A Message From The Cliche Mines

Category: Cussin' In Tongues
Created on Thursday, 05 November 2015 Written by Steve

This week's post isn't specifically about gaming, but since terrible fantasy and gaming kind of go hand in hand, I figure it's not completely off-topic. 

As some of you may know, I wrote an M-Force novel for National Novel Writing Month a few years ago. The first draft isn't anywhere near publishable, but it helped me work out some things I needed to work out for M-Force 2E. There's probably enough story there to turn what I've got into something worth publishing, though, so last November I decided to start revising it. November came and went and all I did was convert the file to an format that was easier to work with. By this point, I've accepted that I'm probably not going to do anything with the M-Force novel until the new edition of the game is finished and I have no choice, which freed me up to start a new NaNoWriMo novel over the weekend. 

My first thought was to do a Hobomancer novel, since we have plans of doing more Hobomancer fiction to go along with Suicide's Run and I want to write some of it, but ultimately I decided that if I write a full Hobomancer I don't want to rush through the first draft in a month. I also considered writing novels around one of the three game setting concepts I've been thinking about in hopes that they'd help me pin some ideas down like the M-Force novel did, but decided against those because I have at least two big games (Cinemechanix and M-Force 2E) to finish before I can even start seriously working on the other ideas. That left two non-game novel ideas: A pulpy science fiction story about the adventures of space heroine Ray Gun Thompson (a character based entirely on my misreading of someone's name on Facebook) and an intentionally terrible fantasy novel. Since sci-fi (at least of the spaceship and ray gun variety) isn't really my natural element and pulp works better in short story form, I decided to go with the terrible fantasy novel. I'm calling it "Quest for the Lord of the Dragonsword Throne of Magic" and you can read the chapters as I finish them here.  

I thought about just writing a Qerth novel, but decided I didn't want to be tied down to a standard D&D world (even a satirical one), since some of the tried and true cliches (like dragons returning) don't work there. The plan is to include as many cliches, as many terrible metaphors, and as many phrases that sound like they say something but are actually meaningless when you parse them using literal definitions, and as many alternative ways of saying "said" (preferably with the words used incorrectly, or at least incongruently) as humanly possible. So far, I'm particularly proud of "faintly reeked" and "the road snaked like a serpentine serpent," and "he interrobanged." At first I was planning to write a full story with a beginning, middle, and end, but I'm beginning to think it would be more in keeping with the genre to have the book end without the characters being anywhere close to a resolution of the plot. Not sure which way I'll go yet.  

As for cliches, just in the first four chapters we've got:

  • A completely meaningless prologue.
  • A character dying almost immediately upon being introduced.
  • A kindly old wizard.
  • Whores!
  • A moody protagonist with a tortured soul.
  • A barbarian who's suspicious of magic.
  • A bookish, socially awkward wizardess.
  • An obvious traitor.
  • On-the-nose character names. 
  • Gratuitous apostrophes.
  • Meaningless setting details repeated over and over in order to make the world seem interesting. 
  • A group of adventurers meeting in a bar.
  • A man from our world transported into the fantasy world of the novel.
  • And probably some other stuff. 

Coming soon:

  • A bar fight! 
  • A revelation regarding the rather expansive use of the term "orphan." 
  • Color-coded magic. 
  • "Strong female characters" 
  • Dragons returning after generations. 

If you can handle the pain, give it a read. I'll try to get something more obviously gaming-related next week, but the posts this month will probably be a little on the short side. I've been staying a little ahead of the required word count to hit 50,000 words by November 30 so far, but if the first time is any indication that won't last long. 

 

Support me on Patreon, if you're into that kinda thing. 

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