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Writing Tip: Fantasy

Renee Stevens


For our Tip Thursday we are bringing you an awesome tip from Cia. Have you ever been writing a Fantasy story and worried that you might be writing something that will turn your readers off to your story? Cia writes this time as a reader, about what keeps her interested in a fantasy story. Enjoy!

Fantasy – From a Reader’s POV


So, this is coming from me, as a reader. Recently I’ve read a few fantasy stories. One was a modern fantasy, one is a futuristic alien fiction, and two were pure fantasy. Now, I like to read modern fantasy the most, and comparing the stories I read in close succession led me to understand why that is.


In my opinion, modern fantasy almost lets authors make their twist into the fantastical more overt and dramatic. They don’t have to explain car travel, or cell phones, or refrigerators to the reader which leaves them greater room to explain the person that can telekinetically move a parked car or blow up a refrigerator. For many other readers, the tease that the mundane existence can be so easily become fantastical is a huge draw as well.


The attraction for many to fantasy stories is that they are so divorced for reality, which makes a great reader escape. However, there are many authors who take that too far. The reader is usually dropped into a completely new world, quite often into a very dramatic scene for that first chapter hook. Most of the time that requires a lot of detail, all of which has to be explained and then retained by the reader.


Quite often, being immersed in a whole new culture can be very stimulating and that keeps me reading. There are times, however, when it’s just too much. For me, that most often occurs when the author has created a completely foreign setting and includes too many characters with too many names all at once. It can be incredibly confusing if a story has a large cast of characters and, even worse, they go by titles, names, and/or nicknames all at once. Having to remember three or four identities per character and what each of those names/titles mean is very taxing.


It is simply easier to follow if you have a human character that publicly goes by the name of say, Timothy, but his best friend call him Tim. Or, you have an alien leader that only goes by his title but his family uses his name. In those instances, especially when you have a large cast of characters, that can better tell us who is speaking and highlight those relationships as well as reducing confusion. That isn’t as important in a modern fantasy story since we have less detail to try to understand at the same time, but it is vital, in my opinion, for a pure fantasy.


For me, the true test of a fantasy is how quickly I can sink into the world as I become immersed in the story AND understand its nuances. Trading off the fantasy world for fantasy elements in the world we know makes that easier for me, which results in a better reading experience. I still enjoy fantasy stories, but as a whole, I’ve found that finding ones that are truly well written are getting fewer and farther in between.

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