How to write epic fantasy and do it different?
Epic fantasy has been done and done and done again and as a writer, I struggle with ideas that work and the generic good against evil which we all love vs. doing it differently…..what are your thoughts?
I struggled with something very similar back when I started my epic fantasy. I went out of my way to create new creatures and forms of magic in the hopes that it would stand above the pack. While I'm happy with the final result, I learned along the way that the cliches of the genre are there for a reason; because people like them. Agents look for the familiar because they know it will sell, and readers look for the familiar because they know they will like it.
This became the most evident to me when I wrote a different fantasy story that used cliches of the genre. I was doing it as a 'for fun' project while I was waiting on agent responses and I ended up liking it just as much as the one that was supposedly 'original'. There is a certain ease to writing with existing fantasy staples, like elves, vampires and dragons because you don't have to make everything from scratch.
I'm not saying that every fantasy novel should use cliches, but I think what's more important than originality is fun factor. Are you enjoying yourself while you write it, and are readers enjoying it while they read it? If it's enjoyable with original stuff; great, if it's enjoyable with cliches, also great. If you're sick of elves, don't use them, but if you love dragons, don't cut them out just because you think other people will roll their eyes. Do what feels right for you.
If you're interested, I wrote a series of articles about my own journey writing an epic fantasy novel, which I'll post the first of below:
http://mtdremer.hubpages.com/hub/My-Str … vel-Part-1
What will set you apart is your characters and how they act and interact with each other. It's important to let the focus rest on your characters instead of your plot or the world you've built.
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