I’ve had a few ideas bubbling up in the quiet of the week. The problem is that the one I really want to work on next wants to be HUGE. I’m talking Epic Fantasy huge.
I don’t have any experience writing big sweeping fantasies. World building beyond a small contained section of a world is TERRIFYING to me. Yes, the book I am revising is a fantasy novel. But, it’s a small-scale fantasy. 3-4 characters at most and mostly focused in one specific location.
Where I’m starting
This will definitely be a learning experience. I’m going to start with characters like I always do. I want to find where their journey needs to go and what their fears and misbeliefs are. The characters build the journey with their choices and reactions to events. Without solid characters, I don’t see it going anywhere. I already have one solidly in mind and another like a misty shadow just starting to appear. The nervousness comes when I try to figure out how “big” the arc needs to be. Authors of this genre say there should be one “big but simple” goal the characters are all moving toward. I…have no idea what that will be yet.
But, world-building techniques will follow closely after that.
Finding my influences
I am going to start reading some more “literary” fantasy novels since that is what this one is screaming to be. With all of my other pieces, I’ve had some type of influential media connected to them. It’d be easy to say I’m going to use The Lord of the Rings or The Kingkiller Chronicle as influences, but I’m going to stretch beyond that.
I’m not exactly sure if it will be a court/political drama, a quest, or something else. I’m unsure what questions I need to ask while reading. Some of the media that have already spun the wheels of this project are The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie for its slow build-up and unique voice; The Greenhollow Duology by Emily Tesh for its heart-wrenching characters and comfortable setting; and Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo for its look at the interconnectedness of light and dark.
For the reading side of things, I think I’ll try diving into the Hugo Award winners of the past years. I know I’ve read quite a few of them already and I really loved most of the ones suggested from it. I also want to figure out how seriously I want to take this project. I am a huge lover of what I call “junk food media.” This simply means that the piece either doesn’t take itself too seriously or that the choices are made for entertainment value and the “cool” factor rather than an actual possibility, think Space Operas in SciFi.
It’s a new journey and a new type of writing. I’m so excited to get started. But first, I’m making a vibe board on Pinterest and finding my influences. There might be a summary or a scene card or two that start to get scribbled up in between there as well.
I’m calling it: Project Dragon
2 thoughts on “Learning a new genre: Epic Fantasy”
‘Project Dragon’ – what an excellent project to have! Looking forward to reading more.
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Thank you! I’m hoping things go well, but I’ve got a lot to learn 😛
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