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Shane Maddon

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How to write a good fantasy novel
By Shane Maddon   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Thursday, June 25, 2009
Posted: Thursday, June 25, 2009

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An article to help you better understand the mechanics of writing fantasy fiction novels.

With the popularity of successful fantasy novels, such as Lord of the Rings, and currently the Eragon series, many authors have began to write fantasy novels. There have been amazing epics that have taken readers in to different worlds, and cliché disasters that made people outraged,that they spent the money on it. If you are a freelance writer, or an author who is wanting to write a fantasy novel for the first time, then this article will be of priceless value to you.

A fantasy novel is best defined as a novel that takes place in pre-technological times, where there are magic,mages,witches, wizard and of course fantasy beasts such as dragons,unicorns, and pixies. Most often the stories deal with Religious origin, or developing nations that are at war. So if fantasy is such a broad subject that can be written about limitless topics, then why is there such a large area for disaster? The answer is, originality is a must! If readers have to read one more novel where a half elf has to save the land for the dark force, or a misfit mage, who ends up being the chosen the in the lands, and goes on an adventure, they are going to be sick.


All readers are asking for, is an original plot with exciting characters who they can relate to. Now your saying to yourself, “My plot is original! My characters name is unique and umm....i made up some cool names for the land like “the great forest” or... or “skull point” ” If there is anything inside your book with a name like that, you should be slapped. A good book is believable, and I cannot think of any culture that names a large body of water, “the lake of death.” If you want to pull in the reader, and make them captivated by your words, spend some time to create a living world.


Below is a checklist, and if you answer YES to any of them, should scrap your book, and re-write something else.


  1. Your main character is an elf who finds out they have mystic powers.

  2. Your main character is actually a chosen one, from a prophecy, and has to save the world.

  3. The story takes place in an enchanted castle.

  4. They meet an old wizard with gray robes and long white hair.

  5. The traveling companions are a mix of elf,dwarf, and/or little persons(hobbits)

  6. Character figures out they are from another world, where there is magic.

  7. Character discovers they are a prince/princess from a kingdom in trouble, and ends up saving it.

  8. Character finds out they have magic, and moves to a school to learn.


These may sound the most horrible cliché book ideas, but writers are still trying to come up with story plots around them. Writers of the world. STOP! Take a deep breath and remember that you became a writer because you are of the small percentage of people who are intelligent, and have chosen to share the knowledge that swims around in your head. People enjoy reading, and will continue to read as long as there are books in the world, and authors to write them.


Below is a guide that will help you better understand Fantasy fiction.


Magic- Magic is a force in the world, an energy that allows people to do certain abilities. Magic must have rules, limitations and an origin. How did magic happen? Was it an accident? Did God or the Gods give people magic to help them? If you use magic, does it use energy? Can anyone do it, or is it something you are born with? You have to remember, that magic is not the solution to everything. If it can be used to do anything, then why would there be a plot? Couldn't they snap their fingers and make the bad guy go away. No. Magic has limitations.


Religion.- You have to think of the many religions there are in real life and imagine that the world in which your book takes place, also has many religions. It is popular to have polytheistic religions ( more than one god) compared to Monotheistic. ( one god) It is actually a really fun creative writing exercise. Sit down, and come up with new religions, and try to be as detailed as possible. Make up names, creation myths, powers, kinds of gods there are. If you have an awesome religion that you come up with, I guarantee you can write an entire novel centrally located around it.


The Kingdom- Similar to the Religion exercise, its fun to come up with different lands, entire kingdoms and even small villages. Describe how it is ran, is there a King or Queen? Or a village elder, or simply an elected official to govern the land? If you have a kingdom, there has to be certain rules made then. Can people have weapons? Is it illegal to use magic inside the city? Think about it and jot down idea's you have while your at work or school.


Animals- Its a fantasy novel, you can make up any kind of animal in the world that you want to write about, or you can use the normal ones. Horses, dogs and cats, are some of the most popular animals used in a fantasy novel. Dragons, faeries and elves are popular magickal animals, that should only be used tastefully. There are many very successful novels that involve only a magickal animal, like a Dragon. ( Eragon for example) and these authors have done an amazing job, but you also don't want to copy cat or mimic their original books, its the number one novel no no!


You get to play God. As the the author, you get to make up anything you want and shape it to your will. You can create worlds, move an audience to tears, and create an epic journey that could possibly become a Box Office, multi million dollar movie!! ( twilight) or you can write another fantasy novel, that gets sold for $1.00 on the bargain bin at a B-rate book store downtown. The only person that can make your novel happen is you.


Don't let chance or fate dictate your lifestyle as an author!

Write your own destiny!!


Good Luck.


Shane Maddon.


Web Site: How to write a good fantasy novel.

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