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Hints, Hints, Glorious Hints!

February 18, 2008
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Hello, here to thrill with my essential words of wisdom! Ha, ha.

Okay, every fantasy reader knows the essential components of a good fantasy(and if you don’t, get out of here this instant!!!). But if you’re like me and love writing fantasy novels as much as reading them, here’s the facts.

Keep the lingo simple: don’t dumb your reader down to the point where they start to drool.

If you are using several different types of people,(like elves and centaurs and dwarves) make them sound different. Dwarves have big voices. (Corny example: “Wot are ye playin at, ye fool?”) You really need to have a flair for the dramatic to get good at this!

Elves can have accents, but writing one for an elf is hard, so hint that they have an accent of some sort. Most Americans, when they hear the word accent, think of a British accent.

Describe your creatures in detail. If describing a dragon, compare its claws to daggers or something sharp like that, its hide to armor plates, and describe how huge its wings are. However, don’t compare the critter’s wingspan to that of a 747, because most fantasy characters have no clue what an airplane is.

Make the culture rich. If your idea of a traditional fantasy feast consists of soda, burgers, fries, and fattening potato chips, you should rethink the idea of writing fantasy. Include foods from the medieval ages, like roast hart (deer) and wines.

Make the clothing and armor believable. Don’t describe a breastplate as “that metal thingamajig you wear in the front”, and describe the colors not as just “red” and “green”, but in shades like “ruby” and “pine”.

The weather doesn’t have to be wacky, like the sky raining eggs or peanuts. However, if your describing a group of wizards in a busy street, mention them passing a person leading a three-foot purple lizard on a chain or passing a potion shop, or if your entering a tavern or hotel mention a group of people playing a strangely named game of cards.

Create languages. J.R.R. Tolkien was famous for the many languages he created. It’s even better if you create a different alphabet, but don’t use computer symbols or people will think you are writing a scifi. Even greater if you add different names for the months of the year.

Accompany battles with dark, rainy skies and thunder and lightning.

Make feasts of celebration (such as after a battle victory) occur in important public places or in the Great Hall of a castle. You can even include music and dancing to make it seem more joyful. Add a speech performed by a king or hero of some sort.

Add funny characters and humor to spice it up a bit.

Have the odd splash of crazy characters.

Make your battles descriptive, but don’t drag them on forever. If your character(s) are on a rather uneventful little trip from one place to the other, tell about them leaving at the end of a chapter, and have them arriving at their destination at the beginning of the next chapter. If they are on a long journey, make sure a lot of things occur along the way so the reader isn’t bored.

That’s the basics. Hope that this helps!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 18, 2008 10:20 pm

    S.E.
    That was great. I have never written fantasy before, but have recently been considering it, as that’s what Levi loves. This was very helpful. We are now listening to Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke. So far it’s great.

  2. J.R. permalink
    March 12, 2008 6:30 pm

    Guess wat? I’ve gotten my character maps down!!! Now all i have to worry about is beggining my story, i’ll take your hints to heart!

    Thanks – J.R. Reid

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