Partridge India Writing Tips| 8 Tips for Writing Fantasy Part 3
Partridge India concludes with the remainder of 8 Tips for Writing Fantasy.
Tip #6- Touchstones: When writing in the fantasy genre, there can be a strong temptation to completely leave the real world behind. After all, is not fantasy an escape from the trappings of normalcy? It can be tempting to write whole worlds and settings that have no connection whatsoever to the world of the reader. You the author need to resist this temptation. You need to maintain at least some touchstones, things easily recognized and understood by readers. It can be an issue when a concept or term is something beyond any reader’s experience, when there is nothing for a reader to grasp or comprehend. Some fantasy writers bombard their readers with terms and words that are completely made up and have no basis in the real world. Unless readers can understand your concepts, whether through familiar terminology or presentation, then readers will become confused and frustrated. Touchstones can be physical things, terms, and practices recognizable in the real world.
Tip #7- Show, Don’t Tell: Going hand-in-hand with Touchstones is the importance of showing things to your readers instead of telling them. A common problem with fantasy in the past is the need to explain the history and setting of your story, who the various races and nations are, and what magic and religion are practiced. Otherwise how will the reader understand what is going on? You will need to show the world of your story through dialogue, action, and minimal exposition. Too much exposition can bog down a story, throw off pacing, and interrupt dialogue and action. It can be better to reveal your world as the story expands instead of explaining everything from the very beginning.
Tip #8- Don’t Forget Your Characters: A fantasy world is nothing without people and characters to inhabit it. Your characters will be the heart of your story and it can be easy to overlook them when building your fantasy world. You can use your characters to reveal aspects of your fantasy world, as representations of the best and worst qualities of your setting. The most prominent characters of the Lord of the Rings trilogy could be seen as paragons, representing some of the best or worst qualities of their respective peoples and cultures.
Conclusion: There are a lot of elements that go into writing fantasy. There is the combination of your imagination and real-world elements (both past and present). There is the development of the laws by which your fantasy reality operates. There are the ways in which you reveal your fantasy world to your readers in a compelling manner, including through your characters. While writing fantasy can be hard and demanding, it is also compelling and great fun.
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By Ian Smith