Fantasy fiction is a literature genre which is based in imaginary settings often featuring supernatural & magical elements and has a plot that cannot occur in real life. It is an escape from one’s reality and an entry into a world that is constructed by the writer’s imagination.
Unconstrained by any scientific or societal rules, fantasy fiction is a far-fetched world invented by the writer. It requires excellent world mapping which should give a feel to the reader and teleport them into an outlandish imaginary world. However, writing fantasy fiction requires skill and forethought.
As such, in this post, we are going to discuss some top writing tips for creating fantasy fiction so that you can craft writing pieces that hit home and engross the reader into your imaginary world.
Understand your market
It is very important that you identify, know, and understand your market. By market, we mean the readership i.e., the audience who will be reading your fantasy fiction. You may have come up with the point that your market will be ‘fantasy’, but this fantasy word is too broad, and it is like throwing darts in the dark if you don’t know your exact market niche.
This is because there are many further subgenres under the fantasy fiction genre. Examples include high fantasy, fables, dark fantasy, sword, and sorcery. Moreover, the exact demographics of your market such as the age of your readership i.e., is it for kids?
All these factors are super important. Knowing the ins and outs of your market, the subgenre, and the niche you are targeting will allow you to determine the characters and the setting of your work. It will also allow you to identify your competition and write accordingly. So, research and know your market.
Structure your plot
Knowing your story first before playing out the plot in your fantasy fiction novel is very important and cannot be overemphasized. This is to avoid skipping over story lines or realizing that you forgot a certain part in your story at the end. Fantasies & fiction are complex and so imaginary that sometimes you can forget and miss the tiny details which would otherwise improve your plot.
As such, it is important you have a plan and a structure that you can follow when playing out your story, scene by scene. This will ensure consistency in worldbuilding and in the plot as well, making it a more enjoyable read.
Select a point of view
Your fantasy fiction novel can be written based on two primary point of views: first-person through the eyes of your characters or third person through a narrator. Each with its own benefits; the first-person point of view will allow you to express as many details as possible. Whereas the third person will allow you to lead your readers along with the characters, exploring your imaginary world along with the characters which will build up the trill and the suspense.
Have solid world mapping
You have probably noticed as a reader that the best-selling fantasy fiction novels have always had excellent world building and a universe that completely enthrals the reader. It makes them feel that they are in another world as they get completely engrossed in it.
Worldbuilding not only includes the surroundings and the topography but also the theme, the feel, the colours, the nature, the mood, the people and their culture, the technology, and the languages (which you can make up e.g., Dothraki in The Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin). The list is not exhaustive and there are so many more layers of worldbuilding; as such, there are different methods of world mapping. Check out our guide on mapping a world as a writer.
Play by your rules
The most outlandish fantasy fictions need to have some basic rules to make them realistic in their own imaginary world to make it an enjoyable read. You need to formulate your own rules for the various aspects in your universe. This includes some real-life elements in the universe such as water bodies but also includes any magical or supernatural elements to develop a certain rationale in your imaginary world.
We recommend that you become aware of basic societal, economic, political, and scientific rules so that you incorporate them into your world to make it a bit more believable and so that the readers can establish a sense of familiarity with your world.
Once you have established the rules, you need to play by them. Amateur fantasy fiction writers, sometimes, tend to break these rules but this will just take the reader out of feel; as a result, you need to establish and maintain consistency. So, perhaps, write down these rules in a rule book so you can play by them as your plot unravels.
Utilise all five senses
Something that really does the trick for worldbuilding and improving the entire fantasy fiction novel is the incredible detail of all the senses. Sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch—include them all in your work and express this sensory detail freely. This puts the reader in the character’s shoes or into that imaginary world, making them even more engrossed.
The sensory style and detail primes readers and makes the overall story more believable. So, you can introduce the bizarre elements of your imaginary world and the readership will be able to digest them more easily.
Introduce your characters gradually
There are so many characters in a fantasy fiction that it becomes a task to keep record of all of them for the reader. Many amateur fantasy fiction writers tend to introduce all the characters in a single page or too quick before actually introducing the story to the readers.
Consequently, it becomes an information dump and it’s overwhelming for the reader to memorise and remember all the characters, their personalities, and the different aspects about them. Rather than an enjoyable experience for the audience, it becomes a task. So, try to introduce your characters gradually as your story moves on so it is more natural and easy to remember & digest.
Describe the scenery too
Writers tend to write on and on about the description of what’s happening and the world, this is not ideal. Try to provide the scenery & the surroundings as well, tell the readers how the characters are interacting with the scenery around. Think about how movies are recorded and how cinematographers skilfully show where the actors are, and what they are interacting with in the movie. Mimic these cinematographers in your fantasy fiction to produce better results.
Carefully think about your characters
It is very important that your main characters in the fantasy fiction have excellent character development. Think about all the main characters of the top movies or novels such as Jon Snow, Harry Porter, Walter White, and many more. What do you see in common among them? The common area among them is that they feel human, original, sophisticated, and complex.
These characters are impacted by the plot of the story, evolve, and change with time, have strengths and weaknesses. So, think carefully about your characters and potentially interview them. You should ask your characters about their goals, their methods of achieving them, and the overall strategy. And, then include this in your story to showcase your characters development.
Read and read
Carefully read your favourite and classical fantasy novels and see what sets them apart. Think about the worldbuilding, character development, and the plot twists. See how these aspects are conveyed onto the reader and see what captivates you the most. It is completely okay to draw inspiration from them because you only write when you read.
Once you do this, find common areas among the most best-selling and classical novels. These common areas are probably the basic foundations that you should follow and incorporate in your writing as well. You can read and then re-read and study each & every detail; ponder about the behind the scenes and ask questions such as why the author is doing what he is doing and how. So, critically study the novels and you will see yourself becoming a much better writer.
By following these tips, you are sure to improve your writing for creating fantasy fiction. But remember, these tips will not do everything for you, rather these are just aids for you. It is you who will produce the work, and as such, it is you will engage your readers. So, follow these tips, incorporate your own art into the writing, and produce magical work.