Tuesday, January 26, 2021

How to Think about Fantasy Stories


(Image source)

I return to the best advice I have ever received about writing: Read 100 books of whatever you want to write. I have read well beyond 100 books in the fantasy genre, and it is always thrilling to find someone who does something new with the genre. But how do I write a fantasy novel that may be enjoyed by readers other than myself?

As a writer, I have spent years reading books, blogs, and interviews by published authors to figure out how they do it the actual writing, the editing, and then the publishing. While this is an ongoing education process, I am always amazed how I return to the journey and Campbell's description of the Hero's Journey. Not every story fits in this mold exactly, yet some kind of change occurs in every story. I enjoy imagining fantasy and science fiction worlds that I may pen someday. 

These are some resources that I have found useful in writing my National Novel Writing Month fantasy novels over the years.

Worldbuilding: Patricia C. Wrede Questions

Blogs: Mythcreants

Books: Save the Cat!; The Writer's Journey

Story Grid

Worldbuilding, Myths, and Magical Creatures

Global Genre

Obligatory Scenes and Conventions--Christmas Carol Example

How do you think about fantasy stories? What are some of your favorite fantasy stories?


  1. I LOVE Save the Cat! I discovered it last summer and have been using it in my work on a couple of manuscripts since then. I've found it really helpful to combine Save the Cat! with a deep dive into GMC. I recently reread the Harry Potter series with my daughter, and I found it interesting to think about the Save the Cat! beats and the character arcs over not only a single book but also the series as a whole.

  2. Excellent! I'm glad Save the Cat! has benefited your work and reading with your daughter. It is amazing to think of how to connect the beats and character arcs in each book and then over the course of a series. I can't wait to work the concepts into my own book series.


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