I don’t need to see more characters taking a piss


Lev Grossman has a fun list of 20 things he wants to see characters in fantasy novels do more often. Someday I’ll do a list of all the reasons the internet is about lists, but this one is pretty fun.

However, I don’t much need to see characters peeing, unless it’s important to the story. Are they trapped somewhere for a long time? Are they showing their contempt for someone? Go for it. Otherwise, leave it implied.

Also, number 1, forgetting things, wouldn’t fit the sort of stories I like to read or write. For most of us, the expectation is that characters will perform to the best of their abilities. If the troll army is marching through a forest, the elven ranger might be able to successfully elude them while the city tax collector could not, but we expect both to do their best. This is why we invented the term “idiot plot.”

Frankly, fiction is artificial enough without adding complications from obstacles like “I swear I packed our weapons!” It seems too much like author manipulation.

As for number 19, I figure worlds on the other sides of portals would be pretty much like ours, in the most basic way. I mean, if I’m not taking up arms against the Dark Lards in our world, why would I believe myself capable of doing it in another?