Genre Basics - Fantasy - article

The fantasy genre is fantastical, includes unrealistic places, and has intricate and involved plots. Beyond the setting, however, fantasy fiction takes on many of the characteristics of other fiction genres. This helps explain why there are so many sub-genres, including epic, historical, comic, and traditional. Fantasy is sort of the umbrella genre for books that are set in alternate realities; the stories can have wars, romantic love, and various types of conflicts between the characters.

Most fantasy manuscripts have about 100K words, but are known to also be a bit shorter or much longer. Extremely long manuscripts, moreover, are likely written by authors with established audiences, such as George R.R. Martin. When thinking about the target audience, there are two things to keep in mind. First, an excellently written book will likely cross genres and appeal to everyone; and second, fantasy has a really difficult demographic to nail down, so it isn’t typically just written for men or for women. 

Some of the more well-known fantasy writers include J.R.R. Tolkien, and Lord of the Rings is a great example of the research and background that goes into writing a successful fantasy series. Tolkien may be the extreme, having written another language for the sake of the story to give it an authentic feel to the other world of Middle Earth. Another notable fantasy author is George R.R. Martin, who’s A Song of Ice and Fire has recently become even more popular because of the HBO series “A Game of Thrones.” The characters are all complex and intricately drawn, and the world in which they live is another great example of the success that can be found from a disciplined fantasy creation.

If you write in this genre you might be interested in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, a networking and advocacy organization for sci-fi and fantasy writers.

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