There has never been a better time to write a fantasy novel than now. The list of genres runs deep – and before, this was part of the fringe book genres. Now, however, it’s pretty much everywhere – mainly because everyone is now looking for an escape from reality. This is why we keep on reading Harry Potter like there’s no tomorrow – to escape from the muggle world and become a wizard for a few days.
You may have various reasons for wanting to read a fantasy novel. Maybe you want to become the next J. K. Rowling and become one of the richest people in the world. Or maybe you want to blow off some steam by tapping into the creative side of our mind. Regardless of your reasons, you should not write a fantasy novel without knowing the basics of it.
What Is Fantasy?
You can’t write fantasy without actually knowing the fantasy definition. Fantasy novels are known for their out-of-this-world plotline. It often contains make-believe creatures such as elves, unicorns, dragons, magicians, and so on.
Fantasy novels have been around for quite some time – but some of the best fantasy novels that literally made the genre pop are J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings or the G. R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. The latter is actually the one to set the roots for modern fantasy.
Still, the roots run deep, as works such as Beowulf, The Epic of Gilgamesh, or the Odyssey have been around for longer than Twilight.
The purpose of these books is to carry you into a different world, where “the usual” there is not possible in our world.
How to Nail a Fantasy Novel
Have a lot of imagination that is just itching to get loose? Here are some writing hacks that might help you write the best fantasy novel there is.
Devour the Books
Before you can even think of lifting that pen to write a book, you first need to do some research – and that means reading a lot of fantasy books. Pick up the Chronicles of Narnia or The Hunger Games – see what the writers did there. And don’t just read the books; devour them.
Look for every detail, how they created the world, the “logistics” behind it. Research on what they did to achieve such a “realistic” world. For example, Tolkien created an entire language for the elves when he wrote the book; what can you do to top that?
Find Your Niche
“Oh, I’m writing a fantasy!” Hate to burst your bubble, but there’s more to fantasy than that. You have a dark fantasy, you have an urban fantasy, you have steampunk fantasy – and a whole list of subgenres that you could go for.
Do you want your story to unfold in the modern world, or do you prefer an alternate past? It may take some time until you find your niche – but it’s definitely a step that you have to focus on. This will help you identify your audience, as well as your competition.
Plot the Story Before You Start
A fantasy novel is generally epic and complex – so you need to know where you are going before you even start. If you don’t do that, you might find yourself in the middle of your book, staring at the screen thinking “now what?”
Before your story starts, think about the end. How are you planning to pass the crucial points? Where do you want to get in the end? You don’t have to obsess on the details; that’s for the writing process. You do, however, need to know where you are going with it.
An outline created just before you begin might be a very helpful choice – sort of like creating a narrative essay. If you are wondering “what is the meaning of narrative essay,” know that the basics and narrative elements are practically the same – with or without the fantasy part.
Use All of Your Senses
In order for your narrative style not to sound bleak and boring, you have to add all of your senses in your writing; make the reader feel your world. Use plenty of descriptive languages so that the reader can actually enter the world that you have just created.
As a student in college, you learn all about how to do that when your professor asks you to do a descriptive essay. If you are still in college, keep an ear out during your literature class. If not, pop out your old courses and hope that you still have some notes. Worst case scenario, Google is always your friend.
Interview Your Characters
We know, they’re fictional characters; but that doesn’t mean that they are not real. Ask that of every person that became very fond of a book character and they will refuse to refer to those characters as anything but “people.”
To ensure that your character is complex and original, you need to know everything about them. Take a corner of your mind and “invite” the character in. “Talk” to them about their fears, their goals, and how far they are willing to go in order to achieve that. You want to make your characters feel real.
Go from really big questions to some of the dumbest you can think of, they’re your characters, so they can’t be mad at you… supposedly.
Writing a fantasy book takes a lot of time and thought – because unlike realist fiction, you are writing about something you never really had any connection. You know that you drive cars or take the bus to work, and you know that you don’t risk werewolves popping out when you go to buy ice cream at midnight.
Still, what would one do when that world suddenly changes. How would they behave? The way you write will determine whether your story will sound realistic or not – despite the fact that it’s actually a fantasy.
A last piece of advice would be to hire a writing service to do some editing. This way, they can arrange your ideas so that they sound just like they do in your head.