m. c. de marco: To invent new life and new civilizations...

Dwarves and Tropes and Writing Advice

I was browsing the Writers of the Future blog for this quarter’s results (more Honorable mentions are up, but no finalists yet) and I came across some old contest advice: K.D. Wentworth’s top-five list of what not to do when entering the WotF contest. To summarize: grammatical errors, bad spelling, withholding information, tropes, and infodumps are bad; showing the sf/f content early on is good.

I did disagree with part of one point: I don’t think dwarves (or trolls) are an overused trope yet. It’s quite difficult to find novels specifically about them (as opposed to all the other tropes on the list). I recently bought and read The Dwarves by Markus Heitz, but this is a translation of a German novel. Other than that, there is a long out-of-print Dragonlance trilogy, a Choose Your Own Adventure-style book from the eighties, an obscure mainstream novel by a Swedish Nobel laureate, and a self-published series about dwarves. I doubt the short-story market is any more dwarf-heavy.