forum What Not to Do When Writing a Fantasy
Started by @WriteOutofTime

people_alt 7 followers


Wrote this in response to another thread and then decided I liked it! Basically, it's my experience after writing a 150,000 word fantasy novel.

  1. Do not go in blind. Create a plot, create a world, create your characters. Don't just have a vague idea and start writing. Fantasy books are BIG, and I don't mean lots of pages. For a lot of fantasies, you're making an entire world from scratch. Ground your world. Don't leave it ambiguous. Where is it? Does our world exist in this world? Is it hidden, or in another dimension? Or does our world not exist at all? What type of technology do they have? What races live there? These are just a very few of the questions you need to answer BEFORE you start. Not after. Not during. Before.

  2. Make your main character important, but don't make the entire world revolve around your MC. So, no prophecies about your character being the chosen one (unless you have a really fresh twist on the concept), no ancient artifacts that choose your character to wield it, no oddly devoted subjects. Your character should be the focus of the story, but not of the world. If that makes sense.

  3. Don't go off on random tangents! Side plots are good. They make the story more interesting, especially when they are tied back in with the rest of the plot. But, if they are extraneous, boring, annoying, or just plain nonsensical, cut them out! Scenes that don't contribute to the main plot line or character development are completely useless. Don't keep them in because you like the way they sound or the way they flow. They will bog you down in the long run.

  4. Don't love your side characters too much. That sounds counter-intuitive, but it's true of any genre, including fantasy. I've noticed, at least for me, that if you adore your side characters too much, you tend to abuse them. You also tend to ignore your main character. If your side characters are over-developed, angsty messes, then you know you've focused on them too much. Side characters need to have fully fleshed out personalities and backstories, but they shouldn't overshadow your main character.

  5. Don't procrastinate. Just don't. It makes things way harder. I started writing my fantasy when I was 13, and finished when I was 16. As you can imagine, I was a very different person by the time I turned 16. The writing style had changed entirely, the story had taken a bunch of odd twists, and nothing made chronological sense. I was proud of it! But I knew it sucked, and the inconsistency just made it worse. Write like you're running out of time! (Hence my user.) If you get writer's block, write small scenes/backstory, or draw your characters, or just write scenes in your head! It's not a race, and you don't have to finish in a month or anything. But the less you procrastinate, the better.

I hope this helps someone!