Any advice on writing under the genre of fantasy?
I have been finding myself getting into fantasy lately and am considering writing some pieces of that genre, any advice?
To quote Albert Camus: "create your own world," do not follow any guidelines....
The greatest thing about writing fantasy is that your bounds are pretty limitless. That being said, the biggest 2 things you want to avoid are a.) arbitrary facts or events. (___ is a certain way because I, the author, say that it is.) and b.) at all costs, avoid deus ex machina. Both things can make your fantasy world lose its credibility. And as a fantasy writer, you are all about creating a credible world.
I should say straight away that I'm no expert on fantasy writing, but I would suggest that one criterion above all sets great writing apart from mediocre writing in any field - relevence to human beings.
In fantasy, or related genre like science fiction, anyone can create monsters, weird magical or mystical events, strange worlds, people with strange powers etc. But what raises the story from being a mere fantasy or action adventure without substance, is to make it poignant, a story which touches a nerve, or which is allegorical. The story - however fantastical - must have sentiments and emotions with which human beings in the real world can identify.
Therefore, I would suggest first thinking of a theme which interests you and which has significance to humans in the real world, and then simply substitute fantasy characters and situations which mirror that theme. (For example 'Animal Farm' was an allegorical fantasy novel about communism - even tho' the characters are animals, people could identify with their situation as an analogy of the real world).
A fellow hubber, KDuBarry (http://kdubarry03.hubpages.com/) has some excellent advice in the form of hubs on writing fantasy and science fiction. He also has some fabulous examples of his own writing.
I'm so excited for you wanting to write fantasy. I'm going to pass the advice given to me to you. When you want to write under a certain genre, the first thing to do is to research it, to get an idea of what you like by pinning down the writer's whom you admire most, their writing style and even those whom inspired them in that field. You might find you have something or a lot in common. Then go on line for free courses unless you can pay for a course (if you haven't already taken one). Learn all you can regarding the field you want to write in. You may not even have to go in too deep depending on the experience you already have under your belt but these are some of the things I was taught when I first started.
It really depends on what sub-genre you want to write in. High Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy, and Urban Fantasy are pretty good sub-genres. Pick one of those and then go with it, try to follow the formula on what's common and put your own spin on it. Then write to your heart's content. I've been writing fantasy for six years. I just kinda wrote what I felt like writing, creating worlds and characters as I pleased. Once you have it all down, tweak it and contort to your liking. It'll come to shape sooner or later. You can motivate yourself by reading my hub Motivating Yourself To Write Fantasy--->http://crazednovelist.hubpages.com/hub/Writing-Fantasy AND read up on Creating A Magic System--->http://crazednovelist.hubpages.com/hub/Creating-A-Magic-System. Hopefully this helps.
Take a deep breath and relax. As you feel your arms relax, and you feel your shoulders relax, and you feel your neck relax, take a deep slow breath. As you let that breath of air out, close your eyes, or keep them open, and imagine someone who is just the right age, who is just the right size and gender. Take your time as you relax and get to know that person. Know what that person likes and hates, what that person fears and is apathetic towards, and of course, know what that person loves. Know who that person loves. And become aware of what that person wants. Is that person a seventeen year old college freshman who loves ping pong and wants to fit in with his classmates who are older than him? And consider his rival, the ever popular king of the class who maintains his supremacy with three of the seven words of power. Let your mind and heart flow naturally into a story that, when it's done, you look at it ...
I want to try to avoid repeating any advice you've already been given, so I'll focus on another area.
The thing that really separates fantasy (and science fiction, too, really) from any other genre is that so much of it will rely purely on your own imagination. Of course, any genre of fiction requires you to come up with a good story, and some interesting characters - but, once that's done, you can usually just get started and work out the details as you go. You might need to do some research on different topics to flesh things out, but you can worry about that when you need to.
With fantasy, though, you have to create the fictional world before you can write in it. If you're going for full Tolkien style high fantasy, then you'll need to come up with imaginary societies and cultures (and, everything that comes with that). But, even if you're setting it in the real world, there's still things you need to think about. Because, it's fantasy... it wont be the 'real world', will it?
If you want magic to exist in the world, then you need to give some thought to exactly how magic works. What are the rules? What are the limits? If you want to populate the world with fantasy creatures, you need to decide what exists and what doesn't. And, you need to decide how they work, too. Are vampires harmed by sunlight, for example? Or, do they (ugh!) sparkle? Are you going to base the story on a christian world-view, so that demons and angels actually exist? Is it going to be based on some other religion, or ancient mythology? If so, which one?
Obviously, you don't need to go overboard, though. You just need to create whatever is necessary for the story you want to tell. If you're writing a short-story about a haunted house, for example, you only need to make decisions about ghosts. Whether werewolves also exist in this fantasy world you're building doesn't matter for that story.
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