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The beginners guide to writing fantasy

Darkness Ascendant

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I thought it would be a good idea to post this as to help new writers!

My guide to creating great fantasy novels/stories

Storytelling is like recycling, taking an age old idea, like saving a princess from a castle and improving it. But the one and only thing a story-teller needs is IMAGINATION and PATIENCE. J.R. Tolkien's books weren't created by chance or by pure coincidence. His ideas were like a bubbling stew of stories, each festering for a while until finally settling into a solid story-line, then they can be written and stored on paper for the world to enjoy.

First thing any great writer needs r characters. These characters must be flexible, so u can incorporate the, into ur future stories in any way u like with only some minor adjustment.


These are the original character molds made long ago by ingenious authors like Merlin, Greek heroes and villains plus the multiple monsters that roam mythology. But your character does not have to be based on an archetype, they could be based on anyone who you feel has such a great personality, that you have to base a character on them.


These are the knock-offs, the boring, usual stuff you hear everyday by horrible writers. But even if your character is stereotypical, make sure they are not completely predictable, let them have the appearance of a stereotype but the personality and background of something completely different.

E.G, there was once a wicked old crone with a crooked nose and warts that covered her face.

This suggests that the writer is lazy or the crone is a minor character with no time to develop. A good character is rich in detail and is realistic and believable.

E.G, The life and times of the wicked witch of the west.

The evil witch can then be transformed into a complex, sensitive, political outcast crusading for animal rights and free speech in an Oz oppressed by the iron fist of The Wizard and his minions.


In your tale, the story has to be set somewhere. This place should have limitations and draw-backs and not a omnipotential God-complex. The magic should be mysterious (it's magic not science) and should have draw-backs if an excessive amount is used or powerful magic is used.

E.G, in Harry Potter, Voldemort is forced to sacrifice his soul to create his Horcruxes, It takes time for Harry to master his powers, there would be times when his spells would backfire and he'd have trouble finding a correction spell.


A good writer focuses on the past as well as the future and present. Life before Death. A writer's chracters should have interesting, sensible and realistic. The said character could be an orphan, Hatry Potter, could have been seperated from his/her parents, Narnia. With a good backstory and personality, both heroes and villains, antagonists and protagonists can be understood. The whole point of making your character an orphan is to allow the young, naive, inexperienced protagonist to venture outside of the cave entirely on his/her own and can discover his/her own limitations and abilities and learn to overcome obstacles without a parent or gaurdian to hold them back. The point of the journey is to allow the reader to get to know the characters and setting and grow attached to them, to create suspense and drive the reader on forward, too keep them on the hook, for them to understand what is going on and cheer for the protagonist as they defeat a foe, for them to cry when a hero tragically dies. To a writerm the journey is the most important tool in your arsenal, through it you can get your readers to hate the character or to love them as they go on a quest for legendary treasure as they could be propelled by greed, honor or plain curiosity.


I have said it time and time again, the more believable a situation or scenario is, the more inclined the reader is going to be to journey on with the protagonist and learn all there is to be known. If Brandon Sanderson had not been a realistic, believable, interesting, rich, compelling writer, this fan site would not have existed. Put explicit detail into your fantasy world, DESCRIBE EVERYTHING, use fancy words. research the facts and invent your own. Check every minor detail. Add some detail there, make something obscure here. Create suspense and tension. Add emotion to your words, spill your heart out unit those pages. But remember to only add detail where it is needed, create a sense that anything can happen, that the hero is never truly safe, that evil never sleeps. The less information we know the more we wonder. Invite the reader into the story and have them join in on the adventure.


The reason a fantasy book is called a fantasy book is because it is outside the laws that govern our universe (but remember your universe should have laws as well). Put plot twists in the most unlikely places but remember to keep the atmosphere light as fantasy is always ripe for some humorous treatment. All fantasy stories, from Winnie the Pooh to the Hobbit r full of surprises.


Don't Confuse the reader, give the hero a reason to being heroic, give the villain a motive to being villainous. Make the reader understand why the two sides clash, why the wars start. The everyday motives such as ' a crusade for justice', 'revenge', 'greed', ' a search for the truth', r all basic. But you can use them as your foundations. Have the villain think that his actions r justified as he is acting for the greater good, killing some to save a thousand. Let the Hero believe he is doing good, but I the end he might have to lower himself to the villain's level, say, by letting his friends die so he can go after the villain. REMEMBER, THE LIMIT IS YOUR IMAGINATION.


1. Status Quo, we get to know the hero, his life, his lies, his life story. We set his personality, characteristics and appearance for later.

2. Call to adventure, the hero is summoned to do a mighty task, like how Bilbo is forced on his adventure in the Hobbit.

3. Assistance, the hero is mentored and prepared for his journey by an experienced person.

4. Departure, the hero steps out of his home and comforts and enters a world unlike his own.

5. Trials, the hero is tested in his skills, time and time again and understands what life outside his hoe, is like.

6. Approach, there hero nears his destination and sometime is given aid for the next part of his journey.

7. Crisis, something happens and the hero is forced to overcome this high hurdle.

8. Treasure, the hero is rewarded for his troubles.

9. Result,the consequences of the hero's journey become clear, is the kingdom better off than before?

10. Return, the hero returns home victorious

11. New life, the hero settles in with his new abilities and settles in back home.

12. Resolution, the hero has finished his journey and can now relax

13. Status Quo, Updated, we now know how the hero has changed. He is ready for his next adventure

NOTE- You can always cut the story short at 7 with the villain emerging victorious(plot twist!)

Well there you have it, your beginners guide to writing a fantasy story. May the force be with you.

Edited by Eternal_Radiance
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