2 Diva's Bookish Discussions (6): What makes a good fantasy and dystopian?

September 19, 2013

Introduction -
Hi, we're Francoise and Sunny and we have known each other since our nappy days. We're constantly having rants and raves about the latest books and bookish news. This is a fortnightly discussion that you can find on both of our blogs, so please make sure to stop by both blogs as our written content is different, although on the same topic. Our posts are not intended to offend anyone or anything but this is just our opinions and we would love it if you would share your thoughts in the comments. Enjoy!

It’s been two weeks since the last ‘2 Diva’s Bookish Discussions’ was posted and it’s the last round of ‘What makes a good….?’. Today for our final ‘What makes a good…..?’ I’ll be talking about (and so will Francoise on her blog) what makes a good Dystopian and or Fantasy novel. Seeing as the same sorta things fit into both genre’s I will be talking about the two as one, even though you’ll probably be able to tell which point is referring to what genre, if one is more so. Make sense? Ok. If you missed our previous 2 ‘What makes a good…?’ then check out the links below.

What makes a good fantasy and or dystopian novel?
  • World building: This is always a must and a certain percentage of it needs to be present in any genre, but particularly a fantasy or dystopian novel. I remember when reading my favourite fantasy series, The Iron Fey for the first time, I was amazed with how clearly I could imagine the never never and it’s vivid scenery. I think this is a need because the two genres largely depend on the world it’s set in. Whether it be the destroyed dystopian world controlled by a cruel government or a magic filled land in the fantasy books we read, the world set in a dystopian and fantasy are key elements to the story.
  • Originality: I think this has been included in all three posts but it’s something I think is so important. These are two extremely popular genres with many best-selling ideas, but saying this are we seeing too much of the same storylines popping up? I can understand why authors feel the need to make all these novels similar and it’s because these storylines work. But when someone manages to create a new and original idea I’m blown away and in the long run it’s better for the author, who may just create the new thing. Take Cassandra Clare for example, my favourite author. She whilst including vampires and werewolves created a compelling, exciting and new story with Shadowhunters. A concept never seen before. The whole chosen love thing is getting over used.
  • Not overly complex: Dystopian and Fantasy novels can have quite a lot to them! Meaning the plots can sometimes have too much going on and can be complex. Complexity may not be a problem for some but like I always say ‘I do not like to look at a book the same way I’d view a maths equation’. If you're good at maths that’s great but for a failing maths student like me… looking at the two things the same is not good. If there’s a lot going on, the explain it to us in a way that our teenage minds will understand.
  • Appropriate balance of gloom and shine: Dystopian and Fantasy novels are going to be creepy, dark and maybe even scary. So make it believable, don’t make it all rainbows and sunshine and then say the worlds end is coming. But don’t make it that we feel like jumping off a cliff. Let there be that spiral of light in the darkness or the character who always manages to make the reader laugh. Find the right balance.
  • Realistic: The best thing ever is when reading a dystopian and being able to imagine the broken society as our dark and possible future. It keeps the reader intrigued, creeped out, interested, curious and able to draw comparisons to the two worlds and how they could one day be one. It’s also really cool when a fantasy is so well written that we begin to question the existence of a world beyond our own. I mean who wants to read a story where were laughing about the stupidness and impossibility of the plot.
  • Character Development: Sometimes I read books and there is absolutely no change between the character at the start and end of the novel. I guess this isn’t always needed but when your character’s city gets blown up or finds out she or he’s a fairy, they are obviously going to change in some mental form. Well I would!

Other things we love in these genre’s: action, couple’s working together, a world already known to the protagonist, plot twists, great villains, and cool use of magic.

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  1. Yes, I totally agree with you on this! I think originality is particularly important because ideas in dystopia and fantasy can very quickly become cliche, and no one wants tor read the same plot over and over again with just slight details changed. Great post!

  2. Great post! We really need to start writing posts ontime. I don't know why jut have you noticed the lack of comments lately?

  3. This is a great post Sunny! I totally agree with you on World Building, I turn off on novels that have either bad or a lack of world building. Although if they have really good character development then sometimes I can give that a miss. I love books that are complex though, as long as they are well written. Nothing worse than a book that is complex and doesn't make sense!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

  4. I so, so agree with this! Great post, ladies :) World building is a must. I think that's a definite main and obvious key with these genres. I crave more originality as well.

  5. Hi once again! I am back to the blog universe and decided to pop over and say hi! Love this post!

    ~ellie:) xx

  6. I love these posts! I never actually knew that creating a fictional world was called world building...but I guess it's kind of obvious *blushes*


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