There are a lot of reasons to write a fantasy book. It’s an opportunity to flex your creative muscles and experience the joy of building unique worlds, crafting compelling characters, and plotting epic adventures. However, it can also be a big challenge!
Whether you’re a seasoned writer or just getting started, embracing these tips can make it easier to write a fantasy book that readers will love. Let’s embark on this adventure together and bring your stories to life!
1. Develop a Unique, Immersive World
One of the most crucial aspects of writing a fantasy novel is creating an original, engaging world that captivates readers from the very first page. World-building is the foundation of any great fantasy story. Start by crafting your setting, which can include creating a map and incorporating diverse landscapes and unique creatures.
Familiarize yourself with its geography, history, cultures, and magic systems. This in-depth understanding will add realism and richness to your storytelling. When organizing and developing your fantasy world, World Anvil is an amazing tool that offers writers a comprehensive platform for worldbuilding, allowing you to create and organize articles, maps, timelines, and more.
Well-developed fantasy worldbuilding goes beyond physical elements. Pay attention to cultural aspects, such as customs, traditions, and social structures. Additionally, establish a robust magic system that is consistent and adheres to its own rules. Consider the history of your fantasy world, including past conflicts, legendary figures, and significant events. It might even be helpful to create a whole timeline for your world, as a reference.
By investing time and effort into developing a detailed and consistent fantasy world, you will create a rich tapestry as the background for your story. This setting will hook readers, and convince them to explore your magical world through the novel.
2. Create Exceptional-yet-Relatable Characters
When writing a fantasy novel, complex and interesting characters are essential for drawing readers into the story. While the fantasy world itself is fascinating, it is the characters that breathe life into it. Start by understanding the role of the setting in character creation. Consider how their backgrounds, experiences, and interactions with the world influence their development. World Anvil’s character template has some terrific prompts for working out these details.
Utilize character archetypes and plan character arcs to create compelling and dynamic individuals. Each character should have their own goals, motivations, and conflicts. Show their qualities through their actions and dialogue, making them compelling to readers.
Remember that even in a fantastical setting, characters should possess relatable human traits and emotions. Fantasy can be a heightened, dramatic genre. This encourages characters who are larger than life – both heroes and villains. It’s okay – even encouraged – to make your fantasy characters remarkable people.
By grounding your characters in authentic emotions and experiences readers can connect with, you can balance out their exceptional qualities, avoid “Mary Sue/Marty Stu” protagonists, and forge a deeper connection between the audience and your cast of characters.
3. Balance Your Plot and Pacing
A well-structured plot and effective pacing are crucial in keeping readers engaged. Begin by fleshing out the major plot points and connecting them to create a cohesive story. Introduce conflicts and high stakes to drive the plot forward, keeping readers invested in the outcome.
Effective story structure and the choice of point of view are also important in shaping the narrative. The fantasy sub-genre you’re writing in will suggest some of these choices. Epic fantasy typically follows the Hero’s Journey and is written in third person point of view, while urban fantasy is more often written in first person, and might work better using a “Save the Cat” style beat sheet. Whichever story structure you follow, the Plot template on World Anvil can help keep you organized.
Consider the pacing of your story, balancing moments of action and excitement with slower, more introspective moments. This ebb and flow will maintain reader interest and create a satisfying reading experience. Avoid getting bogged down in unnecessary details and keep the story moving forward towards its climax.
By crafting a well-plotted and tightly paced fantasy novel, you will keep readers on the edge of their seats, eagerly turning the pages to discover what happens next.
4. Choose a Magic System Paradigm
Incorporating magic into a fantasy world is both exciting and challenging. It is essential to strike a balance in your magic system between dramatic tension and the tone of your worldbuilding when you write a fantasy book.
If you’re not familiar with it, review Sanderson’s Laws of Magic. If magic can solve any problem, that limits your ability to create suspense. But if magic is merely a stand-in for technology, that can sap your world of a sense of wonder. Ask yourself whether you’d rather have a magic system that is powerful but mysterious and unpredictable, or one that is reliable and consistent but has firm limits. Or where on that spectrum you want your magic system to fall.
Establish consistent rules for your magic system and ensure that it aligns with the logic and dynamics of your fantasy world. Consider the impact of magic on your characters and the world they inhabit. How does it shape their lives, relationships, and conflicts? These questions will also help you sketch out the purpose magic serves in your world, and in your fantasy novel.
5. Layer in Themes and Symbolism
Themes and symbolism are powerful tools for adding depth and meaning to your fantasy novel. Choose relevant themes that resonate with the story you want to tell. These themes can explore universal concepts such as love, sacrifice, power, or the nature of good and evil. Symbolism, on the other hand, allows you to convey abstract ideas or emotions through tangible objects, actions, or events.
By incorporating themes and symbolism into your fantasy novel, you elevate the narrative beyond a mere adventure. It encourages readers to reflect on the deeper layers of your story and connect with it on a more profound level. This is an element where the World Anvil worldbuilding meta can serve as a helpful guide.
6. Write “Better than Real” Dialogue
Engaging dialogue is essential for bringing your characters to life. Dialogue should feel natural and reflective of each character’s unique voice and personality. It is a powerful tool for revealing information, advancing the plot, and showcasing relationships between characters.
Ensure that your dialogue serves a purpose and moves the story forward. Each character should have a distinct way of speaking, reflecting their background, personality, and motivations.
Dialogue is the element of fiction that can often most benefit from editing when you write a fantasy book. In the drafting process, you are focused on feeling out the characters’ personalities and also just delivering necessary information. An editing pass specifically focused on dialogue is a good moment to apply consistent accents and characterization.
Good dialogue in a fantasy book doesn’t sound exactly like people really talk. It’s okay if everyone is a bit more witty, eloquent, or concise than people are in real life. Dialogue that perfectly mimics real speech actually isn’t that enjoyable to read.
7. Edit and Revise Ruthlessly
Editing and revising are vital steps in the writing process that can greatly improve the overall quality of your fantasy novel. Once you have completed the initial draft, take some time away from the manuscript before diving into the revision process. This fresh perspective will allow you to approach your work with a critical eye.
Seek feedback from beta readers, writing groups, or professionals in the industry. Their insights can help you identify areas that need improvement and provide valuable suggestions for enhancing your story.
Remember that editing is not just about correcting grammar and punctuation. It is about refining your storytelling, tightening your prose, and ensuring consistency throughout your fantasy novel. Embrace the editing process as an opportunity to polish your work and make it shine.
Writing a Fantasy Book with World Anvil
Writing a gripping fantasy novel requires careful planning, skillful execution, and a deep understanding of the genre. By following the tips in this article, you can write your fantasy book with confidence!
In addition to this advice, there are tools and resources available to assist you in your journey. World Anvil is a comprehensive platform designed specifically for worldbuilding and organizing ideas. World Anvil offers features like interactive maps, timelines, and family trees, making it an asset for fantasy authors. And it also offers an online novel writing software for paid users.
So get ready to unleash your creativity, build intricate worlds, and bring your fantasy novels to life. What are you waiting for? Let your imagination soar and embark on an epic adventure with your characters.