Murdering Fantasy

Y’know, I’m beginning to think ill of publicists. They’ll take anybody’s money.

Today a publicist invited me to read a great new fantasy novel “about a female warrior with a kind heart.” When the Sarmatians went culturally extinct almost 2,000 years ago, that was the end of the only nation that actually produced female warriors on purpose. Look it up in Herodotus if you don’t believe me.

Since then, The Invincible Female Warrior has become the most commonplace–and the most annoying–cliche in half-baked fantasy literature. Along with crusty but benign old wizards and know-it-all elves: but really, Ms. Gorgeous with the unbeatable kung-fu moves is the worst of them all–except for maybe little kids with fantastic martial arts skills that enable them to wipe out full-grown male villains.

The book seems to be self-published. This is what gets me about self-publishing: no quality control. The publicist ought to be ashamed for taking this author’s money and trying to hoodwink people like me into reviewing it. I won’t give the author’s name because it just wouldn’t be humane. By the way, though, she wants a pretty hefty chunk of money for this book.

If you are an aspiring writer, this author commits a literary stumble that I’ve told you about before ( http://leeduigon.com/2015/10/21/a-silly-name-can-ruin-your-fantasy-novel/ ).

Do not name the principle characters in your story after familiar household products. Trust me, it doesn’t work. Here we have an Invincible Female Warrior named “Aleave.” Does that at all bring to mind the brand name of a popular headache medicine?

If you conscientiously avoid all the cliches that make fantasy so prone to low expectations on the readers’ part, and write a great story populated by memorable characters, and yet succumb to the temptation to give those characters names like Drano, Tylenol, Pennzoil, or Fancy Feast–well, you might as well not have written it at all.

5 comments on “Murdering Fantasy

    1. Not offended at all! I wish all indie authors would care as much about perfecting as they do promoting. I’ll bet this author spent a ton on her publicist, but should probably have paid for a good editor instead. I would think even a decent beta reader (free) could have told her not to name her character after a bottle of pain medication. Stuff like this gives indie authors a bad name, despite how far we’ve come to reverse the stigma. It irritates me too. 🙂

  1. Oh my goodness, that’s hilarious. Even if she didn’t know about the pain killer, isn’t Aleave an actual word with an actual meaning?
    Although … who am I to talk? I once had a fantasy story I wrote, where the head of each chapter of a secret organization was called the Gasper. It just didn’t sink in until one of my sisters pointed it out. LOL
    I guess sometimes we can get carried away. That’s what a beta reader is for 😀

  2. Actually, I’d like to see a book featuring a character named Fancy Feast. I don’t think I’d try to feed it to my cat, but maybe it would make a nice liner for his litter box.

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