3 Things All Writers Can Learn From…Fantasy

Here’s the first in a new series of blog posts I’m calling “3 Things”. The idea is simple – I’ll be going through a series of genres identifying 3 things that ALL writers can learn from them, no matter what your particular preference is. So without further ado let’s start with one of my favourite genres and get all magical with fantasy!

1) How to stretch your imagination

Fantasy can be about anything and everything. It’s the genre which the phrase “the only limit is your imagination” was made for. And you may think that if your book is set in the “real world”, there’s no room to stretch that particular creative muscle much. But remember, you’re still telling a story. People like to read things they can relate to, but for the most part, they’re opening a book to step outside of their world. And stretching your imagination doesn’t just mean throwing in talking animals or the ability to bend time. It means telling a captivating tale that will keep your readers hooked and you’ll definitely need a bit of imagination for that.

2) How to build a believable world

World building is a big part of fantasy. The places you find in a fantastical story often come with pages and pages of history, culture, landscapes and peoples. Even if your setting isn’t invented, wherever your characters are isn’t actually “here”. It’s one step off, a little to the side and it will likely not be familiar to all your readers. So you need to spend some time on world building – just maybe not as much as a full on fantasy writer!

3) The importance of research

Fantasy comes from the writers imagination, but no-one lives in a vacuum. So all fantasy ideas come from what we absorb from the real world. Fantasy writers don’t just make stuff up – they often do a lot of research. And research, in my opinion, is important for any book. Even if your setting if familiar to you, you won’t know everything about your characters or all the details about what happens to them. Get a “real” detail wrong and your reader is thrown right out of the story. So do your research!

So there are three things you can learn from fantasy. What do you think? Please share in the comments.

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