10 Annoying Things Fantasy Characters Do

Ever notice how fantasy characters have the same habits in a lot of books? I have, and I made a list. Because I like lists.

Note: please don’t take this post too seriously. I don’t mind these things that much. I think it’s amusing more than anything else (except for #1, #2, and #10. Those need to stop). 

#1 Sensing things

The classic “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” scenario. George Lucas isn’t the only perpetrator. These characters sense everything three paragraphs before it happens. Meanwhile, I’m lucky if I sense my alarm going off in the morning.

#2 Eating bread, cheese, and apples

I get it. There aren’t a lot of foods that keep well during a long journey. But still…give the poor guy a bag of trail mix, at least (also…bread doesn’t stay fresh very long. And wouldn’t cheese stink up the whole travel pack?).

#3 Setting a watch at night

If you’ve got an assassin on your tail, setting a watch makes perfect sense. But fantasy travel buddies often “volunteer to take first watch” regardless of the danger level. Someone’s gotta keep the bears away, right? Should’ve kept the cheese in a tupperware…

#4 Drawing swords

If I had a dollar for every time a character “drew his sword” I’d quit one of my part-time jobs. I get it, okay? Drawing your sword makes you feel cool and threatening. Suggestion: save yourself the time and just punch the guy.

#5 Avoiding roads

Unless you’ve got Ringwraiths hunting you down, what’s the worst that could happen? A toll booth? Is dodging hypothetical bandits really worth all the briars and wet feet? Come on. If you do run into bandits, just draw your sword. Or punch. You should have set that watch, Jimmy.

#6 Running into bandits

Sorry. But there’s gotta be more ways to give your hero trouble before the real action starts. Have you tried bears? Bears are stinking terrifying. I’ll take bandits over bears any day of the week.

#7 Blasting things

I don’t like obscenities in fiction. Honestly, it just cheapens the prose for me. On the other hand, substituting every single moment of explicit frustration for ‘blast it!’ doesn’t really work either. Unless it involves bears and dynamite. In that case, by all means, blast them.

#8 Scanning treelines (or other landscape features)

He scanned the treeline. He scanned the ridge. She scanned the beach. They scanned the road. He scanned his passport. Seriously, can you stop that? Blast your scanning! There are easier ways to find bears.

#9 Holding council meetings

Because that’s the best way to make urgent decisions (bonus points if it takes an agonizingly long chapter of dialog). Once I even read a chapter about a council of bears. Not even joking. (The book was Father of Dragons, by L.B. Graham. A council of bears! Bless that man.) 

#10 Speed-learning skills

Whether your protagonist has to learn how to ride a horse, fight with a sword, punch bandits, scan treelines, or blast bears and their councils, she’ll probably do it on the road (or off it, because bandits and bears), under the sage guidance of some old fart, and it’ll only take her a week or two to master the practice.


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6 Things Other Writers Do That I Can’t

Writers are creatures of habit, but each writer has their own particular set of habits. As I watch my fellow writers spin their tales, I’ve noticed them do some things that, for better or for worse, are simply out of my reach.

Here are six things other writers do that I can’t.

Improvise (a.k.a. ‘Pantsing’)

I live and die by the outline. While I firmly believe in allowing the story to grow organically and giving myself room to discover and be surprised by the process, if I try to write a complete story with no framework, no visual indication of where I’m going, I guarantee I won’t finish that project.

Write scenes/chapters out of order

Even though I always know what’s coming next thanks to my rigorous, often obsessive, outlining, I refuse to (and cannot) write the events of my story out of order. It just feels wrong. I know a lot of people have no problem doing so, and for some it even works better. But not me.

Write in cars/trains/planes

I’ve traveled a lot, and I’ve written in a lot of different countries. But try as I might, I can’t seem to write as I’m traveling. Writing in the car makes me carsick. Plane seats are too uncomfortable, and there are bound to be at least a dozen different movies playing on people’s screens to distract me. I’ve had minor success writing on trains, but more often than not I end up staring out the window.

Work on phones/tablets

A lot of people do this, and I wish I could because it looks so handy. But I can’t. I can’t keep notes, or write sections, or really do anything writing-related on my phone or tablet. Maybe my thumbs are too clumsy. Maybe the screen is too small. I don’t know. It just won’t happen.

Get up extra early to write

I’m not a morning person. I have, however, disciplined myself to be up at a decent hour and get to work (as long as there’s coffee). What I can’t do is force myself to get up earlier than my schedule dictates and expect myself to focus on the creative process. My brain functions far better late at night than early in the morning.

Write in my bedroom

This is mostly choice, but I can’t write or work in my own bedroom. Perhaps such proximity to my bed is too tempting, or perhaps the bookshelf behind me would be my undoing. Either way, I try to keep my work-space separate from my leisure/relax/sleeping space.


What are some of the things other writers do that don’t work for you? Drop a comment below! As always, I’m super glad you stopped by. Enjoy your day!

10 Random Writing Habits

Every writer has a particular set of habits that he/she abides by, sometimes for no clear reason. Here are ten of mine:

1 – I always write in 500-word chunks and take 5-10 minute breaks between each session.

2 – Out of all the mugs I own, only a select few are my official writing mugs. Two are for coffee, one is for tea.

mug
Ninja mug always makes sure I’m typing away at my manuscript…

3 – I switch back and forth between a desk-and-chair and a couch or recliner.

4 – I hold my breath when writing intense scenes.

5 – I never write in my bedroom.

6 – Many of my good ideas hit me during long car rides, but if I try to write on the road, I’ll be sick within 30 seconds.

7 – Every so often I’ll get a strong urge to write by hand, so I end up with notebooks full of disjointed scenes.

8 – I always edit a printed copy of my manuscript.

9 – Whenever I stop to think while writing I end up rubbing my jaw. Don’t ask why. I just do.

10 – I almost never touch my manuscript before lunch.

What are some of your writerly habits? Care to share? Drop a comment below! And while you’re at it, don’t forget to subscribe.

Keep calm and write on, friend!