I love fantasy novels. The genre is full of some of the most interesting literary work being written today (a great example is George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1). But, let’s face it, for every great fantasy novel there are (at least) one hundred total piles of crap.
In response to this David Parker wrote the Fantasy Novelists Exam, a list of 75 questions every writer of fantasy should answer before they send their book of to the publisher. If they answer “yes” to even one question, then they fail!!
Here’s a sample:
Is your novel based on the adventures of your role-playing group?
Do your characters spend an inordinate amount of time journeying from place to place?
Heaven help you, do you ever use the term “hit points” in your novel?
Do you think that “mead” is just a fancy name for “beer”?
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 your book basically a rip-off of The Lord of the Rings?
Read that question again and answer truthfully.
Yep, that sums it up. Nearly every book on the fantasy market is a derivative of The Lord of the Rings. But, man, some of those that aren’t are amazing.