero? Perhaps physically...one eye doesn't see well, bad hand or impotent! 0:) Or perhaps emotionally- he never let his emotions surface, or is very suspicious...

 

Ieshwar

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One comment though:

 

 

This may be somewhat innovative in a literary sense, but it's very much in line with the same tired, gender stereotypes and expectations which I find some contemptible in society.

 

The Epic of Gilgamesh is ~3000+ years old. I guarantee that the author never heard of womens rights or political correctness.

 

 

>>I. E. a woman's primary purpose is to "tame" a man and provide the lubrication necessary for him to interact with society. :thumbdown:

 

>>I think it's an insult to women and it's definitely an affront to men.

 

3000 years ago if a woman had a smart mouth, her husband would tell her to shut up or she could sleep with the coyotes.

 

They also lived in city states, owned (or were) slaves and worshiped a God for every occasion.

 

We simply can't apply modern ethical standards to ancient writings and culture. It is even dangerous to do this with our own culture of 50 or 100 years ago. Society and standards have changed so much that there is very little common ground.

 

It is instructive to see ancient or even pre-civil rights era writings and the attitudes prevalent at the time to remind us of how far we have come and why.

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It is instructive to see ancient or even pre-civil rights era writings and the attitudes prevalent at the time to remind us of how far we have come and why.

 

Exactly. Snot magicians being persecuted for their sticky-finger practices was abhorrent. Outrageous.

 

So, anyways, I was thinking Lugh. Your dude could have no arms or legs; but he propels himself around by viciously sneezing then rolling backwards in a ball. Of course, if he didn't have arms he'd have a hard time picking his nose... So maybe he could have one arm...and one finger. Yeah. One-armed one-fingered sneeze-ball rolling hero. A very sympathetic character readers will no doubt relate with. But then, if he only had one arm I suppose when he sneeze-rolled he'd probably end up just going in circles, so maybe he needs a second arm. But then, Two-armed one-fingered sneeze-ball rolling hero just doesn't sound as cool, although the sex scenes would be slightly more plausible.

 

Food for thought.

 

-db-

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And why not a flawed hero? Perhaps physically...one eye doesn't see well, bad hand or impotent! 0:) Or perhaps emotionally- he never let his emotions surface, or is very suspicious...

Why not give him all these flaws? Make him more interesting :0

 

>>I. E. a woman's primary purpose is to "tame" a man and provide the lubrication necessary for him to interact with society. :thumbdown:

 

>>I think it's an insult to women and it's definitely an affront to men.

 

3000 years ago if a woman had a smart mouth, her husband would tell her to shut up or she could sleep with the coyotes.

 

They also lived in city states, owned (or were) slaves and worshiped a God for every occasion.

Well I suppose those ideas were original back then. I just meant that I'd find a modern story with the same themes to be a bit tired.

 

We simply can't apply modern ethical standards to ancient writings and culture. It is even dangerous to do this with our own culture of 50 or 100 years ago. Society and standards have changed so much that there is very little common ground.

 

It is instructive to see ancient or even pre-civil rights era writings and the attitudes prevalent at the time to remind us of how far we have come and why.

Excellent point! I fully agree :)

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