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Guest Post: Five Secrets to Writing Fantasy

by Kellyn Roth |
January 16, 2017

Hi, guys! Today I’m going to be hosting another guest post. I’m really excited to introduce Sarah of Riding for Jesus with her guest post, “Five Secrets to Writing Fantasy.”


Hello everyone! I’m Sarah, and today Kellyn is letting me do a guest post on …
I love to write fantasy. It gives me a chance to create a whole new world of elves, dragons, heroes, heroines, brave men and women, amazing creatures … and the ultimate triumph of good over evil.
Arguably, fantasy is one of the best things in this world. But that doesn’t mean writing it is easy. Stories often pop into your mind, and you start … and 15 minutes later … WRITER’S BLOCK appears in flashing lights in your mind. Or you get to the exciting part … and nothing.
I have the same irritating problems, so I scoured my notes and books for some tips, which I now present to you.

1. Don’t wait for inspiration. Get out, take a walk, read a good book, look around for inspiration. I’ve written many of my characters off of real people, and many of my scenes and settings off of some of my favorite movies and places.
2. Get help. The worst thing you can do when having a creative block is to sit and stare at the wall for hours, trying to think of a way out (trust me, I’ve done this many, many times).
Ask a friend for ideas. Ask your followers! Google images that correspond with your ‘story sketch’ in your brain. For example, if you need a description of a magical country, look up ‘beautiful forest/mountains/plains,’ etc.
3. Use name generators. I used to think same generators were sort of … cheating, but I now use them often. VERY often. They are usually free and give you a way to easily find correct names for a race/species/human/etc. without scouring the web of baby name books.
For example, if you love the LOTR names for elves, just search it, and you’ve instantly got hundreds if not thousands of possibilities. The same goes for countries. I remember I used to name my countries weird names like ‘Mulianariath’ and ‘Gerdo.’ Name generators offer country and city names for whatever era, world, and even galaxy you like.
4. Fit the names with their races. I’ve read Lord of the Rings (LOTR) so many times I couldn’t count it. J. R. R. Tolkien was a genius with names. They all sound authentic, unique, and real. Real to that world at least.
All of his names fit the Middle-Earth styles of naming. For example, an elf would not be named Balin, but something like Lorinniel or Blorenfindel. Elf names are light, nice sounding, and ‘airy,’ while dwarf names are usually short, deep toned, and ‘earthy,’ like themselves. And even a dwarf does not have the guttural, gross-sounding names like orcs. Names must fit their character and his/her race to sound convincing and real.
5. Antagonists. Every good fantasy has some sort of antagonist – the bad guy. Whether that’s a disease or an evil dark lord out to rule the world, that’s up to you, but make him convincing. A disease does not just appear – it must have some origin – and a dark lord must have some reason or backstory as to why he wants to rule the world or how he became evil.
Sauron, the antagonist of the Lord of the Rings, wants the ring back because it will give him ultimate power. That is his reason for pursuing Frodo with such determination.
Also, try to give your antagonist a ‘human’ side. If you make him just plain evil, it will seem sort of bland. Give his character a twist or two. For example, Kylo Ren, in the new Star Wars, The Force Awakens, seems to be afraid of Snoke and of disappointing him. This may be what drives him to pursue Rey and Finn so ruthlessly.
I hope this helped! Thanks, Kell, for letting me do this, and thanks for reading!
-Sarah, www.sarahansonsite.wordpress.com


Hi there! I’m Sarah. I am a Christian and a homeschooler. I live in Montana, and I love writing, listening to awesome Christian bands (aka Newsboys, TobyMac or For KING and Country), drawing, blogging, taking photos, riding (I dream of riding racehorses still), participating in rodeos, showing my two amazing (and slightly crazy) horses, Donovan and Athena, and hanging out with my awesome youth group.

Does anyone else really, really want to write a fantasy novel now … at the same time knowing that you’re a historical fiction writer and should probably stick to your genre so you don’t confuse everyone? 😛
~Kellyn Roth

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30 Responses

  1. Oh, great tips! I don’t always use name generators, because if you’re already thinking about making sure the names fit the story/world/characters/race/area/etc., then you don’t have to use a generator—but they’re really helpful, anyway. My favorite generators are http://fantasynamegenerators.com
    Also, @Kellyn, maybe you could try a fantasy set in a historical era. Like my mom was telling me about a book series that was basically “Napolean… with dragons!” So instead of creating a whole new world with all of that world-building, like Middle Earth or Narnia or something, you just take a historical period of our Earth and add something fantastical to it. It does turn it into an alternate history, obviously, but maybe that’d be better for you?

    1. Oh, yeah, I’ve used Fantasy Name Generators! Mostly for fun, though. I don’t a lot of name generators for my actual books.
      Oh, that’s a cool idea! Maybe I’ll try that some day. It might work for me.

  2. Oooh, this is fun! 😀 Nah…I AM a fantasy writer, so I always want to write fantasy! (Well, I am writing sci-fi right now, so I think that “sticking to your genre” is overrated. I love trying new genres! Even when I fail at historical fiction because I don’t want to research… 😛 )
    But yeah….I love fantasy. I love creating new worlds and magic systems and different cultures and all that awesomeness! It’s so great.

        1. I really want to! It’s actually a kinda cool story. Although it feels kinda cliché. An ancient prophecy … princesses displaced from their throne … and prince who starts out a jerk and turns good in the end … and then true loves’ kiss saves everything. Which is actually a little less cliché, because people are moving away from that now … right? XD

          1. Cliche can be awesome–it just depends on your representation of it! I love all of those things…as long as the characters are developed well and the plot is original (despite being cliche, hehe) it’ll work! Besides, I love all of those things, so it sounds great to me! 🙂

                    1. All right. Well, tell me when you do figure it out, and then we can erase the spoiler from my mind and then everything will work out just dandy.

                  1. haha, I’m terrible. I LOVE spoilers, and I just can’t seem to get enough of them…I’ll google new movies to get spoilers on them. The same goes for books…you should finish it! After everything else, of course….

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