Secrets to Writing Fantasy Novels


The secret to writing a great fantasy novel is the laying of a firm foundation. Writers of fantasy novels understand what fantasy is, fantasy is not something incredible. In fact, for a fantasy novel to work it must be believable.

If your novel is not believable, you would sooner be writing a comedy.

To write a fantasy novel that works, your world, your characters and the intention, adventure or quest must all fit together. Long before to you get to write “once upon a time”, or “in a land far, far away”, you must create this time and place. The writer of a fantasy novel must know this place in as much detail as they know their real world.

In the creation of this fantasy place, the writer must pay careful attention to believable detail. Consider that if sun never rises in a fantasy place, the vegetation would not be vibrant and, well, unless there is some other element in the environment that should explain the impossible. If the land is barren, there is unlikely to be an adequate water source, unless somehow this source is polluted, stagnant and infertile.  If the writer feels compelled to include a viable water source here, they must explain some force that makes it so.

If there are animals in this world, they must belong to this world. An arctic wolf is unlikely to fare well in a hot humid environment, but some cousin of the wolf that evolution has produced with a thin sleek skin will do nicely. Perhaps the writer really wants an arctic wolf, should attribute its presence to some magic or other force, but this force should also have a reason to belong.

After the environment has been set, or even in the creation of the environment, the characters should be given form. As important as it is that the characters have physical form, it is vital that they have personalities and human traits complete with fatal flaws. To properly develop the characters, they must have a history, direction and purpose. Although clearly defined in the writer’s notepad at the very beginning of developing the fantasy novel, these things should be revealed in the duration of the novel.

In developing the characters (this is still very much before the writing of the novel can commence) with their individual qualities, the writer should also examine how they interact with other characters and their environment, and their relationships to each other. These things will be revealed to the reader in the appropriate scenes in the finished fantasy novel. The writer of a fantasy novel should keep in mind, or learn to accept that his characters are real, and as such conflicts and tensions are often apparent even if not spoken out loud, these things can be represented in the way they relate to each other and situations.

All good fantasy novels must include a quest or an adventure and a reason with motivation.  It is here that the fantasy novel explores humanity. The secret to writing a fantasy novel is knowing that the novel is a vehicle for understanding what life is. The writer should not say this to their reader, but do allow the reader to draw their own comparisons to the world they are reading the fantasy novel from.

Finally, the secret to writing a fantasy novel beyond creating the foundations are the same as they are for any other novel. A fantasy novel must have an interesting plot, and themes. Typically, fantasy novels should include the examination of good and evil, and, the quest to understand oneself, complete with challenges.

The history of the characters is an ideal backup story, so a good fantasy writer would have developed a thorough history for their characters. I do this myself. I create diaries and journals kept by my characters and refer to them in the character development. I do not write these into the novel but simply write them to know them and draw the characters development out from them.

It is important that the writer of a fantasy novel create their world and their characters from their own imagination. Writing your characters into someone else’s world is sure to prove a disappointment to the reader who will know this world from someone else’s novel. A fantasy novel is not an extension of someone else’s work; it is the creation of a new one.

Number one secret to writing fantasy novels- make it believable.

Number one not so secret to writing a great fantasy novel- create a solid foundation.

Number one rule to writing any fantasy novel- use your imaginationFeature Articles, not another writer’s.

It’s goodbye from meThat’s it folksBarry

 There are a lot of massive epic fantasy series out there. And many of them are simply great. They introduce us to complex and rich new worlds. And the experience we have with them can itself last for years because each series has multiple novels and some are still being added to. Here are the top five.

The Shannara series by Terry Brooks – There are currently twenty books in the Shannara series and they are roughly broken down into trilogies. It all began in 1977 with the release of the first book The Sword of Shannara. This series of books is often heralded as the rightful heir to the Lord of the Rings. I have to agree 🙂 I read the first book when it came out and fell in love with the series. The books all take place in Shannara but cover a lot of time and a lot of different characters. If you are considering an adventure into Shannara you should start with the first book of the first trilogy The Sword of Shannara. The second book is The Elfstones of Shannara which is currently being made into a major motion picture. The third book of the trilogy is The Wishsong of Shannara.

The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan – This is a series of books that currently number eleven. The twelfth and final book is scheduled to be out in the Fall of 2009 and Robert Jordan passed away while working on it but he had done extensive interviews and work with Brandon Sanderson who will complete it  for him. It’s a wonderful series of books and is extremely large! The page count of each book goes anywhere from 700 to 1100 pages. I personally devoured the first five books in the series one right after the other. After reading the first I ordered the second and so on right through the first five. Well written and very complex. Nice stuff but does get some criticism for tending to keep you hanging all the time (and for its massive page count). I would say this series is a bit more serious than the Shannara series. The First book is The Wheel of Time and the Second Book is The Great Hunt.

The Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind – The first book in this series is Wizards First Rule. I have read the first three books in this series and thoroughly enjoyed them. I will get to the others eventually. The Very first book  is just phenomenal. It was released in 1994 to much critical acclaim. You may want to get the box set of the first three novels. You are going to burn through the first one pretty quick. The Sword of Truth Books 1-3: Wizard’s First Rule, Blood of the Fold, Stone of Tears are all masterfully crafted books.

The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant The Unbeliever – There are currently eight books in this series and the first book is being made into a major motion picture. – Of all the series I have read this is my absolute favorite. I have read through the whole series twice. This world stands apart from the others for a couple of reasons. True it is a fantasy work with all the usual things like magic, wizardsScience Articles, big battles and well you know. But it is also very sharply balanced by a peculiar main character – Covenant. He is a leper and a bit of an anti-hero. For a portion of the story he doesn’t believe what is happening and he doesn’t want to be the hero. There is a very strong internal conflict in him and it goes nicely with the external conflict. The first book Lord Foul’s Bane  was released in 1977 The most recent book in the series is Fatal Revenant and it was released in October of 2007 so this is a nice current series with another book coming.

A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin – This is a series of currently four books and the first book  A Game of Thrones was published in 1996. There are three more books planned for the series and several prequel novellas. The fifth book in the series (A Dance with Dragons) is scheduled to be released in Sep 2008.  This series of books is more contemporary than the other series; it was started in 1996 and it tends to have much more of a Medieval Europe flavor to it. Political intrigue and the maneuverings between various factions play a big part in the story.

There are lots of great epic fantasy sagas that span many pages and many volumes. If you want to stick with something that is tried and true then any of these five would make a great choice. No matter which one you choose you are in for many hours of wonderful adventuring in strange and new fantasy worlds.

Top 10 Best Fantasy Webcomics to Check Out

Top 10 Best Fantasy Webcomics to Check Out // Subscribe: // TIMESTAMPS BELOW
For this list, we’re looking at webcomics with not only a fantasy setting, but contain themes and tropes associated with fantasy genres such as supernatural creatures, magic, etc… We’re also looking at series whose fantasy setting is central to the story and vision of the comic, and not comedy webcomics set in a fantasy universe, as that is a different list entirely.

00:36 #10. “Last Blood” (2006-07)
01:13 #9. “A Redtail’s Dream” (2011-13)
01:46 #8. “Order of Tales” (2008-10)
02:23 #7. “Paranatural” (2011-)
02:55 #6. “The Phoenix Requiem” (2007-11)
03:32 #5. Emily Carroll’s Short Stories (2010-)
04:08 #4. “FreakAngels” (2008-11)
04:49 #3, #2 & #1: ???

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