The fantasy genre has just exploded in popularity in recent years, but it isn’t always the easiest genre for a writer. In a world of fantasy, the writer is responsible for every detail that occurs in that world. It must be realistic in some ways, futuristic or historical in other ways, and any inconsistency can make the fantasy world feel incomplete. These fantasy novel writing tips can help you navigate your way to a fantastic story that many will want to read.
#1. Don’t ever put limits on your imagination.
Many fantasy worlds are large and complex. If you think small, then your worlds are going to be small. There are no limits to a fantasy novel. It can be as large and immense as you want it to be. You can put dragons in there. You can have factions battle for supremacy. You can create dystopian vistas or worlds where hunger and poverty have been conquered. It’s all literally in your hands.
#2. Give readers different points of view.
What tends to limit the scope of a fantasy novel is a limited point of view. There may only be a few characters that get to be engaged within the scope of the narrative. This is where fantasy as a genre doesn’t need to have such a tight focus. You can include all of your characters if you wish – or at least more than one or two. This will broaden your narrative and give it more depth.
#3. Research can be your friend.
You can’t directly copy work from others and call it your own, but you can include reference citations or other forms of credit within your novel and sometimes let your research do the talking in your fantasy novel. If you’re working on a story about King Arthur, then research the Middle Ages and its major influences. If you have a space opera you’re creating, then use scientific research from NASA and other space agencies to give yourself some backdrop support.
#4. All characters need to come from a place of realism.
None of us today have ever met an ogre. Except for the moon, humanity to our knowledge has never stepped foot on another chunk of rock in our universe. Ultimately each of us only has our own perspective in the universe, but from a writing perspective, you need to create realistic perspectives for all of your characters. To do this, it becomes necessary as a writer to imagine what life would be like as that character.
#5. Grief is a powerful tool, but one that could destroy you.
The problem we have with grief is that it can be a powerful way to move a narrative along, but it isn’t very entertaining as an emotion. There are times when grief makes sense and must be acknowledged. Then there are times when you stay focused on grief for far too long and lose your readership. At some point, this is something we all experience, so it draws the writer and reader together.
#6. Present your story with honesty.
When formally stated, Newton’s Third Law of Motion states this: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” If you have someone take their sword into battle, it’s going to be a bloody and gory mess. If a starship fires a nuclear weapon on a planet, the results will be horrific. It is necessary to be honest with these details instead of trying to water it down like your narrative is a prosperity doctrine. It is also necessary to remember that someone else is going to react based on the actions taken. Don’t forget to note the follow-up to keep the reader engaged.
#7. Avoid lazy writing.
Many fantasy stories present a tale of good vs. evil. In this story, the people who are evil are usually led by someone dark and shadowy. Sometimes they’re even give a title that is like that: “Dark Lord” for example. Then everyone else who follows this Dark Lord where dark colors because that’s obviously evil too. Real stories are more complex than this. There are shades of gray where good people choose bad things and bad people can find redemption. Put these layers into a fantasy novel so it feels real.
#8. No one character is 100% good.
All of our heroes have made mistakes in life. All of the bad guys in history aren’t 100% evil. People usually see themselves as heroic, even if history judges them as an epic failure. The bottom line is this: all of us have the capability of choosing good and we all have the capability of choosing evil. This means a hero or heroine that always makes the right choice isn’t realistic.
These fantasy novel writing tips can help give your story some added depth and realism to keep the reader engaged. Use the ones that make the most sense for you and take your writing to the next level.
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