Another random thought while I avoid making my word count on NaNoWriMo. I’ve finished a draft of a high fantasy and I’m most of the way through a humorish urban fantasy (do I really have to put a genre label on it?). I’m having a much easier time of the urban fantasy, in part because the set-up of the adventure stays in one city. A city with cars and trains and stuff. So the events can happen all over the city and a reasonable distance outside of it over the course of a few hours. To simplify things further, the MC is actively searching out witches – providing immediate conflict with very little set up.
In a high fantasy, you might go from one city to the next, but that trip is going to take some time and require supplies, like food and gold and stuff. Not only that, getting all of the characters together in the right spot at the right time takes a bit of work. Then, to give the complexity wheel another crank, the MC is probably trying to save the kingdom or the world, or possibly the universe or a multi-verse. In any case, you’re not just going to get a phone call there and drive off to the evil emperor’s house to have an encounter where somebody just barely escapes with their life and someone else plots revenge. Nope, ‘ol MC’s gotta fight his way through the labyrinth to the goblin city then tell the goblin king “you’ve got no power over me – now give me that staff you weirdo and put some real pants on.” At that point the world will shatter and all of the plot holes will be filled in with unicorn pee and cement. See? Hard.
I will concede that you can pants your way through a good high fantasy, but there are so many moving parts that an average reader is going to spot a plot hole from a mile away. If you’re like me, then this is going to cause problems. In no way am I going to claim I’ve got an answer except to say that writing high fantasy is a hell of a lot harder than folks give credit to and writing a novel is already hard. At some point I’m going to explore this topic with a little more gusto because I need to solve it or my precious high-fantasy series will die on the vine.
Now, back to NaNoWriMo!
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I pants fantasy (whether it’s high fantasy or not is hard for me to say, it depends on the story) and sometimes I do have plot holes, or inconsistencies, or just things that don’t make much sense. For me, because I know that I can’t write first drafts with a plan, it just means that I have to spend more time in the editing phase. My first drafts tend to come out fairly quickly (when I actually put my butt in the chair and write at least) but editing and fixing and improving everything takes me a while, as I actually sit down and think it out.
I think it’s one of the main differences between planning and pantsing. Planners do the work at the start, pantsers do it afterwards. But that is just my thoughts.
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“now give me that staff you weirdo and put some real pants on” – Haha! I chortled out loud. 🙂
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