I am so tired of harems

#1
In my own opinion, I find harems are kinda fun, but thinking back on it, they're just not worth it.

Like I enjoy the idea that every character besides the protagonist is a hot female, but the sex scenes I just find boring and sometimes disturbing depending on which series you're talking about.

Then we have to try and develop so many different girls and even with the best authors on RRL, at least half of them end up being cliche replicas of eachother.

Worst of all, all these girls we forced into the story create character clutter. Think The Hobbit with the dozen freaking dwarves no one can tell apart from eachother. Rather than focusing on a couple of characters you could really develop, we split our time between ten that just end up getting ignored.

By the end, I don't even care about the backstories anymore. Everything's so poorly developed that I just end up skipping back to the main storyline.

All this just to replace what could have been real characters that could have had interesting personalities and backgrounds that don't include "I love the protagonist the most because he's really strong."

I feel like authors are dragging their series down by dedicating like a fourth of their fictions to them. Guess what, I probably skip that fourth....

RE: I am so tired of harems

#3
Character clutter is a symptom of bad writing. If done right, you should have a clear feeling as to whose who in a fiction. Mother of Learning I thought was very good with distinguishing each character. He's got a diverse cast there and I never have trouble figuring out what's going on. In all honesty, I think Mother of Learning's author is probably the best indie author I know of.

There are all kinds of little flaws that people ignore in writing. It doesn't shock me at all that you think character clutter is normal. A lot of people on this site still think that a massive info dump at the start of the series is also normal. A lot of people still think that there are no rules on how to write, that you can just wing it by reading a lot.

RE: I am so tired of harems

#4
I just don't read them or write them. I don't find them very entertaining mostly because I'm not their audience. I mean why do I want to read about a male character and a bunch of one dimensional female characters with a single defining character trait? And that goes for reverse harem as well. Plus, it always feels like I'm reading someone own personal fantasy that I don't care about. I rather read something else that takes a little more care to storytelling. Now if there is someone who writes a good subversion of harems, I might read it. However, the key there is has to be good to my standards.

Character clutter seems to be an issue across the board at time. In other places, I've seen people get inspired by Game of Thrones and never written a novel before in their life and try to pull off having a cast of 12 or more main characters. That is something I won't even do. I know my limits.

RE: I am so tired of harems

#5
No, I know my limits. It's one of those things you need to be aware of as a writer. I find that essential in helping trying to figure out what you want to do, what you can do skill wise, and what areas to develop. And I've already done the huge cast of characters thing. Been there done that and I don't want to go back.

One of my very first novel series I wrote for fun way back when, I'm going to guess I ended up having with at least 20 main characters spread through the generations the story took place in. It was writing in 3rd Omni and a good writing experience. However, by the end of all 9 novels, I came to a few conclusions, I don't like writing 3rd Omni, and I'm never writing another fantasy story with this many character ever again. I didn't enjoy all the balancing that I had to do. The early novels were essentially a mess and the two novels out of the nine I enjoyed writing the most were the two shortest and the two where the cast had to be limited due to the plot. Those two showed me there was something I wanted from my writing and shortly after I finished that series, I read The Name of the Wind and told myself, that was the kind of story I wanted to write. And in learning to write something more character driven, I had to get smaller. That's what I rather focus on than writing something with a bunch of main characters.

RE: I am so tired of harems

#6
I successfully finished them but I can't say I successfully pulled it off given that six years later, I still don't know how edit it. I tend to re-read it between projects thinking I might be able to do it this year. However, I can't wrap my head around how to fix it. And that sound strange as I wrote it. However, in the middle of writing it, I knew it was a mess. I willfully ignored it. I know they say you can make any story better by editing it. But in this case, I can't. It's just that much of a mess.
It's a good first attempt but woefully missed the mark.

RE: I am so tired of harems

#7
My philosophy when it comes to writing is that EVERYTHING must serve storytelling (in other words, everything is there with the sole purpose of passing information regarding the narrative to the reader).

An erotic scene can achieve that, even if it is not necessarily pornographic. Imagine two young battered survivors who went through hell to be together. Sex in that circumstance comes like a prize that the character has longed for and if well narrated, it can pass information to the reader regarding how important each character is to one another, how experienced they are and how they feel about the future (a good master will distinguish "love in a moment of despair" from "love as celebration).

In the harem genre, I think it could be used to display different cultures, you know? If your character is kind of a traveller, the buildings that he'll find will always be different, as well as the sexual experiences (if your novel has those).

RE: I am so tired of harems

#8
10/26/2017 23:25:11Media in Sanity Wrote: [ -> ]My philosophy when it comes to writing is that EVERYTHING must serve storytelling (in other words, everything is there with the sole purpose of passing information regarding the narrative to the reader).

 +1
I agree, although sometimes redundant information can help flesh out a world more than a significant plot point.

I also agree with you on harems. Sex should be a plot point, not meaningless titillation.

liked the new chptr btw :)

RE: I am so tired of harems

#9
10/26/2017 23:38:52Alexis Keane Wrote: [ -> ]
10/26/2017 23:25:11Media in Sanity Wrote: [ -> ]My philosophy when it comes to writing is that EVERYTHING must serve storytelling (in other words, everything is there with the sole purpose of passing information regarding the narrative to the reader).

 +1
I agree, although sometimes redundant information can help flesh out a world more than a significant plot point.

I also agree with you on harems. Sex should be a plot point, not meaningless titillation.

liked the new chptr btw :)

Thank you. I was worried about the lack of action but things will spice up soon.

RE: I am so tired of harems

#11
The biggest thing that bugs me about Harems..

it's either

you like it
or you dislike it

though for whatever reason, always seems to be a very vocal group of people that complain about the genre as if they hate it with a passion. Every forum i visit seems to have a few discussions on how bad harems are. No offense OP, not trying to flame. Just curious.

RE: I am so tired of harems

#12
I think it's because many writers start with an interesting story that slowly gets eaten up by the unwieldy number of characters in the harem.

Like Laurel K. Hamilton's Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series. It started as this very interesting urban fantasy where a commercial necromancer and licensed vampire executioner would moonlight as a supernatural forensic specialist for the police. But over the course of several books the main character went from not dating anyone, to a love triangle, to having maybe twelve partners. Maybe more.

When I want to read a cool adventure/mystery story in an interesting universe, then that's what I'm doing. When I want to jerk off to porn, then that's what I'm doing. I don't want to do both. Invariably I ended up skipping sex scenes to get back to the plot of the story. And when it seems like the plot and world building is sacrificed for the sex scenes...

RE: I am so tired of harems

#13
@markdsm
I actually don't find harems offensive or anything, I just find they ruin good stories with third rate attempts at sex appeal. Sure I like the concept of beautiful girls being all over the place, but in a novel I can't really enjoy that too much in the first place. And most authors kinda suck at harems in the first place.

My complaint mainly originated after reading the recent chapters of "Infinite Competitive Dungeon Society". The series started with almost no harem element at all. Then a hundred chapters later they're being dumped in. And they're not even interesting, they're literal harem cliches the lot of them. Now in current chapters, it feels like we spend two chapters of every three dedicated to the harem cliche... All they do is recite their stupid cliche lines over and over.... How many times do I have to hear the same bloody lines before the author wakes up...

Quite simply, my complaint is due to the fact that harems are ruining these series. I've already stalled out on the series above and I don't know if I can bring myself to read anymore. And this is not the exception to the rule, this is the standard.

RE: I am so tired of harems

#14
11/11/2017 08:57:06DarkD Wrote: [ -> ]@markdsm
Quite simply, my complaint is due to the fact that harems are ruining these series.  I've already stalled out on the series above and I don't know if I can bring myself to read anymore.  And this is not the exception to the rule, this is the standard.


I agree with you on that. 100%. There are some horrible harems out there, especially on amazon. Don't get me started on those 'true' polyamory novels either. I still haven't found a single one that does that right. Though, i drudge through them looking for another Daniel Black,Otherlife,Wild Wastes (the first one didn't really care for WW2) or the fun ones like Heartstone.

RE: I am so tired of harems

#15
10/24/2017 23:52:56DarkD Wrote: [ -> ]A lot of people still think that there are no rules on how to write, that you can just wing it by reading a lot.

Shit, you got me busted.
More seriously tho, I have a feeling that a lot of those who seem to wing it after reading a lot have been reading the wrong kind of stuff.
If you wan't writing tips from reading others peoples fictions, then you need to read professional works by well established authors, and not japanese isekai harem novels. you also need to learn about plot tools like the mcguffin, guardian angel, and many other TV tropes.
Even after taking indirect reading "lessons" like that, you still need to read up on how to write, there are lots of resources out there to grab for free.


I know, Famous last words etc. Do my writing have the qualities that makes it a good story? heck if i know. at the end of the day, people just have to try writing, get feedback, try again, get more feedback, and improve trough practice.
I would actually suggest reading material for people who are struggling with making decent stories.

PS, I'm a big fan of David drake. One of the reasons, is that he let's you understand his MC's trough their actions and reactions to their environment.  Their setting makes it irrelevant where your new gun buddy is from, his reactions to enemy fire is key. his willingness to delay his own escape by jumping out of a combat car and drag your ass back in when the shells are incoming is a bigger tell of who he is than any number of info dumps about his past can ever be. Heck. He could even die while doing that, And we the readers grieve for the loss, because He's a nameless hero who did the right thing despite the cost. we only knew him by the moniker snake, Just because he was a veteran.
Don't be like JP Isekai authors, be like David and write good stuff.

RE: I am so tired of harems

#16
I too am tired of Harems ruining good stories. I'm to the point where I'm considering writing a short satire about what actually happens at the end of every harem novel... You know, how the women all inevitably leave the man when they get tired of being treated like opinionless property that he's won.... except for the one girl who is there because she is totally a gold digger.

RE: I am so tired of harems

#17
Quote:I too am tired of Harems ruining good stories. I'm to the point where I'm considering writing a short satire about what actually happens at the end of every harem novel... You know, how the women all inevitably leave the man when they get tired of being treated like opinionless property that he's won.... except for the one girl who is there because she is totally a gold digger.


Do it. It would be hillarious. I have the exact same opinion about harems :V

RE: I am so tired of harems

#18
12/12/2017 19:31:09DragonOfRochester Wrote: [ -> ]I too am tired of Harems ruining good stories. I'm to the point where I'm considering writing a short satire about what actually happens at the end of every harem novel... You know, how the women all inevitably leave the man when they get tired of being treated like opinionless property that he's won.... except for the one girl who is there because she is totally a gold digger.

Sorry but it's not reality where they get to take half his stuff when leaving. Regardless of how bad that harem is, as long as MC is super powerful and rich, they will stick around.

RE: I am so tired of harems

#19
A parody's already been done, and its pretty good: https://www.novelupdates.com/series/chikyuu-tenseisha-no-koroshikata/

It centers around giving the girls their dreams back, and inadvertently (sometimes advertently) breaking them from their 'owner' in the process.

Harems aren't a problem. The problem is when authors mistake 'open relationships' as 'polygamic relationships'. You can't have development in the first one because its purely physiological, and its a stretch to call it a relationship to begin with. You can in the second.

RE: I am so tired of harems

#20
12/14/2017 12:07:50AndrewJVarela Wrote: [ -> ]A parody's already been done, and its pretty good: https://www.novelupdates.com/series/chikyuu-tenseisha-no-koroshikata/

It centers around giving the girls their dreams back, and inadvertently (sometimes advertently) breaking them from their 'owner' in the process.

Harems aren't a problem. The problem is when authors mistake 'open relationships' as 'polygamic relationships'. You can't have development in the first one because its purely physiological, and its a stretch to call it a relationship to begin with. You can in the second.


Giving people hope and then breaking it, that suspiciously sounds like what a certain cowardly apostle does in an uncertain card games. I wonder if the Clown will get bored of toying with his victim someday and start gathering Harem like the MC of that novel. Thanks for the recommendation anyway.