Fantasy

The Changing Fantasy Genre

For this post I am going to take you back to the dark ages. The days before the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Travelling into the city to the largest bookshop was a wonderful adventure. The beautiful old two-storey building was filled from top to bottom with books. There was only one section that sparked my interest. It consisted of an area less than one side of a bookshelf. Yes, you heard right. Part of the last row was filled with science-fiction. In that tiny space young adult fantasy was placed side by side with fantasy. Gasp! Yes, this is where I found the first edition of Sabriel by Garth Nix. Wedged near the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. The children’s section was far away at the other end of the shop. It was here, tucked neatly away. That the first Harry Potter book appeared.

Growth of Fantasy

Much has changed since then. My last visit to the city revealed walls covered with bookshelves for fantasy. That’s not all, there were two whole bookshelves in a dedication Young Adult section. That’s right, the genre had grown. Not only had it expanded, but it had merged with other genres. Forming all sorts of hybrids and niches. No longer could I be assured of the beloved fantasy tropes. That were eagerly anticipated. Hiding away in the depths of these beautiful covers was a terrible secret. Some of the fantasy tropes were missing.

On the Search for Fantasy

For my part, I look for keywords. That will lead to disappointment or an underwhelming experience. The truth is, in the last few years it has become impossible to tell a hybrid from a fantasy. The cover and blurb look the same. Relying on the key words ‘fantasy’ and ‘epic fantasy’. It’s only the reviews that give the game away. So, there I am in the middle of the shop searching the interwebs for author names. Hoping for a sign in the reviews that the book I am about to buy is a hybrid. I must confess to being caught out. When the reviews repeat the same keywords ‘fantasy’ and ‘epic fantasy’.

When the Cover Says ‘Fantasy’

You can imagine the disappointment that happened next. As I settled down on the couch with my comfy blanket and hot chocolate. Dreaming of taking over the world and fighting worthy villains. The excited anticipation of adventure, magic and danger. Reading through 100 pages and waiting for the story to begin. Making it to 200 pages and still waiting. More than halfway and I was aware of the loss of an entire set of fantasy tropes. I love fantasy, but there is something I cherish even more… Honesty. When a beautiful book with a brilliant blurb promises fantasy that is what I long for.

Fantasy Novels

Halfway in a Series

Every time I lift the pen to write my mind wanders. Oh what a journey it’s been! From the first inkling of an idea to the decision to publish. I was busy writing as the wind rattled outside. The old house creaked. While the moonlight shone through the window as the trees swayed. I settled in a warm and cosy place that had seen better days. There was one part of a journey in the midst of a series preparing to unfold.

Characters

This time there was trouble ahead with an antagonist that had been underestimated. Half the novel had to be re-written. Never expect your villains to do what you think they will. There was also another pressure. The time had come for the main character to return. To the land left far behind, but not for the intended reason.

Discovery

As the story moves forward more of the past has been revealed. This is where I admit to being more of a pantser than a plotter. A magical cloud has been lifting as every little piece appears on the page. One part of the journey is known and the other is yet to be discovered. If anyone had told me that the characters have a habit of taking over the story. I would not have believed it.

A Story Awaits

There is a world of fantasy. Filled with scheming smelly dragons, secretive wizards, and feuding sorcerers. Waiting for anyone who loves to curl up on the couch and become lost in the pages of story.

Writing Tools

Getting Organised to Write

organise-to-writeThis year I thought I would try and get a bit more organised with writing. Below are a few templates to help sketch an outline and to keep track of important dates. My writing process leans toward ‘flying by the seat of your pants’. I do a bit of outlining to help keep on track and to act as a reminder. You are welcome to use these templates for your own writing process. I hope you find them useful.

Keeping Track

It can be helpful to set a few goals. By laying out what sections you need to do as part of the process to keep track throughout the year. I do not stick to my goals or my outlines, but it is handy to go back and change them. If is great for going back and finding what worked and how much you achieved. Being stuck in the process can feel overwhelming and it is always nice to be able to have a map to go by.

Setting Goals

For this year the goal is to get more organised. Last year I was a bit lapse with my process and spent time learning how to edit. This year the plan is to knuckle down and concentrate on my writing. I have been reviewing my processes and timeframes. This has meant spending more time at the beginning of the year to get things set up. The aim is to be able to simply write and keep on track better throughout the year. I wish you the best of luck and hope you have a good year with your writing too.

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PDF Versions:     Writing Timeframe        Writing Planner

Outline Planner         Chapter Planner       Character Details

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