Blog: Limyaael's Fantasy Rants
Limyaael, also known as Lightning on the Wave for her online fiction, is an English graduate student studying for her Ph.D. In 2003, she decided to express her views on fantasy literature in a rant entitled Why I get impatient with clichéd fantasy.
Since then, she has written more rants on her online journal.
Despite the name, Limyaael’s rants are not just for fantasy writers. She also has covered topics that are not limited to fantasy, like dialogue and romance, as well as more general topics like plotting and characterization. One of the features of the journal format is that Limyaael’s commenters also have much to say, from additional facts to opposing viewpoints.
The Rants used to be posted on LiveJournal
, but Limyaael has moved to InsaneJournal. The Rants originally posted on LJ can still be accessed there, though.
Limyaael’s Fantasy Rants are updated here
. The archive of Rants can be accessed here
, and here
, or here
A repository was created here
to collect the scattered articles, but take note that the comments (not found here) are an important part of the original message. (Only 19 extra articles more than the coyotecult archive.)
Limyaael's rants were scarcely updated
for a while starting around April 2008. In this post
she explained the reasons, and the Rants were not updated until she had more free time. They started back up for a little while, then stopped again in May 2010.
It was mentioned early in 2013, on her Facebook Fan page, that she is doing well and that whilst she does appreciate her fans and their support over the years, she has put her online literary life behind her.
Tropes Limyaael has specifically ranted about:
- Anachronic Order: Non-linear narrative rant/
- Animorphism and Shapeshifting: Shapeshifters, shapeshifter societies and blurring the distinction between the "human" part and the "animal part".
- An Adventurer Is You: Averted with the rant on D&D stereotypes/
- Anti-Villain: Non-villain rant/
- Arranged Marriage: On escaping the arranged marriage trap/
- Author Avatar: Putting non-obvious bits of yourself in the story/characters/
- Avoid Writing A Mary Sue: Many of her rants are devoted to this.
- Bond Creatures: Telcom rant/
- Con Lang: Conlangs.
- Creator's Pet: Author's Darlings .
- Cryptic Background Reference: Casual worldbuilding.
- Death Tropes: Death rant.
- Deus Angst Machina: Rant on abuse of abused characters.
- Diabolus Ex Machina: Raining shit on the story and not letting it stink.
- Dream Tropes: Dream rant.
- Easy Amnesia Rant on amnesia/amnesiac characters.
- Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Rant on elemental magic.
- Evil Overlord: aversion: Rant on creating non-Dark Lord villains.
- Fate and Prophecy Tropes: Destiny and prophecies rant.
- Final Battle: The final battle.
- Foreshadowing: Subtle foreshadowing rant.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Half-breed heroes.
- Happiness in Slavery: Limyaael warns against portraying this in the Rant on slavery.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Rant on whores.
- Idiot Ball: And are your characters sane today?; also, Stupid plots rant - Last Herald-Mage spoilers.
- Idiot Plot: Idiot plots, and how to avoid them .
- IKEA Erotica: If it’s just Tab A and Slot B, there’s a problem.
- Ineffectual Loner: aversion: Making convincing loner characters.
- Info Dump: aversion: Avoiding infodumps.
- La Résistance: Secret groups rant, which is mostly limited to resistance groups.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Rant on handling a large cast of viewpoint characters.
- Love at First Sight: Averted with the rant on Non-bickering, non-love at first sight relationships.
- Love Triangle: What it takes to make Limyaael love a love triangle.
- Magic A Is Magic A: Limitations on magic rant.
- Magic and Powers: Magic rants.
- Mentors: Mentor rant.
- Medieval European Fantasy: Medieval societies.
- Medieval Stasis: Keeping static worlds plausible.
- Mindlink Mates: One of Limyaael's most hated tropes.
- Our Monsters Are Different
- Parody Tropes: Parody fantasy.
- Pet Peeve Trope: Stupid cliché rants .
- Physical God: Beings of extreme power rant.
- Psychic Power: Psychic powers rant.
- Point of View: Viewpoint rants.
- Queer as Tropes: Rant on gay and lesbian characters in fantasy.
- Realism: Pick a rant, any rant, and odds are it's about adding more realism.
- Refusal of the Call: Making good reluctant heroes.
- Romani: Rant on gypsies and nomadic peoples.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: Several rants on grammar and words.
- Save Both Worlds: Rant on juxtaposed worlds.
- Science Fantasy: Science fiction and fantasy hybrids.
- Sci Fi Ghetto: Why I get impatient with clichéd fantasy. <— Limyaael's original rant.
- Sex Tropes: Sex in fantasy novels.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: Averted-Non-bickering, non-love at first sight relationships.
- Sociopathic Hero: Rant on creating likable bastard characters; Rant on sociopathic characters.
- Standard Fantasy Setting: On escaping Tolkien clichés.
- Take That: Fantasy of excess: Rant on Jordan and Goodkind.
- The Amazon: Sounds of the jungle.
- The Empire: Writing empires part oneand two.
- The Runaway: Fantasy teenage runaways.
- Through the Eyes of Madness: Writing a psychotic viewpoint character.
- True Companions: Rant on friendships.
- True Neutral: Neutral character rant .
- TV Genius Rant on genius characters.
- Twin Tropes: Twins rant.
- Unreliable Narrator: Showing your viewpoint character as not 100% correct.
- Urban Fantasy: On urban fantasy.
- Wangst: aversion: Rants on angst .
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Subplot rant, point 3.
- Winged Humanoid: Rant on winged humanoids.
Tropes that have been mentioned or discussed on the side while ranting about any of the above topics:
- Alternate History: She gave a couple small ideas in "More things Limyaael thinks would be really cool," with some questions to ponder when answering "what if the South had won the Civil War?"
- The Bechdel Test: Outlined almost word-for-word in her rant on interesting heroines.
- Chekhov's Gun: Though she didn't use the term, her rant on subtle foreshadowing favors elements that aren't supposed to be noticed the first time around.
- Convection Schmonvection: Limyaael's rant on dragons notes that if your dragon can breathe fire hot enough to melt solid rock, it's probably going to do more than just "make a hero's jacket smolder" in the process.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Limyaael's rant on D&D gameplay mechanics notes that while many of those rules made perfect sense in a gaming environment, they don't translate well into a narrative environment, if at all. (Seriously, why do those wizards need to keep memorizing the same spells over and over?)
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: Almost any rant about elves, demi-humans, non-humans, etc. will invoke a comparison of the non-human species being in complete and utter harmony with their environment while the humans are hellbent on destroying it.
- Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action / Shapeshifting Squick: During her rant about half-human heroes, she says that as much as an author wants to just say "don't think about it" when asked how the "mechanics" of it work, the author is the one person who should be putting more thought into it than anyone else.
- Language Equals Thought: In her rants on conlangs, she makes her opinion clear: language influences thought, but doesn't equal thought.
- Magitek: Her limitations on magic rant says that this would be the natural consequence in a setting with cheap magic. "If the world has magic, why isn't it that world’s technology?"
- No Periods, Period: When discussing full-moon-bound werewolves, Limyaael notes that even a woman's monthly period gets better care than full moon werewolf angst. Assuming the author even bothered to think about that, of course.
- Real Women Never Wear Dresses: Discussed and ultimately averted.
I prefer strong female characters anyway, by which I mean “female characters who have their own minds and do not spend the whole time obsessed with men, either pining for them or putting them down.” They don’t have to be warriors for me to empathize with them. They can certainly be mothers who love their children fiercely. The most important relationships in their lives can certainly be with men.
- Said Bookism: Discussed in the third grammar rant above. She especially has a problem with tags that don't make sense, like "smiled" and "nodded".
- Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: The limitations on magic rant explains what it really takes for magic to be called scientific.
- Tail Slap: When discussing dragons, Limyaael notes that the whip of a crocodile's tail packs enough brute force to kill an average human being. So what would a dragon's tail do? "Probably not cause light wounds."
- Third-Act Misunderstanding: She tends to call it the "Great Misunderstanding Plot."
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: During her rant about "telcoms", Limyaael wonders how a character can just waltz into a town with a telepathic wolf/dragon/whatever by their side and nobody even bats an eye at it, much less try to chase it out of town or kill it. Especially when the creature being a telepathic companion is kept secret, and "the hunters have no reason not to shoot a dangerous beast who shows little fear of humans and is lurking around the village."
Tropes that manifest in the rants themselves
- Berserk Button: Nothing will get Limyaael into rant mode faster than lazy and unoriginal writing.
- Deconstruction: Limyaael goes into a lot of detail about the reasons why she despises certain tropes, such as what kind of logical consequences and implications a trope should have on its setting (but doesn't).
- Dissimile/NOT!: Usually in the form of: "That's totally original. Only not."
- Double Entendre: This was to be expected in her rant about sex scenes; Limyaael even hangs a lampshade on it throughout the post.
- Genre Savvy: Very.
- Lemony Narrator: Limyaael has a very breezy and snarky writing style.
- Portmanteau: "Telcoms", for "telepathic companion".
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: She's on the cynical end.
- Take That: See above.
- Third-Person Person
- Tropes Are Not Bad: Limyaael occasionally admits that some concepts are actually quite intriguing and can provide a lot of possibilities for good fiction ... it's just the poor execution of them by authors everywhere that makes them so cliché.