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Writing High Fantasy : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Writing High Fantasy

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
paganmomofone
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Writing High Fantasy

Postby paganmomofone » Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:53 am

I've written short stories and poems in the past, but my passion has always been high fantasy. I have a few blurbs and journal entries on this fantasy world in a notebook, but now I really want to get my heroines' stories onto paper.

My problem seems to figuring out how much of this fantasy universe I need to come up with before I can write the actual story. I don't want it to feel forced, but one of my fears is that I don't figure enough out ahead of time I'll end up continuity errors. I have this story in my head that I just want to write, but I don't have all my details figured out yet.

Does anyone here write high fantasy and can give me some tips?

TerryRodgers
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Re: Writing High Fantasy

Postby TerryRodgers » Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:23 am


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Anya Kylash
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Re: Writing High Fantasy

Postby Anya Kylash » Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:44 am

I write high fantasy. I was an avid reader as a kid, so maybe that's how I did it, but I never really worried about creating the world. Aptly put: it already existed in my head, and I just had to put it down onto paper. If you're planning on writing high fantasy, you must already have characters and an idea in your head. A land that they work in and influence. Special characteristics, like fruit that grows in bubbles that pop when it's ripe, or strange 5 headed snakes that whisper half truths to sleeping children and poison thoughts. It's your place, your world, and you can't write it until it exists. At least, in your head.
Finished:
Race Against Fate -101k words
Loyalties Lost -121k words
Forgotten -100k words
Friends and Foes -113k words

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Alone - 32k words

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louiseh87
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Re: Writing High Fantasy

Postby louiseh87 » Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:52 pm

It varies, like everything else. It's as broad as the difference between outlining and free writing. Some authors will plan everything out in detail first, others will make it up as they go along and then compile something along the lines of a wiki to ensure continuity. I'd say, if you're just starting out, spend a few weeks planning and then get started on the story. Otherwise you run the risk of never getting started on the actual writing. Anything you subsequently decide can be easily added to the story and continuity problems can be fixed in editing. This should also give you a feel for what your preference is. Personally, I do very little world-creation until I'm writing. I find it easier to imagine once I'm writing and the story is underway.
Louise :)

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rosebud
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Re: Writing High Fantasy

Postby rosebud » Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:27 pm

Hello paganmomofone. If the story is in your head already, I would just start writing and see where it takes you. This is just my opinion. The only story I had in my head that I have nearly finished was seat of the pants writing. After I reached a certain point (just before completing the ending) I went back and reread what I had written. This enabled me to find a good method to end the novel. Hope this helps.

BTW: Nanowrimo is about to begin Nov. 1. That's the tool I used to get my novel going. I didn't make the word count goal, but I did have something solid to work with.

James A. Ritchie
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Re: Writing High Fantasy

Postby James A. Ritchie » Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:24 am

You don't need to come up with anything before you start writing. High fantasy is just another genre. Some who write it plan and plot and outline and you name it, and others just sit down and start writing, coming up with detail when and if the story needs it.

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louiseh87
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Re: Writing High Fantasy

Postby louiseh87 » Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:38 am

Louise :)

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MookyMcD
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Re: Writing High Fantasy

Postby MookyMcD » Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:38 am

I have a laundry list of mental disorders that would make it impossible for me to write fantasy or sci-fi. For starters, I would spend far too long working out unnecessary details of my world. When it comes to rules for magic or anything like that, I'd end up playing reductio ad absurdum with myself for a year, maybe producing an absolutely consistent set of rules for the magic but not having written a word of plot.

It's a wise man who knows his limitations, and this is one area where I show uncharacteristic wisdom. And that's coming from a guy who punched a cop.

James A. Ritchie
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Re: Writing High Fantasy

Postby James A. Ritchie » Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:12 am


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louiseh87
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Re: Writing High Fantasy

Postby louiseh87 » Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:22 am

The OP said they were scared of not having enough figured out and it seemed to me like that was preventing them from writing. Therefore, I advised some planning, as it seemed the best way to banish that fear. Yes, The Fear might just be a general one, of writing at all, but from what they said, that is what I concluded. I was addressing one person's question, not every writer's approach to the genre.

We must read different high fantasy writers. The ones I know plan at least something before they start. I did myself because the world created the characters and the characters created the plot. Without the world, I had nothing to start with. Anyway, sounds to me like the OP already has the world planned. They just need to write it down.
Louise :)

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