View Full Version : Among the following fantasy characters, which do you like or dislike?

06-11-2014, 11:13 AM
Among the following types of fantasy characters, which ones do you love reading about, which ones do you like but are not really into, which ones will you read if the story is compelling enough and which ones do you never want to read about again?

Mermaids and Mermen
Other Half human Half Animal Hybrids, Centaurs, Deer Women, Scorpion Men
Greek and Roman Gods and Demigods and other Mythological beings
Hindu Gods, Demigods and Spirits
Nature Spirits

06-11-2014, 11:22 AM
You REALLY need to read some Terry Pratchett.


06-11-2014, 01:05 PM
At the risk of being flamed/stoned/exiled from the tribe, I can't stand Pratchett so can't comment on blacbird's recommendation.

Totally personal opinions on the original question:

Dragons - meh. You'd have to do it very well.

Griffins - would make a nice change.

Unicorns - depends on the unicorn. Not the fluffy rainbows and glitter type please.

Knights - I like knights.

Pirates - hmmm. If the pirate is a robber on a ship, fine. If it's Jack Sparrow or Captain Pugwash, not so much.

Trolls - not a fan of the "D&D" type troll. A real Scandanavian troll would make a nice change.

Elves - again, not the Tolkein / D&D type elf for me. Actual traditional folklore elves are fine by me.

Ghouls - Ghouls are good.

Mages - Far too wide a category to say one way or the other. Most fantasy stories have some sort of "person what does magic" in them, some done very well, some done horribly.

Nymphs - what's not to like about nymphs? If they're not overtly porny, anyway.

Selkies - I've actually never read a story with selkies, for that that they're supposedly "overdone". Bring it.

Mermaids and Mermen - ditto.

Other Half human Half Animal Hybrids, Centaurs, Deer Women, Scorpion Men - unless you're going for a completely mythological feel, you'll have a really hard time convincing me how they work or even why they exist at all.

Greek and Roman Gods and Demigods and other Mythological beings - Beings in the style of these, always good. Actual mythological gods, hmmm. Neil Gaiman got away with it, not sure anyone else has that I've read.

Hindu Gods, Demigods and Spirits - You'd have to be really careful not to offend the hell out of actual Hindus if you try this one (same with any other real modern world religion).

Nature Spirits - maybe, if they don't come across as new age hippies. Which they often do.

Marian Perera
06-11-2014, 04:00 PM
Dragons - will read if this is done differently, e.g. the dragons are not glorified flying horses slavishly devoted to their human riders.

Griffins - as above.

Unicorns - as above. I wouldn't mind reading about evil unicorns.

Knights - Depends on how they're done.

Pirates - I write about those myself. :) Generally not keen on them portrayed as cool or swashbuckling.

Trolls - Indifferent.

Elves - Never want to read about these again, thanks. Burned out on them after Tolkien, Rosemary Edghill and tons of DragonLance/Forgotten Realms novels.

Ghouls - Indifferent. If they're zombies, meh. Had enough of those in The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

Mages - As in, people who can work magic? It depends on how this is done. Most of the time I'm OK with it, as long as the magic system is consistent and not something heavily weighted towards the protagonists.

Nymphs - I'm not sure exactly what these are. Like dryads? Indiferent.

Selkies - Not a fan of shapechangers in general.

Mermaids and Mermen - Like, as long as they're not 1. Little Mermaid types who are fascinated with humans 2. what we would consider beautiful, e.g. long flowing hair and boobs stuffed into seashells.

Other Half human Half Animal Hybrids, Centaurs, Deer Women, Scorpion Men - In general, like these. The more unusual the animal half, the more likely I am to pick this up.

Greek and Roman Gods and Demigods and other Mythological beings - Not keen on these, seen them too often.

Hindu Gods, Demigods and Spirits - Now that's something I haven't seen, outside of Song of Kali.

Nature Spirits - Depends on how it's done.

06-11-2014, 04:07 PM
Neutral on the whole list. I'd have to see how the writing made use of the subjects before I read more, or set it aside with a sigh. I adore fantasy and have been reading it a long time. By now, great writing can convince me to read almost any subject. Grocery lists of tropes adopted for keyword SEO, not so much.

06-11-2014, 04:16 PM
I'll read them all.

06-11-2014, 04:27 PM
I have to wonder why you're asking the same question (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=289821) again.

It's great that maybe you're looking for elements that can make your story compelling. The problem as I see it is that elements, by themselves, don't make a story compelling. Twilight didn't sell because it's got vampires. Harry Potter isn't a success because of wizards. They each sold because the story itself spoke to the readers.

Also, tastes change. Some authors complain that the public is fickle. Maybe that's true. I don't believe it. I believe that life is change. And it shows up in the public's thirst for a new exploration. Of something. Of pretty much anything.

So my answer to your question is: don't worry about it. Find the story you're ready to tell, and tell it.

06-11-2014, 04:35 PM
I do have to agree with Rob here. You're asking the same question over and over.

It's the *story* not the types of beasties in it that moves readers.

What's your story?

06-11-2014, 04:39 PM
I would read any of them if they were done well enough. I'd read none of them if they were handled poorly.

It's all in the execution.

Jo Zebedee
06-11-2014, 04:40 PM
Dragons - not fussed on

Griffins - ditto

Unicorns - yes, if done a little differently

Knights - not keen on epic but love humourous takes - I loved Thaddeus White's Sir Edric's Temple for his clever send up of the genre.

Pirates - no problem with pirates

Trolls - wouldn't make me read, wouldn't put me off

Elves - see knights...

Ghouls - not keen, a little too wide

Mages - yep, love mages. Writing about one at the mo

Nymphs - not that keen

Selkies - yes, like selkies and they would draw me in

Mermaids and Mermen - I'd need to be convinced of their value

Other Half human Half Animal Hybrids, Centaurs, Deer Women, Scorpion Men - wouldn't put me off

Greek and Roman Gods and Demigods and other Mythological beings
Hindu Gods, Demigods and Spirits - I'd be worried it's be confusing in terms of who's who.

Nature Spirits - on the fence.

06-11-2014, 08:51 PM
I'll read any fantasy being if you write it well.

06-11-2014, 09:07 PM

Readers will read pretty much any of those if the story is done well.

Readers will pretty much not be interested in any of those if the story is not done well.

Stop asking the same questions over and over again, and write the story you want to tell. You can't game the system by trying to cherry-pick all that's popular and mash it together, because:
1. Readers can tell if an author's heart is in their story or not.
2. If you don't have a story you want to tell, you can't fake your way through it, especially as a beginner.
3. If you don't have a story you want to tell, why do you want to tell them? Why would anyone want to read them?
4. What makes a story good isn't what's IN IT, but what IT IS.
5. What's popular changes more often than the weather.

Closing this thread as an unnecessary duplicate of this thread (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=289821).