How Do You Start Writing A Novel – Avoid the shackles of the real world and jump straight into fantasy storytelling. Fantasy novels push the boundaries of your imagination – discovering new worlds, creatures and magic. In this guide, we’ll show you how to write a fantasy novel in 12 steps.
As a writer, the fantasy genre is very exciting. It allows writers to create their own rules, explore new worlds and discover all kinds of magic – the only limit is your imagination! However, the work of a fantasy writer is not always easy. In fact, writing fantasy novels can be more difficult than non-fiction or factual books. The simple reason is that fantasy stories require a lot of planning and research to make the reader ‘believe’. We put the word believable in quotes because most readers know that magical entities like dragons do not exist in real life. But your job as a fiction writer is to make you believe in things outside of magic and logic.
- 1 How Do You Start Writing A Novel
- 2 Writing A Book Review: How To Do It (+ 5 Mistakes To Avoid)
- 3 Ask A Book Coach: How To Start Writing Your Novel — Ashly Hilst Book Coach
How Do You Start Writing A Novel
The fantasy genre has an element of magic or enchantment. Think of witches, wizards, magical wardrobes, dragons and faraway kingdoms. Fantasy novels contain fictional elements rather than realistic ones. Harry Potter is the most popular fantasy series of all time. Other examples include The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Mortal Instruments. The fantasy genre can be divided into several subgenres:
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Before you jump straight into planning your fantasy novel, here are 10 tips for writing a fantasy novel:
Before diving into the world of fantasy writing, take the time to read popular fantasy books and stories. Don’t read them, understand them. Think about all the story elements that make them great and the not-so-great ones. Better yet, write your own book review for each fantasy novel you read. Make notes on topics that interest you. You can also use sticky notes to bookmark pages you want to revisit later. During your book review, pay attention to how the author introduces characters, describes the world, and handles major conflict.
Our advice is to read as many fantasy novels as you can before writing your own. Not only will it help you come up with a better story, but it will also help you become a better writer.
Who are you writing to? Knowing who your audience is is very important. Knowing your target audience will guide your writing style, idea structure, choice of language, and choice of character and setting. Consider the age of your target audience – are they children, young adults or adults? Younger audiences can relate to the simple story and main characters. Adult audiences expect a plot twist, an important foundation in the conflict, and the involvement of an older hero.
Tips On How To Write A First Chapter That Grips The Reader
Another aspect of knowing your reader is to think about the fantasy subgenre you want to write about. Which subgenre is most popular with your audience? At this point, you should think about the interests of your potential readers. If you like to read horror stories, dark fantasy is a good subgenre to pick up. A romantic fantasy story would work well with teenagers or adults interested in love and romance.
The imagination can run wild, especially when you’re thinking about a fictional world. Make sure you stick to your main idea throughout the novel. Secondary characters or minor conflicts you develop can easily get sidetracked. But you should always focus on the main character and their role in the story. While secondary characters have their own issues, their main character should always be related to your main plot idea.
Know your fantasy world inside and out. Whether your entire world is make-believe or you’ve only added magical elements to the world – a detailed description of the world is required. If your story is set on modern Earth, consider how the world’s magic has changed (see our guide on how to write a magic system). And if the story is in a fictional world, describe this world in detail, from its climate to its currency, language and way of life. You don’t have to put all of this information directly into the story, but it will help you create a believable world during the planning stage.
An additional suggestion is to use the technique of the five senses (see, hear, feel, taste, and smell) to describe this world. It helps you go beyond the physical appearance of the world to a deeper and more meaningful explanation of the world. Check out this list of 112+ world building questions to help you create a realistic fantasy world.
Writing A Book Review: How To Do It (+ 5 Mistakes To Avoid)
It’s great to describe the setting and characters in detail at the planning stage. However, when it comes to a true fantasy novel, try to avoid too much description on one page or part of the story. It can annoy the reader and make it boring to read. Instead, try to give subtle hints about the world the characters live in and leave the rest to your readers’ imaginations.
A fantasy world that usually runs by its own rules. Be it a distant empire with rules created by an evil king or a new set of rules for some people on Earth. Common rules may include the use of magic, money or currency, and even the way people live their lives. Rules can be a source of conflict in many fantasy stories. As a writer, it’s important to write down the rules of your fantasy world and stick to them throughout the story.
Just because you’re doing things, doesn’t mean no research is needed. If you want to create a believable fantasy story, you need to do your research on how things work in your fantasy world. A common mistake fantasy writers make is mixing titles and character categories. For example, a necromancer mage is very different from a mage who specializes in illusions. You might not think this is important, but fans of the fantasy genre will know the difference. And so creating a fantasy novel with inaccurate details is very detrimental to its success.
Another example is explaining the logic behind magical powers and abilities. Of course, you never know exactly how magical powers work. But for these you should at least create a realistic background. For example in an underwater kingdom, how do the people living here live? While doing your research, you may think that humans are humans with fins and gills that help them breathe underwater. Alternatively, a magical source or extraterrestrial technology could help survive there.
Start Writing A Novel Without Having A Clue What To Do
No fantasy novel is 100% fantasy. There are always elements of realism or things that people in real life can relate to. The level of realism in fantasy stories can vary greatly. In epic fantasy stories, real-life elements are subtle. In low fantasy stories the elements of real life are at the center of the story and are more vivid. Common real-world elements in fiction include character traits, use of technology, and real-life issues. Imagine a wizard with social anxiety issues or a plumber who discovers a magical toolbox.
No one is perfect and neither should your characters be. An important thing to consider when developing characters is their flaws. What mistakes did they make? What are they afraid of? And what are their weak points? Knowing the answers to these questions will make your characters believable and relatable. At this point, it’s a good idea to think about real-world problems your readers face. For example, depression, social anxiety, eating disorders, and poverty are all examples of real-life problems. These issues are the main source of conflict in your fantasy novel, along with the magical twist.
The fantasy genre is great for adding unexpected plot twists. Think outside the box and try to do the opposite of what your readers expect. Don’t be afraid to introduce new characters halfway through or at the end of your story. Think of the magic elements, how far can you push these? What is your main character’s full potential? By throwing in unexpected genres and plot elements, you can keep your novel interesting and accommodate more novels in your fantasy series.
Behind every great fantasy novel is a great idea. An idea does not have to be 100% new or original. You can take a basic idea from your favorite book or movie and add your own elements to make it unique. But be careful not to copy or plagiarize another author’s work!
Ask A Book Coach: How To Start Writing Your Novel — Ashly Hilst Book Coach
As you’ll see with most story ideas, include a character and a problem or goal they want to achieve. Try a simple jigsaw puzzle method to generate ideas, where, who, want and why.
The next step is to write down your idea
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