Have you ever read Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia?
Did you close the book and think of the fame and fortune that could be yours if you wrote one like it?
WELL THINK NO MORE!
With this quick and easy guide to fantasy writing, you can turn those dreams into a reality!
Here's how it works:
1) Read each of these questions carefully.
2) If your answer to a question is 'No', simply apply that cliche to your WIP. If you already have a similar trope, erase it for this GUARANTEED BESTSELLING cliche.
3) Reread this list again.
4) Query an agent, and remember to mention that your novel is a guaranteed bestseller because you followed this list.
5) Take out a loan for half a million. When the bank manager states you cannot, boldly inform him/her that a cheque to that effect is due to arrive along with your book contract.
6) Buy a Mercedes, a six bedroom home and a ticket to Rome.
7) Before your novel comes out, hire a publicist and demand that they book you an appearance on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Ellen and Late Night with Jay Leno.
8) Send a donation of ten thousand and up to T.D. McFrost via PayPal. (Check "Contact" for info)
9) Enjoy your new lavish lifestyle.
- Are there dragons in your novel?
- Is your main character a young farmhand with mysterious parentage?
- Is your main character the heir to the throne but doesn't know it?
- Does your story contain a young character who comes of age, gains great power, and defeats the supreme badguy?
- Is there a quest for a magical artifact that will save the world?
- How about one that will destroy it?
- Does your story contain an ancient prophecy about "The One" who will save the world and everybody and all the forces of good?
- Does your novel contain a character whose sole purpose is to show up at random plot points and dispense information?
- Does your novel contain a character that is really a god in disguise?
- Is the evil supreme badguy secretly the father of your main character?
- Is the king of your world a kindly king duped by an evil magician?
- Does "a forgetful wizard" describe any of the characters in your novel?
- How about "a powerful but slow and kind-hearted warrior"?
- How about "a wise, mystical sage who refuses to give away plot details for his own personal, mysterious reasons"?
- Do the female characters in your novel spend a lot of time worrying about how they look, especially when the male main character is around? If not, add it.
- Do any of your female characters exist solely to be captured and rescued?
- Do any of your female characters exist solely to embody feminist ideals?
- Would "a clumsy cooking wench more comfortable with a frying pan than a sword" aptly describe any of your female characters? No? Then what are you waiting for...?
- Would "a fearless warrioress more comfortable with a sword than a frying pan" aptly describe any of your female characters?
- Is any character in your novel best described as "a dour dwarf"?
- How about "a half-elf torn between his human and elven heritage"?
- Are your elves and dwarves great friends?
- Does everybody under four feet tall exist solely for comic relief?
- Are there ships in your novel?
- Do they fly?
- Did you draw a map for your novel which includes places named things like "The Blasted Lands" or "The Forest of Fear" or "The Desert of Desolation" or absolutely anything "of Doom"?
- Does your novel contain a prologue that is impossible to understand until you've read the entire book, if even then?
- Is this the first book in a planned trilogy?
- How about a quintet or a decalogue?
- Is your novel thicker than a New York City phone book?
- Did absolutely nothing happen in the previous book you wrote, yet you figure you're still many sequels away from finishing your "story"?
- Are you writing prequels to your as-yet-unfinished series of books?
- Are you sure?!
- Is your novel based on the adventures of your role-playing group?
- Does your novel contain characters transported from the real world to a fantasy realm?
- Do any of your main characters have apostrophes or dashes in their names?
- Do any of your main characters have names longer than three syllables?
- Do you see nothing wrong with having two characters from the same small isolated village being named "Tim Umber" and "Belthusalanthalus al'Grinsok"?
- Does your novel contain orcs, elves, dwarves, or halflings?
- How about "orken" or "dwerrows"?
- Do you have a race prefixed by "half-"?
- At any point in your novel, do the main characters take a shortcut through ancient dwarven mines?
- Do you write your battle scenes by playing them out in your favorite RPG? (Be sure to do so)
- Have you done up game statistics for all of your main characters in your favorite RPG? (Again, apply it)
- Are you writing a work-for-hire for Wizards of the Coast?
- Do inns in your book exist solely so your main characters can have brawls?
- Do you think you know how feudalism worked but really don't?
- Do your characters spend an inordinate amount of time journeying from place to place?
- Could one of your main characters tell the other characters something that would really help them in their quest but refuses to do so just so it won't break the plot?
- Do any of the magic users in your novel cast spells easily identifiable as "fireball" or "lightning bolt"?
- Do you ever use the term "mana" in your novel?
- Do you ever use the term "plate mail" in your novel?
- Do you ever use the term "hit points" in your novel?
- Do you have gold in your novel?
- Do your horses gallop all day long without rest?
- Does anybody in your novel fight for two hours straight in full plate armor, then ride a horse for four hours, then delicately make love to a willing barmaid all in the same day?
- Does your main character have a magic axe, hammer, spear, or other weapon that returns to him when he throws it?
- Does anybody in your novel ever stab anybody with a scimitar?
- Does anybody in your novel stab anybody straight through plate armor?
- Are there swords in your novel?
- Does your hero fall in love with an unattainable woman, whom he later attains?
- Does a large portion of the humor in your novel consist of puns?
- Is your hero able to withstand multiple blows from the fantasy equivalent of a ten pound sledge but is still threatened by a small woman with a dagger?
- Do you have bows and arrows in your novel?
- Do your characters make or eat stew while traveling?
- Do you have nomadic barbarians living on the tundra and consuming barrels and barrels of mead?
- Are you sure?
- Does your story have different races, each of which have exactly one country, one ruler, and one religion?
- Are thieves the most the numerous and well organized group of people in your world?
- Does your main villain punish insignificant mistakes with death?
- Is your story about a crack team of warriors that take along a bard who is useless in a fight, though he plays a mean lute?
- Is "common" the official language of your world?
- Is the countryside in your novel littered with tombs and gravesites filled with ancient magical loot that nobody thought to steal centuries before?
- Is your book like The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or Chronicles or Narnia?
- If not, be sure to do so.
T.D. McFrost is not liable for any lawsuits you may incur because he is busy scamming other crazy people. These tips do not apply to blind, old or boring people because they DO NOT get published. Funding for this post is provided by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your PBS station from viewers like you. Thank you. Insert other legal mumbo jumbo here. These laws are applicable in all continents and countries except South Korea.
Copyright © 2011 by T.D. McFrost. All rights reserved.