When someone says “epic fantasy” there is a general idea of what it will entail: woods and forests, elves and dwarves, adventurers and magicians and fighting and quests. All in a medieval-style setting. Possibly with dragons. 🙂 Tolkien is much to blame for this. But he isn’t alone.  Book after book after book falls into these same cliche’d storylines. Often, it is the plot that we blame.  We say it is poor storytelling.  But beyond plot, another way that we promote fantasy tropes and cliches is in our very worldbuilding.  Medieval setting? Elf land, dwarven mountains, major port city, a desert land occupied by nomads…all are things we have seen over and over. So perhaps, the best place to start when addressing cliches isn’t in the story, but the world itself.

🙂 Sarithus on Deviant Art says this all in a very simple, very amusing, and very true map. We give you the “Map of Clichea.”

Map of Clichea by Sarithus

About the author

DayAlMohamed Day Al-Mohamed is author of the Young Adult novel, “Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn.” She is also co-editor for the anthology, “Trust & Treachery” from Dark Quest Books. In addition to speculative fiction, she also writes comics and film scripts. She is an active member of the Cat Vacuuming Society of Northern Virginia Writing Group, of Women in Film and Video, and a graduate of the VONA/Voices Writing Workshop.