Are you considering writing a fantasy novel? As a first-time writer, you might be in love with J.K. Rowling and Tolkien. Or, you might love everything about the fantasy genre to the point that you feel like you have a story that you want to tell to others.
Nonetheless, if you have never written fantasy genre before, you will want to understand that it is challenging to write. Now, there aren’t any stagnant rules that you will have to follow – but – there will be certain elements that must be included in your fantasy story.
Even if you have an original story – you will want to incorporate certain elements that will make the story fit into the fantasy genre.
Typically, fantasy readers expect a specific experience from the fantasy books they consume. We aren’t referring to the generic tropes that include dragons, dwarves, and magicians. But – we are referring to the broader aspects of this genre – the concepts that can be as imaginative and innovative as you – the author – likes.
So, let us assess the essential elements that make a fantastic fantasy novel.
The much-needed magical element is the only element that sets the fantasy genre apart from other fiction genres. If you want your book to be considered fantasy, you will want to incorporate a magical touch.
Nonetheless, what exactly does it mean to incorporate a magical touch?
Magical touch refers to an element that cannot exist in the real world – but – does exist in the novel. Magical elements can include sorcery, enchantment, magical creatures, supernatural elements, extraordinary powers, etc.
Basically, the magical touch in the book will have no real basis in the real world. This will be the foremost thing that will set your story apart from other genres – especially if your magical touch is unique and purely imaginative.
The type of magical touch that you will incorporate in the novel is also the element that will make your book stand out in the fantasy niche. Nonetheless, it is essential to mention here that the magical touch shouldn’t be a convenient plot device – but – the rules, driving force, plot development, and characterization needs to follow the magic system.
You get the point – your fantasy book should contain things you would have never experienced.
A Well-Developed Plot
Another absolutely essential element of the fantasy genre is a well-developed setting. Whenever you write a fantasy novel, your plot should take in an entirely new setting.
Now, your story mustn’t necessarily be happening in a different universe – it is absolutely all right to develop the setting on the Earth – but your story must be narrated in a way to immerse the readers thoughtfully and thoroughly in your world.
When it comes to fantasy writing, this aspect is also termed “world-building.”
“The Lord of the Rings” is a fine example of ‘world-building.’
In fact, Tolkien is often seen as the true master of world-building due to the depth and detail with which he explores the world of Middle-earth. If you have read the fantasy novel “The Hobbit,” you already know that every aspect of the world, including language, customs, and history, is based on an entirely different world.
Now you don’t necessarily have to compare yourself to the master world-builder, as it will place you under unnecessary pressure – but – you will want to build your fantasy world from the ground up.
Once you have written your first copy of the fantasy book, you will want to hire the best fantasy book cover designers in the USA, as people will form a first impression of your book based on the cover.
Essential Things to Consider for Developing Your Fantasy Setting
Before you start developing your setting, you will want to use a mind map to determine the different aspects of your fantasy world.
You might want to jot down details about the following aspects:
- What does the landscape look like?
- What does the world smell like?
- What are the people’s appearances?
- How is the appearance of man-made structures?
- Are the people divided into classes?
- How does the world operate?
- Who is considered powerful in the world?
- Where do your characters stand in the world?
You get the point – once you start mind mapping, you will find many other aspects that you will want to describe in the setting. With the help of a mind map, you will be able to get a detailed view of what you want your world to be like.
As with any fiction, the cast of characters gets readers hooked on the story. Of course, the magical element along with the settings will intrigue the readers – but – none of this will mean a thing in the absence of the cast of complex characters.
It is entirely your call about the number of characters that you include in your story. If you are writing a series of fiction novels, you will want to introduce several characters to make the story more interesting. Also, don’t hesitate to use auxiliary characters to boost the reader’s interest and engagement.
You can also introduce one main character through which your readers will experience a major part of the story. The other characters will then serve as a way to expand the reader’s viewpoints to create managing multiple points of view throughout the story.
A Central Conflict
When it comes to fantasy fiction, the key to a good fantasy novel is a central conflict. This aspect is specifically true when you aim to write a series of fiction novels so that the main conflict will stretch across multiple episodes.
Some of the typical conflicts that are a part of the fantasy genre include the following aspects:
- Internal conflict experienced by the characters.
- Smaller conflicts and experiences between the characters.
- Bigger conflicts are experienced by the characters, especially when the main character is up against some powerful external force.
Rowling’s Harry Potter is an ideal example of the central conflict and other types of conflicts, with the main conflicts remaining the same. Each Harry Potter series has its own set of internal conflicts – but – the main conflict throughout the series remains the same, which is basically the conflict between Harry Potter and the greatest of evil magicians – Lord Voldemort.
The main central conflict connects all seven volumes of the Harry Potter series, which keeps the main story moving forward.
It is essential to mention here that as a newbie fantasy fiction writer, you shouldn’t be tempted to integrate conflict only for the sake of conflict. Else, it will result in unnecessary fight scenes. Your primary aim should be to keep the readers engaged and excited while keeping the story flow unforced and natural toonily.