Storytelling: Positive traits of antagonists

A few days ago, I was thinking a bit about the positive traits of ‘bad guys’. These thoughts came to me – how else – when I was lying in bed waiting for sleep to come. Even antagonists can have positive traits – and it’s not about the traits but how they use them that matters in the end.

As with my romance-related posts (#1, #2), the thoughts come primarily from fantasy genre but are not limited to it.

Significant inspiration comes from a post about character traits by M.L. Davis.

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Romance elements in fantasy, part two: endings

Not so long ago, I wrote about how I saw romance elements in fantasy. This time, I’ll continue from where I left off the last time and share my opinion on some of the possible ends and how I see them – positives and negatives in all cases. It’ll not be tied to fantasy in several cases as, I believe, these work in general.

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Reading: Romance elements in fantasy

Not so long ago, I got into a discussion about romance elements in fantasy. A user on Goodreads felt that in the last years, it often goes down with at least one of the pair dying before the end or ‘devolving’ into love triangles (especially in YA Urban Fantasy and Paranormal romance sub-genres) and that ‘happy ending’ books are becoming endangered species.

It turned into a discussion about romance elements in present-time fantasy literature that was quite enjoyable and insightful, even if short.

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Storytelling: tying up the ends

This is a thought that I had a few times at the end of a longer series, especially if the world-building was complex and many factions took part in it. Some of these will have longer ends, adding several pages and chapters even after the threat is dealt with to show how its demise changed the people and the world.

I think that Paolini’s Inheritance series is one of those with a longer ending. Some even ask if the last 60 pages are worth reading and I admit I was surprised when I saw 80% done (or, 20 to go) on my e-reader when Eragon fought Galbatorix. The ending, as long as it is, shows the impact of the political turmoil created during and after Galbatorix’s reign and how his fall changes it.

Of course, not all series have the story written in a way that requires tying up several loose ends to make the story feel truly finished. To some, these parts are not even necessary – all they want to know is who won and that’s it. Yet, it might feel more complete if there’s an end that shows how the world changed beyond the tyrant’s death.

Why am I mentioning all of this? After finishing the Chronicles of the Black Gate series ending with The White Song (my review), I expected longer ending. Maybe not in the scope of Inheritance but definitely longer than a single chapter.

It can also be spread out more – characters can have plans about the situation before it gets there (which is definitely the case in White Song) but even then, for me, it’d be nice to see at least a hint that some of the possibilities either came to pass or was put in motion.

I’m curious about what the books I’ll read in the coming month and years be like in this regard. Will I see more books with a simple ending just knowing that the threat is gone, or will I see more with a detailed ending? Time will tell.

Feel free to add your opinion on endings in books.