1. Zombocalypse

    Zombocalypse Member

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    What elements of writing should be present in fantasy?

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Zombocalypse, Oct 19, 2016.

    What elements of writing should be present when writing fantasy?

    And why are those elements exclusive to fantasy?

    Like, should fantasy have to have thicker and richer exposition than other genres? Should fantasy must have a solid idea compared to others? What?



    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Megs33

    Megs33 Active Member

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    I enjoy fantasy that has rich description. I know it's important to all writing, but in fantasy's case you're literally taking the reader to a different world in some way or another. Without a vibrant explanation to bring that world to life, the reader is going to walk away perplexed at best and annoyed at worst. BUT, too much description bogs the whole thing down. So moderation is key. Personally I love when the setting comes to life with as few words as possible, but it means you really have to dig for the right metaphors, adjectives, etc. I've taken passages I've written and re-done them more times than I can count because I still don't think they're "just right."

    Another important aspect of a good fantasy book is balance of the realistic and the fantastic. I imagine other people would agree with the belief that the best books are the ones that give other plot devices to chew on rather than just beating the reader over the head with magic, destiny, etc. I think some authors get too taken by their own personal "fantasy" behind the book and forget to temper the ascension of their character with moments that connect them to the reader. I've read both ends of the spectrum: on one end the character is always solving problems with magic, and there's nothing else to the book except his or her next level-up. On the other end, I've wanted to chuck my kindle across the room reading stories where magic is clearly present, but the main character and his or her friends fall in to a boring loop of a quest: hiking, finding food, building a fire, sleeping, ad nauseum. It's realistic, but SO BORING. I think the balance of both things is really critical.

    I hope that's helpful!
     
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  3. xanadu

    xanadu Contributor Contributor

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    Speaking as someone who has only dabbled in fantasy, I can't imagine that there'd be much of a difference when it comes to the writing techniques themselves from any other genre. Story elements, sure. But writing elements? I think it would be a mistake to think that you have to write a certain way simply because it's fantasy.

    Description is a function of point of view. Fantasy needs no more or less description than any other genre--it needs what the story, the scene, the character needs. I think a common 'fallacy,' if you will, of fantasy writers is to conflate worldbuilding with storytelling and, as a result, over-emphasize the importance of describing their world. The world only needs to be described as much as it affects the characters--specifically the POV character. Just like any other genre. Just because it's a fictional world doesn't mean it's any more relevant to the current scene.

    Fantasy is beholden to the same writing standards as any other genre (or, at least, it should be)--well-rounded characters, tension and conflict, reader engagement, lack of plot holes, and effective writing. There may be story-level 'requirements' (though how much or how strict is variable) such as having some degree of magic or worldbuilding or epic questing, depending on which niche you're trying to fill. But those are separate from how it's written, which I think is a universal skill that transcends genre.

    IMO, of course :)
     
  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    There is no such thing as elements that "should" be present in fantasy. The genre is diverse, and you can approach it in as unique or conventional a fashion as you like.
     
  5. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Agreed, with the caveat that if we are going to use the word "should", then Fantasy should have all the elements present in any good story, a compelling plot, characters with which the reader can relate, empathize, and project, etc.
     
  6. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Contributor

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    I agree with everything xanadu said. If fantasy had to have one specific thing to be a genre, it would quickly become a very boring genre. I think the same is true for all genres, actually. Anne McCaffery's Dragonriders of Pern series is technically sci-fi, but much of the series has very little science in it. I've also read (and enjoyed) fantasy books where the made-up history, people (all humans), and cultures were the only things that made them fantasy. Really, the only thing fantasy has to have is something that's completely made up.
     
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  7. Zombocalypse

    Zombocalypse Member

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    Thanks, everyone!
     
  8. Seraph751

    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole... Contributor

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    For me, I love when you (the reader) are transported to a new world so to say. Things that are not mundane or that we would never run across. The variety of different races. The cultural traditions and their histories.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2016
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  9. wrigby paige

    wrigby paige New Member

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    (Heroic) fantasy, and perhaps many other genres, should have a protagonist with whom it is a privilege to go on a long, profound journey with. The protagonist should have friends who interact with their fantastical world as much as they do. There should be humor, and there should be heart. To me, only the fantastical elements (whatever they may be) make fantasy fantasy. A fantasy book is a guide to daily life in an imagined world as much as it is an adventure.
     

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