Writing a Fantasy Novel: Advice From Published Authors

Writing a fantasy novel can be one of the most exciting things you can do. Other times, you’ll feel like setting it all on fire, and first to go would be those stacks of world building notes.

The issue I’ve personally encountered with writing fantasy, and one I know a lot of writers experience too, is the scale of the challenge before us. When it comes to writing fantasy involving secondary worlds, we have to build everything from scratch. Landscapes, social structures… everything down to the flowers and the insects that pollinate them, that is if you’re J.R.R. Tolkien.

While it’s a challenge, it’s part of the reason I love writing fantasy so much. There’s nothing more thrilling than creating your own world, populating it with your own stories and characters, and letting it all unfold for you and others to enjoy.

Over the years, I’ve invested thousands of hours studying the craft of writing, writing fantasy, and learning from some of the best fantasy writers, living and dead, from J.R.R. Tolkien to Brandon Sanderson. Everything I’ve learned I’ve chronicled on my blog and below, I’ve organised those posts into a complete guide on how to write a fantasy novel.

What I hope this will give you more than anything else is structure when it comes to writing fantasy stories, especially fantasy novels, or even fantasy series (you know how they go… 10 books down the line). I know first hand the awful knots that you can tie yourself up in, and with this fantasy writing guide, I aim to give you the tools to unravel them!

If you’d like a more packaged and detailed guide on writing fantasy, you can get my guide, A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook for just 2.99 on Amazon. For a more general guide on writing and how to write a book and get that book published, you can get Thoughts On Writing for free if you join my Community of Writers. You can find out more by clicking here.

Select A Section

  1. How to Write a Fantasy Novel
  2. World building
  3. Finding Inspiration for Writing A Fantasy Novel
  4. Things to Consider When Writing Fantasy
  5. Writing Characters
  6. Plotting
  7. Theme
  8. Dialogue
  9. Viewpoint and Tense
  10. Editing
  11. Getting Published
  12. Getting Reviews
  13. Other Resources for Fantasy Writers

How To Write a Fantasy Novel

In the sections below, you can find links to articles and guides on the essential subjects when it comes to writing a fantasy novel. They’re each filled with lots of tips and ideas on everything from where to start, world building, and coming up with fantasy novel ideas, to the ideal fantasy novel word count and finding fantasy novel publishers. Just click to go right there.

Fantasy siege - writing a fantasy novel
How to write a fantasy novel

Worldbuilding

A Complete Worldbuilding Guide

Worldbuilding: Practical Tips [podcast]

Worldbuilding: Battle Tactics I

Worldbuilding: A Minimalist Approach

Finding Inspiration For Writing Fantasy

A Lordly Life (the life of lords during medieval times)

Archery and Fantasy: A Guide

A Fantasy Writer’s Guide to Armour

A Fantasy Writer’s Guide to Medieval Weaponry

A Guide to Castles and Keeps: Part One (structures)

The Pesky Peasantry of the Middle Ages (life for peasants during medieval times)

A Guide to Castles and Keeps: Part Two (defensive features)

Killer Diseases of the Middle Ages

A Guide to Castles and Keeps: Part Three (the siege: bringing down the walls)

Things to Consider When Writing Fantasy

Writing Fight Scenes

The Many Sub-genres of Fantasy

Naming Fantasy Characters

A Guide to Making a Fantasy Map: Part One

A Guide to Making a Fantasy Map: Part Two

The Trusty Steed

Making Monsters

Religion in Fantasy


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    Writing Characters

    The Wheels of Change

    What is Characterisation?

    Character Development

    The Bad Guys

    Plotting

    How Do You Plot a Story?

    Character Plotting

    The Crucible

    Plotting: Architectural Suspense

    Theme

    The Importance of Premise

    Finding Your Theme

    Dialogue

    A Guide to Dialogue

    Viewpoint and Tense

    Viewpoint, tense and narrative distance

    Editing

    An Approach to Editing

    Getting Published

    Below, you can find my lists to help you get your fantasy novel published. They cover publishers in the UK as well as the US. 

    List of short story fantasy publishers

    List of fantasy novel publishers

    Getting Reviews

    Getting book reviews is a great way to promote your work. Reviewers make recommendations to all of their followers about what books to buy, so you could get a massive amount of exposure by getting some extra book reviews. 

    List of book reviewers

    Other Resources for Fantasy Writers

    Below, you can find some other resources you may find useful when writing your fantasy novel.

    Reddit – r/fantasy

    Reddit – r/worldbuilding


    Thank you for checking out this guide to writing a fantasy novel! I hope you’ve found it useful. If you’d like to stay up to date with all of the latest writing and fantasy-related content, why not join my community of writers? Simply complete the form below.

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