Tradition in Fantasy

By tradition, I mean the rituals, gestures, etc. practiced by characters in their respective cultures. In that sense, these are worldbuilding thoughts.

Traditions are an important part of any culture, even today. Breaking them, depending on the circumstances, can change relationships or the way one is viewed within their community. Works in fantasy often have longstanding traditions within the lore, some familiar to the audience, some maybe not.

Either way, it’s worth thinking about.

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When Good Characters Go Bad

What makes a character a “bad” character? Not bad in the moral sense, but where the character falls apart in the work itself.

I’ve been thinking about this after discussing this recently, and I think it’s important for all works of fiction, and equally so for fantasy. Fantasy often has specific things that lead to characters turning awful and unreadable. So let’s dive into it.

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Sex in Fantasy Writing

A lot like fight scenes (which I’ve touched on before), I’ve avoided writing sex in the past. There’s something a little awkward for me about writing it, though I don’t have a problem reading it save for the occasional blush.

That being said, we’re writing characters with thoughts and feelings, and some of those are bound to be sexual in one way or another for some character at some point. So let’s talk about sex, baby.

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Text and Subtext in Dialogue

I studied theatre. All we have in theatre is words on a page, it is up to the actors and directors to figure out what the hell the characters are actually saying.

Shakespeare didn’t deal a lot in subtext. The characters say exactly what they mean unless it’s made explicitly clear to the audience that the character is lying or something. More modern works have a ton of subtext. It’s a great tool for writers and very fun.

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Worldbuilding: Northern Environments in Fantasy

This is a pretty specific and borderline nitpicky topic, but hear me out. Instead of focussing on what authors might do that is “wrong” or “doesn’t make a lot of sense”, I’m going to give options, explanations, and things to consider. I’m also going to focus on it from character perspective even though this is a worldbuilding topic.

Northern environments in fantasy worlds is often used in fantasy writing. Lots of the action happens there. Why, I don’t know, but I dig it. So we’re going to go into stuff that might help shape your northern environments.

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Pulling Off a Plot Twist

I’ll admit it, plot twists scare me when I write. I tend to get self conscious about it: “Is this good? Is it cheap? Is it effective?” etc. etc. etc.

But plot twists are awesome. When done right, they’re dramatic, heart breaking, and they hit the reader in the gut with realization and make them stay up late to read”just one more chapter”.

So, how do we writers do it?

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