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How to Publish Your Own Fantasy Novel

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Allison
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« on: January 07, 2013, 10:44:43 pm »

How to Publish Your Own Fantasy Novel
11
By Swapna Krishna
   



June 15, 2012

With the plethora of fantasy novels being written and published lately, you probably have wondered if you should put pen to paper and write your own. After all, you have a great imagination and decent writing skills. Why not? If you're considering writing a work of fantasy, here is our step-by-step guide on how to publish your own fantasy novel.

Step One: Invent a Brand New Land

The first thing you want to do is come up with a completely new place for your book to be set. The coolest part? You're completely in charge. Want magic to be real? Poof—it is! What about dragons? Or unicorns? The best part is that there are no real boundaries for what you can create—the point is that it's fantasy. It's supposed to be weird and crazy! While you can't just copy someone else's idea, reading already published fantasy novels is a good place to start. Multiple kingdoms are popular (though I'd stay away from seven—that's been in countless books and it'll look like you didn't have the creativity to come up with a different number), as are really big walls. Dark places no one ever goes? That's where your main enemy will come from. You're in charge, and you can do whatever you want—just make sure you have fun!

Step Two: Create Your Characters

As with the land you create, there aren't a lot of restrictions for what kind of characters you can populate your novel with, but here are some suggestions: Try to make your main character human. It makes it much easier for the reader to relate to them, especially if you have non-humans roaming around. (Though don't automatically make the non-humans the enemy, unless you want to seem kind of species-ist). You might also want to have multiple species, some allies, some enemies, some in between (think human, elf, dwarf, orc, uruk-hai, wizard from Lord of the Rings). Or, if you want to keep things as simple as possible, the ol' humans versus humans is always easy to fall back on.

Step Three: Name Your Characters

This might seem like it should go hand in hand with step two, but naming your characters is a lot of work. You want to come up with foreign, exotic names, but not so much so that your reader will spend more time wondering how to pronounce them than actually reading your book. If you're having trouble, you can always, once again, read other fantasy books to get ideas. This is more common than you might think (does anyone else think that Samwell Tarly sounds an awful lot like Samwise Gamgee?) and it's a great way to get your imagination going.

Step Four: Write Your Book

Okay, yes, this is the hardest step. Once you have your setting and characters, you have to actually sit down and write the narrative. Of course, you could be writing a series, so you don't have to tell the whole story in one fell swoop. And your first draft should definitely be a rough outline of the series of events and how the characters interact; descriptions can come later. But don't forget about them, because since you're creating an entirely new place, descriptions are key for immersing the reader in your story and helping them learn about the dynamics of your particular land.

Step Five: Self-Publish or Get an Agent

After you write the book, you face the difficult decision of either self-publishing it or trying to get an agent to publish it traditionally. Both have their positives and negatives—if you self-publish, you know your book will be printed and it can sit on your shelf for all time, but it's likely that no one besides you and your family/friends will actually read it. Getting an agent is much more difficult, but if you manage to do it, you stand a much better chance of making your fantasy novel a bestseller.

Either way, happy writing and publishing!

http://www.sparknotes.com/mindhut/2012/06/15/how-to-publish-your-own-fantasy-novel

Do you think you have a fantasy novel that should be published?
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Allison
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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2013, 10:47:01 pm »

Welcome

Welcome to the homepage of the Fantasy-Faction Anthology and the annual Fantasy Writing Contest.


With the Fantasy-Faction Anthology, we are looking to do things a little differently than what you may be expecting. Unlike many anthologies out there that tend to be filled solely with already famous names, we want to be the place where those famous names are made. From January 1st 2012 through until June 30th 2012 we held an open writing contest, inviting anyone in the World to send us a story for consideration to be published alongside some of the World’s most recognised Fantasy authors.

When all was said and done we had received over 1700 submissions of stories up to 8,000 words. The average story was around 6,000 words, which means that the judges are now reading through, roughly, 10,200,000 words – impressive, right? Well, some people may feel sorry for them, some people may think that it sounds like a lot of hard work… Well, you’d be wrong! The three Judges: Marc Aplin, Paul Wiseall and Jennifer Ivins love fantasy. Reading fantasy is something they believe they were born to do and, for them, it is an absolute pleasure and honour to have so many authors send them work for a book they are putting together.

The fact that 1700 stories have been written for this contest makes the whole thing worth while. The highlight of the whole process was the feedback from those who had created those new characters and new worlds and placed them into story-making situations. Tweets such as the following have touched our hearts and we’d like to thank each and every person who entered:

@FantasyFaction I wish to thank you for motivating me to write my veryfirst fantasy story. You opened a new perspective for me Smiley . Kisses.

Why did you start the Fantasy Writing Contest?

Every day at Fantasy-Faction, we come across truly fantastic fantasy stories from unpublished authors who are struggling to get noticed by a publisher. That is why we have decided to take matters in to our own hands and be the ones to offer you the chance to be published and also win yourself $500 in the process. Best of all, it’s completely free!

What will the Fantasy-Faction anthology be?

For the Reader: We aim to bring you the greatest new and undiscovered fantasy stories to be found anywhere on the planet. Stories that will not just entertain you, but also give you a glimpse into the future. This collection will be a look at the fantasy authors who are currently crafting new worlds for you to escape into and whose books will soon be adorning your bookshelves. This isn’t all though, the anthology will also showcase exclusive articles from some of the most loved and revered authors on the planet. But, that’s another story – Stay tuned.

For the Writer: Through the annual Fantasy Writing Contest, we aim to provide you an opportunity to not only get your story and name (that’s an important one) in print but also to showcase your work and gain the recognition that could propel you towards a career in writing. On top of this, we are offering cash prizes for the top three stories.

Who will fill this anthology with wonderment?

You! Whether you’ve been working for years to get published or have never before put pen to paper, we want you to submit your fantasy story to us. Of course, there are rules (for what is life without rules?). You can find those and a bunch of other handy information on this site. However, the most important thing to keep in mind is that we want your fantasy stories. This means any kind of fantasy from swords and sorcery to steampunk. In fact, the only kind of fantasy we don’t want is the kind you buy from a top shelf and smuggle home in a paper bag. Keep that kind of fantasy buried in the bottom of your underwear drawer please.

Will there definitely be another Writing Contest?

Yes! Next year the Fantasy Writing Contest will return. This year (2012) we decided to go with an anthology that would allow us to show readers the bredth of the genre. This book will be huge and it will offer readers everything from Epic Fantasy to Urban Fantasy through to Sci-Fi Crossover pieces. Next year though, things will be a little different. Next year we are going to introduce themes. ‘Guns and Dragons’ has been named as one possibility, ‘Modern Faerie Tales’ is another. The only way you will find out is by checking back here or following us on Twitter!

We will be accepting story submissions from:
1 January 2013

http://fantasywritingcontest.com/
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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2013, 10:47:32 pm »


What We Want:
-Fantasy Short Stories
-Can be any sub-genre
-Up to 8000 Words
-Must be unpublished
-Authors keep story rights
Click Here For Entry Details   


http://fantasywritingcontest.com/online-entry/
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Allison
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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2013, 10:48:41 pm »

Get Your Fantasy Story Published: Insider Manuscript Submission Tips From an Editor

I was recently contacted by a rep at Writer's Digest Books & Magazine. If you are not familiar with this awesome writer's resource, be sure to check it out after reading this guest post written by Scott Francis, a Content Editor. Then go to my website and check out the page they sent me about writing YA Fantasy.

Ask anyone. The biggest question when you're a writer is likely "how do you get published?" Some writers start thinking about it way before they should—before they've focused their attention on improving their craft and writing a good story. In my opinion that should always come first and if you're serious about getting published, well, then that's your first step, isn't it? Make sure your writing is good and write something worth reading.

That said, when you are ready to get published, what do you do? There's plenty of advice on how to get published out there—volumes and volumes written on the subject. But within all that wealth of information that's available, how do you know which advice is right for you, especially if you write within a specific genre like fantasy (or an even more specialized niche like fantasy YA or say paranormal YA romance)? The key (aside from having a really great manuscript) is in being detail oriented and communicating well. Sounds easy enough, but if you've been writing for any length of time at all, then you know it can be tricky. Here are a few tips that I hope will help you in your search for publication.
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« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2013, 10:49:10 pm »

Do Your Research

Before you approach a book publisher with your novel submission make sure you research the kinds of books they publish—you don’t want to send your futuristic cyberpunk novel to publisher looking for dragons and swordplay.

Obviously you should know the subject matter they deal with (and you can often find this out easily enough from their website or a market listing). But beyond that, I recommend dipping into a few of their books. See what the voice of the writers they tend to publish is like. What tone do their books have? It may sound obvious, but if you like what you are reading, then it's more likely that your book will be a good fit. If something about the books turn you off then maybe your writing isn't a good match for what the publisher is looking for. It doesn't mean your writing is bad—only that you're not compatible. As with dating, maybe it's best to just be friends.

This applies to short fiction as well. Before shopping your short story around make sure to read the publications you intend to submit to. Reading other stuff out there will help you zero in on the right publications to target your stuff to, and chances are it will also help your writing. After all, to write well you should read a lot.
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« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2013, 10:49:46 pm »

Read the Fine Print

I can't stress enough the importance of carefully reading the submission guidelines. Everything you need to know about the way a publisher (or publication) wants to see material submitted will be outlined there. If you don't read them, you're setting yourself up for failure. It's like showing up for a test in school without having studied. Sure, you might skate through somehow, but the odds are definitely not in your favor. Guidelines exist for a reason. Read them. Follow them.
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« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2013, 10:50:28 pm »

Query Letters

The query letter is your admission ticket. This gets you through the gate, so it's important to do it right. The best way to do that is to keep it short and to the point. The agent or editor who reads your letter wants to know in the fewest words possible what your book is about. Period. My advice is this:

    address the agent or editor by name
    deliver a short sentence or two that tells them who the main character is and explains the crux of the plot
    offer any relevant details about yourself (this should be short and only be included if it seems like something that might be helpful in selling the book)
    and finally ask them to contact you if they are interested in seeing a submission package


For short fiction you can ignore this last point since for most short stories you'll be submitting the piece itself along with a cover letter. (All of the above info works just as well for a cover letter as it does a query.)
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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2013, 10:51:00 pm »

Submission Package

Your submission package is what you send when you get a positive response from your query, asking to see more material. This may vary from publisher to publisher (which is why it's important to read the submission guidelines). Some publishers may want to see a synopsis (a short summary of the entire book's plot), some may want sample chapters, some may want the first 50 pages or so, and some may want the entire manuscript. Their response (or their submission guidelines!) should outline what they'd like to see. Follow those directions as closely as possible.
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« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2013, 10:51:51 pm »

Submitting Fantasy Stories

So, what is different about submitting a fantasy, science fiction, or paranormal story?

The real answer is “not much.” The process is the same. The kinds of materials, the types of correspondence, the attention to detail—all of these things are pretty much the same no matter what genre you write in.

However, one important thing about fantasy stories is that there is often a great deal of information that needs to be conveyed in order for the story to make sense. After all, in many instances you've built an entire world that is different from our own, or you've invented a system of magic that has an intricate set of rules, or maybe you've created an entire culture or belief system. Such large concepts can be difficult to convey concisely, but that's exactly what you have to do. You need to boil down your fantasy world's setting or the natural rules that govern your characters' supernatural powers to a simple description.

Agents and editors have short attention spans (they have to do a ton of reading). Your fantastic planet filled with seven different warring races that are unlike anything known to mankind may sound amazing to you, but to an agent or editor it can sound like the other 10 projects that crossed their desk just this morning. What makes yours special? What the essential thing about your story that makes you want to tell it? If you can answer that question, then you have what you need to put in your query letter (hint: it usually comes down to your main character and his or her internal or external conflict). The other details are secondary and you should explain them in a way that is short and to the point, leaving out anything that might confuse matters or bog down your pitch.

………………….

Scott Francis is the editor of Novel & Short Story Writer's Market, the premiere resource dedicated to helping writers get published and find a literary agent. He is an editor for Writers Digest's writing books where he works to develop resources to help writers advance their writing careers in numerous ways including: improving writing skills and writing techniques, getting published, building an author platform, and learning to be a better writer. He is also the author of Monster Spotter's Guide to North America and co-author of The Writer's Book of Matches.

Posted by Rebecca Ryals Russell at 5:00 AM

http://www.writersonthemove.com/2012/05/get-your-fantasy-story-published.html
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Allison
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« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2013, 10:54:17 pm »

Submission Guidelines
So, you want to get published?

If you write Saga Fantasy Novels, (and we here at I.I.I. classify "Fantasy" as sword and sorcery set in a medieval era,) you very well could be our next big author!

Imagined Interprises, Inc. is currently looking for authors!
How to submit your manuscript to
Imagined Interprises, Inc.


We have an open submissions policy. That means that we will consider any project sent to us for review that meets the requirements we are seeking. Every proposal that reaches us is reviewed by at least one member of the editorial staff. We apologize in advance for replying primarily with form letters; unfortunately, there's no other way to handle responses in a timely manner.

Please read this entire page before submitting. Following our guidelines will ensure that your work will be reviewed by one of our editorial staff.

Please note that these guidelines are intended for writers who do not have agents. If you have an agent, have your agent submit your inquiry to agentsubmission@imaginedinterprises.com. Please be aware that if you are not an agent and you send your work to this email address you will be banned from ever having our staff consider any of your work for publication. Please, follow the rules and no one will get hurt.

We are a Fantasy Publishing House. We are looking for what we classify as Saga Fantasy works of literature. This does not necessarily mean swords and magic and dragons… but they help.

We classify Saga Fantasy as having that medieval feel to it. It can be set in the future, in the past, on this planet or one of your own design, that is all up to you. But, just as an example, flying cars are not what we classify as medieval.

We are also interested in works that are multiple novels. A three book series is the minimum of what we are looking for. If you have written a story that can be told in one book, this does not match what we consider to be saga length. This does not mean that we will not consider your work. But, knowing that your story could have a sequel is a must.

Each manuscript should be in the neighborhood of 120,000 words in length. We will go as high as 140,000 words in a book, or as low as 100,000 words. But, 120k is the sweet spot.

You do not need to have all of the books in the saga written. The first one, yes. But, the follow up novels can be in synopsis form to open discussions with our acquisition editors.

If you feel your work meets the above criteria, and you have done your due diligence at composing the strongest manuscript possible, i.e. edited for grammar, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, etc., then please feel free to put together a submissions package and send it our way.
What is a submission package?

A submission package should include the following...

    A total of five chapters of your book, prepared in standard manuscript format on white paper. (If your chapters are really short or really long, or if you don't use chapter breaks, you can send about 30-40 pages of your book, provided you stay around 10,000 words total.) The submitted text must be made up of sections that are consecutive pages and should end at the end of a paragraph, not in mid-sentence. Standard manuscript format means margins of 1 inch all the way around; indented paragraphs; double-spaced text; and Courier or Times Roman in 10 or 12 pitch. Please use one side of the page only and do not justify the text. Do not bind the manuscript in any way. Make sure the header of the manuscript includes both your name and the title of the book as well as the page number (on every page.)

    Please note, we DO NOT want the first five chapters of your book! We would like to see the first chapter of your book (or around 2,000 words) as well as the last chapter (again, around 2,000 words.) For the other three chapters (or, 6,000 words,) send us something that will grab our attention. You should include at least one chapter with each of the following events within their pages; a fight scene, an emotional scene, a really good exchange of dialogue.

    A synopsis of the entire book. The synopsis should include all important plot elements, especially the end of the story, as well as aspects of character development for your main characters. The synopsis should run between three and ten pages in standard manuscript format.

    A dated cover letter that includes your name and contact information and the title of the submitted work. Briefly tell us of any qualifications you have that pertain to the work. Please list any previous publications in paying markets. We also want to know what types of writing conventions you are using – i.e. Maxwell Alexander Drake does not use any contractions – and as much background on your world and how things work as you feel is necessary for us to grasp your creation.

    Two self-addressed, stamped, business-size envelopes for our reply letters. (One to notify you that we received your package, and one when we take a look at your work.) Unfortunately, it's not possible for us to return submission package, so do not send the only copy of your work. You may include an email address instead of a SASE and we will notify you via email. If you do not include a SASE nor an email address, you will not receive a reply at all.

Please send a submission package for the first book of your saga only. If we like what we see, we'll be in touch for the rest.
How will I be sure you get my Manuscript?

If you want to be sure that your submission package was delivered to our offices, please ask for a return receipt or a signature confirmation when you post it.
Some Tips from Our Staff to You

Here are some tips our staff like that mayhaps you should follow:

    Don't send a query letter. I know everyone says "Send me a query letter." We feel this is a shame. It's impossible to judge a project from a query. We'd rather see your submission package which will show us your ability to write Fantasy, not a one letter sales pitch.

    We now accept submissions by email. As this will save you postage—and us space—feel free to submit via this fashion. The acquisition editors are warming up to the digital age.

    Don't send disks. We want to read words in black type on white paper. And it's not that we don't trust you, but your system might have viruses you don't know about.

    Don't send us the only copy of anything. Things get lost in transit and we don’t send it back to you anyway.

    Don't send interior or cover art or an author photo. There's time for that later if we like your project.

    Don't try and bribe us. Don't send jewelry, food, toys, 3-dimensional representations of anything, home-baked cookies, fine fabrics, fancy bookmarks, bananas, fancy manuscript boxes, monkeys or anything that might be construed as a bribe. None of this has any impact on our consideration of your work. Well, getting a monkey via the mail would be cool. Still, your work has to make it on its own merits, so keep your stinking monkeys!

Where do I send my Submission Package?

We have finally entered the digital age here at I.I.I. and are now accepting submission packages via email. Yeah, for us.

Make sure that it is still formatted as the instructions above state. Then email them to submissions (at) imaginedinterprises (dot) com.

You may still snail mail us your submission package to:

Imagined Interprises, Inc.
Attention Submission Department
6955 N. Durango Dr. Ste. 1115-717
Las Vegas, NV 89149

Generally, we respond to unsolicited submissions within 3-6 months. Unfortunately, your manuscripts and our replies sometimes go astray in transit. It's not possible for us to track down any individual project; please don't call for a status report. If you have not heard back from us after six months, please resubmit your project.

http://www.imaginedinterprises.com/pages/submissions.html
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Allison
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« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2013, 10:55:32 pm »

25 Things You Should Know About Writing Fantasy




I don’t write fantasy. Not really. I’ve written it from time to time (my short story collection, Irregular Creatures, has some). And Blackbirds apparently counts as “urban fantasy.”

Just the same, I am woefully underqualified to write this list. But by golly, that’s never stopped me before. So here I am, offering up my “list of 25″ in the fantasy arena. Though I write with a certain authoritative sense of gavel-bangery, please understand that these are just my opinions–

– and shaky, unproven opinions, at that.

Accept. Discuss. Discard.

Do as thou wilt.
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Allison
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« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2013, 10:56:05 pm »

1. Nobody Knows What The **** Fantasy Is

Fantasy is a bullseye painted on a horse’s rump just before someone fired a magical spell up under the nag’s tail and set her to stampeding. We can all agree that something that has dragons in it and castles and a great deal of faux Medieval frippery is likely to be considered “fantasy,” but beyond that, it’s hard to say. It probably has magic or deals with the supernatural. It likely avoids science. It might be scary, but not so scary that it be labeled “horror” instead. It’s a fuzzy, muzzy, gauzy, hazy fog-clogged hollow, this genre. As it should be. Genre does best when its definition is decidedly low-fi rather than high-def.
2. Fantastical Fiefdoms

Fantasy is vivisected into various gobbets, limbs and organs — sword-and-sorcery does battle with epic or high fantasy, horror-tinged fantasy used to be “dark fantasy” but now it’s “urban fantasy” or maybe “paranormal fantasy” or maybe “fantasy with vampires and werewolves looking sexy while clad in genital-crushing leathers.” There’s fantasy of myth and fantasy that’s funny and fantasy that’s laced with a thread of science-fiction. You have magic realism and one day we’ll probably have real magicalism and I’m sure there’s a genre of fantasy where lots of fantasy creatures bang the whimsy right out of one another (hot centaur-on-goblin action, yow). Sub-genres have value as marketing tools and as a way to give you some direction and fencing as you write. Otherwise: ignore as you see fit. Or create your own!
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« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2013, 10:56:23 pm »

3. Rooted In The Real

Reality is fantasy’s best friend. We, the audience, and you, the writer, all live in reality. The problems we understand are real problems. Genuine conflicts. True drama. The drama of families, of lost loves, of financial woes. Cruel neighbors and callow bullies and loved ones dead. This is the nature of write what you know, and the fantasy writer’s version of that is, write what’s real. Which sounds like very bad advice, because last time I checked, none of us were plagued by dragons or sentient fungal cities or old gods come back to haunt us. But that’s not the point — the point is, you use the fantasy to highlight the reality. The dragon is the callow bully. The lease on your fungal apartment is up and your financial woes puts you in tithe to the old gods who in turn make for very bad neighbors. You grab the core essence of a true problem and swaddle it in the mad glittery ribbons of fantasy — and therein you find glorious new permutations of conflict. Reality expressed in mind-boggling ways. Reach for fantasy. Find the reality.
4. Break Reality With Your Magic Hammer, Rearrange The Resultant Shards

Reality also offers up awesomeness in the form of data. You may think, “Well, I can’t research a fantasy world because it doesn’t exist, dummy” but again — root fantasy in the real. Look to actual events. Look to history. Look to culture and religion. Mine truth for fiction. Some cultures (Asian in particular) have a practice where friends and family and villagers help pay for each other’s funerals. Right there, you can take that, tweak it, use it. Drama lives there. What if the village won’t pay for someone’s funeral? Why? What’s the stigma? Why the exile? Adherence to dark magic? Broken oath? Cranky centaur bastard child?
5. Woebetide The Faux Medieval Frippery

Kings and knights and dragons and oaths and tithes and princesses and plumbers rescuing those princesses from giant rage-apes and — okay, wait, maybe not that last part. What I’m saying is, European Medievality (not a word) is the meat-and-potatoes of the fantasy genre. And I think we can do better than meat-and-potatoes. Look beyond that single slice of time and space for your inspiration. What about the 18th century bloody rivalry between chiefs and kings in Hawaii? Or the French Resistance in WWII? Or Masada? Or that time the Ewoks repelled the Empire and blew up the Death Star in their space gliders?
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« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2013, 10:57:26 pm »

6. Go Weird Or Go Home

The power of fantasy is that you can do anything. Anything at all. You start with that core of reality and from there you’re allowed to grow anything from that fertile seed-bed. And yet, so much fantasy looks like so much other fantasy. Stop that. Embrace the wide open openness of the genre. The power of magic is that it’s motherfucking magic. You are beholden only to that which you yourself create. Go big. Dream weird. Be original. Why do what everyone else has already done?
7. Opinion: The Bravest Fantasy Right Now Is In The Young Adult Space

I’m just putting that out there. Discuss amongst yourselves.
8. People, Man, People

It’s easy to get lost in the shiny crazy bits — dragon undertakers and goblin butlers and the culinary traditions of the Autochthonic Worm Lords. It’s easy to be dizzily dazzled by the sheer overwhelming potential fantasy affords. But at the end of the day, fantasy has to be about characters above ideas, above culture, above all the fiddly fantasy bits. Great characters are our vehicle through the fantasy.
9. The Heart’s Bane

Fantasy fiction often seems to be about external conflict — sieges and escaped gods and blasphemous magic and, I dunno, unicorn orgies. But what we connect to in storytelling is the internal conflict. What lies in the heart of a character is what we understand — and, in fact, relate to — most. Yes, the battlefield is a muddy bloody hell-ground of decapitations and magic missiles, but those two forces are clashing based on the motives of characters — characters who feel betrayed or vengeful, who send nations to die to rescue one lost love, who risk it all because of some real or imagined slight decades before. The human heart — even when encased in an ogre king’s chest — drives fantasy fiction.
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« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2013, 10:57:51 pm »

10. Dolls Nesting In Dolls

Put differently: find the little story in the big story because the little story needs to actually be the big story. Did you follow that? Let me explain: fantasy is often about epic motherfucking stuff. Quest for the magic boomerang! Dragon Parliament is going to war with the Unicorn Tribe of the Northern Blood Red Shadow Death Crescent-Steppe! Evil has awakened from its thousand year nap and now stumbles drunkenly toward our villages — oh by the gods he’s stubbed his toe and now Evil is very very angry. Those are big stories. And they don’t matter. Not without a compelling little story. The story of a boy in love. The story of a fractured family pulling itself together (or further apart). A coming-of-age tale! The tale of redemption and regret! The big stuff is just a trapping — epic shadows cast on the wall, thrown there by firelight.
11. Building A World Where Nobody Lives

Though the stage is essential, theater is not about the stage. All the pieces on it contribute to the action, the blocking. But theater is not about the stage. Theater is about the stories of people, and so too is fantasy. Fantasy is not about the worldbuilding, though it’s tempting to make it so. It’s a tantalizing proposition, to slide down that muddy chute (get your head out of the gutters, and also, out of other people’s mud-chutes, I mean, unless they invited you) and to keep on going — designing forest ecologies and ossuary cities (bone-o-polis!) and the mating dances of the randy tumescent Ettins. And weeks later you’ve forgotten the story. You’ve lost the characters (if you ever had them). Worldbuilding supports story, but is not itself the story. Worldbuilding is just the stage. It demands attention. But not all of it.
12. The Seduction Of Detail

Fantasy gives itself over to detail very easily. Exposition. Explanation. It feels like, “Well, the readers have never experienced this world before and so I must paint for them every inch.” You can spend a whole page on describing the pommel of a knight’s mighty sword or the density and temperature of pegasus cloaca, and I’ll admit that there exists an audience for that sort of thing — readers who want to be immersed so fully in a world’s minutiae that it bubbles up into their nose. For my money, if the fantasy is more about those details than it is about the story or the characters within it, I’m done. I’m Audi 5000, son.10. Dolls Nesting In Dolls

Put differently: find the little story in the big story because the little story needs to actually be the big story. Did you follow that? Let me explain: fantasy is often about epic motherfucking stuff. Quest for the magic boomerang! Dragon Parliament is going to war with the Unicorn Tribe of the Northern Blood Red Shadow Death Crescent-Steppe! Evil has awakened from its thousand year nap and now stumbles drunkenly toward our villages — oh by the gods he’s stubbed his toe and now Evil is very very angry. Those are big stories. And they don’t matter. Not without a compelling little story. The story of a boy in love. The story of a fractured family pulling itself together (or further apart). A coming-of-age tale! The tale of redemption and regret! The big stuff is just a trapping — epic shadows cast on the wall, thrown there by firelight.
11. Building A World Where Nobody Lives

Though the stage is essential, theater is not about the stage. All the pieces on it contribute to the action, the blocking. But theater is not about the stage. Theater is about the stories of people, and so too is fantasy. Fantasy is not about the worldbuilding, though it’s tempting to make it so. It’s a tantalizing proposition, to slide down that muddy chute (get your head out of the gutters, and also, out of other people’s mud-chutes, I mean, unless they invited you) and to keep on going — designing forest ecologies and ossuary cities (bone-o-polis!) and the mating dances of the randy tumescent Ettins. And weeks later you’ve forgotten the story. You’ve lost the characters (if you ever had them). Worldbuilding supports story, but is not itself the story. Worldbuilding is just the stage. It demands attention. But not all of it.
12. The Seduction Of Detail

Fantasy gives itself over to detail very easily. Exposition. Explanation. It feels like, “Well, the readers have never experienced this world before and so I must paint for them every inch.” You can spend a whole page on describing the pommel of a knight’s mighty sword or the density and temperature of pegasus cloaca, and I’ll admit that there exists an audience for that sort of thing — readers who want to be immersed so fully in a world’s minutiae that it bubbles up into their nose. For my money, if the fantasy is more about those details than it is about the story or the characters within it, I’m done. I’m Audi 5000, son.
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