Recently, the website SFSignal posed this question to numerous writers, including Robin Hobb, Martha Wells, and Melanie Rawn. I thought it was an odd question- at least certainly a loaded question. The headline for Andrea Johnson’s article was even more confronting: MIND MELD: What’s “Wrong” with Epic Fantasy?
Some, like Marc Alpin and Teresa Frohock, saw no real issues except an overload of choice and maybe some wrong expectations. Others, like Martha Wells and Melanie Rawn, mentioned the tendency for epic fantasies to get weighed down from having so many viewpoint characters. Robin Hobb felt that readers sometimes couldn’t find what they really wanted in the glut of books offered. Each person’s reply is worth reading, so follow the link and read it yourself.
The various respondents gave decent answers, but I had some qualms with who was asked.
Let me explain. I though it was a decent article, but I’d rather hear more from the readers than from fellow writers and other insiders when it comes to any issues with a genre or sub-genre. As a writer, I want to avoid themes that are getting tired or predictable. However, the “experts” can get jaded from overexposure to insider things, like professional film critics do, and start nitpicking at stuff that most would never notice. As long as my readers are happy with my books, then I’m satisfied.
Are there things in the genre that I dislike? Yup. I’ll not go into all of them because much of it is a matter of personal taste, but I have written about some of the ways Fantasy Series can fall short (Why Read the Whole Fantasy Series?). I will refrain from ranting on my other pet peeves though. Instead, I will try to write more novels that entertain. I want the readers to enjoy a good read and maybe have something to ponder afterwards. If I can consistently accomplish that, then I have found success.