Like all genres, fantasy writing has its challenges and its freedoms. While the imaginative possibilities are vast, the absence of reality can also make it more difficult to construct a believable plot.
In my view, the limitless possibilities connected to fantasy writing are thrilling. This article will offer some tips on how to explore your creative imagination and how to write fantasy better.
Identify your market
“Write what will stop your breath if you don’t write.”
― Grace Paley
Are you writing for adults, children, young people? Is there a specific group within these more general categories that you’d like to reach?
As an author, you should always be aware of your market, otherwise identified as your target audience. Without knowing where your book will be placed and who will read it, you may find it difficult to reach readers and meet their demands.
I write Young Adult fantasy and while it’s hard to keep up with new publications and trends, I do try to stay updated on what young adults are reading and how I can reach them.
Having said all this, you should ultimately write what your mind is telling you to put down on paper. To think too much about audience can quell the imagination, so while a consciousness of your audience is useful, don’t let it define your story.
Find your USP
“Write what disturbs you, what you fear,
what you have not been willing to speak about.” — Natalie Goldberg
No book is complete without a USP (Unique Selling Point). There are thousands of fantasy novels already on the market, and thousands currently being written, so finding your unique edge is important.
Your USP is personal to you. No idea is entirely new, but it’s up to you as a writer to find a fresh perspective. Write about what you love and what you know, but don’t be afraid to push the boundaries.
Read fantasy stories
“I believe that writing is derivative. I think good writing comes
from good reading.” ― Charles Kuralt
All writers should be prolific readers and pay particular attention to books within their own genre. If you want to write fantasy better, you should read successful books within the genre and observe how it can be done.
Reading quality novels to gain inspiration isn’t a crime. It’s a great way to become knowledgeable about what is already on the market and to learn how different writers apply their craft.
Make your imagination believable
“The difference between real life and a story is that life has significance,
while a story must have meaning.” ― Vera Nazarian
This doesn’t mean you should drown your story in facts or dull it down with lengthy explanations. Making your imagination realistic simply requires the ability to bring your story to life.
Readers want to believe in the stories they are reading and find a sense of escapism. A poor plot will simply imply that you don’t have faith in your own creations. Write in a way that shows readers your world is real and convince them to believe in your story.
Do some research
“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
― Jack London
If you’re writing fantasy, it’s likely that you’ll draw upon your knowledge of the world to inform your ideas. Stories are often based on real places, people and events, and the world around you is the best place in which to conduct research.
Visit or look up locations around the world, read about real events, think about your own experiences, note down your dreams. Through observation, experience, and knowledge, you can create fantastical worlds that will leap from the page.
I don’t travel around the world to gain ideas, but I do take the time to observe what’s happening around me. I read the news, research interesting places and events, explore nature, and observe human actions. These observations, whether consciously or subconsciously, then feed into my writing.
Know your world inside out
“An author must learn the principles of good storytelling
only in order to write better from the heart. ” ― Uri Shulevitz
If someone were to ask you a characters middle name, would you know it? Would you be able to talk about their background, or label details about your setting?
To build a believable setting and plot, you need to know your fantasy world inside out. Learn everything there is to know: where it is, what it looks like, what makes it a fantasy creation.
Every writer has a preferred planning method and some don’t plan at all. I personally like writing down notes and ideas whenever they pop into my head. When it comes to writing a book, I already know many details about my story, whether they’re included in the final publication or not.
Laying out details which you can refer to time and time again will help you keep your writing accurate, succinct, and convincing.
If you write fantasy, or any type of fiction in fact, I’d love to know how you make your writing believable.