There are many story conventions that readers may expect when reading a fantasy novel. In an earlier article for new writers, I explained that cliches are best avoided. But there are still certain expected conventions within the fantasy genre. Some will expect magic and mythical creatures. Others will long for a world without advanced modern technology, or perhaps a heroic quest. These conventions are called tropes.
Tropes in and of themselves are not bad things. The problem arises when a writer uses a cliche. A cliche is a trope that has been overused within a genre, such as a shadowy government organisation in thrillers, or ‘the bad boy’ in paranormal romance. In this article I will explain the fantasy cliches and ways you may be able to twist or completely avoid them.
Character Cliches to Avoid
The Chosen One
This is by far one of the top fantasy cliches to avoid, as it is the most common. It is often paired up with a great and terrifying prophecy of some sort. One way I’ve seen it subverted is by adding multiple Chosen Ones, as in Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series and Jenn Lyons’ A Chorus of Dragons series. Another way is for the prophecy to simply be wrong. Perhaps it was spoken by a false oracle, and people mistook it for truth. Finally, the prophecy could be about a different character. If this is the case, the true Chosen One will likely have to be a supporting character so that the readers don’t see the twist coming.