On Writing Fantasy: A Guest Post By Cassandra Jade

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to direct your attention to the lovely and talented Cassandra Jade.  And once youve read her post, please feel free to take a look at her blog where you may find my own guest post.

On Writing Fantasy

First up I have to thank Alex for hosting me during my blog tour, and for his ongoing support for my debut novel, Death’s Daughter. Alex wrote the first review of the novel and I was a tad nervous when he first told me he was going to be reviewing it.

If you’ve been following the blog tour, I’ve already discussed females in fantasy and in my interview with Sonya, I briefly mentioned why I am drawn to the fantasy genre. Today I am focusing entirely on the actual writing of fantasy. While there is no ‘right’ way to create a fantasy and no strict set of rules can be written up that can accurately classify where the line between fantasy and other genres begins and ends, there are some basic guidelines that need to be kept in mind.

1.  Remember who your audience is. While this is true of any genre, it is particularly true of fantasy. Fantasy readers don’t tend to mind cross genre, but they read for the fantasy. If your story starts getting too caught up in the romance/mystery/crime/espionage/war/etc genre and the fantasy kind of fades, you are going to disappoint the reader.

2.  Be aware of the credibility leap. Okay, it is fantasy. Fantasy readers are very tolerant of things that ‘magically’ happen but once the magic is broken, they aren’t going to follow your story any further. What that means is, if something is too convenient or too improbable, within the world you, the writer created, the reader is going to notice and they are going to be pulled out of happy, fantasy land and straight back into reality where their logical brain is going to start hacking holes in your story left and right. Fantasy readers like little tiny steps. Establish the world and build your improbable things one step at a time and they are likely to swallow the entire thing. Take a giant leap in credibility and the reader is going to take a step back.

3.  It is all about the story. It doesn’t matter how ‘magical’ your world is if there isn’t a decent story holding it all together. You are writing a story, not a travel guide to the land that doesn’t exist. The setting should support the story, not swallow it.

I would ask all the fantasy readers and writers out there to share their thoughts on the do’s and don’ts of fantasy.

Cassandra Jade is a fantasy writer from Australia. You can visit her blog, Cassandra Jade in the Realm, or follow her on Twitter. Her debut novel, Death’s Daughter, is available from Lyrical Press.

If you enjoyed Cassandras guest post, please take a look at her blog, Cassandra Jade in the Realm.  There you may find my own guest post on the subject of writing and revision.

And yes, the Rhapsodist realizes how redundant this second announcement was. For that is the nature of the Rhapsodist.

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10 thoughts on “On Writing Fantasy: A Guest Post By Cassandra Jade

  1. Great tips, Cassandra! Believability IS important, even if it’s “made up.” Getting a good visualization of the world goes a long way too.

    I guess what I’m saying is, I agree with you whole-heartedly. ;)

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  2. I can see where writing in the fantasy genre could be wonderful because you have a change to make your own world so to speak. I hadn’t thought about keeping the book within boundaries of that genre. Besides when you create your own world, you also have to make it believable to others. Fantasy genre has a lot more to it than I had considered. You do wonderful. Continued success.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

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    1. It is interesting how people who don’t write fantasy assume anything goes – and it does to an extent – but fantasy readers are a picky breed and it is amazing what they will believe and what they won’t. As a fantasy reader I know that if I don’t believe the initial concept, I won’t finish reading the book, and that if the author steps outside of their own rules, I’ll really get annoyed.

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  3. I don’t know a thing about fantasy but I do have (or did have) a friend who wrote it and his problem was that he never got past the stage of outlining or creating his world, as he called it. I wonder if that’s a special challenge with fantasy that at some point you have to dive in and start the actual writing.

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