Today is Tuesday, the first day of the last month of the first quarter of the new year. I’m a quarter through a long chapter (I’m expecting it to be 40-ish pages… I might have to split it in two), and I’m about to go on the road to Atlanta for a couple of days. This means I lose my morning writing time, though I still have to get out five long pages or so… perhaps I can compose notes in the car, or take a long lunch.
Over on Rainy Day Ramblings, they’re hosting Tell Me Something Tuesday, where you answer their question of the week. This week’s question is a simple one: Have you become frustrated with certain genres?
Yes, I have.
A year or so ago, I read an article that said that, on average, women were more impressed by men with well-kept beards than men without. It wasn’t much of a difference, but it was there. The corollary to their findings, though, was that as beards became more popular, they had less and less of an effect until finally, they would actually lower the average woman’s opinion of a man.
That’s how I feel about Grimdark Fantasy.
I remember exactly where I was (Learning Resource Center… shipboard public computer room and library… onboard USS Chancellorsville, 5 December 2005) when I read a certain scene in A Storm of Swords, the third “Game of Thrones” book. (Honestly, I think the HBO title works better for the series as a whole than “A Song of Ice and Fire.”) I remember being refreshed but mostly frightened when I realized that, unlike in a lot of fantasy novels, my favorite characters were no longer safe. I was used to them either surviving no matter what, or having a dramatic death at the end. But in these books… and in many others that I read after… characters could die for stupid and pointless reasons. That made the book that much more realistic, and I began seeking out this kind of fiction.
It’s been ten years. How’bout we go back to fairy-tale and legend-inspired fantasy for a bit? Or magic realism? Or books where flawed characters still manage to do the right thing, despite temptations to do what comes naturally, instead of evil bastard characters who accidentally do something right?
Of course, I’ll still read this kind of fiction, if it’s good, and, well, part of the reason it’s so big is that people are buying it. But my advice to writers (including myself): Grow a beard, metaphorically, and write something magical. Not dark and torturous with excessive realism and violence and pointless destruction.
Enough for this morning. Inspirational quotes and more agony over my book writing process to follow.