Monday, February 3, 2014


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Tips to Writing Fantasy Stories


 Although I have not always been interested in writing fantasy, recently these books fascinate me. Of all things, I have been reading the Oz books and I love them. Actually my husband has been reading the books aloud and I have been listening. He is recording them digitally to send to our grand children in conjunction with the books.

Am I suddenly interested in fantasy stories because both my grand daughters are enthralled by them, or is there more to it than that? Maybe it is because my creative brain needs a change, especially after writing a very difficult but factual self-help book about How to Cope with Stress after Trauma: Especially for Veterans , Families, and Friends. (I used so many examples of clients and what they had dealt with that it brought back hard memories for me.) Is it partly because our world is disillusioning to me at this point and I am looking for something different? Better maybe? Something to take me out of reality and let my imagination free to create a world I would like to live in? Like the world of Oz? Probably all of the above.

 Anyway, here are a few tips I’ve learned that might help you writers out there who are interested in writing fantasy stories. Some of them I learned from my nine year old grand daughter who knows more about fantasy stories than most of my writer friends.

 

1.      When dealing with a fantasy culture make sure you describe how it is different from ours and how it is the same.

2.      Make sure the world has internal logic that your reader can identify with.

3.      Remember your readers know nothing about this world and unless you tell them they have no reference point and will not understand your characters or their actions.

4.      Describe the environment.

5.      Describe the culture (e.g., everyone equal, classes, etc), religion, food, shelter, clothes, beliefs, values, travel, language, communication, technology and medicine.

6.      Is the world one of opposites like our world (e.g., good and evil)? What rules are in place? What government exists?

7.      Are their bodies similar to ours? How are they different? Are there different races? Different species of humans or animals etc. on the planet?

8.      Is this an advanced civilization or not? What is its history? Do they read minds?  Are they able to heal themselves, use magic or visualize things into existence?

9.      What about the ecology? Have they learned to live in congruence with the world or not? Does the world continually evolve and how rapidly? Have they survived major catastrophes (like a nuclear war)? Have they coped with population? How? 

There are many other questions you can probably come up with on your own as you start to develop this new world and learn to live in it yourself.

 
Good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 comments:

Elizabeth S. Brinton said...

This is wonderful advice. An imagined world has to be real to the reader. People in it must hunger, thirst and struggle along in their various quests. A writer can't refer to the social structure; they have to create it, making the whole task daunting, but if it is well done, as in the case of J.K Rowling, or Tolkein, it is brilliant.

Ana Goodin said...

Thanks Elizabeth. Your right, That indeed was the brilliance of J. K. Rowling. She could make you feel as though you were right there with Harry fighting monsters and overcoming evil. What a challenge!