1. thecrow
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    thecrow New Member

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    fantasy

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by thecrow, May 4, 2009.

    and im sure you guys get asked this a lot but are there any good tips on writing fantasy?
    i have such a hard time coming up with a story,what type of characters to use.id love to avoid things that have been done to death.
    any tips would be appreciated
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Don't worry whether the story has been done before. They all have.

    It isn't a question about how to write fantasy. It is a matter of how to write fiction.

    Do you need an answer in twenty-five words or less? :)
     
  3. Last1Left
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    Last1Left Active Member

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    Be consistent. Just because it's fantasy doesn't mean there aren't laws that your world follows. All good magic systems have rules, remember.
     
  4. thecrow
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    thecrow New Member

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    ill take any length for an answer
     
  5. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I wouldn't be concerned with writing fantasy well so much as just writing well. I don't read fantasy because in the past when I have picked up a fantasy novel I've found them to be terribly written, uninspired and lacking in anything imaginative/intelligent/original. I'm not saying this isn't true of other genres of fiction, or of all fantasy novels, but it seems that authors get a little too caught up in the genre aspects and forget that they're still writers and good writing needs to be their number one priority.
     
  6. Aeroflot
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    Aeroflot Senior Member

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    I can't say much except my own preference, which is to create a fantasy that feels real, that can happen in real life. That way if you do want to thrown in a dragon, the effect is much greater than if dragons were flying all over the place to begin with.
     
  7. A.J.Crowley
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    A.J.Crowley Senior Member

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    Avoid over description

    So you have created this fantastic fantasy world, with many different races, classes and exotic locations. Understandably you want to share this with your reader, but try to avoid the trap of describing everything in immense detail. Apart from being boring it also destroys that sense of realism needed for good fantasy.

    For example when you write a story set in the real world you do not go out of your way to describe every single object or place your character encounters or visits. No, you make the assumption that your readers know what your writing about. If you read a book where the writer describes the most mundane tasks in excruciating detail, such as getting on a bus or watching television, how long would you go before putting that book down.

    The same applies with fantasy. As a general rule if your characters find something out of the ordinary describe it, if its just everyday stuff to them refer to it briefly. This helps clue the reader in as to what is normal in your world and what isn’t.

    Long post hope it made sense.
     
  8. c.n.nevets
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    c.n.nevets New Member

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    thecrow,

    I think a couple great points have already been made. Writing good fantasy is writing good fiction. And everything has been done before in some way or another. Here are a few fantasy-specific suggestions:

    1) Don't stress about character types, so much as characters. It's easy to get caught up in "wizard" or "warrior," but what makes for a good story is character depth, not character profression. If you create interesting people, their "type" can be overplayed but they can still feel fresh.

    2) Verisimilitude is key. Whatever kind of fantasy you are writing, be it swords and sorcerors or British school fiction or twisted fairy tales or whatever -- you're creating a new world. Make it work. It doesn't have to have the "rules" of our world, but it has to have its own "rules," or readers cannot understand it and therefore cannot identify with it.

    3) Make sure you have a strong plot. Too many fantasy stories get caught up in creating a magnificent world with lush landscapes, bizarre creatures, interesting languages, intricate magic systems, and all those elements. Those elements exist to enhance your story, though, and your story is the movement of your characters through your plot. Don't get too fascinated with your own fantasies!

    .Nevets.
     
  9. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    1) Don't use cliches such as good versus evil or elves versus orcs.
    2) If you want inspiration, look into mythology other than Greek and Roman mythology, such as Norse, Gaelic, Welsh, Brezhoneg, or Pictish (I recommend the latter).
     
  10. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    Geez fantasy without Good vurses evil!

    Im godsmacked. Obviously with anything, its all in the execution! (ala story telling ability)
     
  11. Jeredin
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    Jeredin Member

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    This is very good advice for a growing writer. :)
     
  12. fantasy girl
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    fantasy girl Contributing Member

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    thats what fantasy is though, wether its the good side of you against the bad side of you
    take harry potter for instance, it him v's you know who
     
  13. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think too many people are bogged down by trying to define fantasy by plot elements or settings or types of characters. I recent read a novel that was shelved in fantasy and the only "magical" element was that certain women had a kind of psychic power over men if they looked them in both eyes. That hardly appeared in the story at all. It was mainly a poltical story. It can be set anywhere or any time, have any types of characters you want. The most basic definition of fantasy is that is deals with what is technically impossible. Whale Rider counts as a fantasy because the main character can psychically communicate with whales, but it's done in a very subtle way that very few people pick up on it in the film version, and it isn't obvious in the book at all until the end when she tells her grandfather something that the whale told her.
     
  14. Ragnar
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    Ragnar Contributing Member

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    You should read Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series, at least imo those are the best fantasy novels. What you're saying however rings a few bells when thinking back on fantasy and crime novels read, poorly written and everything resembling everything else.

    More on topic; writing fantasy shouldn't be that much different from just writing anything. Make sure the ideas are good and the writing as well and you should do just fine.
     
  15. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    ^ I thought it was gobsmacked. :confused:

    Have a look at the new fantasy and science fiction that is being published. These two genres are on the cusp of a paradigm shift. The old will still be with us, but there is some new stuff that is redefining these genres. My two favorite examples to ply on anyone who will listen are China Mieville and M. John Harrison.
     
  16. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you use cliches, there must be a twist or what you write will not be worth reading. It's like these films where people swap bodies. It's been done so many times before, no-one is interested.
     
  17. g1ng3rsnap9ed
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    g1ng3rsnap9ed Contributing Member

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    You mean-

    *In a hushed tone

    -Lord Voldemort?
     
  18. Piestein
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    Piestein Senior Member

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    I disagree about Steven Erikson, I disagree strongly.

    But that is off topic (I had a long argumentation about it, but it was erased).

    About fantasy... don't try with something too big as a beginning. Keep things simple, yet logical. The fact that it's magic doesn't mean it is all powerful, that would be boring. You need to set its limits, yet you mustn't make a system too complicated.

    Also, please, for the love of god, don't overdescribe. Don't do it, even if it seems only logical to say how she fixes the pleats on her dress for 30 pages.

    But all of this is basic advice. Like people before me said, write just like you would with any other book. If you want to, don't treat it as 'fantasy'. I bet a lot of books that you didn't know are set in the fantasy part only for some small detail...
     
  19. hawkedup
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    I don't think you should set out to write a fantasy novel. It isn't a good mental place to start. You should write your ideas down, finish the novel, and then see where it lands in relation to genre. I just realized recently that I'm accidentally writing a science fiction/fantasy series. I didn’t realize it until in workshop someone told me that I should experiment in genre more often.

    As for your story, something I do is make a list of all the things that will NEVER be used in my series [as plot devices]. For instance, there will never be a Chosen One, pregnancy (mystical or otherwise), Resurrection, fake deaths (pretending a character is dead so you can bring them back later), and love triangles. Those are just a few things I’ll never do. I’ve been told I shouldn’t write like that and if the story calls for it, I should do whatever I blah blah blah blah blah. But I think it’s a good idea.
     

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