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10 Essential Tips for Every Aspiring Fantasy Novelist

How to Write a Fantasy Novel - dartfrogbooks

Fantasy is a fun, freeing, and unique writing genre—but where do you start? You’re already on the right track by taking the time to research and read our blog.

You might feel like you’re in over your head with a mounting to-do list, or you may feel well-equipped and eager to start writing today. Whatever the case, we’re here to help you get started and guide you through writing your fantasy novel.

Follow DartFrog’s ten expert tips to conquer self-doubt and begin writing today!

Read: Show, Don’t Tell: A Writer’s Guide to Improving Your Storytelling

10 Expert Tips to conquer your self-doubt

1. Read Other Fantasy Novels

A good rule of thumb is to read more than you write. Your writing skills will only improve the more that you read. 

Read Other Fantasy Novels - dartfrogbooks

Since you’re interested in writing fantasy, you should be reading fantasy. While reading, pay attention to what you like and don’t like.

Here are some fantasy novels that we suggest reading to get inspired:

2. Determine Your Audience

First, you’ll want to decide on the age range of your intended audience. Is your book geared toward children, teens, and adults?

Second, aside from age, it’s good to know the type of fantasy readers you hope to attract. Fantasy has many sub-genres: romance, paranormal, historical, contemporary— and so on. 

Selecting your targeted audience and sub-genre will inform the content you include, the themes you explore, and the overall vibe of your book. 

3. Create Your Characters

Think of your favorite fantasy novel—what about the book gives it that edge over the other books you’ve read? 

You might love its beautiful descriptions, exciting plot, or organic dialogue. Whatever plot features you resonate with are good to note, as your writing will likely flow best through those preferences. But above all, the characters make or break any fantasy novel.  

Your protagonist is an important character to focus on, but you should also put time and attention into the side characters. Every good book has a diverse cast of background characters who provide context for the world in which your story takes place.

Crafting interesting, unique, complex characters is a sure way to hook your readers and get them invested in your story.

4. Begin World-Building

World-building is one of the main aspects of fantasy writing that separates the genre from ordinary fiction. You need to create a world that interests you and differs from the other worlds you’ve read about. 

Don’t freak out—you can take inspiration from other books and authors but add your unique twist. Crafting your world is fun: allow your imagination to take over!

Creating your world involves establishing a physical setting, culture, inhabitants, what technology (or lack thereof) is used, backstory/ history, language, etc. 

5. Study the World You’ve Created

After you’ve created the world in which your novel will take place, it’s essential to study it! 

Remaining consistent with the rules you’ve created is integral to maintaining a solid story free from plot holes.

Since this is a world that only you know, it’s a good idea to keep a running document with every detail you include in your book. Remember: no detail is too small! Keep track of everything.

6. Outline Your Story

Sitting down for the first time and looking at a blank page can feel overwhelming. 

Creating a rough outline can alleviate some of this burden and act as a roadmap that will assist you through the writing process.

You don’t have to have your entire plot or cast of characters figured out when you work on your outline. Outlines are meant to be crossed out, expanded upon, and ever-changing.

7. Create a Writing Routine

Having your writing routine will help you hold yourself accountable to the writing process. 

You should try a few different routines until you find one that feels most organic and productive. 

This process can be a fun personal exploration, so try different options.

Do you prefer writing as the sun rises or sets? With a hot mug of tea or with a cold drink? You may find that lighting a particular candle gets those creative juices flowing. 

Once you establish a routine that excites you to write, implement it daily!

8. Find an Honest Reader

You must find an honest reader to review your work and provide feedback throughout the writing process. If this person is a friend, they need to be a friend who is not afraid to be critical or tell you things you may not want to hear. 

Your reader can’t be afraid to tell you you’re repeatedly misusing a word. For example, a character isn’t connecting, or a scene feels flat. (Your mom or significant other probably isn’t the best choice for this).

9. Edit Your Writing

Writing your first draft is a tremendous accomplishment, but it’s only the first step in writing your fantasy novel. 

Making multiple rounds of revisions will help strengthen your story and polish your writing. But at a certain point, you must engage an editor to review the story and make edits. 

Your editor must be a professional and someone not previously connected to your manuscript. A fresh set of eyes is essential. But even more important is finding a brutally honest and direct editor.

There’s no room for egos in editing, so don’t even think about getting your feelings hurt by the editor’s suggestions. Develop a thick skin by reminding yourself that this is not personal; it’s all about forging your story into the best possible version of itself. 

10. Celebrate Your Finished Novel

Eventually, the editing finishes, leaving you with a completed manuscript. Congratulations—you wrote your fantasy novel! Take the night off to celebrate, and then you can start on the next leg of this journey: publishing.

Read: How to Make Sure Your First Book Isn’t Like Your First Pancake

Conclusion

We hope this blog helped you in your endeavor of writing a fantasy novel. If you’re ready to take on the next step of publishing, we can help! 

DartFrog has been helping authors share their stories with the world since 2015. We offer traditional, hybrid, and self-publishing options. We’d love to read your finished manuscript, so feel free to contact us!

Read: When Can You Call Yourself a Writer?

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I start writing a fantasy novel?

A: To start writing, you must let yourself write freely. Put every idea that’s floating around your head onto the page. 

Put your inner critic aside and write. At this point in the process, no idea is a bad idea.

You should commit to a writing routine, hold yourself accountable to show up daily, and put words on the page.

Q: How do fantasy novels start?

A: There is no one right way to begin your novel. However, you must hook your reader in early on. 

Your first chapter will decide for many readers whether to keep turning the pages or put them back on the shelf. Introduce your readers to a world or character they feel compelled to learn more about.

We advise starting broad and introducing bits of the world, setting, the protagonist, and perhaps the antagonist. Avoid data dumping. You don’t want to bog your readers down with too much detail or description from the start. Peak their interest and give them a reason to keep reading.

Q: Are fantasy books hard to write?

A: “Hard” is subjective. Writing any book requires dedication, time, and creativity.

Fantasy is typically a more involved genre as it often requires world-building, whereas general fiction does not. You can deem writing fantasy as hard or a challenge that you will embrace.

Your mindset matters and will either carry you across the finish line, or will sabotage you. Try to stay inspired and remind yourself why you’re writing. 

Q: How do I get an idea for a fantasy novel?

A: If you don’t magically wake up with an entire novel plot in your head (which most people don’t!)—try sitting down for a brainstorming session. Nothing has to make sense; see where your ideas take you.

Once you come up with that one solid idea, you can begin refining your plot and writing.

Q: Why is fantasy hard to write?

A: Writing any long-form piece can be “hard.” Each genre is accompanied by its unique challenges.

You should be prepared to build a unique world where your story takes place. You should also be prepared to discard your first idea, second, or third…

Good writing and ideas don’t happen overnight—be patient.

Q: How to write a novel like Harry Potter?

A: Every author has a unique writing style. You shouldn’t try to mimic an already popular story.

We’re not saying that you shouldn’t take inspiration from other books in your writing genre. If you want to write a children’s fantasy series, then it might feel impossible not to compare it to Harry Potter.

Rather than your goal being to write a novel like Harry Potter, reframe your question to “How to write a timeless children’s fantasy book?” Take all of the positive writing techniques J.K. Rowling employs in her books and apply them to your story.

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