Is a fantasy story without an ending/solution that involves fantasy wrong?

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RusticBohemian
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Is a fantasy story without an ending/solution that involves fantasy wrong?

Postby RusticBohemian » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:47 am

In a WOTF podcast panel interview (link below), contest judge Jody Lynn Nye says that one major mistake she sees being made frequently is that people will use a fantasy setting but have the resolution/ending/solution have nothing to do with fantasy at all. She seemed to say that this was a common cause for her to not like the story.

I'm writing a story that sets up a problem through supernatural means. It takes place in an invented world with a bronze age setting, but the characters are human and the solutions they find to the problem are all human/not supernatural. No magic, elves, wizards, etc come to the rescue. It's all human ingenuity. I rather like what I'm doing because I like exploring humanity through the lens of imagined worlds, but this seems to be what Nye suggests we should avoid.

Should I throw in the towel on this story? I really have no desire to make it about an extra-human solution. That would defeat the point for what I'm trying to do with it.

I'm interested in everyone's view, but perhaps I'll luck out and Jody Lynn Nye could clarify, or I could get some feedback from other judges.

Thanks!

Interview link: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/writer ... e/64056686
Last edited by RusticBohemian on Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:51 am, edited 3 times in total.

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RSchibler
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Re: Is a fantasy story without an ending/solution that involves fantasy wrong?

Postby RSchibler » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:08 am

It’s generally recommended to avoid details regarding your story on the forum as the contest is anonymous - I’d edit out those details. Judges have been known to browse the forum.
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RusticBohemian
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Re: Is a fantasy story without an ending/solution that involves fantasy wrong?

Postby RusticBohemian » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:14 am

RSchibler wrote:It’s generally recommended to avoid details regarding your story on the forum as the contest is anonymous - I’d edit out those details. Judges have been known to browse the forum.


Ok. Edited to make my post more generic.

SwiftPotato
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Re: Is a fantasy story without an ending/solution that involves fantasy wrong?

Postby SwiftPotato » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:43 am

IMHO, I think this has a lot to do with the metric of "if the story could exist without the fantasy/sci-fi/horror/whatever element, then it doesn't really need to be fantasy/sci-fi/horror/whatever". Do your characters have to find new ways to use their ingenuity in order to overcome the supernatural challenges? Or are these challenges only supernatural because the supernatural bit adds some flavor? I'll use Deathnote as an example. It's a story in which fantastical ways to murder people are introduced to the real human world. At the end of the day, it's a story about humans using their ingenuity to use those things to further their means, and other humans trying to stop them by using their own ingenuity. But at the end, even the humans on the "good" side had to use the fantastical murder things in order to stop the "bad" ones. Otherwise it would have just been a story about a mass murderer with some fantasy flavor.

Overall, I think what she's trying to say is that a solution that makes the fantasy element not matter means that the fantasy element never mattered, and so the story didn't really have to be fantasy.
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Dustin Adams
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Re: Is a fantasy story without an ending/solution that involves fantasy wrong?

Postby Dustin Adams » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:37 am

RusticBohemian wrote:Should I throw in the towel on this story?

Absolutely not.
Write the story how you want it written, get critiques from others.
Do you love it? Submit it!

This is one judge, and it's one avenue to which she may not like a story, or vote it down. There's 4-5 judges who may give it the top rank, and so you come in third that quarter instead of second... You're still going to LA!

I will listen to the podcast and perhaps comment more intelligently, but my instinct is to disagree. However, I see Swift's POV also. If the resolution doesn't include or negate the problem, then was the problem correct? AKA, Do Hawkeye and Widow belong in the MCU? I like how they kick ass without superpowers...

At their best, all these stories explore humanity. That's what was so amazing about the character of Data on ST:TNG. He explored humanity like a Boss. But he was an android... Perspective.

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Do your thing again.
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Wulf Moon
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Re: Is a fantasy story without an ending/solution that involves fantasy wrong?

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:46 pm

All good comments here. I'll just add that Jody Lynn Nye is one sharp cookie--personally, I'd never discount her advice. You now know how the cookie will crumble if this story makes it to finalist and she ends up being one of your four quarterly judges. But she is just one of many judges that could be selected. My advice? Write your story. Submit your story. Move on to writing your next.
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KD Julicher
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Re: Is a fantasy story without an ending/solution that involves fantasy wrong?

Postby KD Julicher » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:59 pm

I didn't hear the podcast but is it possible you are conflating "fantasy" with "magic"? That is, if my fantasy story ends with a sword duel, how would you classify that? What if the solution is human ingenuity but it so entirely springs from my fantasy culture as to be inseparable? If it's an epic secondary world fantasy inherently fantastic through and through?

This is actually something I'm guilty of and I'm working to fix in my writing, that my stories just aren't fantastic enough. Pretty sure it's the reason why at least one and maybe more of my finalist stories did not make it to the winner's circle.

Maybe use this advice to challenge yourself. Can you upgrade your chosen ending with a more fantastic element?
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