February 8, 2010

Dungeons & Doldrums

Posted in Creativity, Tales from the Author's Desk at 11:12 am by jajohnson7

At some point in the fantasy writing universe, everyone decided it would be awesome to write a high adventure story about a boy who was secretly a king team up with fighters, thieves, mages, and priests to defeat the villain taking over the medieval-based world. Since when did we (the writing community) allow Dungeons & Dragons to overrun our creativity?

Don’t get me wrong. I love playing D&D and other rpgs. But I am so tired of seeing the same plots over and over again. And if it’s not the same plot, it’s the same setting with the same characters. Thieves with hearts of gold, priests questioning their god(s), mages learning to harness their ultimate powers, etc. I’m sure these were good characters at one point (maybe in the mid-fifties), but now they’re just dull cliches.

Cliches can have their uses, however. For my NaNoWriMo novel, I took those basic characters (prince, mage, thief) in the medieval setting, and turned them on their head. I had the omniscient narrator of the story step up and take over the novel. Granted, I could probably do a lot more with it than I did, but that’s for editing to sort through.

But glancing through other books, where did the creativity go? It’s like people just gave up and decided to follow Tolkien’s example, complete with elves, dwarves, and orcs (which can also be found in D&D).

Please, do yourself and your readership a favor: take the time and effort to build an original world.



  1. Sara said,

    There is a sort of sick pleasure though to reading the same sort of fantasy novel over and over again… It’s so hard to find a “good” non-traditional fantasy that isn’t just some completely urbanized modern fairy tale.

    • jajohnson7 said,

      Too true. If you ever find one, let me know!

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