Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | January 14, 2012

The Fantasy Novelist’s Exam

Found this on the internet through one of my FB contacts and laughed my ass off over the questions. I’m sure I posted one that was entirely built around science-fiction here not too long ago. (Not sure.)

But thinking about my Stories of the Dead Earth fantasy series, I decided to match what I had against the following questions:

  1. Does nothing happen in the first fifty pages? Nope.
  2. Is your main character a young farmhand with mysterious parentage? Nope.
  3. Is your main character the heir to the throne but doesn’t know it? She’s already a princess.
  4. Is your story about a young character who comes of age, gains great power, and defeats the supreme badguy? She’s already a skilled magic user and good with mecha.
  5. Is your story about a quest for a magical artifact that will save the world? Nope.
  6. How about one that will destroy it? Doubtful.
  7. Does your story revolve around an ancient prophecy about “The One” who will save the world and everybody and all the forces of good? No prophecies in my series.
  8. Does your novel contain a character whose sole purpose is to show up at random plot points and dispense information? Haven’t gotten that far.
  9. Does your novel contain a character that is really a god in disguise? Nope. But plenty of ‘godly’ butt to kick around.
  10. Is the evil supreme badguy secretly the father of your main character? Only if it was during an arranged marriage. ^_^
  11. Is the king of your world a kindly king duped by an evil magician? Nope. Just one evil king.
  12. Does “a forgetful wizard” describe any of the characters in your novel? Haven’t run into any.
  13. How about “a powerful but slow and kind-hearted warrior”? Nobody of that description are in my books.
  14. How about “a wise, mystical sage who refuses to give away plot details for his own personal, mysterious reasons”? Most of the wizards encountered in the first three books seem to have a thing for lost princesses. (Shudder.)
  15. Do the female characters in your novel spend a lot of time worrying about how they look, especially when the male main character is around? Actually, the female MC in my book series is more worried about being  misjudged for what she is, than trying to score the hot guy. (She tries for something like it later, but it falls flat.)
  16. Do any of your female characters exist solely to be captured and rescued? Well, in the fourth book, the female MC is captured and needs to be rescued from an evil queen. But so does her female friend.
  17. Do any of your female characters exist solely to embody feminist ideals? Uh…no.
  18. Would “a clumsy cooking wench more comfortable with a frying pan than a sword” aptly describe any of your female characters? Nope.
  19. Would “a fearless warrioress more comfortable with a sword than a frying pan” aptly describe any of your female characters? Nope on this one.
  20. Is any character in your novel best described as “a dour dwarf”? I haven’t really thought about adding dwarves to my book series. I think there’s something going on with that in my Faerie Wars trilogy, but I don’t know yet.
  21. How about “a half-elf torn between his human and elven heritage”? Nope. Both are human. Well, the other has issues.
  22. Did you make the elves and the dwarves great friends, just to be different? Nope.
  23. Does everybody under four feet tall exist solely for comic relief? Nope.
  24. Do you think that the only two uses for ships are fishing and piracy? I don’t know if the Esmeralda Jasmine fits either description.
  25. Do you not know when the hay baler was invented? I’d say in the 1800s. But nobody uses one in my books.
  26. Did you draw a map for your novel which includes places named things like “The Blasted Lands” or “The Forest of Fear” or “The Desert of Desolation” or absolutely anything “of Doom”? I suck at drawing maps, so the answer would be no.
  27. Does your novel contain a prologue that is impossible to understand until you’ve read the entire book, if even then? Nope.
  28. Is this the first book in a planned trilogy? Nope. 10 books.
  29. How about a quintet or a decalogue? Busted. So what?
  30. Is your novel thicker than a New York City phone book? Both The Starchild, Starchild Duel, and The Price of Freedom are. Stories of the Dead Earth is actually average-sized novels. (250-400 pages each)
  31. Did absolutely nothing happen in the previous book you wrote, yet you figure you’re still many sequels away from finishing your “story”? I don’t think being marooned in a fishing village counts as ‘absolutely nothing happening’. ^_^
  32. Are you writing prequels to your as-yet-unfinished series of books? I didn’t give that much thought. But no. No prequels for this series.
  33. Is your name Robert Jordan and you lied like a dog to get this far? If I was Robert Jordan, people would ask me how I managed to fake my death. ^_^
  34. Is your novel based on the adventures of your role-playing group? Nope.
  35. Does your novel contain characters transported from the real world to a fantasy realm? Nope.
  36. Do any of your main characters have apostrophes or dashes in their names? The main character has one adopted surname–village tradition.
  37. Do any of your main characters have names longer than three syllables? Nope.
  38. Do you see nothing wrong with having two characters from the same small isolated village being named “Tim Umber” and “Belthusalanthalus al’Grinsok”? Both my main characters don’t have names like that.
  39. Does your novel contain orcs, elves, dwarves, or halflings? Nope.
  40. How about “orken” or “dwerrows”? Nope.
  41. Do you have a race prefixed by “half-“? No race.
  42. At any point in your novel, do the main characters take a shortcut through ancient dwarven mines? I don’t think there are such places in my book series.
  43. Do you write your battle scenes by playing them out in your favorite RPG? I wish! lol
  44. Have you done up game statistics for all of your main characters in your favorite RPG? Nope. Haven’t gone that crazy.
  45. Are you writing a work-for-hire for Wizards of the Coast? Aren’t they almost out of business?
  46. Do inns in your book exist solely so your main characters can have brawls? The only ‘inn’ that I’m aware of is a dimensional gateway into the lower levels of hell.
  47. Do you think you know how feudalism worked but really don’t? Done some studies of the subject.
  48. Do your characters spend an inordinate amount of time journeying from place to place? How else are they going to get from one point to the next?
  49. Could one of your main characters tell the other characters something that would really help them in their quest but refuses to do so just so it won’t break the plot? If a woman wanted to play mind games with you, would you a willing participant?
  50. Do any of the magic users in your novel cast spells easily identifiable as “fireball” or “lightning bolt”? Nothing as mundane as that.
  51. Do you ever use the term “mana” in your novel? Only in the Secret of Mana. ^_^
  52. Do you ever use the term “plate mail” in your novel? Haven’t come across any such things.
  53. Heaven help you, do you ever use the term “hit points” in your novel? Hell no.
  54. Do you not realize how much gold actually weighs? Depends on the object in question. It can be either light or heavy.
  55. Do you think horses can gallop all day long without rest? Only if the author forgets to bed and water them.
  56. Does anybody in your novel fight for two hours straight in full plate armor, then ride a horse for four hours, then delicately make love to a willing barmaid all in the same day? Nobody in the book does that.
  57. Does your main character have a magic axe, hammer, spear, or other weapon that returns to him when he throws it? One of the main characters is a techno-mage. But I don’t think anything she throws at the enemy ‘comes back’.
  58. Does anybody in your novel ever stab anybody with a scimitar? Nope. Just swords.
  59. Does anybody in your novel stab anybody straight through plate armor? Once or twice. I’m not sure of ‘stabbing’ is the word I’d use.
  60. Do you think swords weigh ten pounds or more? [info] Some real life replicas do. 
  61. Does your hero fall in love with an unattainable woman, whom he later attains? It’s the other way around. The heroine tries to put the moves on a ship’s captain and it backfires on her.
  62. Does a large portion of the humor in your novel consist of puns? Not as I am consciously aware.
  63. Is your hero able to withstand multiple blows from the fantasy equivalent of a ten pound sledge but is still threatened by a small woman with a dagger? Haven’t experienced anything like that yet.
  64. Do you really think it frequently takes more than one arrow in the chest to kill a man? Only if the first shot was poorly aimed and missed entirely.
  65. Do you not realize it takes hours to make a good stew, making it a poor choice for an “on the road” meal? I don’t think either one of my characters knows how to cook. (This could be an unforeseen problem.)
  66. Do you have nomadic barbarians living on the tundra and consuming barrels and barrels of mead? Not to my knowledge.
  67. Do you think that “mead” is just a fancy name for “beer”? If the stuff’s good…? Why not?
  68. Does your story involve a number of different races, each of which has exactly one country, one ruler, and one religion? I don’t really know to that exact point. There are different races, many countries, such have rulers of their own, but I believe that there is only one religion.
  69. Is the best organized and most numerous group of people in your world the thieves’ guild? Uhh…no.
  70. Does your main villain punish insignificant mistakes with death? Possibly. But again, I don’t know whether he does or not.
  71. Is your story about a crack team of warriors that take along a bard who is useless in a fight, though he plays a mean lute? Nope. Just two lost princesses on a quest to overthrow an evil king on Dead Earth.
  72. Is “common” the official language of your world? I know English is.
  73. Is the countryside in your novel littered with tombs and gravesites filled with ancient magical loot that nobody thought to steal centuries before? Dunno.
  74. Is your book basically a rip-off of The Lord of the Rings? Uh…no.
  75. Read that question again and answer truthfully. Just did.


  1. You have a novel called the Faerie Wars and you’re not Herbie Brennan?

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