How to Write a Fantasy Novel: Guide + Tips
If you want to write fantasy, you’re in luck. Fantastic literature is one of its best moments.
Nowadays we can find an infinity of fantasy books that make us travel to incredible places and dream of the impossible. So much so that wizards, dragons, and superheroes are part of our real daily lives.
Who doesn’t know the name of Harry Potter or the Game of Thrones saga?
But reading is just one way to discover new territory. There are other ways to enjoy the power of the imagination: cinema, television, drawing… and, above all, writing.
On this page, we are going to show the fundamental elements of this literary genre, the types of fantastic novels that exist, and tips for writing fantasy.
If you are looking for more general guidelines for writing any genre of novel, you can see our article on how to write a novel.
Most people expect to find a few key elements when they set out to read a fantasy book.
These characteristics are what make this genre different from others such as romantic or police literature, for example.
Think about it: what makes a fantasy novel fantasy?
Here we have gathered the five elements that we consider most important.
It is convenient that you take them into account if you are going to write fantasy. This doesn’t mean you have to include all of these topics if your story doesn’t require it, but they can help make sure you meet the expectations of the type of reader you’re targeting.
The first, and most obvious, is magic.
And not just magic, but a system of magic. It is important to be clear about who or what is doing magic in your novel, why, what are the characteristics of that type of magic, and how it is used.
For example, Harry Potter has a wand. But one of your characters could use a broom or a toe.
Magical power can be of many types. It can be used to attack and/or protect. It may be related to a natural element or object, to mental power, to genes, or in any other way.
You can set it to be used voluntarily or involuntarily, or both depending on the situation.
The important thing is that you show it with your written words and justify it in a convincing way.
a different world
One of the main reasons why a person decides to read these types of books and write fantasy is to disconnect from reality.
A fantastic novel is a mode of escapism and evasion. It also allows us to travel to unknown worlds through the written word . It makes us explorers because it makes us discover new territories and makes us part of the adventure through the characters.
This is why the creation of imaginary worlds, what is known as worldbuilding, is crucial to writing fantasy, more than in the creation of other literary genres.
But you don’t always have to develop a world with a lot of details. If your novel is an urban fantasy where there is a superhero who lives in the streets of Barcelona, you don’t have to create a new world.
Even so, you will need to detail how the powers of that superhero relate to the environment. Or maybe you should invent a small part of the original planet of that fantastic character.
Writing a fantasy novel is like creating a 10,000-piece puzzle for someone else to put together from scratch.
The reading experience must contain moments of chaos and not understanding anything. Readers have to feel lost as they go through the reading at times. But they will maintain the expectation that everything has a reason.
Showing chaos that is ordered as the story progresses is crucial when developing any type of novel. But in a fantasy, it is much more important, because it usually contains more invented elements.
Have fun in this regard. Play with the tension, baffle your readers, make them wonderful things, draw their own conclusions and get excited.
But try to justify it as precisely as possible. If you create a puzzle, remember to put the necessary guides on the outline of each piece so that each one fits with another.