Monday, June 9, 2008

How to Write a Fantasy Novel - Plotting

The following four exercises are specifically designed to develop creative writing skills in relation to the fantasy novel plot.

1) Create a Character: The Fantasy author must know everything about their character. In a list, name and describe the character. Name family members and history from the character's family tree. Name local towns and describe industry and culture of the hero's home. Name friends, and people they might meet. Decide on the hero's level of education, diet, and reaction to various traumas. Delve into their personality and know if they are aggressive, passive, carefree or stressed to the max and why and how these traits will effect them on a quest. Once the writer knows their character and has grasped their traits, they can move to the next exercise.

2) Every Fantasy Plot has a Quest: Introduce a quest to the character created in exercise one. How will the trouble impact on the character, his family, his town, country or friends? What are the consequences if he fails? Decide if the threat Is related to a person, creature, prophesy, invasion, magic source or natural disaster. Define how magic works in the hero's world. Who can use it, how does it work, and what are the limitations need to be set in the writer's mind before the take begins.

3) The Journey: Now the hero has a quest to fulfill, it is the writer's task to make the journey interesting and provide means for the characters to grow and discover their strengths and somehow come to terms with the magical elements of their world. Imagine three or four different scenarios in which the hero can solve the problem facing them. Keep in mind things the hero might need to learn before they can achieve a result.

4) The Scenario: Go through each scenario, and throw a spanner in the works. If things go wrong, how will the confrontation end? Look at the problem and find any reasons why the scenario would not work. If things get difficult, how will the scene play out? Without killing the hero, (assume if it doesn't kill them, it will make them stronger) how can the problem be resolved? Putting the hero through his paces can show you where he needs to grow and what is needed to make the plot work.

Meanwhile having a few ideas of where things can go wrong and yet be resolved, develops a character that gains strength by facing situations linked to the original problem of the quest.


Meghna said...

You have given some really useful exercises for all fantasy writers. This gives an insight to the character and plot development. Thank you for sharing!

Donna Sundblad said...

You're welcome, thanks for leaving a comment and letting me know you found it helpful.


Sara Harricharan @ Fiction Fusion said...

You really have some excellent advice here! I stumbled across this post while searching for tips on fantasy writing. Great stuff!

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