Guest Blogger - Cady Hammer
Writing fantasy is unlike writing any other genre. It relies the most heavily on imagination and the ability to manage a wide range of elements simultaneously. This makes the genre one of the most incredible to write and one of the most stressful. However, if you can understand the fantasy writing process, you can conquer it in no time. Today, I want to introduce you to the basic steps of that process and give you some insights into what each step entails.
Step Zero: The Idea
Before you even start to think about writing, you’ve got to have a great idea! It’s best to work with something that you can clearly see carrying on for an entire novel’s length. (A series is an entirely different rabbit hole we won’t go down today!) The main points you need to have for a good story are as follows: active plot, strong yet flawed characters, and a world that draws people in. If you have those in mind, even just the inklings of them, then you’re ready to begin!
Step One: The Research
In my opinion, it is a good idea to do quite a bit of pre-work in the fantasy genre. It becomes a lot easier to balance the various elements mentioned above if you know what they look like from the beginning. Here is the short version of my researching process:
Outlining: I am a person who likes to have a good idea of where I’m going before I begin. This step puts a basic idea of where the plot is going in front of me that I can then change and branch off of as inspiration comes to me.
World building: The most crucial factor in your early stages, world building is going to shape every single piece of your story in ways that you can’t even imagine until you delve into it. I could go on for hours and hours about world building, but if you’re looking for more information, head over to my blog, Fluff about Fantasy.
Character Development: I like to learn as much information about my main characters as possible before I begin to write in their voices. I try to delve deep into what makes them tick.
Step Two: First Draft
Tackling a first draft can be daunting at first. You’ve done all of this prep work for months, and now you stare at that blank page wondering if you have done enough. Trust me, you have. When you look at that white page, remember that all you have to is start. It can be awful, it can be beautiful, but you just have to start to get somewhere. When writing a first draft, I like to think the most important thing to do is to get the story on the page. Get your ideas on paper. Write the story and know that you’re going to go back and make a million and one changes. Don’t stop. Just write.
Step Three: Revisions, Revisions, Revisions
Once you’ve set aside your novel for a few weeks, it’s time to look at your story with fresh eyes. Read through your draft and make notes on any and all changes you want to make, big and small. I once read that the second draft is the time to make the first draft look like you knew what you were doing all along. No matter which way you decide to go about it, revisions are incredibly important to undertake. Multiple passes over a novel is key. No story is going to be perfect the first time, or the second time, or even the third time.
Step Four: Share!
Share your work with the people around you, whether that’s with your family, a blog audience, or a writing group. Get their feedback on your work, positive and negative. From there, you can decide what you want to do next! You can keep it for yourself or you can take on the publishing process.
And there you have it! I hope this article has been informative on the basics of the fantasy writing process. For more in-depth information, consider joining me on my blog at Fluff About Fantasy, Happy writing!