Fantasy, according to the Oxford Dictionary:
‘A genre of imaginative fiction involving magic and adventure, especially in a setting other than the real world.’
There’s also never been a more exciting time to write fantasy; what’s more, the public can’t seem to get enough of it, proving that there is a market for fantasy — and it’s a big one.
A novel is about more than an incredible world — we need a plot and characters behind it. If you are using magic, know how it works, what the rules are, then stick to them. Focus on the details that are solely your creation.
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1. Identify your market
Know your market: for children, or adults? Are there elves? Is it set in the modern world, or a a re-imagining of an alternate past?
2. Develop your world through short stories
A good way to build your world is to write short stories that feature some of your characters. This gives you freedom to create a new universe without boundaries.
If you’re struggling to churn out a full-blown novel don’t sweat it; take a step back and dip your toe into the water with short stories instead.
3. Tie your world-building into your plot
Plot and world-building should see eye-to-eye. Be original. Determine what sets your world apart? Built a unique world and populated it with rich characters.
- “In A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin uses the environment as a plot point when describing both summer and winter seasons — as winter brings dark, dead things that can wipe out the entire Realm, while adding architecture as a plot point in the form of the Wall, a massive ice edifice separating the North and the South. How fascinating that such a massive piece of plot centers around a single wall. Sounds simple, but you can see its complexity.
- Stephen King does an expert job in Under the Dome, when a small town is suddenly cut off from the rest of the world by a giant, transparent dome.
4. Keep your story relevant with real-world themes
If you are concerned about politics, culture, the environment, technology, violence, racism, misogyny — these issues can be explored in inventive ways when writing fantasy.
Another way to put it: is anything, in particular, frustrating you in real life? You can explore it through your story, because the world’s your own. And, who knows, you might be speaking for other people out there in the world who read your book and share your perspectives/
5. Use all five of your senses
What makes world-building tick? Specific, sensory detail. Be inventive and magical; make your writing detailed enough to seem authentic.
From ‘The Game of Thrones‘, Crisp air, hooves clattering on ironwood planks, a warm tongue, women’s perfume, summer wine, soft fur. The writing is full of these concrete details. So when the author includes fantastical elements, it is easy to buy in. Dragons? Sure, why not! Face-swapping assassins? Really! Frozen zombies? That was a surprise! The author’s sensory style had established the world as believable, so we were primed to accept anything thrown at us.
6. Give your world internal rules
To make a world feel real and functional make sure it’s grounded by rules . Establish everything from the workings of your society to your magic (if your universe possesses magic).
Become familiar with the basics of economics, politics, philosophy, and more, to create a believable world of your own.
7. Do not break your own rules
If your magic is supposed to sap energy, don’t allow your protagonist to rip magic spells left and right in the final battle without tiring at all.
Know the rules of your world and do not break them — unless it’s on purpose.”
8. Interview your characters – know them
Good character creation and development in fantasy is no different from fiction, or any other genre.
The best characters are complex and original; they possess very real motives and weaknesses, and change over time due to events and supporting characters in the story. Take your character and interview your character. Know what they fear most. Discover what their ultimate goals are how they plan on achieving them.
“Linda has published sixteen books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on the challenges a writer faces, including marketing and promoting your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews and how to self-publish.”