One of the blogs that I follow—Mere Inkling—posted yesterday about avoiding fantasy clichés. Go ahead and read his post. I won’t bother attempting eloquence when he already achieved it. I just wanted to point out the link that he provides to “The Fantasy Novelist’s Exam.” This is a hilarious, if somewhat tongue-in-cheek critique of the state of the world of fantasy novels. Are you writing a fantasy novel (like I am)? Go ahead and take the test. Technically, if you answer “yes” to any of the questions, you should abandon your attempt. I wouldn’t be quite so harsh. But you at the very least should have a good soul-search and find some non-fantasy fans to help you out with an assessment of the quality of your novel (I have found such people, as alien as they may seem, to be an invaluable resource).
Were you just about to have your young farmhand main character who is secretly the son of the big bad evil dude stab somebody with a twenty pound scimitar through plate mail in a tavern brawl over a fearless warrioress more comfortable with a sword than a frying pan?