Inspired by wil wheaton’s blog post this morning. I’ve received a few emails asking why I charge for beta reading services. Because what I do has value.
I read your book, issue a short report on wins/fails, and provide helpful information. I’m not a family member, I won’t be staring strangely at you at the next family dinner, and I’m not your friend.
Recently, on a writer’s blog, they discussed how to use the monomyth in a fantasy novel. basically, they need to find the blessed/cursed object to save the day. Lord of the Rings anyone? I was horrified that literally, that’s what they wanted to do.
I can’t tell you how many ‘princesses’ are rescued in fantasy and scifi. Do better.
Here’s a few suggestions on how to change up the monomyth.
- Make the princess/token be the bad guy.
- The quest person is the princess/token.
- Destroy the token on the first page.
- Give the token to the hero/heroine on the first page. What happens after that?
- Have the wise wizard/sage steal the token or take credit for finding the token.
- Instead of one token or three tokens, make it 50 tokens.
- If you are going to use Orcs (something Tolkien made up fyi) make them the hero.
- Have the quest seeker accidently destroy the token.
- Have the quest seeker sell the token instead of removing the curse.
- Maybe the quest is for naught, there is no token.
- Have the curse be something that wouldn’t hurt anyone. Like turning their hair red. (Souls are removed curse.)
- No tension.
- Talking heads. Not enough character development.
- Pixels has one of the best examples. The princess is a prize in a video game and ends up having kids with one of the heros. I don’t think she even has any dialogue. Boo.
- They take ten years to get there, but seem to instantly get back to the home village in 10 minutes.
- Inventing new things that aren’t mentioned anywhere else in the book. Spells, lock picking kits, and other instant fixes are boooooo…
- Changing moods. One of my favorite shows atlantis put out by the BBC changed a funny light hearted show into a dark show in the second season. Plus, they entirely dropped the storyline of how jason was looking for his father. Or maybe they picked it up again, but they had already lost me as a viewer.
- If a gun is mentioned on page one, someone needs to shoot it by the end of the book. I didn’t come up with this idea, but it’s common sense. You can sprinkle the big bads into the prologue, but don’t mention mountain ogres if there are no ogres in the book.