Avoid those fantasy fiction clichés and start creating your own amazing fantasy fiction.
Writing fantasy fiction is fun. The possibilities are endless. However, if one the author is not careful with his manuscript, it might end up as another cliché fantasy novel. Luckily, there are ways to check if one is heading in the right direction. Check these 11 tips to help you write a more successful fantasy fiction book.
Know your target audience
Knowing your market is always the first step. And it’s not just simply identifying your future readers. If you are writing a fantasy novel, you must be able to specifically identify what type of fantasy book you are going to write. Is it high fantasy, magical realism, superhero fiction, sword, and sorcery, or a fairy tale? By deciding on what genre your story will be in, you are also able to study your would-be competitors and allow you to develop further your narrative.
Build your world first
Fantasy novels are unique because writers are not only creating an imagined story, but also a world to fit that story in. While some fantasy writers choose to set the story in an existing world from the past, it is more interesting to create a new world and bring readers to that world. Of course, it is a huge undertaking. One way to build your fantasy world and slowly introduce your characters is by writing short stories showing the origin of your world, important events, and significant places that will be featured later in your novel.
Create a plot like no other
With fantasy fiction, the possibilities are endless. While it is advisable to study classic fantasy novels such as the works of Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Neil Gaiman, and George R.R. Martin, you must produce your unique narrative. Plotting your own story beforehand, allow you to explore more possibilities and get to know your world better. Just a tip, imagine the impossible and make it real.
Interweave plot and world
As mentioned above, writing fantasy is creating both an imagined story and a sort of universe. The two must fit together perfectly. The world you create must be as significant as your characters. Imagine Lord of the Rings without the Middle Earth. The Shire is as important as Frodo and the Hobbits and Mordor are as significant as Lord Sauron. Without Lorien and Rivendell, it wouldn’t be Tolkien at all. So there, the word and characters interwoven immortalize a narrative.
Make your story relevant
What makes really good fiction is its relevancy. No matter what theme, every fantasy novel should reflect the real world- war, politics, culture, environment, prejudice, violence, faith, and other social issues. You can also make it personal. It would be interesting how you would interpret a personal crisis into your fantasy fiction. The Chronicles of Narnia is said to parallel C.S. Lewis’s early life. His family moved to a large house when he was seven years old. Lewis also lost his mother at an early age, an experience he shares with his characters Caspian and Rilian. Whether it’s social reality or personal experience, relevancy makes for a stronger narrative.
Make story believable too
Fantasy readers are willing to imagine only what’s sort of believable and seemingly logical. The key is consistency. New York Times bestselling author Phil Athans points this out,
“…when your characters spend three days in hyperspace to travel eight light-years in chapter one then get home again in fifteen minutes in chapter nine. You’ve established that the trip takes three days, how can they suddenly go faster and why didn’t they do that before? Now our entirely created FTL drive is “totally unrealistic.”
Declare your internal rules
Fantasy fiction should not be chaotic and unruly. To make your story appealing, it must feel real and functional. Fantasy still observes rules and logic. An internal rationale should hold every aspect of your narrative- from how your society functions, to paranormal elements, and even the myths and magic if your book contains magic. One way to ensure that is by studying the basics of politics, culture, philosophy, economics, and other realities that govern our existence.
Create characters wisely
While fantasy fiction affords writers almost endless possibilities, when it comes to creating names or characters, authors should be sensitive to readers. Choose characters that are consistent with the world you are trying to build. Also, avoid creating names that are too difficult to pronounce or even remember. You would not want your readers scanning back and forth the pages of your book just
Use appropriate dialogues
According to nownovel.com,
When writing dialogue, especially between members of different civilizations in your fantasy world remember:
- How people express themselves conveys something about their nature. Use sayings and manner of speech to strengthen the reader’s sense of your characters’ common attributes as well as differences.
- Try to use action wherever possible to advance the plot and keep lengthy conversations as breathers between sections where there is greater tension.
Self-edit your manuscript
For fantasy fiction author Collette Jackson-Fink, authors must edit their works. In one of her blogs, she shares her thoughts when self-editing fantasy fiction. One of her advice leads us to the last and one of the most important tips.
Read your draft over again
Fantasy fiction author Collette Jackson-Fink, author of the books Daughters of Twilight and Sons of Twilight gives her advice on self-editing fantasy fiction. One advice is to re-read and examine your manuscript multiple times. By doing so, you can deal with issues, errors, and inconsistencies before printing your work. Reading your work over and over again allows you to be more familiar with the style and tone of your novel.
Observing these guidelines should help you come up with a masterpiece that uniquely your own. Writing fantasy fiction is more enjoyable with these simple writing tips.