Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Loves and Hates of Writing Fantasy for the First Time

Yes, I am writing a fantasy novel for the first time in my life (if you don't count that SF/F thing I did in high school).  And as I'm about 35K words in, I've learned some things...

I love the fact that when I'm feeling like the book is dragging, all I have to do is insert a mythical beast and mayhem ensues.

I hate that I have to make up every single freakin' name.  It's not like I can have Susans and Bobs and Larrys and Lauras running around.  And they each have to be unique.  And every single person they meet has a goddamn name.

I love that I have to make up pretty much everything else.

I hate that I'm going to have to go back and research all the little things - like what the hell they'd be wearing in what is basically medieval-ish times. 

I love that I can let my imagination free.

I hate that I can't let it totally free or no one would understand what the hell I'm writing about.  You say 'dragon' and people know what you're talking about.  You make some beast up totally from your imagination and call it say 'a hurchess'*, and people would be all like 'WTF?'

I love that I spent my formative years reading fantasy and playing D&D**.

I hate that I can't remember everything I read in the Monster Manual, and I gave my copy to my nephew years ago, so now I have to resort to more research.

I love research - just not when I'm trying to sprint to 50K words.

Sure, some of this stuff I encountered when I was writing urban fantasy.  And some of these problems can crop up in dystopian - especially if there's been a nuclear holocaust in the past.  But this still feels like I'm learning how to write all over again.

Heh.  It's kinda awesome.

Ever step totally out of your comfortable box and try a new-to-you genre?  How'd that work out?

* There's no such thing as a hurchess - even in this book.  I just threw a made-up word out there. 

** A great many D&D monsters come from various well-known mythologies, so I'm not writing a D&D fan fiction novel here.  I'm just wishing I could access my old Monster Manual as a reference.  The book I have - The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures - is jam packed with every critter every conceived and it's a bitch to wade through.  And since this is set kinda in a mythical Scotland, I can't use creatures from Indian, Native American, Japanese, etc. mythos.  That would be too weird.


  1. I'm so glad you're having fun! That's what it is all about. And all the magic and world building? That's what editing is for. *nods* FYI, I love making up names. Tag me if you need inspiration. ;)

    1. Oh yeah, thank goodness for editing. My manuscript is littered with :research here: and :insert beastie: notes. Thanks for the offer of names. I'm doing pretty good at it. I just keep having to refer back to my character sheet so I don't use similar sounding names or repeat first letters too much. I hate when I'm reading and can't figure out who's who because there's a Dylan and a Daryl and a Daniel. My memory sucks enough for that to get really confusing after a while.

  2. LOL! I love writing fantasy.

    For NaNo, you could name them Bobby or Suzie, then change them all later. Oh, but be careful and DON'T use Bob and Sue and the like, or your "bobble" and "pursue" can change to "brentle" and "pursizzgel". Done that. 8-/

    Research often derails my NaNo plans. ;-)

    1. LOL, yeah, 'Replace All' is evil, Deb. I learned that the hard way, too. Now I replace individually.

  3. I'm so impressed that you choose a genre you have never written before for NaNo, B.E. - and I can tell by your post that you're excited about it (even with the issues of names and beasties and research). Yay!!

    NaNo? What's that? However, my house has gotten a thorough cleaning AND I baked for the first time in months (banana chocolate marble care and banana cookies - yummy). I figure if I pound out 5000 words from now to Saturday, I can still 'win'. LOL!

    1. I am excited, Janet. I don't know why I was so afraid of writing fantasy. (Well, I do, kinda. That's a tough crowd out there.) Yay for cleaning and baking! I wouldn't worry about 'winning' if I were you. I'd just be jazzed to be writing again. As long as you finish it - whenever you do - you're a winner. =oD

  4. I started this crazy journey writing fantasy, so I understand your pain. It's really fun to write, but it can be very difficult to do quickly.