1. Markus.A.Olsen
    Offline

    Markus.A.Olsen New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Norway

    Creating Fantasy

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Markus.A.Olsen, Mar 6, 2012.

    Hey,

    How is it when developing a fantasy series? I have recently read a lot of George R.R. Martin's masterpiece; A Song of Ice and Fire (Currently racing through the second book). And I was wondering; I tend to be inspired by books like these and want to write something similar in the future. But how would people react to a fantasy using some of the things that had been used before; for example Martin uses relatively normal names for the characters. Using something like this in a fantasy, would that ruin it for you?

    It is funny that everytime I try to think about something new I find it impossible to find something good, then the next day I find something genius that is totally new :p.

    This would be the right place to post if I wanted to post an idea, right? If so I might do that, and people can see if it is too, what's the word, repeating (?)?

    Thank you,

    Markus
     
  2. superpsycho
    Offline

    superpsycho Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    The first step is defining a story. Beginning, middle and end, then build out from there.
     
  3. MaybeSomeday
    Offline

    MaybeSomeday New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Manchester, Connecticut, United States
    I'm afraid that there is very little in fiction, let alone fantasy, that is completely original. It's all about how you tell the story with the elements you want to use, your prose and your characters. If you have such a defeatist attitude towards whether your subject matter is "original", then you probably won't get very far.
     
  4. Jack Rain
    Offline

    Jack Rain New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's always easier if you enjoy what you write. I suggest thinking and establishing a certain time period to write in. The world should exist before the story, because the story has to make sense in that world.
     
  5. TWErvin2
    Offline

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,528
    Likes Received:
    561
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    It all starts with, "What if?"

    There is nothing wrong with taking inspiration from what's out there and what you enjoy reading. Most readers, I think, write what they'd like to find on the book shelf, if they hadn't written it themselves (and then I bet they'd like to find it on the shelf too).

    My first novel idea came while pondering events in Roger Zelazny's Guns of Avalon and Harry Turtledove's World War series (alternative history). It got me to thinking what would happen if a dragon encountered a WW II aircraft in aerial combat. From there I devised a world where such an encounter could happen, the conflict, plot and characters.

    As was said, there is nothing totally original out there. Don't carbon copy what's out there, yet write the story you want to tell.
     
  6. Tashanel
    Offline

    Tashanel Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Surabaya, Indonesia
    The most what writer fear is, what if my work has a same idea with someone?

    I thought everyone has experience them. But my suggestion is, "what the hell if i am?!"

    Because, i certainly think you can't be profesional writer on first move. With your own style, with your own character, with your own plot. The step before reach it, is make an adaptation (imitate) story! do not fear if someone call you, a copycat or something. Because, before you find your own creativity you need to learn what your favourite writer will write it. You need a figure first. Even in creating your fantasy. In a lot of excersise, you will find your own way to creating fantasy.
     
  7. Mallory
    Offline

    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Messages:
    4,274
    Likes Received:
    191
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Using normal names in a fantasy isn't a concept that George Martin has copyright claim to. ;) In fact, I prefer normal-ish names in fantasy to names like Raelcyrdbrydor. I think a name should at least be relatively easy for the reader to pronounce in their head.

    I think that big-picture themes, concepts, etc. can definitely be recycled, because most very basic ideas have been told in many forms. Just don't overdo it. For example, don't rip off the entire setting. Don't use all the Fire and Ice characters while changing nothing but the names. Don't use all the species and races exactly the way George Martin portrays them. But, I knew you weren't planning on doing that stuff anyway, right? ;)

    Just write the story that you want to write and you will be fine. :)
     
  8. UrbanBanshee
    Offline

    UrbanBanshee Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2012
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Seattle
    My fantasy stories usually steam from a question I end up asking while reading/watching something. A different way the type of story could have gone, or just world building stuff. I've been looking into inventions and how things came about to work out how my world came into being. Some fantasy's have characters burning candles like crazy, but in our own history at least candles were expensive only a richer house could afford to burn more then one candle at a time.

    I'm inspired by that sort of thing, and I think the important thing is to know when you are expanding on inspiration, or just rewriting someone else's story.

    As for names, I can't stand names that are impossible to pronounce, and/or have those darned apostrophes. I always trip up and get pulled out of the story by wondering how the heck jir'kzexl is pronounced. I like looking at the type of world I am building and what I am taking inspiration from, English fairy tales for me, and base my names off that. Most of my character names are old English names that are rarely used today but don't sound too exotic.
     
  9. Markus.A.Olsen
    Offline

    Markus.A.Olsen New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Norway
    Thank you very much for the good advice guys ;).

    It is truly impressive that George Marting managed to work out such a world from thinking what would happen if some children found wolves by a river... Really admire the guy, a great inspiration.
     
  10. Afion
    Offline

    Afion Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2012
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Shropshire, UK
    Write what you enjoy, you can worry about copyright when it comes to publishing! :)
     
  11. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    My fantasy usually comes out of needing to solve a problem in the story. I write two forms.

    One is an epic fantasyesque story set in modernish times. It became a fantasy the day my MC needed to witness something and I turned him into a bird. Its mushroomed since then. The characters have names like Angus, Jack, Matthew, Thomas and Alexander. Fly Fornication, Hyacinthus, Socrates and Damocles being the weirder ones ;)

    My other one is a urban fantasy with an older couple and their grandson. The man in the relationship and his grandson are wizards and they investigate paranormal events at archaeology site. It is sort of Miss Marple crossed with Dresden Files.
     
  12. michaelj
    Offline

    michaelj Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    5
    I am using anglo-saxon names in my fantasy story aswell as names I've changed slightly... For example instead of Daniel I've used Danyel.
     
  13. WithPipeAndBook
    Offline

    WithPipeAndBook New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've been asking myself the same questions lately. In the process of writing my own fantasy stories, I can never come up with anything original. I'll think of some original-sounding idea, then think, "Oh, so it's going to be just like ___" and get discouraged. However, I've been learning that there's nothing so overdone that it can't be made into something original. I'm writing a story that involves a magical university where "Elementalists" are taught. It's all been done before, but I'm hoping I can make it original through my characters and how they interact with the world.
     
  14. Jowettc
    Offline

    Jowettc Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2012
    Messages:
    207
    Likes Received:
    8
    Depends on your level of depth.

    High Fantasy is often an entirely new universe as some others have eluded to in earlier posts. As such you need to develop your entire world setting. I am working on one now from the actual moment of creation to the present day - it's kinda fun to use my imagination like that. Instead of orcs, trolls and dragons my world is based on elemental magic - has someone else done it before - probably. Have I read it - No. Do i care - No. It's all coming from my head and I know it's as original as I can make it - whether someone thinks I'm copying another authors style or not I havent a clue but some will, no doubt, say I am.

    But you can put fantasy elements wherever you like - see Harry Potter - modern day wizards.

    Being inspired by another writer is common, as is being inspired by the news, a movie, a friend, whatever. Just be cautious of using / setting any story in someone else's Fantasy universe - then there are legal issues you might want to contend with and most publishers will probably avoid it anyway.
     
  15. Mordred
    Offline

    Mordred Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2012
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    United States
    Most people might quote the Bible or Nietzsche:

    "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun." ~Ecclesiastes 1:9

    "There are no things which you devise that has not already been done." ~Nietzsche

    Me? I believe some of the same plot elements are used book after book, but it is in the way the characters decipher their doom/fate/destiny that becomes the most interesting journey. It is YOUR take on the journey that the reader invests their time in. A professor of history told the class, "If I put five of you in Jack London Square in Oakland and told you to each take a different walk route to Joaquin Miller Park in Piedmont, and had you write what you saw, people you met and what hazards lay across the journey, you would each have a different story to tell." Sure, same beginning, same end. Different journey.

    Suggestion, no, strong advice... before you write, MAKE A MAP. You need to be able to see the journey from Point A to Point B and beyond. The landscape the characters travel across can help determine what wildlife, towns, and the types of hazards they will come across and that in itself adds to the story. It can also lead to many side adventures for your characters. It doesn't have to be hyper-detailed, but you definitely want to know where the mountain ranges and rivers are. Political boundaries, agriculture centers, outlying towns/villages/hamlets have a natural order to where they will lay. It sounds like a lot of work, and it is. But, it will save you so many headaches and heartaches in the future it is well worth it.

    Here is the full map of the world that I created for the trilogy I am writing: The World of Argontath. I've also created a 100,000+ year history of major events. It helps me to know what is going on in the world at the time the main character is undergoing his trials and tribulations. Mind you, I've worked on this world for the last 30+ years so I know how things are supposed to fit, but through writing the novel my world has grown. Yours does not have to be as detailed as this (I love cartography) and a simple black and white line map will do as long as you know the distance between points and the landmarks.

    Several of the other contributors to the thread have mentioned the convention of naming. Be careful in the names you choose for your characters. Mallory and UrbanBanshee both brought up either allowing the reader to be able to hear the name in their head, or not using names like the aforementioned "jir'kzexl" or "Raelcyrdbrydor" and the like. You do want to be able to say the names without pulling the reader out of the suspension of disbelief. The same goes for the naming of cities and towns.

    I wish you luck and would like to hear what you have planned in the future!

    ~Mordred
     
  16. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    I have to wonder how much actual writing you could have accomplished in the time it took to generate that map and that history. It seems like a wee bit of overkill to me.
     
  17. Mordred
    Offline

    Mordred Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2012
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    United States
    Not overkill at all. I'm proficient using Photoshop and I love cartography. Labor of love. I spent maybe 3 hours a day, here and there, for three weeks. Part of writing for me is the preparation and doing research. The history was simple enough since I needed a rough draft for one of my Masters projects. Creating one's own historical timeline forces the mind to see the cause and effect of the actions of individuals and nations. It was also written over 25 years ago. lol

    I make a goal of writing at least 2000 words a day (five days a week). Sometimes, those 2000 get scrapped, but I am able to use some of it. I do admit, the creation aspect is difficult. After the editor gets a look at the chapter and makes her suggestions and notes, the re-edit takes a day for polishing.

    On a side note... I like your signature. Colonel O'Neill is one of my favorite science fiction characters ever. My favorite SG-1 moment is watching him and Teal'c hit gold balls through the Stargate in the "Groundhog Day" type of episode. Great science fiction!

    Take care Cogito

    ~Mordred
     
  18. shangrila
    Offline

    shangrila Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2011
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    1
    Stories are determined by the characters. It doesn't matter if your world is ridiculously developed (the Malazan series) or kind of just thrown together (First Law series) so long as your characters are strong.
     
  19. Markus.A.Olsen
    Offline

    Markus.A.Olsen New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Norway
    Thank you very much for the advice guys ;). I am only 15 years old, so I have no pressing matter to write anything that big, yet. I would, however, love to be a professional writer in the future, and having a plan for something that I would like to write seems like a good plan to me. I am a huge fan of George R.R. Martin and feel worried about that my admirasion for him might affect my story. This is his fantasy series "A Song of Ice and Fire" I have read by him (or am currently reading..). I would like to use the system he uses, with POV characters, as this gives the story a different (better) feeling in my experience.

    I would also like to rely heavily on history, and with clear references to real life history. (I love history if you haven't got that yet :D). The map I am thinking of is one that would have Norway and Sweden with a chunk of land to the south east. This would be two kingdoms (one consisting of "Norway/Sweden" and another that is the "chunk"). As well as different places around this, but the main focus will be on this continent. I think the size of the world would be with the two kingdoms around the "height" of South- and North-America, and about as "broad" as Africa.

    I am also in the mind to write short stories (George Martin advised any to start writing shorts.) Probably to help build up the world and a history to the world (Egg and Dunk Series).

    I am thinking of this as a large piece, maybe nine books (large ones), and I want it to be great. I would actually want it to be praised as some of the best ever written (ambitious I know...).

    But I will create another thread sometime later (don't know when) where I will give a detailed perspective of what I am thinking of. And there I would like judgement for if it is to much like somethnig else you ahve read.

    Thank you,

    Markus
     
  20. Olivia Ashe
    Offline

    Olivia Ashe New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    I suggest you start with an outline of what you want to happen, then fill it in.
     
  21. Cassiopeia Phoenix
    Offline

    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Brazil
    No way. Me too *high five*

    I can't actually give you an advice, really, but what about trying to write a stand alone novel first and see how things work out? All books from any series should be stand alone novels that "click" if read together, either in sequence or not, so I guess that going for a series rather than just one novel is taking a bite bigger than your mouth, especially if like me, you are just starting...

    Try to write a novel that you could go on from the end into another novel if you wanted to. At least, that's what I am doing.

    Edit: I am also up to write fantasy -- and I always come up with original ideas mixing a lot of things that already exist. For example, there's a thread that I created talking about a MC I had a draft of. She's a mix between Mulan, Lisbeth Salander from the Millenium saga with a little tiny touch of Avatar, the Last Airbender. No one needs to know that. ;)
     
  22. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Why would you care if it's original or not? I mean, sure, try and make it original, but in the end, who really cares as long as you love your story and your characters? Every idea has been done under the sun by somebody somewhere - but the enjoyment comes from who your characters are, how they interact, and generally if you write in an engaging manner.

    Also, simple or ordinary names is better if you're not very good at coming up with fantasy names. I remember this fantasy book where the MC was a boy called Pug. I'm sorry, but I'd rather the author called him John or something rather than Pug, because I couldn't take the character seriously. Every time I read the MC's name, I thought of actual pugs, and it just made the whole thing ridiculous and destroyed all sense of realism for me. And then there was Gardan, Macros, Ashen-Shugar and somebody called Tikitikila.

    So forevermore I thought of gardens, computer software, and some kind of grey sugar that resembled the black stuff that you create when you mix sulphuric acid with sugar. And tikitikila just made me laugh.

    So if you can't think of good fantasy names, rather stick to the ordinary - at least there's no chance of it ruining your story. And it's always good to sound the name out in your head, or say it out loud, see if it resembles something ridiculous like Gardan - Garden and Ashen-Shuger - Ashen-Sugar, and generally just make sure it can actually be pronounced.
     
  23. Mordred
    Offline

    Mordred Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2012
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    United States
    Raymond E. Feist is notoriously lazy when it comes to name creation for his characters. Mind you, many names from his books come from the old Thursday night D&D campaign he ran in San Diego. I enjoy Feist's writings and enjoyed his gaming sessions. I've always thought of it this way, maybe said name, like Pug or Tomas, is common place for this fantasy world. The 'Tikitikilalalapalooza' types names is from the world that Pug's world is connected to via a wormhole. They are a semi-Aztec/Chinese type of culture with some really strange names.

    Gardan - Gar'dahn
    Ashen-Shugar - Ash'en Shoo-gahr.

    LOL!

    ~Mordred

     
  24. Markus.A.Olsen
    Offline

    Markus.A.Olsen New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Norway
    AWESOME!! :D *high fives back*
     

Share This Page