Wednesday, June 10, 2015

3 Tips for Writing Fantasy Characters

Before we get to character week, I'd like to report that the Summer Author Bash Party on Facebook last night was a smashing success! I honestly didn't expect so much attendance and participation, and was pleasantly surprised. I'll be contacting the winners of my contests today. Thank you so much for everyone who stopped by and participated! It was so much fun! :D

Character Week: Fantasy

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It's CHARACTER WEEK here on my blog, and I'll be giving tips on writing characters in different genres. These won't be tips on how to write a well-rounded character, as is the norm for talking about characters. Rather, these are extra things that characters in specific genres should possess. 

Today, we'll focus on the the Fantasy Genre. Fantasy is really it's own thing. We're talking about creating a world that is vastly different than our own, and as the creator of it, you can do whatever you like with it. You must live by your own rules, of course, but that's another topic. So what kind of characters are required for fantasy worlds. Here are some pointers:

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1) Use your characters to explore your world. This doesn't necessarily mean they have to be curious, though that's definitely not a bad thing. They may just need to be able to roam, or know some aspect of your world well enough to introduce it to your characters. Unlike with other genres, where a character may be discovering the world with your readers, in fantasy you generally want at least one character that's already very familiar with it. Use them to show the world to your readers.

Example: We'll use Harry Potter, and we're all pretty familiar with him. Now, he was new to the wizarding world, so we were experiencing the world for the first time with him, but notice most of the other characters--the magical ones--were already very familiar with the world. Between the two types, we got plenty of exploration and discovered the world effectively.

2) They should show/interact with the weaknesses and strengths of your world. Create characters that have ties to the most interesting and extreme parts of your world.

Example: Harry again. Harry had direct ties to the most magical parts of his world, both good and bad (i.e. Dumbledore vs. Voldemort), the most magical objects (Sorcerer's Stone, etc.) and the most ordinary (i.e. Muggles). We also see him right in the middle of the biggest debates (muggles/mudbloods, treatment of various magical creatures and races, etc.) So you can see that Rowling effectively used her characters, both Harry and other side characters, to explore his world.

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3) Give your characters a weakness or vulnerability that directly relates to your fantasy world. Giving them something like a physical limitation is all well and good (really not bashing it) but it's so much more compelling when the vulnerability is tied to the world itself, rather than something that could crop up in our world or any other. A strength or potential strength that's tied directly to the world is compelling as well. These just have to be things that only make sense in the context of your fantasy world.

Example: Weaknesses: Harry's similarities to Voldemort; Frodo's vulnerability to the One Ring; Strengths; Daenarys's immunity from fire in Game of Thrones; Bella's immunity to Edward's mind-reading powers in Twilight.

So if you're writing any kind of fantasy story, make sure your characters are intricately tied to your world. It will make the story all tie together better and be more compelling and memorable overall.

What qualities to do you give your fantasy characters?

8 comments :

  1. Fantasy generally works best (in my opinion) with one character who is just learning the rules of the world along with a teacher or guide who shows them the ins and outs of their new reality. Luke and Obi-Wan, Bilbo and Gandalf, Wort and Merlin - the list goes on and on.

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    1. Yeah those are definitely great combinations! :D

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  2. I don't think I've ever written a fantasy story, but it's something I'd like to do one of these days. I've always been more of a Sci.Fi. person, so we'll see if I ever get around to this genre.

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    1. This could apply to scifi too! The funny thing is, I'm more of a fantasy person than a scifi, but technically I wrote scifi first ,and so technically have written more of it. Weird, lol!

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  3. Congrats on the Summer Author Bash Party on Facebook! Some of the best characters are at the bottom of society but fight to the top.

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  4. Great info. Big help for me, an aspiring author.

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    1. So glad it was helpful to you! Thanks for stopping by! :D

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