Friday, February 15, 2013

Four Fantastically Frustrating Fantasy Tropes

Good Friday,

Reading, I have found, is much like ice cream. Everyone prefers different flavors. Flavors, I have discovered, are much like tropes. They are many and various and some are liked better or worse by others. Fantasy has many, many tropes. Having inserted myself into the world as a writer of fantasy, I’ve read a fair share of novels in the genre. And much like my taste in ice cream, there are some tropes that I like better. There are also tropes that are just overdone, and I would be happy never to see another new release employ them. I’ve outlined a few below.

Four Fantastically Frustrating Fantasy Tropes


Please, stop. Heroes/heroines are meant to save mankind. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t read the book. So why then must there be old books/scrolls/people/talking cats that expound at length about the hero’s controversial potential to save the world?

I think my real issue with prophesy is that it takes up so much space in the story. The characters debate it into the ground. Meanwhile, in any normal timeline, the great evil would have leveled the last-standing fortress and enforced its purple, studded leotards on the world’s inhabitants.

-“Tavern meetings”

Anyone ever played Dungeons and Dragons? If yes, you nodded knowingly at the title to this section. If not, allow me to explain. A common start point for a D&D campaign is for the Dungeon Master (think of him as God) to put everyone’s avatars in one section of the map and then calmly announce “You’re all in a tavern.” This is usually followed by some variation of “and a conflict begins. What do you do?” The players then act out their characters’ appropriate responses to the crisis, and somehow, the conflict ends with a merry band of travelers (who just happen to be a well-blended mix of fighters, casters, healers, and meat shields) forming.

I’ve seen this too many times, and it’s gotten old. I’d much rather room be left for character/relationship growth. If that means forming the merry band over several chapters instead of by the middle of chapter 2, that’s what it means. I won’t stop reading just because they haven’t broken out the bagpipes by page 30.

-Powerful magic keeps romantic couple apart

This dives a bit into romance, but since most fantasy novels include some kind of romantic couple, I figure it fits. Also, this is not “forbidden love.” Forbidden love needs an external sociological viewpoint to disdain it in order for it to be forbidden. This is “we met in a whirlwind of sudden, fierce attraction and after our first night together realized that we can never have one another because a powerful magic (that, consequently, affects no one but them) could kill one or both of us.”

Could they, just once, do their homework and know about the powerful, destined-to-keep-them-apart magic before they jump into bed? More importantly, could they be responsible about it and, maybe, look for a solution instead of giving up because “everyone says it’s impossible.” I like a good helping of romance in my fantasy because, even though I don’t write straight-up romance, I believe in “happy for the foreseeable future.” What I don’t like is one of the members of the couple (usually the woman) whining for 300 pages because she can’t have her “one true love.”


Please, please, please, no more vampires. A while back, I wrote a post on five reasons vampires aren’t sexy. See this post for five reasons why this appears on my list of frustrating tropes.

Aside from those five reasons, vamps are just overdone. I write urban fantasy. Yes, there are vampires in my urban fantasy world. No, they are not the main characters. No, they are not seducing the main character. No, they are not all the hottest creatures around. I have passed up so many books because the blurb contained some variation of the words “sexy vampire hero who enslaves her body and mind.” Oh man, that’s just gross.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Book Tour--INSATIABLE by Emily Kimelman

Goddess Fish Blurb Blitz Tour

INSATIABLE (A Sydney Rye Novel, #3) by Emily Kimelman
A dark murder mystery

INSATIABLE is the third novel in my Sydney Rye Series of dark murder mysteries. This series features a strong female protagonist and her canine best friend. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don't mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!

INSATIABLE begins with private detective Sydney Rye living a simple, disciplined life in London, but when a dangerous man from her past calls, Rye finds she cannot turn him away. Robert Maxim explains that the daughter of a powerful friend has gone missing and he wants Rye to find her. In exchange he offers her something she had given up hope of ever having; freedom from her past.

With her dog, Blue, at her side, Rye meets up with her new partner, a handsome man she's not sure she can trust. Heading for Mexico City, they go undercover, posing as husband and wife. After meeting with the bereaved parents, Rye starts to sense that there is more going on than just a missing girl. But it isn't until they arrive in the Yucatan Peninsula, hot on the girl's trail in Paradise, that all hell breaks loose. Sydney has to reach out for help from old friends and deal with the consequences of her past, if she's going to find the girl and keep them all alive.


Around the next bend a chicken was in the road. Jimmy saw it and swerved into a rut to avoid it. It was a wild, out-of-control move and I grabbed at the door trying to steady myself. The Jeep jerked down and then up again as Jimmy powered us out of the ditch and back onto the road. "What the fuck!" I yelled.

"There was a chicken.”

"Next time fucking hit the chicken!”

That's exactly what the guy in the black Jeep did. I turned around to see the feathers exploding with a mix of blood and guts against the guy's grill. He drove through the chicken into the shade of a tree and I saw him. I saw Blane. He was wearing wrap-around sunglasses - the kind douche bags think look cool. His mouth was a straight line, his face made of stone.

I rested my new gun on the shoulder of my seat and tried to steady my aim as we raced back past the Home Depot. Jimmy swerved around other cars, at times facing oncoming traffic, to further our escape. It was impossible to get a clear shot. I turned back around as we crested a hill and we could see the town below us.

Traffic became congested as we got closer to town. I turned around and saw that Blane was stuck several cars behind us. There was no way he could fire off any rounds with all these people around. We stopped at a red light and I waved to Blane. He raised a gun and I dropped down in my seat as I heard a window shatter. It wasn't our car but the one right behind us.


Emily Kimelman lives on a boat in the Hudson Valley with her husband, Sean and their dog Kinsey (named after Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone). Kimelman has a passion for traveling and spends as much time as possible in the pursuit of adventure.

Want more? Check out Emily’s website/blog. Follow her on Twitter @ejkimelman. “Like” her on Facebook, and connect with Emily on Goodreads.

Hey, readers!

Gotta love chickens in the middle of the road. Lol.

Like what you see above? Follow the rest of the tour.

And don’t forget to comment everywhere for a chance at an awesome prize!

Emily will be awarding a hand blown pint glass that her husband (a third generation glassblower) made for the launch of her first novel, UNLEASHED, to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Effects for Your Writing

Hello folks,

I feel like I haven’t written a pure “me” post in a while. That happens when your friends suddenly have success I need to internet shout about because I’m excited for them.

Today I will dive back in and do some original writing.

The inspiration for this post comes from something written by Daily Writing Tips—a site I subscribe to that writes, you guessed it, tips for writers. That post listed 15 common effects. I took a few of those, added some of my own, added practical and writing applications for said effects, and now give you what is below.


-Context Effect

This has to do with memory. It is the phenomenon that you will recall information better when you are in the location where you memorized it.

Practical application – Students—if possible, study for tests in the place where you will take them. It could mean the difference between a B+ and an A-.

Writing application – If your character is going to come to a dramatic (or even not-so-dramatic) revelation, he/she would most likely do so in the place where they first learned the information that the revelation is about.

-State Effect (also known as state-dependent recall)

Another memory thing, this means that you will recall information better when affected by the same substances you were when you memorized the information.

Practical application – students—if you study drunk and then take the test drunk, you might just remember more of the answers to the questions. Going to class drunk, however, is not a pass-your-course strategy I would recommend. Drink coffee instead. Caffeine is a substance too.

Writing application – That drug addict main character of yours who has tried and failed to kick the habit for years—make sure he’s under the influence of his addictive substance when he learns something important. Then make sure he’s under the influence when he needs to realize something about what he learned.

-Bystander Effect

I wrote a mock experiment for this one my freshman year of undergrad. This means that the more people who witness an event where help is needed, the less likely any of them are to actually help. Yes, you heard that right. If there’s a bunch of people around and you get mugged, most of those people will keep walking with the mindset “Someone else will help.”

Practical application - Now that you know about this, try to fight it. I won’t suggest to get mugged in a less populated area. The object, really, is not to get mugged at all.

Writing application – The crime doesn’t necessarily need to be committed in a deserted area. Granted, for keeping the guilty party a secret, it helps, but that’s what masks are for, right?

-Domino Effect

When one event causes a subsequent event and then said subsequent event causes another event and so on.

Practical application – When playing with dominos…just kidding. Lying is a good example. Once you start lying, you continue lying to keep the story straight. You can get around this by not lying.

Writing application – Remember kids, events in your book should be causally related. (“Mary, stop with the psychological terminology.”) Okay, events should cause one another. If things aren’t related, the story falls apart.

-Halo Effect

The more attractive something/someone is, the more favorably/better he/she/it will be treated by others.

Practical application – Pretty people get what they want. It’s kind of sad. No, I don’t agree with it, but, unfortunately, that’s the world we’ve created.

Writing application – There’s a reason most heroes/heroines are attractive. They win in the end. Thus, the halo effect is proven. Really, it’s a self-fulfilling prophesy. We make our good guys attractive, so when they come out ahead no one is surprised. Secret, it’s okay to break this rule.

-Pygmalion Effect

If more is expected of a person, they will perform better.

Practical application – I don’t recommend asking all of your friends to ask the moon of you, but if you can convince yourself that people look up to you, you will perform better.

Writing application – This kind of follows the same principle as the Halo effect—self-fulfilling prophesy in writing. Our main characters have a lot resting on their decisions and actions, so naturally (and because we write it that way) they perform better. But really, how else could it be? If so much wasn’t riding on our characters’ shoulders and they didn’t rise to the challenge, there wouldn’t be a story.

There you have it, some nice effects to think about/apply to life/apply to writing.

Now go feel affected. 