Monday, June 12, 2006

How To Write A Fantasy Novel?

Patterns arise in storytelling genres. That's not a secret, is it? Some call them formulas. (formulae?)

I prefer patterns.

Such as the three-act structure. Or the rising action structure. Or the boy-meets-loses-girl-learns-lessons-overcomes-and-reclaims-girl formula. Or the murder-plus-detective-plus-clues-plus-surprises-plus-revelation-of-murderer-at-the-end formula. Or simply the beginning-middle-end formula, which harkens back to that three-act thing. :)

In fantasy, we have the Hero's Journey. It's ancient, it's pervasive, it's universal, it's persistent... cause it works. We like stories that unfold this way, just as romance readers want the sparks-conflict-insights-HEA format and the mystery readers want the crime-clues-revelation format.

So, I offer an on-the-snark and not totally off-the-mark examination of how to write a fantasy novel. I won't say it's how to write a best-selling one, as the author does, because many stories based on this pattern still fail to capture agents, editors, or the public.

It's actually a nice blueprint of how to keep the heart of a pattern, if you eliminate the cliches and add your own voice's spice to it, as well as fresh elements and surprises.

And voice is always harder to nail than a pattern.

And story magic? Well, that's a slippery dame, ain't she?

NOW, JUST FOR FUN: What SF Character Are You?

I came out to be . . .

Er. I'm not exactly thrilled with being very short, very homely, very linguistically odd, and the color of old moss. I want to be Spock or Cordelia Vorkosigan or, hey, Picard or Chani or, if you force me to have lovely hair and eyes, Deanna Troi.

Grumble, yoda, grumble.


Stuart said...

Oooh I came out as Gandalf! w00t!

Look forward to seeing your thoughts on this topic. :)

Rebecca said...

And I'm Aragorn. My favorite by far from the books (not so much in the movies).

Mirtika said...

Man, you all get to be Aragorn and Gandalf.

And *I* am Yoda.



UKSteve said...

Do you want to swap? I got Gandalf too, and last I heard he didn't even know what a spaceship was.

If it makes you feel better, my car's called Yoda, on account of being small, green, old and slightly odd looking.

Mirtika said...

Steve, I'll trade ya! I'd much rather have long white hair and have a cool staff thingie that glows. :)

Funny about your car. So, let's see, my car is that metallic beige that was "hot" about 8 years ago when I bought it, it's mid-sized, and it's still in pretty decent shape--after bodywork post the Hurricane Wilma tree-fell-on-it-go-crush incident.

So, what character is my Chevy?


UKSteve said...

But Yoda's got white hair and a staff thingie... he must be a kind of minimalist Gandalf. Oh, and here's Yoda (the green one on the right) if anyone's interested. ;)

Becky said...

Mir, I came out Yoda, too. Commiserating together. There were waaaayy cooler people. But no. Yoda!



Camy Tang said...

I was Galadriel! Yay, at least I'm pretty and skinny as a twig SOMEWHERE.

Mirtika said...

Camy, fat, is not. Pretty, she is!