Writing a fantasy story has its benefits. With other genres, one must focus on the right emotions, realism and sometimes facts. These can easily bog a writer down, put a damper on their imagination. Yet, with fantasy, your limits are few and you can break boundaries that other genres require.
Here is the best part of writing a fantasy story!
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Recently, I have been working on my next fantasy novel. Something that has been in the works for a couple of years, but only a week before writing this did I finally open a new document and start. All the ideas I had were concerning the world and history behind it; the lore.
I have always found that creating the world is the most fun part of writing a grand fantasy. There are many aspects to consider, from different places to different people and their different societies. The rules that govern them, the religions they follow, the extraordinary wonders and their limits.
It’s nothing new, it’s nothing special, but it can easily become so. From my experience, revelling in these details, taking ones time in adding to the world as much as the story, only serves to immerse the writer and the reader. It’s very easy to see where I am overdoing it as well, so I can cut out the unnecessary.
Now, my characters are by no means less important than the world they are in. However, I feel that if I cross such a line, it wouldn’t damage the story so much. If a world is to be written so fantastically, to garnish such incredible interest and evoke the right emotions, then the world itself is the main character like any other.
Of course, I am not the first.
You need only pick up any popular fantasy set in a fictional world and find that the writer has done the same for their novel. Perhaps not to the extent that their world takes centre stage, but certainly the author has taken their time in crafting a stupendous world for their story to take place in.
Take my train of thought here.
A young thief pays a visit to a market and pickpockets someone, in order to have money for food. Simple enough and I could have left it there, but I saw an opportunity to go out on a tangent and explore the depth the city leader and the lore behind the oasis.
Suddenly, the victim of petty theft turns out to be a character the thief knows well. Suddenly, the two engage in conversation, the friend telling the story of how the leader fought barbarians, took refuge in the mountains. How the mountain was washed in the blood of warriors, how the leader prayed to a powerful god, who created the oasis, raining water down on the mountain. Yet, despite a cool shower, the stone was forever stained by blood, hence the name Red Rock.
With a new oasis, a victory over the barbarians and miracle, a city was built and a palace carved into the mountain.
The thief doesn’t know whether to believe the story or not, for, in a world as fantastical as theirs, it might just be possible.
As you can imagine, I broke my word count quota for the chapter and I was left to do a little restructuring here and there. Yet, I did not regret it in the slightest. A passing paragraph or two turned into a few pages of wonderful immersion and storytelling between friends. If that isn’t a win, I don’t know what is!
Moments like these generally turn out for the better, yet there are still times when my imagination fails me and I write something uninteresting. Boring backstories and expositions can become commonplace if your heart isn’t in the right place. I could just as easily write a mundane story, that has me yawning tears and furiously highlighting and deleting entire segments of writing.
If these moments weren’t few and far between I might find myself looking at my story differently and the world I created. In which case, it’s better to focus on present matters. Plot points, interesting characters and their connections. When in doubt, create a subplot that keeps the story and its characters lively and interesting.
In fantasy, if you are writing a lengthy story, sticking to the main plot and the core characters can quickly become boring. 50,000 words laters and you might find your main character bothersome or the main story not as compelling as it was in the beginning. After all, after an extended time with any story, it is easy to lose the feelings you had for it in the beginning.
In which case, exploring the world comes to the rescue.
Lore, subplots and interesting characters scattered throughout the story create vibrant events and keep things interesting, unpredictable. While you and your reader may have a good idea where the main story is going, what character or subplot they encounter along the way is not so predictable.
The best part of writing any fantasy is growing the world. A tree has many branches and many more leaves. Taking a moment to add to your world will only serve to make the tree that is your story better.
I hope you enjoyed this little ramble and as always…
Good day, goodnight and happy writing!