Greetings, fellow writers! After fourteen minutes of long and dedicated study, I have emerged from the wilds of the minds of reviewers to present this list of sins: the forbidden things an author should never, ever, do.
A/N: I do know that lists aren't 'allowed' on Fictionpress. For that reason, I am writing a paragraph or two under each listing, providing some sort of explanation. You can skip them if you like, but I'm doing my best to make them...useful.
Fictionpress Guide to Things a Fantasy Author should Never Do
1. Name one thing in English and another in another language.
Because on Earth, everything (places, landmarks, people too) are named in ONE language. You will never find a Jamestown next to a Powhatan. You will never find a Madison and a Milwaukee in the same country. London cannot be within a few hundred miles of Paris. This is obvious, because the languages are not the same! Only a shoddy worldbuilder would put so many different-sounding words next to each other!
2. Never create a character with long hair.
Long hair on a female is the #1 sign of Sue. Long hair on a guy is the #1 sign of a manga obsession. Because only anime has guys with long hair. Furthermore, long hair is a disability slightly less serious than epilepsy, though for different reasons. With long hair, you can never get in a fight because somebody could just grab that hair, somehow avoiding your slashing blade/s long enough to do so, yank down, cut your throat (again, while avoiding your blade) and that's the end of you! Also, hair sheds like mad. Everybody know there's no way to keep human hair clean either, so yuck.
3. Never allow your main character to succeed at anything.
Success, even more than long hair, is the sign of a SPESHUL character-the sort of character people that say things like SPESHUL and OH NOES! never write. And if a character succeeds at anything with ease, then you should probably just junk them now and move on to a more realistic protagonist.
4. Never write about an attractive main character.
Nobody is attractive in real life, so your story begins bleeding suspension of disbelief from the moment you mention her flawless skin or soft eyes. To say nothing of a firmly muscled character. When are you going to find time to work out in a sword & sorcery novel? And of course, attractiveness is a sign of...
Oh, end that paragraph for me, will you? (If you need a hint, check #2 and #3)
5. Never have ugly evil characters
Of course, beautiful (especially sinister and beautiful) villains are just as much of a cliche, so it's best you make all antagonists nondescript.
6. No matter the temptation, stick to the conventional rules of English in all things. Also, never use the passive tense.
I would also note that making/reapplying verbs is not a cool thing to do. While the sun may 'gild' a character's hair, another character's hair cannot be 'bronzed'. Bronzing is something that only happens to your skin, and rarely at that. For that matter, why do people always speak of light as a liquid? Why do people mix their senses, using metaphors of taste to describe the sound of a lover's voice? Can't these fools keep track of their sensory organs?
7. Never, ever, ever, have an anachronism. In a fantasy world.
If your character serves a king and cooks over a cast iron stove, you must be a shoddy worldbuilder. After all, the monarchy and stoves never coexisted (except perhaps in England)! Furthermore, the discovery of science and scientific method before 1450 (and that only if you have Leonardo Da Vinci) is patently baloney. Everybody knows the Middle-Ages Christians, the Muslims, the Chinese, the Roman Empire, and the Greeks didn't have science!
7.5 Never, ever, ever have "anachronisms" in your fantasy world
Women, doing things? Everyone knows women who did things were invented by the bra-burning feminists of the 1970s! Gay people? Spent most of their time being burned at the stake! Anyone who isn't pearly white? What do you mean, I don't understand, what is this?
8. Never have two characters fall in love, especially not your main characters.
Remember, if the (male) main character encounters a fair-looking female, that female is the Designated Love Interest. Any signs of personality on her part should be chalked up as dumb luck on the part of the author. DLI's have no souls or personalities. Furthermore, love is a lie. Don't mess with it unless you want your readers to roll their eyes at your sap. Or curl up and cry at their own loneliness.
Obviously female main characters are just especially-detailed DLI's, so you should avoid writing them at all. Nobody wants to read about that. See also point 7.5, what do you think you're doing writing a protagonist with ovaries? Political correctness gone wild!
And for Pete's sake, you do realize that chaste relationships don't exist, don't you? All 'love' is really just an attempt of the characters to get in each other's pants. Not that this is any better. You pathetic, failed oblivious virgin.
9. Do not have a non-human share any human characteristic.
Like hands/paws. Or eyes. Or mouths. Or minds. Where would a nonhuman come by those, anyway?
Elves and Dwarves are overused and don't belong in fantasy anyway. Any other race you use is obviously and elf or dwarf in disguise (or perhaps a hobbit) and shall be dealt with swiftly and without mercy.
Other human characteristics include: love, honor, a system of currency, a grudge, gourmet appetite, and personal hygiene (that last is debatable).
10. On second thought, don't have any intelligent non-humans.
Except possibly dragons. Because unlike elves and dwarves, those haven't been done to death.
11. Do not write anything that looks visually impressive.
If you can visualize it in your mind and think, 'hey, that's pretty cool', then it was thrown in for the Squee!factor and serves no point for the rest of the plot. If it does become a plot point, that was the author covering their tracks. Actually, even if something looks cool and does serve the plot, it probably would serve just as well without looking cool.
Also, any character who does something that looks/sounds impressive is not only a Sue, but was also thrown in for squee (probably only for that specific scene) and therefore has no personality. But he's still a Sue.
12. Do not have strong female characters.
If you are a female, said characters are your 'self-inserts' and probably Sues. If you are a guy, you're just putting in bitches or trying to hide your inner chauvinism.
13. Do not have any characters without parents.
Because everybody has two living, happily married parents in real life. And the two parents they were born to, not adopted or stepparents. Yet obviously, all adult figures in your work are just tools for your almighty plot. Any personalities they seem to show are lies, cheep gimmicks you use to try and make us like them before they inevitably die.
14. Do not describe your characters. At all.
Description always bogs down a good story. Furthermore, this is probably just a chance to show how beautiful your protagonist is or how hideous your antagonist. We don't care what they look like. Actually, all your characters are Sues anyway (see last 13 points), so we don't care about them at all.
15. Do not have an old man who shares the wisdom of his years.
All such are Old Mentor Figures, will invariably die, and probably won't tell the protagonist anything useful anyway. Also, all old people are drooling, wheelchair-bound children who probably are incapable of teaching anybody.
16. People do not set out on 'journeys' with other people they have just met. Ever.
Road trips or 'quests', as you are so fond of calling them, do not exist in the real world. Therefore, they should not exist in your fantasy world. Really, would YOU go camping for 6 months with people you have barely met, and who were introduced to you as 'Marthen Isten, preeminent mage of our time', 'Feren Blackwood, Champion of the Gods', or 'Salis Leftiew, chosen by Lord Elfrond himself for her trustworthiness and good character'? And by the way, Salis is a Sue.
17. Do not have prophecies.
Prophecies are just an excuse for your protagonist to blindly follow the path before them, even when it makes no sense to do so. But wait! The Prophecy says!
18. Do not have an insane villain. OR a villain who makes mistakes, which is pretty much the same thing.
You just want to make this easy on your wittle SPESHUL protagonist, don't you?
19. Never have a happy ending.
Happy endings are impossible. Life in pain, and don't let your protagonists forget it. And anyway, happy endings are impossible if you follow #3 and #18. And if you didn't...
20. Never write anything even vaguely reminiscent of Eragon, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, anime, RPGS, or gods forbid, something that Limyaael covered in one of her rants and which you apparently don't agree with.
Actually, because it's impossible for you to have heard of Limyaael, lowly Suethor that you are, you have just necessitated her rants being quoted/paraphrased at you in a way far more 'ranty' that she is herself. If your story reminds the reader of any of those other things, you obviously ripped of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or your favorite anime. After all, those others just rip off the masters.
21. Never ever ever protest the treatment the reviewer gives you.
The reviewer, because s/he has SNARK POWAH and TEH POWAH OF DELIBERATE MISSPELLINGS! is beyond reproach. If you think they're being rude, you're probably a thin-skinned little Suethor who can't take direction. Wait-did I say PROBABLY? You are!
22. Do not give information at any point except right as it's needed.
If you give it too early, it's random and an infodump. If you don't give the information until after the fact, it can be safely assumed that you forgot the explanation and pulled it out of your...sleeve. Magician Suethor that you are.
23. Never admit you made a mistake. This goes for you reviewers, too.
And this concludes the discoveries of my search. May the information herein be useful to you all. Thank you, and may your pens never run dry!
Wait, scratch that last bit. Just say 'bye', guys. Anything else is ripped off of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or a combination of the two.