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  1. #1
    Boldly Gone Malice's Avatar
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    Default Tips for writing Fantasy?

    So I was going through a box of art stuff the other day and found fan art of an old fantasy story I came up with when I was in high school. I'm thinking about picking it up and playing with it a bit again for fun. (tweaking this, changing that, but keeping the basic idea of this world the same)

    Does anyone else here do any fiction-writing for fun? Do you have any tips to share about writing for a fantasy genre?
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  2. #2
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    I've read lots and lots of fantasy. One thing that I can think of is not to use magic as a deus ex machina or as a device to manhandle your plot. It needs it's own consistent rules of operation. And be really careful with recycled and stale tropes and stereotypes. The fantasy genre is littered with tons of people writing The Lord of the Rings, over and over again.

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    I've read lots and lots of fantasy. One thing that I can think of is not to use magic as a deus ex machina or as a device to manhandle your plot. It needs it's own consistent rules of operation. And be really careful with recycled and stale tropes and stereotypes. The fantasy genre is littered with tons of people writing The Lord of the Rings, over and over again.
    Those are both good points.

    I'm having trouble giving advice, since fantasy is so BROAD. You can write light fantasy, dark fantasy, high fantasy, low fantasy, fantasy centered around types of creatures (dragons, etc.). So many angles, and it depends on your vision and interest.

    Character-driven plots seem preferable to me... but if you can spin off a fast-paced exciting tale, you can get away with something with more conventional settings. (Michael Creighton books, like Sphere, seemed to read very fast, even if they weren't necessarily enduring.)

    If you're also serious about publishing, you likely will also need an agent. It's rare to send your manuscript in on the slushpile and get noticed nowadays, due to the glut.
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    Patron Saint Of Smileys Gloriana's Avatar
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    Hola Malice,

    While I usually write contemporary sorts of fiction, I've also dabbled a lot in the fantasy genre. I'm not an expert or anything, but these things help me and keep me inspired when I'm writing something in the fantasy genre:

    1. READ a lot of fantasy stuff and make time to do it. I like revisiting favorites that got me inspired to write fantasy in the first place, and then I like doing searches online for "Book similar to _______" to find new books to read that should be in a similar vein to what I liked initially (then it's like I don't have to go trudging through a million books about aliens if I'm not writing about aliens, if that makes sense).

    2. WATCH fantasy shows and movies. (basically, just keep yourself in constant contact with that fantasy genre so it's always there with you)

    3. When you're reading and watching the fantasy stuff, if something sparks off an idea in your head, WRITE IT DOWN. If you hone in on elements you really like and want to play with yourself, WRITE IT DOWN. In fact, keep a notebook and pen handy all the time (that's just something I personally think is indispensable for ANY writing).

    4. Think about your childhood a lot. Think about the fantasies you had playing pretend, think about what things sparked off your imagination. Think of the first books, shows, or music that got you thinking about fantasy worlds and re-read or re-watch those things. I personally find that doing this takes me back to a really vivid time of imagination and it helps me tap into all the things I found most exciting in fantasy stories to begin with. It personally helps me zero in on all the elements I want to bring to my stories because they're things that have endured throughout my life in terms of fantasy fiction, if that makes sense!

    Just a few ideas! Hope perhaps they may be helpful!

    Good luck and have fun with it!!!
    "Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard, and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you...amazing things will happen" --Conan O'Brien

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    Boldly Gone Malice's Avatar
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    Thank you all so much for your opinions and advice! I'm not really looking to publish (at most i may post it up on deviantart to share with friends or something) but for now it's just more about getting back into the groove of writing as I haven't done it in so long. Time for some epic-sounding music and a fantasy-movie athon! LOL *high fives you all*
    a little less conversation, a little more action please
    . captain's blog.

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    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    The world has to make sense to the reader even though it is fiction, it has to be in some way relatable. Unless the purpose and plot requires it not to make sense. For example a story told from a crazy and insane mind, the world and world view don't need to make sense. But from a storytelling perspective about events happening in a fantasy world, it does need to.

    What this means is that, regardless of how different your world is from the real one, it has to be governed by rules and physics that don't neccesarily need to be the same as in ours, but need to be consistent for their respective world nonetheless.

    If you write about a fantasy world that has magic for example, you can't just chalk every strange phenomena up to magic and meta your way through the story, the reader will probably get annoyed by that. By creating a source for magic and limitations to magic, you create a set of rules and go your way from that. Ofcourse, no one likes a book that needs to step back and explain itself after every paragraph either, so you have to either subtly put those rules in or at the very least write in a way where those rules appear obvious to the reader from between the lines. :P
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    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    try to avoid cliches and mary sue characters, and you'll be better than at least half of fantasy that's out there, lol.

    other than that and general "writing fiction" tips, there's not much that's specific to fantasy, I think. There's all sorts of fantasy books out there that appeal to different tastes, including some that could barely be called fantasy. I've loaned favourite fantasy novels to friends who've hated them, and I can't stand a few very well-selling fantasy authors. There's a ginormous market, it seems like (although an even more ginormous supply, too)

    (I still fantasy, though)
    -end of thread-

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    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    1. Make sure your world makes sense. Any fans of anything ever--all they do is point out plotholes and inconsistencies. Even if they love it--star wars fans can tell you a hundred thousand weird and wrong things about the world done for the sake of the plot. Put time into the mechanics of it all. I agree with not using magic as your save-all.
    2. Dont use obsessively flowery language. Well placed big words mean so much more than a paragraph it takes someone 5 minutes longer to read because when's the last time they heard "PRAIRILLON"?? (totally just c&ped that. what a stupidly hard word to spell.)
    3. Make sure people love the characters.. Even if it isn't the main one. I don't how how many times I've fallen in love with characters and that alone kept me loyal to the author. Making their thoughts real rocks.
    4. Maybe it just seems underrated to me.. but a REALLY awesome bad guy people love to hate is priceless to me, so if you have a bad guy, give him some awesome depth. Light (Deathnote), Hans Landa (Inglorious Bastards), the Joker (Batman - Every one of them).. These guys sort of made the shows, ya know? So even if it isn't the main character, they need some substance to them.

    Those are my two cents. I Hope you have fun with it.. when writing becomes a chore, it shows in the work.. so Enjoy it and take your time.
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  9. #9
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Fancy and Imagination

    There's fancy and there's imagination.

    Fancy involves only part of ourselves, while something fully imagined comes alive.

    And as fancy involves only part of ourselves, it only becomes partly alive.

    But for our work to become fully alive, we need to give ourselves fully to our imaginations.

    And to give ourselves fullly to our imaginations requires courage and self knowledge.

    But there is really no need to have these qualities ourselves as most of our readers lack them as well.

  10. #10
    Member ultimawepun's Avatar
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    It's nice to be original and all, but don't be discouraged if you suddenly find similarities in your work with others. This is usually the source of writer's block. Just keep pressing on and give it a polish.

    And sometimes, a work can be too original that only the author can understand it, so try to be careful.

    It's often trial and error.

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