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From the Blog: 6 Tips and Tricks For Writing An Epic Fantasy Novel

We know you've been dreaming about starting that fantasy novel. To help with developing a story idea, our NaNo guest Zacharia Brendon Devlin shares his guide for creating an epic fantasy novel:

Writing kinda goes with my family. My aunt, Kate Ristau, is a published author of five books (and counting), my sister, Lily, is an amazing author. My grandmother is also an incredible author of two novels, my brother wrote a short story and published it on Blurb, along with his book, Warrior of Nilved. So, long story short, it wasn't really any surprise when I began writing. 

I started writing the first draft of my fantasy novel when I was 8-years-old. Since then, it has gone through several different drafts for several years. Writing fantasy, in my opinion, is one of the most enjoyable genres to write, but it can also be the hardest. Okay, let’s cut down to the chase: writing fantasy can be hard. But with a couple of helpful tips and tricks, the load could be lighter.


1. Gather ideas.

Dream, read, think, talk, etc. Just gather ideas. Some of the greatest stories have gotten their plots from something normal. For instance, S. D. Smith, the author of The Green Ember, got the idea for his bestselling book from when he was taking a walk with his daughter and saw two rabbits hopping in his yard. Chris Grabenstein, the author of Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library (plus numerous other books), got the idea from visiting an amazing library. Like I said before, keep gathering ideas. You won't regret it.

2. Start with a rough draft.

You may be tempted to edit your story word by word, but it gets done much faster when you start with a rough draft. Don't try to write in a ton of details or sub-plots until after the first draft is done. Just focus on the main, most important events and facts. You can always add side characters later.

3. Make it IMPOSSIBLE.

Kids (and most adults) love impossible. Fire breathing dragons? Cha-Ching! Flesh-eating, 50 feet tall giants? Bring it! A wizard that can turn people into frogs? Absolutely! You can also create your own creatures or animals. (e.g. In my nearly-finished fantasy novel, The Lost Prince, I created a race of creatures known as the Rinëdslo. J.R.R Tolkien, the author of The Lord of The Rings, created Hobbits. John Flanagan, author of Ranger's Apprentice series, created Wargals and the Kalkara.) You get the point: the more impossible it is, the more interesting and exciting it is.

4. Create Unforgettable Characters.

All characters in fantasy novels should each have a unique talent. Is your character great at riding dragons or buffaloes? Does your character sneeze when he/she tells a lie? Does your character have a cool or strange weapon? Does your character have a special pet? Just be sure to make it, as always, unforgettable. Also, if you need fantasy names, here’s a good website for that

5. Work Within Your Limits

I know some people who can write for hours on end, and others who can only write for 20 minutes a day. Whatever works for you, do it. Writing when you don't want to can have a negative effect. 80,000--150,000 words is a typical word count in fantasy novels. You should probably start with a smaller word count, and then slowly add more. I usually like to start with 10,000 and then add a 5,000 every time I win, but you can do a word count that you think is suitable (and doable) for you.

6. Read and Re-read

You can only write as well as you read. Study the classics of the fantasy genre, taking note of what grabs you about each fantasy author’s approach—for example, world-building, character development, or plot twists—and how the storyteller navigates the aspects you find most daunting. You can reread your favorite fantasy books while applying the same lens.

There ya have it! Six tips and tricks from yours truly. I hope they were helpful, or at least worth your time to read them. But I have one more tip for you:

7. Now go; go and write! Take these tips and apply them to your own novels!

Zacharia Brendon Devlin (Zach) is a twelve-year-old fantasy author. He lives in the USA with his nine siblings, lizard, and dog. Other than writing, Zach loves to hike in his backyard forest, play boardgames, talk with his friends, and build LEGOs. His literary inspirations are Brain Jacques, J.R.R. Tolkien, Brandon Mull, and C. S. Lewis.

Top Photo by Maximalfocus on Unsplash  

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