Fantasy - It's Got a Bad Rep
While fantasy is a wide genre that isn't all medieval magicking and epic quests, a lot of people are under the assumption that fantasy is easier to write because it bends the rules of reality. This means that it doesn't have to be caged in by the plausible barriers you find in literary fiction.
Magic - It Solves Everything
Have a broken bone? Fix it...with magic! Stuck in traffic? Freeze time or fly there, with magic! Need to know all someone's secrets or just make a sandwich without getting off the sofa? Magic is there to save the day!
Well that's dull. No one wants to read 'Couch Potato in Fantasy Land,' do they? Horror of horrors, I sure hope not.
Fantasy stories still have limitations on what characters can do. Not to mention, they have even more complications. If magic could be used in ways that manipulate things far more easily (words that bring illness, hand gestures that stop your breath, potions that torture you in a state between living and dead) then the protagonist is going to have a much harder time of things.
The reason fantasy is not easier to write than other genres, is because a writer must create a new structure for what is plausible in this world that incorporates fantastical elements.
Questions - I Have Them
So, without rules or guidelines, you've got an "anything goes" sort of premise, which is madness. It takes a lot of work to lay down the grounds for a story that incorporates magic. The most important thing you can do is ask questions.
Things - I Think About Them
- Is there a magical system?
- What can or can't you do with magic?
- Are there magic spells?
- Can you learn magic?
- Are there those born with special abilities which you can't learn?
- Is it inherited?
- How common is it?
- What does the average person think of magic?
- What does magic cost?
- How powerful is magic?
- What limits magic?
- How does someone become powerful with magic?
- Where does magic come from?
- How do spells work?
There are a ton of questions you need to mull over to even begin to figure out how your fantasy world works.
- How is the politics affected?
- Do fantastical creatures have rights?
- Can you pay for food with magic, like a currency?
What If - I Ask "Why" a Lot
Just when you think you have asked all the questions you can ask, you've got to more.
- What if...?
- Why? Why? Why?
Fantasy - It's No Picnic
Fantasy is not an easy genre to write but it is very rewarding and quite captivating to the reader when written well. If you write fantasy, don't give up and don't be put off by the foolish notion that it is a frivolous genre. It's not.
Building a world that incorporates fantastical elements - whether you are writing of an alternate universe or ours, tweaked - takes a lot of good planning and execution. If you can make it work, I tip my hat to you and look forward to reading your fantastical ventures.