How to Write Fantasy


The Elements of Fantasy

There are several elements that define the style of fantasy writing. Preternatural events, larger-than-life characters and settings that are out of this world, are just a few of the gems in this genre. Read the Moomintroll series by Tove Jansson, or pull out the big guns and give “Weasel’s Luck” by Michael Williams a try. As you read, make notes for reference and inspiration.

Bizarre Settings

In fantasy writing, powerful settings are often developed where nature is omnipotent. It’s not just a forest – it’s a forest with trees so tall you never see the upper canopy because of the clouds, or it’s a desert with blue sand. Butterflies are gigantic. Elephants are tiny and covered with coats of long, silky hair, running through the grass making soft trumpeting sounds. Whatever you create, push your characters out of reality while remembering to keep a few details of truth. Fantasy is not meant to terrify your reader. Those spine-chilling scenes are for horror writers to play with.

Characters are Out of This World

Fantasy writers will often use medieval settings, including castles, armored Friesians and era based clothing. For some interesting characters, check out the FANTASY page. Do not hesitate to assign supernatural powers to your friends and foe, because in these worlds, immortality is possible, and horses can talk. It is all up to you as the creator and destroyer of worlds.

Natural Laws are Broken

Natural laws are broken in these realms making time and inter-dimensional travel possible. People can fly or read your mind and animals unknown to humankind roam the land.Fantasy differs from science fiction by depending on the “unreal”, while science fiction extols technology. In fantasy, your hero bears a magic sword from the depths of Avalon (Excalibur) but in science fiction, s/he more likely totes a light saber.

Professional Fantasy Writing

Writing for an audience? If you are a little more serious about writing, you will want to write specifically for an age or target market. In the business world of fantasy writing, the fastest expanding category is teen fantasy, but adult fantasy, especially with a romantic edge, is also selling very well at the time of this writing. Remember though, that teens like to read about teens. If you are writing for a teen audience, your main characters should be teenagers, and this is especially true if you are writing a romance. Your teen audience will not want to read a romance between characters the age of their parents. Gross.

If you are stuck for ideas but want to give fantasy writing a try, check out our FANTASY collection. These writing prompts will get you started on your path to building fantasy-based worlds. Let me know how you made out! Stop by on Facebook and say hello.