How to Write Fantasy

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Alright, this is long overdue. First of all, there are several versions of fantasy. Included in this guide we shall examine:

High Fantasy

Portal Fantasy

Sword and Sorcery

Urban Fantasy

Dark Fantasy

First I'd like to go through three at a time, since they follow the same basic set of rules.

Fantasy in other worlds

What is High Fantasy?

High fantasy is, in short, all out stakes. It's good versus evil on a global scale. War versus light and good. Some great examples of this would be Robert Jordan's fourteen book Wheel of Time series, and, of course, J.R.R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

What is Portal Fantasy?

This is when a character from our world goes to another world through magical means. Whether a wardrobe (

Chronicles of Narnia) or summoned by magic ritual (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant) This is usually an easier version of High Fantasy, at least in a way to show your world, because you're viewing it through the eyes of someone seeing it for the first time.

What is Sword and Sorcery?

It is also known as Low Fantasy, the stakes are more personal, such as winning a crown (A Game of Thrones) or killing an emperor (Prince of Thorns). Sword and sorcery is usually dark, gritty and has relatable characters and endless gray areas.

What is Urban Fantasy?

Urban fantasy is when someone from our world finds a world within that world. The most renown work of Urban Fantasy is the Harry Potter or Percy Jackson books. The fantasy exists on Earth. Most of the rules and laws of physics apply. The Muggles or Mortals or what-have-you usually don't know there is this world, and a select group are trying the knowledge from it by some reason or another.

What is Dark Fantasy

Dark Fantasy is anything revolving around the supernatural. Including but not limited to Vampires, Witches, Werewolves and creatures of the night. Unlike Twilight, which falls into the category of Urban Fantasy, there is an eerie feeling about it. The work the immediately comes to mind is Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles, specifically Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat and all those other books. It can be outright horror to supernatural and creepy. Another great example might be the show Supernatural (at least the essence of it)

So how do I write it?

I cannot stress this enough. As someone who has published fantasy before and fallen short many times:


. Let it build around your characters. Sure, sketch the bare outlines and maybe go into some history

if it's needed

. Do you have dwarves and elves like Tolkien or Ogiers and Trollocs like Robert Jordan?

Don't be flashy and over glamorize the world. Focus on your characters. You aren't writing a guide, you are writing a story. Allow the world to meld around your story. Let it grow and shape your characters and above all: give us a reason to relate to the characters.

One of the reasons Wheel of Time is a lacking fantasy series is that they're fighting the Dark One because..wait, why are they doing it again? Oh yeah, The Wheel weaves as The Wheel wills. It is your destiny. They're just fighting for fighting itself. There's no motivation. It's easy to relate to Peter Parker. He's from our world. The chosen one from a peace loving farm who kills the evil Lord? Kind of hard to relate to. Integrate feelings you've had and experiences. Give us a reason to root for them. Even though your characters are part of this fantastic world, make them human. Lord of the Rings even falls short of making the bad guy actually human, in a sense. Every villain is a hero in his own eyes, and is trying to do what he thinks is right. This is the focal point where many, many fantasy books fall short.

That's my advice. Take it or leave it. Or take some. Or leave some. Or take it all.



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Awesome stuff bub.