Writing Activity- Fantasy Writing

4 Dec

Okay, we are a bit late on this activity as we were busy with the magazine but we do hope you enjoy the next activity- Fantasy.

For the next activity, the members have to write a fantasy prose in not more than 1000 words. Remember, when you are writing fantasy, don’t forget to let your imagination go wild.

The last day to send in your entries is 12th December.

keep in mind the following tips while you are writing your story:

1. Build your world. If you’re working with the fantasy genre, chances are you’re in another world or a slight variation on modern day Earth; either way, you’ll have to do something to build it. What makes it fantasy? What is the difference between your world and ours?

Build your world with careful attention to detail. Some of the most important things are the class system, the way gender is treated, and the religions throughout the world. You shouldn’t get lost in the details and never get to writing, but the more you’ve worked out, the less you have to worry about it sounding cliche or inconsistent.

2. Don’t make your characters all powerful. Give your characters weaknesses; weaknesses in not only their physical reality but in their mind and characteristics as well. Make them bad at something, make them underestimate people on a regular basis. Make them something other than immortal and all powerful, and your story will be more interesting.

Another part of this is making them not the special ultimate prophecy child. Giving them a role in your story without having everyone bow to them because of some prophecy. Of course, a prophecy can be involved; but it should be handled carefully. It’s like playing with fire. And it shouldn’t mean that everyone just falls at your character’s feet. Give them more opportunity for real conflict and you break a lot of the monotony that exists in current fantasy novels.

3. Give your villains minds of their own. Build up the character of your villain in your mind. Give them a past, a future, friends, family, loved ones. Give them a reason to be ‘evil’, to be against the hero. Give them motivation, proper motivation that isn’t ‘just because’.

Give your villains reasons to exist other than to be pitted against your heroes. Show them as real people with minds and hearts and you’ll be amazed how much better the story turns out.

4. Make the religions varied. Most fantasy books have religions which are either largely Christian based or largely Wiccan based. Make something different, something new, with multiple Gods with complicated relationships. Try following a truly varied model, with great differences and some tense battles between Gods. Or make the Gods actually distant, without your character being a Chosen One.

Avoid the ‘earthy mother Goddess’ and the ‘Evil Tyrant God’ and you give yourself more realism. Study a variety of old religions and use material from those to create your own.

5. Make predictions sparse. The stories about the psychics with nightmares that are really predictions are old. It’s frustrating when a scene is written twice because oh, it was predicted before it happened. It’s frustrating when we already know what’s going to happen and the usual idea is that there’s absolutely no way for the prediction to be wrong.

Predictions can be used, though preferrably in extremely limited qualities. It would also be interesting to read a story in which someone who has these nightmare predictions is seeing things that are actually preventable, or unpredictable nightmares which sometimes turn out to be predictions and other times red herrings. An undependable Gift of sorts. Using fewer of these gives your story less of the suspense-killing cliche.

6. Use unusual creatures. Use creatures which are from actual mythology but which are rarely used. Study ancientmythologies and mix and match, having creatures from different mythologies, including those which are rarely referred to by popular fantasies. If you base a lot of your fantasy creatures off of lesser known mythologies it will give a sense of uniqueness, and those who are familiar with that mythology will appreciate your book or story more.

7. Study great fantasy. Read in your genre. Read to see what is done often and how it is done. Read to learn tricks from other writers, to pick up what works and what doesn’t. See how the best fantasy challenges the worst fantasy. Read about writing, especially articles or books by your favorite authors.

Critique fantasy. Take apart chapters and look at the mechanics. By knowing the components of a fantasy novel that make it great, and studying these deeply, you become more immune to falling into the trap of cliches.

8. Practice. The more you write, the better you get; the more practice you get. With more practice you learn how to phrase things, how to create full characters with real flaws and real talents. You learn what you can do well and what you need to learn more about. You can use this to expand your horizons.

Experiment with different things. Dabble in the different subgenres. Write pages of description followed by pages of fight scenes, pages of dialogue. See where your strongest talent in writing lies, and see where  you need improvement. Strive to improve. Take a class if you want. Never stop attempting to better yourself.

9. Take Feedback. Accept feedback. This is important no matter what genre you write in, but can be especially useful in fantasy. If you find yourself a good critique group, you will often find the members willing and able to point out where you step into the danger of becoming cliche. See what you find useful and discard what you don’t, but give all comments equal chance.

Thicken your skin against the harsh feedback of others and turn their words into sound advice. Take their negative comments as a learning experience as well as their positive ones.

10. Be yourself. Don’t try to write like your favorite fantasy author. As much as you may love them, you are not them; accept this and allow your own voice and ideas to show through. Don’t try to use something if you don’t think you can, or if you don’t love it. If you’re doing it to be like another writer for any reason whatsoever, stop now and find something else, something you genuinely love and want to create.

Best of luck!


One Response to “Writing Activity- Fantasy Writing”

  1. allison December 5, 2012 at 12:11 am #

    Ooooh, Fun! I’ve never written fantasy before. I’m excited to start in on this one!

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