Are you well prepared for the undertaking of fantasy writing? Are you behind the times or out of the loop?
Heed this one tip and automatically set yourself up at the front of the pack!
You’d be amazed at how many potential authors out there have very little info on their competition. Or, the history of their art for that matter.
Make sure you are not one of these writers. Get to know your genre well. Intimately even. Make sweet love to the genre and its readers. Find out where their G….ahem…
I think you get the point.
Look here. Do any of the next statements describe you?
- The last (or only) fantasy books you’ve read were Harry Potter, Game of Thrones (the only name you know it by), or Lord of the Rings.
- The most recent fantasy book you have read was one your mom gave you in the 80’s or 90’s.
- You actually haven’t “read” any fantasy, but you’re a fan of the SyFy channel, have seen EVERY Marvel movie, knew that R+L=J before the season 6 reveal, and still have an old poster of a pointed-eared Orlando Bloom hidden away in your closet.
If the answer to any of these was, “It’s as if she knows me“… hell… even if it wasn’t, you need to read more work from your genre.
Staying current is the best way to ensure that your ideas are…
- Not Clichèd
- Written for a modern audience
Not to mention, reading fantasy is the best way to get inspired to write fantasy.
I’m going to help you out with this step and give you a list of books that you might want to read before (that’s a lot to ask…while instead, maybe) you set out to write any words. These lists are made up of the most famous or influential works and span a range of subgenres. Also included, are some newer works in the genre. More detailed lists of recommendations and descriptions within each subgenre will be given as I write the Subgenres series.
- Song of Ice and Fire, George R.R. Martin
- The Kingkiller Chronicles, Patrick Rothfuss
- The Belgariad, David Eddings
- The Lord of The Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Fionavar Tapestry, Guy Gavriel Kay
- Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clark
- Earthsea series, Ursula K. Le Guin
- Discworld series, Terry Pratchett
- The Stormlight Archive, Brandon Sanderson
- The Dark Tower, Stephen King
- Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay
- Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis
- Gentleman Bastards series, Scott Lynch
- Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling
- The First Law universe books, Joe Abercrombie
- Axe and the Thorn, M.D. Ireman
- The Magicians Trilogy, Lev Grossman
- The Farseer series, Robin Hobb
- The Malazan Book of the Fallen series, Steven Erikson
- American Gods, Neil Gaiman
- Chronicles of the Black Company, Glen Cook
- Acts of Caine series, Matthew Stover
- The Broken Empire series, Mark Lawrence
- Under Heaven series, Guy Gavriel Kay
- The Divine Cities, Robert Jackson Bennett
- Night Watch series, Sergei Lukyaneneko
- The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
- The Dresden Files, Jim Butcher
- The Wheel of Time series, Robert Jordan
Then, there are the non-fantasy must reads for learning good storytelling that will help you write your romance, suspense, and horror scenes.
Storytelling and structure…
- Count of Monte Cristo, Alexander Dumas (the huge-ass version. In my opinion one of
the greatest stories over told in regards to structure, plotting, character development, and can’t-put-down-ness)
- Don Quixote, Miguel De Cervantes
- Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe
- Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift
- Dangerous Liaisons, Pierre Choderlos De Laclos
- Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
- Moby Dick, Herman Melville
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
- The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky
- 1984, George Orwell
- Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
- Shakespeare (anything)
- Nostromo, Joseph Conrad
- Outlander, Diana Gabaldon
- Knight in Shining Armor, Jude Devereaux
- Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austin
- Lord of Scoundrels, Loretta Chase
- The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje
- Dune Chronicles, Frank Herbert (huuuge fan of dune!)
- The Book of the New Sun series, Gene Wolfe
- Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
- Hyperion Cantos, Dan Simmons
- Neuromancer, William Gibson
- The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
- The Foundation trilogy, Isaac Asimov
Plus as much other science fiction, romance, horror, and suspense, adventure, and classic literature you can possibly absorb.
and you know what?
Dinotopia books, James Gurney…
That’s right. I went there.
These titles are all just to inspire you. Pick one and read it when you have the time. Even the stuff that you think you will hate (I can see you all rolling your eyes at the romance suggestions already).
If you want to be a professional writer, then that also means you must become a professional reader. Having a solid foundation in your genre as well as classic lit. and others gives you something very important: Authority.
Readers want their authors to have an authority over the language they are writing in and the history of their craft. You wouldn’t pay to attend a math class taught by a professor that never went to… math school….?…mathematician university…whatever. You get my point.
Make it a goal to read a book every month or a few every year even. Or, be hardcore like me and try to get through one a week (you need a real lack of life for this one).
Put on your Nikes and Just Do It! (I hate myself for just saying that).