As I've been chipping away at the third book in my Unfairy Tale series, I've been reflecting on how much I've learned about writing fantasy over the years. The main thing I keep coming back to: Be patient with your story. The characters, plot, world, etc. might feel flimsy at first, but every round of revisions will make them stronger.
That's my bit of wisdom. Let's hear what some other Inkies have to say.
Hilari Bell's 3 rules for writing about magic:
The title of the writing tip in which this appears is: Taking Away the Easy Button--'nuff said.
Corollary 1 of Bell's first rule: If the climax of your novel is a magical duel, it better be something besides magic that lets the hero win.
Corollary 2 of Bell's first rule: Don't make your magic so powerful that there's no excuse for the hero not to use it to solve his problems.
2nd Rule: Magic can't happen offstage.Which not only means that the POV character can't just shut her eyes while magic is happening, it means that the author has to describe it in detail.
3rd Rule: All characters in your novel must react to magic in the way that a real person in that situation would.Because the way to make your reader believe in the unbelievable is not to have the POV character accept it, but to have the POV character doubt it, and have it proven to him.
Dawn Metcalf's three magical tips:
2) Believe it. If you, the author, believe in yourself and your world and could answer any question that might come up in order to explain how everything works, then that will read true on the page.
3) Don't go with Idea #1. Your first idea lights the spark, but it's usually the easiest idea, the one that floats on the surface of your thoughts. Keep pushing, delve deeper, ask hard (and often contradictory/devil's advocate) questions in order to have what Terry Pratchett's witches might call Second Thoughts and Third Thoughts about your idea. It's amazing how it will gain width and breadth and spread in directions you never would have imagined. That is it's own kind of magic!
Lisa Gail Green's short but sweet advice:
1. Always write about what excites/interests you the most.
2. Write what scares you. Let go of your inner editor at least for the first draft.
Erin Cashman's writing encouragement:
1. Allow yourself a lot of imagination time. Take walks, turn off the radio if you're driving alone . . . really let the What ifs play out in your head. Have the courage to take a big leap of faith.
3. If a character has a power or gift, it should feel authentic to that character. Don't just put it in as a plot device. Think about what it would be like to be him or her, and write accordingly.
4. Have fun and have faith!
Jennifer Nielsen's words of wisdom:
I've learned that magic has to have rules. As a beginning writer, I looked at magic as the er, "magical solution" to any sticky situation in which my characters might find themselves. Now I understand that within any world that I create, there must be strict definitions for what magic can and cannot do, where it originates from, who can and cannot use it, and whether there is a price for its use. Defining those rules gives structure and authenticity to a fantasy story.
Okay, now it's your turn! What's the biggest thing you've learned, as a reader or a writer, about fantasy?