BEST Tips for Writing FANTASY Part 1
Hello everybody! A lot of you have asked me how to write a fantasy novel, and that’s not the easiest question to answer. Seeing as it’s a very big, very broad genre.
This is relevant to ALL fantasy subgenres, so whatever you’re writing. I got a covered! Before we get started, thank you SO much to World Anvil for sponsoring today’s blog. World Anvil is a browser-based world-building platform for writers and novelists. That means if you’re a fantasy writer, this is the perfect platform for you! It allows for quick, easy, and organized world building.
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You can create multiple timelines. Can You track your world’s history. You can include interactive maps, family trees. Can you even write your own novel on World Anvil! One of World Anvil’s newest features is their diplomatic relations tracker. It’s a super useful tool for tracking how different nations, religions, or organizations feel about one another within your world.
Do they like each other? Do they get along? Are they at peace? Are they at war? All that good stuff! On top of that, World Anvil is the only world building and novel writing platform that was recommended by Writer’s . Digest this year! So basically, they’re kind of a big deal, and pretty legit. The free version of World Anvil gets you set up with all of their major features, but Guild membership offers you a TON of extras like comprehensive privacy settings, co-authors, presentation options, and so much more!
You can build your fantasy world and save some money! It’s awesome! But first, let’s talk about fantasy, and how to do it right. I post blogs on Wednesdays, and bonus content on Mondays. And if you like dark fantasy, check out my number one best-selling novel The Savior’s Sister. I got the links below! Check it out! On to the best tips for writing fantasy in three, two, one, go!
Number One (1):
Fantasy is NOT one size fits all. Gatekeepers run amuck in fantasy. They believe if you’re not regurgitating. The Hobbit or worshiping at the feet of Brandon Sanderson, you’re doing it wrong. Urban fantasy, portal fantasy, low fantasy, dark fantasy. It’s great if you enjoy some of fantasy’s bigger names, but you gotta acknowledge the industry at large. Trying to publish a fantasy nowadays would result in zero agency representation and dismal sales.
Reader expectations change over time, and fantasy has evolved since the days of the Shire. Plus, people are sick of fantasy purists. They cling to outdated, often narrow-minded views of the genre, and aren’t interested in any new or unique insights. The point is just because you’re not info-dumping an elven world doesn’t mean you’re not included. Neckbeards may bark the loudest, but bestseller lists prove that fantasy readers are diverse and abundant. Don’t feel like you got a be an old white man to write in this genre. There IS a place for you.
Number Two (2):
Understand the genre. Fantasy is not a narrow, niche genre. It’s very broad and easy to define. Fantasy represents a genre of speculative fiction that takes place in a fictional world, and it’s usually influenced by mythology, legends, folklore, or fairy tales. It’s as simple as that. That means you do not necessarily have to feature magic, though magic is extremely common.
You also don’t have to set your story in a medieval world, though medieval worlds are ALSO extremely common. All you have to do is create a world that relies on themes that are common in myths and legends. “But Jenna, contemporary fantasy takes place in modern times!” It sure do! But it also contains elements that are outside of our modern world, like dragons or demon hunters.
Guess where dragons and demon hunters come from? That’s right! Mythology and legends. Understanding the genre is a very important first step. Not only because it’ll help you classify your novel; it also reminds you that the genre isn’t nearly as limiting as you might think it is.
Number Three (3):
Understand the subgenres. This is where shit gets specific. Dark fantasy is fantasy with dark, gloomy themes, or some underlying sense of dread. Portal fantasy is when a character is transported from one world to another, and their fantastical quest begins. You don’t need to understand the precise definition of every single fantasy subgenre, but it helps to know where your story exists within the mix. It also helps to understand that many stories are multi-genre.
For example, my series The Savior‘s Series is dark fantasy, and romance, AND action adventure. Understanding subgenres is mostly helpful in two ways. First, it’ll silence the inner voice that tells you your writing doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes, it does.