why is it that in many fantasy stories, humans are the focus?

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Re: why is it that in many fantasy stories, humans are the focus?

Post by fruityloops » Wed 09 May 2018, 20:10

k1234567890y wrote:
Wed 09 May 2018, 15:48
another idea: write a human anthropologist entering an alien world, making records about the alien culture and history.

but just like quantums...when it comes to a culture, what we observe is not the culture itself, but the culture exposed to our method of questioning.

it's a good idea that i have considered....even if it ended horribly with ne of the research team turning into a centipede monster.
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Re: why is it that in many fantasy stories, humans are the focus?

Post by k1234567890y » Wed 09 May 2018, 20:23

mine is not that dramatic though

just an astronaut girl(she is ageless) sent to an alien world because the alien did not send any radio signals as a reply after 20 years(the aliens live on a planet 10 light years away), and when they arrived, she found the real reason why the aliens did not reply: the aliens are technologically far behind humans, their technological is equivalent to that of 200-300 CE of our world, which is equivalent to the late Roman Empire of our world.
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Re: why is it that in many fantasy stories, humans are the focus?

Post by fruityloops » Wed 09 May 2018, 21:19

k1234567890y wrote:
Wed 09 May 2018, 20:23
mine is not that dramatic though

just an astronaut girl(she is ageless) sent to an alien world because the alien did not send any radio signals as a reply after 20 years(the aliens live on a planet 10 light years away), and when they arrived, she found the real reason why the aliens did not reply: the aliens are technologically far behind humans, their technological is equivalent to that of 200-300 CE of our world, which is equivalent to the late Roman Empire of our world.
i really like the premise of it even if it relies on the audience surrogate cliche when it comes to stuff like this.
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Re: why is it that in many fantasy stories, humans are the focus?

Post by elemtilas » Wed 09 May 2018, 21:23

fruityloops wrote:
Wed 09 May 2018, 21:19
k1234567890y wrote:
Wed 09 May 2018, 20:23
mine is not that dramatic though

just an astronaut girl(she is ageless) sent to an alien world because the alien did not send any radio signals as a reply after 20 years(the aliens live on a planet 10 light years away), and when they arrived, she found the real reason why the aliens did not reply: the aliens are technologically far behind humans, their technological is equivalent to that of 200-300 CE of our world, which is equivalent to the late Roman Empire of our world.
i really like the premise of it even if it relies on the audience surrogate cliche when it comes to stuff like this.
You might check out The Termite Queen series. Only in this case the hero is a linguist.
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Re: why is it that in many fantasy stories, humans are the focus?

Post by Scytheria » Fri 11 May 2018, 11:13

As a few have already stated, the reason is because we are human, and writing about humans makes our relationship to the characters and the things they do stronger. There is much more mileage in exploring the unusual beliefs and thought processes that humans can exhibit than in making creatures who look, eat, reproduce, fight, worship and talk different. By any measurable standard, books like 1984, Farenheit 451, Erewhon, A Clockwork Orange or The Handmaid's Tale are fantasy novels. They don't have any fantasy clichés, but they do describe societies completely alien to our own (increasingly less so in some people's opinions). They manage to elevate themselves well out of the 'Elves and Dwarves of the Magic Forest' genre, not because of their writing necessarily, but because the fantastic, dystopian worlds they show us are relevant and relatable. The more alien a fantasy world becomes, the less interesting it is for many readers (not all, of course).
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Re: why is it that in many fantasy stories, humans are the focus?

Post by fruityloops » Fri 11 May 2018, 19:36

Scytheria wrote:
Fri 11 May 2018, 11:13
As a few have already stated, the reason is because we are human, and writing about humans makes our relationship to the characters and the things they do stronger. There is much more mileage in exploring the unusual beliefs and thought processes that humans can exhibit than in making creatures who look, eat, reproduce, fight, worship and talk different. By any measurable standard, books like 1984, Farenheit 451, Erewhon, A Clockwork Orange or The Handmaid's Tale are fantasy novels. They don't have any fantasy clichés, but they do describe societies completely alien to our own (increasingly less so in some people's opinions). They manage to elevate themselves well out of the 'Elves and Dwarves of the Magic Forest' genre, not because of their writing necessarily, but because the fantastic, dystopian worlds they show us are relevant and relatable. The more alien a fantasy world becomes, the less interesting it is for many readers (not all, of course).


that's comforting....no wonder my thread on my world was sort of dead.
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Re: why is it that in many fantasy stories, humans are the focus?

Post by Axiem » Fri 11 May 2018, 19:44

fruityloops wrote:
Fri 11 May 2018, 19:36
that's comforting....no wonder my thread on my world was sort of dead.
The thread on my world is also pretty dead, so 🤷🏼‍♀️ I think that's just the way world threads tend to go.
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Re: why is it that in many fantasy stories, humans are the focus?

Post by Pabappa » Fri 11 May 2018, 21:29

I don't know ..... children's stories seem to do just fine without ever having human charatcers... e.g. Dr Seuss, whose characters embodied many humanlike traits but never appeared as humans; carebears, berenstein bears, my little pony, etc.
fruityloops wrote:
Fri 11 May 2018, 19:36
As you intimated in the other thraed , even a species of bugs can be relatable if they have humanlike personalities and humanlike problems . I think there is no barrier to having a humanless world, but do note that it seems to succeed primarily in media aimed at children.
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Re: why is it that in many fantasy stories, humans are the focus?

Post by fruityloops » Sat 12 May 2018, 00:31

Pabappa wrote:
Fri 11 May 2018, 21:29
I don't know ..... children's stories seem to do just fine without ever having human charatcers... e.g. Dr Seuss, whose characters embodied many humanlike traits but never appeared as humans; carebears, berenstein bears, my little pony, etc.
fruityloops wrote:
Fri 11 May 2018, 19:36
As you intimated in the other thraed , even a species of bugs can be relatable if they have humanlike personalities and humanlike problems . I think there is no barrier to having a humanless world, but do note that it seems to succeed primarily in media aimed at children.
which semi-sucks....mainly cuz it's aimed more to teens and adults in some cases....and how the heck can i get away with a sexy bug character? or darker topics or gore? well there's a way since my characters blend green, yellow, purple, and blue blood.
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Re: why is it that in many fantasy stories, humans are the focus?

Post by Scytheria » Mon 14 May 2018, 13:09

fruityloops wrote:
Fri 11 May 2018, 19:36
that's comforting....no wonder my thread on my world was sort of dead.
Well, the more inhuman something becomes, the more niche it becomes. There may well be an audience, for example, for talking mushroom-men stories, but there will always be far more general interest in human stories. I've nothing against mushroom-men of course (some of my best friends...)

Finding a niche is tricky, but persistence is likely key and the interweb helps. Consider furry stuff, which drives most people insane with confusion, but which has a large cult following. Before the interweb, who would have known that thousands of people harboured strange, erotic feelings towards cat-girls and dog-boys?
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Re: why is it that in many fantasy stories, humans are the focus?

Post by alynnidalar » Mon 14 May 2018, 14:28

^^

If you try to please everybody, you're going to end up pleasing nobody. Write what you want to read, and there will probably be some form of audience for it. (assuming your goal is "to make stuff I enjoy and other people might enjoy too". If your goal is purely "get as large of an audience as theoretically possible" then this might not be the most effective advice)
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Re: why is it that in many fantasy stories, humans are the focus?

Post by fruityloops » Mon 14 May 2018, 14:57

alynnidalar wrote:
Mon 14 May 2018, 14:28
^^

If you try to please everybody, you're going to end up pleasing nobody. Write what you want to read, and there will probably be some form of audience for it. (assuming your goal is "to make stuff I enjoy and other people might enjoy too". If your goal is purely "get as large of an audience as theoretically possible" then this might not be the most effective advice)
I admit i do that a lot, especially when it comes to art. i bend over backwards when someone asks me to redo something they personally don't like. now a days, i'm trying so hard to avoid that. I honestly accepted the fact i'm gonna be niche for the rest of my life to the point that if i ever did a patreon, no one would donate.
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Re: why is it that in many fantasy stories, humans are the focus?

Post by ukfl » Mon 14 May 2018, 21:49

Others have touched upon it, but I think the primary reason is simplicity. Rather than diverging from the story one wants to tell in order to fill in enormous knowledge holes on the reader's end, focusing on humans allows the author to focus on storytelling while maintaining momentum. Also, while a story focused entirely on truly alien races or cultures would be a novelty, I don't think the majority of readers would gravitate toward such a genre well enough to make it sustainable monetarily.
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Re: why is it that in many fantasy stories, humans are the focus?

Post by Axiem » Tue 15 May 2018, 15:43

fruityloops wrote:
Sat 12 May 2018, 00:31
which semi-sucks....mainly cuz it's aimed more to teens and adults in some cases....and how the heck can i get away with a sexy bug character? or darker topics or gore? well there's a way since my characters blend green, yellow, purple, and blue blood.
Watership Down does a pretty decent job of being aimed at teens/adults and not having human characters. It even has its own conlang.

(Frankly, I think you should stop worrying so much, and just write the stories.)
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Re: why is it that in many fantasy stories, humans are the focus?

Post by eldin raigmore » Tue 15 May 2018, 15:47

[+1] to what Axiem said.
in my experience both in graduate-school Mathematcs , and in artistic endeavors,
Lots of good advice starts with “stop worrying so much”.
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Re: why is it that in many fantasy stories, humans are the focus?

Post by elemtilas » Tue 15 May 2018, 17:45

eldin raigmore wrote:
Tue 15 May 2018, 15:47
[+1] to what Axiem said.
in my experience both in graduate-school Mathematcs , and in artistic endeavors,
Lots of good advice starts with “stop worrying so much”.
Ah, the wisdom of the Been There Done That Ate The Cooky Got The T-Shirt club!

It is good advice, but it is also wisdom that can not be taught. It has to be discovered and brought out from within. Once you learn the secret, though, languages will heap themselves in your lap, stories will write themselves, worlds will unfold before your astonished inner eye!

Worry & anxiety over something like this that should be a joy & a creative blessing is, I think, the greatest roadblock I have seen to successful art among folks I've met hereabouts.
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Re: why is it that in many fantasy stories, humans are the focus?

Post by fruityloops » Tue 15 May 2018, 18:00

elemtilas wrote:
Tue 15 May 2018, 17:45
eldin raigmore wrote:
Tue 15 May 2018, 15:47
[+1] to what Axiem said.
in my experience both in graduate-school Mathematcs , and in artistic endeavors,
Lots of good advice starts with “stop worrying so much”.
Ah, the wisdom of the Been There Done That Ate The Cooky Got The T-Shirt club!

It is good advice, but it is also wisdom that can not be taught. It has to be discovered and brought out from within. Once you learn the secret, though, languages will heap themselves in your lap, stories will write themselves, worlds will unfold before your astonished inner eye!

Worry & anxiety over something like this that should be a joy & a creative blessing is, I think, the greatest roadblock I have seen to successful art among folks I've met hereabouts.


now i know why most of my stories i plan on doing never get out of the woodwork. I'm afraid of what people might think of me and it has happened before. A person said my art was off on a meme site of all places and i went crazy and try to redo it yesterday. it's not that my stuff is bad, it's mostly unorthodox while being conventional in other areas.

the most normal thing i'm working on is my own take on hell for me gag comic series, and it's basically the divine comedy in a modern age.
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Re: why is it that in many fantasy stories, humans are the focus?

Post by fruityloops » Tue 15 May 2018, 18:00

elemtilas wrote:
Tue 15 May 2018, 17:45
eldin raigmore wrote:
Tue 15 May 2018, 15:47
[+1] to what Axiem said.
in my experience both in graduate-school Mathematcs , and in artistic endeavors,
Lots of good advice starts with “stop worrying so much”.
Ah, the wisdom of the Been There Done That Ate The Cooky Got The T-Shirt club!

It is good advice, but it is also wisdom that can not be taught. It has to be discovered and brought out from within. Once you learn the secret, though, languages will heap themselves in your lap, stories will write themselves, worlds will unfold before your astonished inner eye!

Worry & anxiety over something like this that should be a joy & a creative blessing is, I think, the greatest roadblock I have seen to successful art among folks I've met hereabouts.


now i know why most of my stories i plan on doing never get out of the woodwork. I'm afraid of what people might think of me and it has happened before. A person said my art was off on a meme site of all places and i went crazy and try to redo it yesterday. it's not that my stuff is bad, it's mostly unorthodox while being conventional in other areas.

the most normal thing i'm working on is my own take on hell for me gag comic series, and it's basically the divine comedy in a modern age.
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Re: why is it that in many fantasy stories, humans are the focus?

Post by elemtilas » Tue 15 May 2018, 18:34

fruityloops wrote:
Tue 15 May 2018, 18:00
now i know why most of my stories i plan on doing never get out of the woodwork. I'm afraid of what people might think of me and it has happened before. A person said my art was off on a meme site of all places and i went crazy and try to redo it yesterday. it's not that my stuff is bad, it's mostly unorthodox while being conventional in other areas.

the most normal thing i'm working on is my own take on hell for me gag comic series, and it's basically the divine comedy in a modern age.
Coo, we can compare notes! One of the first actual stories I wrote (and finished!) in high school was based on the Inferno. It too was intended to be parody.

The flip side of not worrying so much is, I think perhaps much more difficult for the younger generations to do, is not caring so much about what other people say. By that I don't mean not hearkening to valid criticism or to new ideas. But rather, finding your own voice, telling your own stories and doing it in a way that satisfies your inner subcreator. Other people (teachers, bosses, editors, publishing houses, paid commission patrons) will to varying degrees tell you what to write, how to write it, when to write it and when to turn it in. Especially when you're young, all that "finding yourself" and "becoming your own person" and "fitting in with everyone else through rebellious conformity" angst can easily work against you. As you yourself just demonstrated. I have no idea what your piece of art was or why she said it was from a meme site, but the fact that you let the critic dictate your artistic direction. Okay, you lost that battle, but it's a learning moment!

Next time, don't ignore the critic, but take a breath, control your primitive repitilian reactionism and find someone you trust (here or in real life), ask them what they think --- does this look like it came from off some meme site? Or is this critic blowing steam? Look at it again with fresh eyes yourself. Maybe it did come from some meme site (whatever that is!). An opportunity to consider the whys and wherefores of the art piece itself: what story does it tell? Can you have told it differently? It's okay to redo! But now I'm curious as to what it is that had you in such consternation!

If you're unorthodox and conventional by turns, so what? Just let your art express your inner vision the best you can!

And of course, "don't worry so much!" But more importantly, don't let the critics wear you down: you do your own thing and let them say what they will!
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Re: why is it that in many fantasy stories, humans are the focus?

Post by eldin raigmore » Tue 15 May 2018, 20:21

[+1] to elemtilas too.
I try to remember, after giving as much hopefully-constructive criticism as I can, to always remind the recipient of said criticism that I Could Be Wrong.
Never let “the best” be the enemy of “the good”.
In fact, to start with, don’t let “the good” be the enemy of “the OK”!
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