The Rules When Writing Fantasy

I think a fairly constant refrain when it comes to Fantasy is that Fantasy is amazing because there are no rules.

I couldn’t disagree with this statement more.

While Fantasy absolutely allows both the writer and the reader to escape certain harsh realities, such as gravity, in writing a Fantasy, there are an absurd number of rules that the author must abide in order to make the storyline coherent and consistent.

For example, Augustus is telepathic, as are his uncles. A simple rule in the books is that the men in the Auctor family can hear each other, and the women in the Auctor family can hear each other, but no one else.  How, then, can Augustus hear Addie?  The simple answer is fairly clear – they’re twins.  Of course this transcends the standard rules.  However, why, then, can’t Addie hear Augustus or her mother?  This was something that I struggled with for a period of time, but finally realized the real reason while writing the fourth book.

However, because I didn’t discover the rationale for this rule until the fourth book, it involved going back and re-drafting the first, second, and third books in order to ensure that the rules were the same for each book. This is where the challenge lies – in order for the rules of the Fantasy world to work, it must run consistently throughout every book. For more on my writing process when dealing with a series, please see the December 5, 2016 Blog Post, “The Truth about Writing a Series.”

The same is true about which gift each family is predisposed to being adept at. If I say in the first book that a gift must be developed rather than just inherited, that must hold true for that character as well as all of the other characters within that family.  If I say that Raleigh Medicus’ gift is something that must be developed through hard work, and then have Keegan Medicus capable of great spells within that same framework without any additional training, this violates the very carefully crafted world that I’m trying to develop for the reader.  This means that each book must be done with a keen eye towards each and every rule created in the Fantasy world that is being set up.  If there is a deviation, it tends to shatter the reader’s enjoyment, which defeats the entire purpose for writing the books.

Thus, while I think that Fantasy allows a lot of freedom in writing, it has its own inherent difficulties for the writer. But I wouldn’t pick any other genre.  Fantasy allows my imagination to run free and I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend my time.

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