This meme has popped up in a few places that I know of. Steve Goble’s recent resurrection of it inspired me to make my own (not especially original) list.
Things I Never Want to See Again in Fantasy Fiction
1. Vampires. Particularly vampire lovers of moody vamped women. (Isn’t there some new metaphor for exotic doomed romance out there, waiting to be used? Were-panthers? Piratical walrus ranchers? Corrupt but dashing accountants? Enough with the vampires!) Offending authors to be locked in a glass cage with a cloud of mosquitoes to experience the sensual pleasure of bloodsucking parasites at first hand. (Somehow this line seems to good to be original. Whoever I stole it from is free to complain that I am a literary vampire; they certainly have my sincere fangs.)
2. People who are famous without having done anything. (Heroes have to earn their bones.) Offending authors to be sentenced to endless, increasingly disturbing fanfic.
3. Names with apostrophes: F’fiff’le’frr’f or the like. (Self-explanatory.) Offending authors must study phonetics until they can do it right.
4. The Hero Is The Chosen One Who Will wompfle-pompfle-yompfle. (Heroes have to earn their bones; they can’t inherit them from destiny, Aeneas.) Offending authors will be forbidden the use of capital letters.
5. Evil Dark Lords of Evil. (Evil rarely marks itself that conveniently, not if it has anything on the ball.) Offending authors to be compelled to read Melville’s The Confidence Man until they get it.
6. Fluffy harmless dragons. (Dragons can be for or against the protagonist, but they should not be merely nice.) Offending authors will be immersed in a vat of Beanie Babies until they acknowledge the horror of commercialized cuteness.
7. Novels that don’t fit into a single volume. I realize there are many stellar exceptions (Lord of the Rings, the Aubrey/Maturin series, etc.), and I’m not against sequels (a different matter) but I’m inclined to believe that most people continue their story past the first volume because they don’t know how to end it. Much as I don’t know how to end this paragraph with an appropriate punishment.
8. Killing secondary characters–with or without the involvement of refrigerators–just to lend a false similitude of danger and/or emotional depth. (You’re not fooling anyone, you know.) Offending authors to wear red shirts whenever they beam down to the planet.
9. Fake deaths. (It’s one thing to have a character who is believed to have died but actually has not; a character who has actually been killed should not be brought back for the convenience of the storyteller.) Offending authors to confront their own mortality.
10. Characters who don’t see the obvious. Offending authors to spend a week in a shopping mall wearing a Captain Obvious costume, constantly confronted by people who say, “Isn’t it Obvious?”