And it was really hard. . .
I will admit it. Game of Thrones got to me. Until the disastrous final season, I was seduced back into the fantasy realm I loved as a kid. And as a result, I dove into A Song of Ice and Fire books, reading them in rapid succession until season eight coincided with my reading of A Dance with Dragons and I gave up in disgust. Yes, the final episode was that bad. My favorite YouTube fantasy channel, Quinn’s Ideas, has a great take on the entire debacle.
I will finish George R. R. Martin’s book series eventually, but at the present I’ve been sampling other fantasy books (including The Witcher series, which I love) along with some classic science fiction.
But before my disillusionment with GOT commenced, I started writing a fantasy novel on Wattpad. I know Wattpad has a bad reputation as being nothing but a platform for teenage fan fiction, but there are plenty of serious writers on Wattpad. I know because I read them. If you’re a new or an established writer looking to stretch your skills by exploring other genres, I highly recommend Wattpad. Okay, speech over.
To the point, I wrote my first fantasy novel on Wattpad. I just finished my first editing pass on a 70K manuscript (short for fantasy, long for me). I ended up changing the ending to allow for a possible sequel in case I become ambitious, but for now I’m shoving it in the proverbial drawer.
In the year (writing off and on) it took me to finish it, here’s what I learned:
- Writing fantasy is hard.
- It requires much more pre-planning than any other genre I tried.
- World-building takes time (I ended up drawing a map, which was a lot of fun actually).
- It takes time to develop a magic system. And yeah, if you are writing classic fantasy you should have one of those.
- Tropes are your friends (I tried to give my wizard character a unique spin, but yeah, I have one of those and a dragon too).
- Meticulous note-keeping on all my characters, family lineages, and locations was necessary. I used Scrivener to organize it all.
- Feelings of inadequacies (i.e. I suck!) are part of the writing process. Carry on!
Something that really helped me develop this novel with any kind of confidence was watching Brandon Sanderson’s fantasy writing course. I highly recommend it for anyone looking to write speculative fiction. What a gift! It’s free on YouTube.
Writing in a different genre is a good way to stretch one’s imagination and develop new skills. I may try science fiction next. Behold my first effort:
If you are on Wattpad, please add me as a friend and share what you are reading and writing.