How to Write a Fantasy Story
I: The Title
The title is a very important and vital part of any fantasy story. The ideal title sucks the reader in and doesn't let him go until he has read the entire book, or preferably bought it. We recommend black holes or vacuums for this purpose, but catchy wording is useful too. Also bear traps, or some sort of glue with pheromones in it which will first entice the reader by releasing hormones and then bind them to the book, causing them to buy it or steal it, or come and shoot you, the author, but that's a risk you'll just have to take. Don't worry, every author has the occasional disgruntled fan.
In any case, if you do indeed decide to have a title for your book, as well as or, if you are confident you can create a really good title, instead of pheromone-laced adhesive, there are a few basic guidelines you must follow in order for your story to be classed as Fantasy.
First, the format must be either The (noun) or, if you're really daring, The (noun) of the (noun). And what are these nouns supposed to be, you ask?
That's a very good question. My, aren't you sharp. is always a good noun choice, or , , or , , , or related words are all fine, though we recommend and the most. The truly good and established author can get away with using other words sometimes, like or , or sometimes even or but for a beginner we don't recommend it.
For example, The King would be an ideal title, or even, if you want to stretch it, The Dragon King or The Dragon of the King. Don't entitle a story The Dragon of the Castle of the Sorcerer King, because it makes no sense, and also we think someone already published a book by that name and so it may be copyrighted.
II: The Summary
The summary is important only if you've already made the decision not to use a pheromone adhesive to attract buyers-- that is, readers. If you've figured out a good pheromone adhesive which works and doesn't just attract certain moths and amphibians, please send it to me, and in return I'll send you an Original Autographed Edition of my novel. You won't be able to put it down! I mean that literally!
In any case, if you haven't, you need to put some thought into a gripping summary, to be placed on the back cover of the book. It doesn't necessarily have to be true to the plot of the book, assuming you have one (see III: Actually Writing the Darn Thing for details). No, it should be compelling and original yet classical, a new twist on an old tale or an old twist on a new tale, with Characters and Places as have Never been Seen Before. Perhaps this is a good thing, for the world.
Be sure to put in plenty of names which sound enticing, like those found in cheap romance novels, and put in enough mystery that the prospective buyer won't know what the heck they're really going to see inside the novel but by gosh they mean to find out. For example, one method is to put a supposed excerpt of the novel, as a teaser.
Esmerelda Lascivine felt her breath catch in her throat.... she... didn't know what was... approaching, but she was.... certain it had to do.... with the Sorcerer and... the plot... to kill... the King... and the Dragon spread its... golden... wings...
You see, there I've managed to create a seemingly suspenseful moment in a novel out of various sentence fragments from throughout the book. It's okay to do this, as long as you use ellipses between fragments, and it can be extremely effective. It works sort of the way previews for movies work: it shows you maybe five minutes out of two hours worth of plot, highlights all the best scene fragments, and leaves you with the impression that the movie is brilliant, even though you've only seen one twenty-fourth of it, and the other twenty-three twenty-fourths are terrible.
III: Actually Writing the Darn Thing
This should be done only as a last resort, if you fail at creating a successful pheromone adhesive and/or writing a gripping Summary. If you do, indeed, find yourself forced to write an actual story, here are some good plotlines to use. They've succeeded for hundreds of other authors and we are certain they will work for you.
-ROMANCE: The Sorceress falls in love with the King who falls in love with someone else. In the end they get married. Just remember to put a lot of meaninglessly romantic scenes and random dragons in the middle.
-TRAGEDY: The Sorceress falls in love with the King who falls in love with someone else and marries her. In the end the other person dies and the Sorceress marries the King, but in the middle is a lot of angst, woe and the deaths of various expendable characters such as Knights and Dragons.
-ACTION/ADVENTURE: The Sorceress, who is in love with the King, and her faithful sidekick Dragon, go on some Quest or the other, win, and come back to marry the King.
-DRAMA: The Sorceress falls in love with the King, exclaims a lot about it to her trusty Dragon sidekick, and then marries him. Or dies, whatever you prefer.
-HORROR: The Sorceress, who is EVIL, falls in love with the King, and then marries him and takes over the realm with her horde of EVIL undead and EVIL sidekick Dragons.
IV: Go Forth and Prosper! And if You Do, I Expect Payment!
Well, you're set to go! You have either a good pheromone adhesive, a good title, a good summary, or, if you're a totally nontalented loser, an actual novel, written out. If you make money using any of the suggestions provided here, I expect a 50% consulting fee. If you have indeed invented a good pheromone adhesive, please tell me, and I will stay far, far away from any bookstore where your books are sold. Thank you, and Good Night.
Fantasy Writing Consultant