Fantasy Story Writing
SFF, Science Fiction & Fantasy, is an art-form which has long been in our literary history. From the classics such as Frankenstein, to the questionable genres of The Epic of Gilgamesh, literature has been there for us all. Whilst we’ve all grown up reading or listening, perhaps even just watching the works of wordsmiths, we rarely talk about writing stories. Today, we’re focusing purely on Fantasy, all because I’m in the process of writing a series of short stories. I will post all of the short stories on this website for free, before I put out an eBook version.
No doubt that you’ve had a read of a book in the past, that you just couldn’t put down. The earliest case of this for me was the book of Stonekeep, Thera Awakening, which was an introduction to the game of the same name. It was a book that was released in 1995, when I was just a young child and I remember the book being gritty enough to be interesting and yet easy enough to understand that even my young brain could comprehend the situations. This was following the world that Stonekeep was set in, by taking us through the adventures of one of Drake’s ancestors. The book doesn’t take you through the walls of Stonekeep, but it’s enough to help you understand why the dwarves are your friends and why the Throggs are the way they are, as well as why Thera is there to help you.
It’s a lot to take in, but when you read it, you feel like you’re part of that world. It’s not easily explained, but once you’ve read it through, once you boot up the game and watch the opening sequence, you fully appreciate what’s going on. That’s what this article is about, the understanding of a world that isn’t your own. The most important part of any good fictional novel is to help you be transported to a world that possibly isn’t your own, but is ultimately somewhere you’re going to understand. You’ll understand the back stories and the characters, you’ll understand the typical lore of the world you’re venturing through. Whether you’re reading about Stonekeep and the magical properties within that world, or you’re reading a modern novel such as Goblins Know Best, an important part of a fantasy novel is to make you feel as if you understand the world you’re reading.
When you write a Fantasy novel, I want you to think about other Fantasy stories and novels that you’ve read in your life. Have you read stories such as the Harry Potter franchise? Perhaps you’ve read a book like the Discworld series? Do you remember classic fantasy stories such as the Lord of the Rings? If you’ve read anything of this ilk, then you’ll know how important setting the world for your book is. You’ll want people to come away and think about that world, to seriously discuss that world and to seriously love that world too. You’ll want people to think “But what about the political system of this world”, such as Game of Thrones, where the whole series revolves around politics and battles. Perhaps you’ll want people to think about how important the Elves are to the world, much like it is in the Warcraft franchise (If you’ve never read a Warcraft story, I implore you to do so).
Whatever you want your audience to read into, you need to be convincing in your language. You need to know your world better than your soon-to-be fans would ever know your world, in case one of them every emails you and says “But what about the bog of doom that’s mentioned in the ancient transcript in page 340 of your first novel?” Yes, fans can be that specific about the questions they throw at you, so ultimately if you’re going to write your very own story, have your world set up. I don’t believe I’ve shared the whole premise of my world before now, but I wrote mine as a series of short stories, with the intention to get people talking about the world. I made the world as I was inspired by the late Terry Pratchett, so this is my tip of the hat to the literature great. Of course, I’ve done a similar article on this topic before, however I’ve never delved into the what’s and the why’s I’m interested in fantasy world building so much.
My world is set in Anathor, a once glorious world filled with luscious greens and vast meadows. But the stunning imagery of the world of Anathor has since become a distant memory to all but a few people. Instead now, the world is filled with a strange gas that the naked eye cannot penetrate; A gas so thick, people call it “the world haze”*. There is just one place that the Anathorans are able to stay safe and secure and this is within the confines of the castle walls of Thallenwal. Those who venture further out than the castle walls are never seen or heard from again. With a strange political system featuring royalty who don’t know how to be royal, knights who have little to do with their time and paupers who simply don’t know if this strange haze is really all that bad, Thallenwal, the safe-haven from the world haze is far from a holiday.
That’s it for this article, but now I want you all to let me into your worlds. Let us know if you like the premise of Thallenwal and the Anathorans who live within its confines and let me know if you’re writing something yourself. Feel free to promote your own stories in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. As always, thanks for reading and remember to keep it fantasy.
*The world haze is actually just fog, though the people of Anathor aren’t used to the fog. They believe the world haze is there to devour their world, so are under the impression that because they can see one another within the walls of Thallenwal, that it must be safe. It’s reasonably fair logic!