Things to Think About Before You Write Your Fantasy Book
Fantasy is a popular fiction genre at Dorrance Publishing. Here at Dorrance, we accept a wide variety of fantasy novels and books. We want to encourage fantasy writers in their efforts to write the next great fantasy book. Here are some things to think about as you prepare to write your fantasy story or novel!
Develop Your World
What sets fantasy apart from other genres is its immersive worlds. Take some time to think about and plan your far away fantastical setting of your book or books, either before or after you know the details of your plot. Having the mechanisms of your setting planned out will help you write the novel more smoothly. It will help you convey your world to your readers in a way that draws them in.
This not only means the physical landscape of the world, but the politics and culture of it as well. Every society has a culture with a set of rules and norms – even mythical ones. It is even more important to flesh these out ahead of time for a fantasy story than for one that takes place in our contemporary world, for both yourself and your audience. You may think you have your fantasy world entirely in your own head, but planning out the world can help you avoid continuity errors – elements of the plot that contradict a previously explained element. Use notes or a graphic organizer to sketch out your fantasy world, as well as the rules and norms for your fantasy society. There are many resources online to help you in this task.
Character and Narration
A similar amount of care and devotion should be used to develop your characters and their voices. Decide if your story will be told through first-person narration, third person limited, or third person omniscient narration.
First person narration will be told through a character with the use of “I” and an intimate knowledge of their inner mind, thoughts, and feelings. In third person limited, a reader has intimate knowledge of a main character and follows them. The degree to which they are known is up to you, the author. In third person omniscient narration, an outside observer knows about and follows many characters.
Deciding on what route to take with narration will affect the structure and flow of the story. Ask yourself: Is your story better told through one singular character, or many characters whose lives interweave?
Know Your Audience
Fantasy is an interesting genre in that it is quite popular with children, teens, and adults alike. It is unlikely, however, that your story will appeal to all audiences. It is important to decide who your audience will be – or, what the “rating” of your novel will be. A novel for teens should not have the same levels of violence and mature subject matter as one for adults. A fantasy book for children will be much shorter than one for middle grade students. Use discretion and decide early on who your target audience will be. Additionally, there are a number of subgenres within fantasy that might be worth considering – it’s not all wizards and dragons. Steampunk, magical realism, and urban fantasy are examples of other popular fantasy subgenres. Find your niche early on.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a fantasy book without the plot – the central conflict that drives the story. Every story has to have an action that kicks off the plot and sets things into motion. From there, a character will have a mission or a goal. When you zoom out, you will see your main character or characters having conflicts with other beings, ideas, the nature of their world, or even themselves. Conflict will make readers care about the story and ultimately lead to the overarching message of the story. That message is entirely up to you. Ask yourself: what do you want to say with your book? What lesson do you want to teach?
Think About – But Don’t Necessarily Avoid – Cliches
As you take stock of your characters and your plot, you may find that you use cliches of the fantasy genre. The wise wizard, a prophecy that must be fulfilled, or a main character that is “the chosen one” are all examples of fantasy genre cliches. While some may say to avoid these devices, a more interesting approach is to use a cliche but to make it your own. Put a slightly different spin on these cliches, and they will no longer be cliches. Readers will take pleasure in something that is familiar to them, yet something new at the same time. For example, maybe the wise old wizard that mentors your main character isn’t really that wise after all.
Take your time to think about all of these aspects, and have fun as you embark on your fantasy writing journey.
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If your fantasy novel is already written and waiting to be published, contact us!