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Monday, December 8, 2008

Don't Make Me Repeat Myself

I suppose I will have to add this to my list of pet peeves....

When you are writing fiction, creating a new world, and creating a new mythology THERE IS NO WRONG WAY!

I see new writers on the online writing forums and at least once a month the question comes up: How do I write Mythological Creature X?

And, of course, everyone will chime in. You need crosses and silver to kill vampires and werewolves. Your dragon should be cunning and cruel. All elves must look like Orlando Bloom and navel-gaze for 38% of the book....

Grr much?

It's your book! Unless you are writing for Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, or Wizards of the Coast the world you are creating is completely yours. That means you can kill vampires with sprigs of violets and have them immune to holy water if you like. Maybe silver does nothing to your werewolf, but a regular bullet will slow them down. Maybe your elf is short, pudgy, and a little hot headed. Maybe your heroine doesn't look like a pin-up girl.


You are an author. Create your own world, don't rip off someone else's. Tolkein had some wonderful ideas, but they were his. Make your own.


  1. LOL. You might owe me a new computer screen, I think I spit coffee all over it at this line:

    All elves must look like Orlando Bloom and navel-gaze for 38% of the book


    I agree, though. It's your book. Make up what you want--and if you want to draw on previous folklore conventions or whatever, that's fine, but you aren't limited to them.

    Of course it's equally amusing when people tell you how you SHOULD have your vampires or werewolves or cyborgs or necromancers. ;) Well. I find it amusing. I'm admittedly a bit twisted...

    *evil grin*

    Fun post, Lei!

  2. Yes, fun post!

    Doesn't this go for all fiction writing, though? Even though I'm working in a familiar, "real-life" world, I can still make up anything I want . . .

    I hate it when readers refuse to believe that something would happen a particular way because it's not believable - even though I make it perfectly believable within the context of the story.

    It's my story. It's fiction. Suspend your disbelief.

  3. Totally agree, Glam. It reminds me of my really pet peeve about people who think dead first person narrators are illogical. ;)

    It both amuses me and drives me crazy. Fiction, people! Hello! Is ANY point of view "logical" from the perspective that it's all made up?

    *rolls her eyes*

  4. AWWW followed closely by MEN!


    Great post!

  5. :o) I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds this frustrating. I love fiction, but I love original work that doesn't play off of something else. And I worry about young writers who are so scared to branch out and try something wild and new because it's never been done before.

    Elves were short, until Tolkein.

    There was no such thing as Quidditch until JKR.

    Dragons were horrible creatures until Anne McCaffery and Patricia C. Wrede.

    Ents were pacifist tree huggers until A. Lee Martinez.

    Get out and do something new!

  6. I agree. I also understand how some people could get annoyed if you don't do it like you "should" though - for instance, if you have a vampire who, by the time you're finished writing him, resembles nothing at all to do with any sort of vampire folklore or mythology. It's silly to choose a word that comes with so much baggage if you aren't going to utilize at least some of it.

    And Merc: I obviously don't have enough experience with the pet peeves of other readers because I didn't realize there was a notable group who finds dead narrators illogical. Hee.