Fantasy fiction: 5 tips for writing a new-world class fantasy novel


Fantasy fiction is a wondrous genre that has immense power to invigorate the reader’s imagination. However, it is a style that comes with certain literary skills to ensure you have found your reader and that they will be enthralled by the world you create.

If you’re looking to write the best literary fantasy, here are five awesome tips for getting started:

  1. Know your market

Fantasy is a broad genre, with sub genres like steampunk, grimdark and medieval fantasy the very tip of a big, magical iceberg. What to do to get started on writing a top drawer fantasy novel? Identify your market, of course!

You need to define what kind of world you are writing in and who will be reading about this world. Is it for young adults or adults? Will it be based in an imagined past with real-world elements? What kind of beings inhabit this world?

The great fantasy novels all create absolute worlds, if not universes – it’s up to you to define what that world is and who will want to be pulled into it.

  1. Try short story writing to develop this world

By creating your world through short stories you will grant yourself the ability to develop and know your own world before you go on to write the epic novel. Many legendary fantasy authors developed their worlds inch-by-inch through short stories, finding new and exciting characters, places, themes and objects along the way.

You may find yourself finding the new ring or Westeros through the writing of incremental short stories which you can then go on to use for the epic – it’s a really exciting way of doing things.

  1. Read your favourites & learn from them

Fantasy, like other literary genres, contains all the elements of literature that make it so entertaining: plot, characters, worldview, conflict, resolution etc.

However, unlike other literary forms, fantasy is done in a new, imagined universe. Therefore, it’s important to understand how to apply these literary elements to your universe in a way that the discerning fantasy reader will love.

The best way to learn how to apply literary elements to a fantasy novel is to read your favourite novels, the ones that made you want to write your own fantasy, and see how the greats apply structure, conflict, theme etc. to their works.

  1. Tie in real-world themes

One of the things that makes fantasy literature so engaging is that the best novels tie in real-world themes whilst sticking to a fantasy world. You can bring up current themes of real-world threats, politics, war etc. to really give your reader a sense of relatability – something that always engages a reader even when they don’t realise it’s happening!

  1. Detail the senses

Your reader wants to have an idea of what the universe is like and they want to be able to imagine themselves living in it. You can’t make this happen by brushing over sensory details like sights, sounds and smells.

Though this can be tricky when writing fantasy, as you may have created new objects, places, sounds etc. it is important to find a way to liken them to real-world, relatable items that the reader can understand.

This is one of the very best ways to draw your reader into your incredible universe: they will gain a sense of what it’s like to be in the character’s world; to be sharing their experience – this is a winner for fantasy literature.


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