‘Writing Believable Fantasy’ (2017)

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“The writer who can’t look into another person’s heart, and find some kinship with it…” might as well go on to Congress. Or join the nooze media.

So what does it take to write believable fantasy?

Writing Believable Fantasy

I only get to see books that are actually published; and a lot of those are bad enough to dry up a good-sized pond. After many years of studying the matter, I don’t know why that should be. Unless it’s simply that so very few people can actually write a good novel, the supply can never catch up to the demand and a lot of pfud gets published because they don’t have anything better.


21 comments on “‘Writing Believable Fantasy’ (2017)

  1. I reread the original post and was tickled afterward to see in the comments that I’d laughed just as hard at the elf named Feenamint the second time around as I’d done the first time.

    As for Unknowable’s original comment about getting tired of the same schtick (not his word) done over and over in a book or movie, that’s how I felt about the original “Jurassic Park” movie. After a while, I started mentally groaning, “Oh, no, not again” or “I know just what’s going to happen next.” If I hadn’t been on a date at the time, I would have left before the end. I did observe to my date afterward that it was hard to believe that the hero was such an expert about how velociraptors hunted and socialized, unless he’d stumbled upon a long-undiscovered treatise on war by Velociraptor von Clausewitz.

    1. Granted, much of the dialogue in Jurassic Park movies is pure twaddle, indefensible. But how else am I going to get to see dinosaurs?

  2. I am trying to write good fantasy. My focus in my books is more on character development than propagating weirdness. Yes, there is a magic system, danger, adventure and strange critters – all of that fun stuff – but at its core is how the characters interact, grow as people, and use the gifts God has given them.

  3. Loved the article–it’s spot on. So glad to have found your books, because you’re one of the fantasy authors who gets that balance just right. There aren’t enough who do. Fantasy is a much harder genre to write (and write well) than people think.

    1. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying “The Realm Beyond the Storm.” Next time, though, please include a map. It’s not easy for me to remember where everything is.

    2. P.S.–The single worst line ever written in any fantasy. The dwarf says to the elf, “We must learn to respect and celebrate each other’s lifestyles.”

      That one almost killed me.

  4. Oh good! I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying it so far! I agree that I need to have a good map made. But then I keep adding on new places, so if I’d done that last year like I’d intended, it would be out of date already. I’ll have to figure out how to make one that is updateable so it doesn’t cost me a fortune in artist fees every time my imagination finds someplace new to explore.

    And that line from the dwarf really is awful, not to mention out of character for any dwarf. If you find anything that bad in my series, you have to tell me.

    1. I would be too!

      I just realized today that for some reason my WordPress notifications were disabled. No idea how that happened! So if I haven’t been responding to your blog replies for a while, it wasn’t intentional. The problem should be fixed now…I hope.

    2. *Sigh* Well, I wonder how many other readers have had this problem.
      My viewer numbers are wretched: it’s as if this blog had slipped back to 2016-type numbers. This started on Jan. 17 and I have no idea why.
      Awfully frustrating, though!

    3. Very strange, and the date is rather specific. Makes me wonder if WordPress updated something in their code that is affecting your blog. FaceBook has been stupid too, not notifying me when someone leaves a direct message on my book page, but telling me about all sorts of other things I couldn’t care less about.

      I wonder if when I read your posts through my daily email digest that shows up in your stats as a view. If not, you might have more readers than you think and they’re just not being counted by the system. Your blog is kind of like my morning newspaper (and far better than a real one). I scroll through the digest on my phone as I’m trying to motivate myself to get out of bed and start my day. I’m not exactly a morning person. 🙂

    4. I am told that daily emails don’t count as views, so your point is well taken. (Took me quite a while to find that out.)

    5. One thing that did change at some point this year is I can’t “like” a post directly from my email digest anymore, which is annoying. I don’t know if WordPress did that globally, or if something in one of our background settings got switched off. I’d sure love to have that ability back, though. And I’m sure likes hit the system and count as views for you.

    6. Readers tell me about all sorts of obstacles that seem to spring up suddenly for no apparent reason. Is it possible that our whole internet system is collecting more and more glitches?

    7. I think the more these companies try to play with and “improve” their coding, the more wieldy and out of whack it becomes over time. Like the need for those incessant and irritating Microsoft software updates that end up breaking as much as they fix…requiring yet another update…

    8. An expert once told me, “They should have stopped with Windows 7.” I think he was right.

      I worry that they’ll keep on messing around with the system until they wreck it and it doesn’t work at all. Then what do we do???

    9. Some enterprising person will come out with a whole new system and we’ll end up jumping ship. The natural cycle of life on any kind of social media platform. 🙂

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