Recipe for a Fantasy Story
Want to write a fantasy story but don't know how to start? Incorporate these proven ingredients and you'll be on your way to fantasy fame!
One good-looking hero
You’ve seen the covers of your competitors. Male or female, your main character must always be beautiful. The hero: A strapping young man, perhaps artistically scruffy but not slovenly, with impressive biceps and smoldering eyes. The heroine: A busty, narrow-waisted woman with a bewitching gaze—or else a delicate creature who looks like starlight and rainbows.
In case of heroic disfigurement, include some sappy back story that explains that the hero(ine) used to be beautiful, but sacrificed his/her beauty for some greater cause.
As far as personality, for men, you have your pick of three options: (1) kind and noble, (2) dashing and edgy, and (3) depressive and mysterious. For ladies, you also have three options: (1) independent and sassy, (2) sweet and innocent, and (3) powerful and mysterious. Take your pick.
One dastardly villain
Villains can run the gamut from psychotic to conniving. Sometimes the motives are a little hazy, but the schemes are always grandiose.
Appearance matters just as much for villains as it does for the heroes. The villain must either be horrifying to behold or deceptively attractive. There is no such thing as a bland or average-looking villain.
Above all, the villain must be unredeemable. Even the most relatable, vulnerable villains can’t convert. Count Rugen? Even his last request is a selfish one...and doesn't get him anywhere. Loki? Rather than make up with his brother, he moves on to his next scheme. Gollum? After warring with himself, he remains irreconcilably consumed with evil—and dies.
Remember, it’s the rule: No redeemable villains.
A dollop of magic
If your hero is stuck in an impossible situation, just remind him of a forgotten spell that will get him out in the nick of time.
The ultimate duel? Battling wizards, each zapping each other with magical bolts to prove that moi is the most powerful sorcerer.
Dead hero? No problem. Utilize the incredible elixir of life to resurrect him.
Oh—and don’t forget to add a magic sword, mirror, ring, medallion, crown, rope, box, pair of shoes, or other object. You’ll need it.
A handful of strange creatures
Griffins, gremlins, dragons, dryads… Your hero might choose a unicorn for a steed, a mermaid for a lover, and a goblin for an opponent. These creatures not only compound the magic factor (most of them are magical on some level) but they are also necessary for any fantasy story. A world with justpeople in it is boring.
A generous helping of incredible settings
What you do with a city is all-important. Plunge it under the sea, lift it into the clouds, abandon it in the wilderness, build it a mile high, or place it on a mountainside Tolkien-style. It must either defy reality or exude mystery.
Also, remember that giant forests (especially with sentient trees) are currently in vogue, as are mountainous strongholds of evil, underground caverns of death, and romantic hideouts behind waterfalls.
A prophecy or riddle
Throw in an old prophet or ancient book that foretells the fame of your hero in teasing, vague words. If you opt not to include a prophecy, at least include a riddle that leads to a long-forgotten treasure. People love vague poetry.
You now possess all of the ingredients you need for your fantasy story. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to take my recipe and write an epic fantasy trilogy with wizards, a magical object associated with a curse, characters of multiple races, a villain with interests in world domination, and (among other places) a creepy underground world.
It’s already been done? Impossible!
Everyone knows that my version will always be very unique!
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I write YA/adult fantasy & sci-fi that explores fantastic and interconnected worlds, with stories that burn through the darkest realities with hope and redemption.
Learn more here!