Thursday, April 28, 2011

So You Want To Write A Fantasy For The Boys At GenCon?

DISCLAIMER: This post is full of sarcasm. Read at your own peril. I honestly don't mean anything that I've put down here.

Oh the boys of Gencon. I happen to be one of them. We are such nerds. That being said, I think I've isolated the formula for getting these girlfriend-less men to read your epic fantasy. And it goes something like this:


1) GET YOUR SETTING STRAIGHT: Write a historical account as accurate as possible to how life was really like in the middle ages in Europe. You want all the nitty-gritty details and armor as close to authentic as you can get. If possible, join some S.C.A. group and hang out with real medieval society nerds to get the authenticity down.  Then, once you've written that, add one fantastic element...a huge wall or a colossal tower (could be phallic) that scrapes the sky and have people wander around the base of it and wonder how it got there. People don't want to hear about your unicorns and other stuff. They want fantasy...and that means reality (but not really).  Like think reality but with a frickin' dragon in it. But don't go overboard with that dragon. It HAS TO BE REAL.

2) GET YOUR MYTHOLOGY RIGHT: People need to spout off about common things as if they're extraordinary. The sun isn't just a ball of's the God Apollo racing nude across the sky after the most beautiful Goddess (think Aphrodite). Then there's this story of how he caught her and ravished her but she got away right before his...moment... and when he squirted...and well...that stuff became the moon.  People will read that shit and's amazin' mang.

3) DON'T BE ORIGINAL IN YOUR OPPRESSION: Think Braveheart here. Channel Mel Gibson and his hatred of minorites. People don't want to hear about how your homosexuals are suddenly empowered and have an intelligent society. They want the same as has been fed to them over and over. Make sure your homosexuals are nancy boys that get slapped around by real men. Make sure your women are all seamstresses and when they aren't doing that, they're in the kitchen cooking up what the men brought home for dinner. You think...hasn't this been done before?  IT doesn't will read this and then support it by saying, "But this is the world that the author created and as far as world-building's brilliant." Ayep.

4) WHITE-WASH YOUR FANTASY: No one wants Hispanic Kings unless they're meant to die. Negroes are good as servants or as barbarians but not as knights, lords, and ladies. Write about white men and women and their white kids. Give em blue eyes and washboard abs. That'll get a minority female audience to read your stuff too (ka-ching). This goes for everyone...check your manuscripts to make sure you have caucasians well-represented :) They are the Master Race. Hitler said it so it must be true.

5) WOMEN ARE VILLAINS: They don't have the strength to knock skulls in so make them clever and conniving bitches and you've got yourself a bestseller. Men will proclaim proudly, "Oh I love how the women are so empowered in these books." They will also proclaim it and recommend the book to all of their female friends perhaps buying them copies. "Is this book good?" a woman will ask. The guy will answer, "Definitely. It's all about women coming into their own power."

6) RATED-R: Describe big bewbs, throw in some gore when crushing monsters, and mention that big tower thing that I said you need to have in step 1 a lot. Maybe compare the tower to a guy's manhood or something. Have monsters that want the tower and men defend it from the monsters with much bashing and hewing of flesh and bone. Then more big bewbs that the men fight over.  It'll be brilliant, you'll be considered a creative genius, and they'll pay you $$$$$$.

Remember me when you're famous. Good luck.


  1. Actually #3 and 4 are probably still true. Different? Hah. No one really wants that. Different is scary. Just give people the same formula over and over again.

  2. Yeah, I'm thinking of a few books I've read over the years fit some of these descriptions.

    I've also heard to make sure your world fits neatly on a square map and has every sort of terrain and climate known to exist in same small square.

  3. If you don't agree, then why is CBS the number one network? They have basically three shows and they just copy them over and over again to fill out the schedule. Look at all the sequels, prequels, reboots, etc. for movies. No one really wants original ideas because that's risky. Better to just stick with what works.

  4. Ha ha, yeah that about sums it up!

  5. ...and when he squirted...

    It's like poetry man.

  6. "...or a colossal tower (could be phallic)"

    Too funny.

  7. This reminds me of my English Theory class breaking books down into theories. Frankenstein = total phallic imagery everywhere. Have you considered a career in education? This was a lot more amusing than that class.

  8. Steph: Oh my. I did at one time consider a career in education. Terrible, Steph...Terrible.

  9. You have to admit, a handful of us are getting to be better than before when it comes to diversity. A lot of us were scared of differences but I have been more simpathetic with them than angry. It was not so much the fault of one individual. Parents did that to a lot of us. That is why a lot of young people want an open minded person for a spouse even if it took forever for them to find one.

  10. The point you have on racism in fantasy is very interesting to me. When I write, I tend to write what I know, and sadly I am a pretty whitewashed individual. I have tried to incorporate multiple races into my recent works, but I always feel a bit odd because I don't want to typecast a race and upset people unduly.

  11. Channel Mel Gibson and his hatred of minorities...LOL!
    Good work, Michael!

    And can I say that I blame Tolkien? He did such a good job with his little fantasy book -- maybe a few of you have heard of it -- that people have been too scared to do anything different since. No Hispanic Kings in Lord of the Rings? That must mean there are NO HISPANIC KINGS IN ANY FANTASY WORLD EVER. JUST BECAUSE.