Author Topic: I want to change my writing genre - any fantasy/horror resources you recommend?  (Read 581 times)  

Offline Boswser

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I had a semi-epiphany today, and I'm thrilled about it!

I originally got into indie publishing through short erotica and graduated to romance across a few pens. I wanted to write longer works and really try to make a career from my oldest and strongest passion of writing. I chose to go into romance initially because it was a simpler transition from erotica, most of my market research and genre research aligned with it, and I figured it was the biggest market and thus had the most readers to find success with. (This latter point is based on not a whole lot)

In other words, I approached it in a very businesslike fashion, and I treated the writing the same way. Truth be told, I don't enjoy writing romance. I wanted to write it for money, and because there were nice beat sheets and tropes to follow to make sure I didn't "do it wrong".

I've always been a fantasy and horror writer, ever since I was 8 and I wrote my first superhero-themed story. That's what I like to write, and today I realized that that's what I should be writing. (Thanks to a few posts on here, and my own revisiting of submitting short stories to online publications--I've written and submitted 4 so far in the last week, all horror, and I loved every second of writing them).

I have no problem with writing to market. But I want to be doing it in a genre that I truly enjoy.

So, fellow horror and fantasy writers out there, I just want to ask--do you have any blogs/resources on the horror and fantasy markets, or on writing to those markets, that you would recommend? I've read a whole lot of these types of books, of course, and I've been self-publishing for years now, so I'm not new to the idea as a whole. But when it comes to professional tools like beat sheets, expected tropes, etc., I'm excited to learn a whole lot more.

Offline Arches

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There's a website called TV Tropes that has a lot of info, but if you read fantasy, you should know the tropes pretty-well already. It's a huge genre, and you likely want to get much more specific about the kind of fantasy you want to write.

Offline Boswser

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There's a website called TV Tropes that has a lot of info, but if you read fantasy, you should know the tropes pretty-well already. It's a huge genre, and you likely want to get much more specific about the kind of fantasy you want to write.

That's a good point. I want to write medieval-style fantasy--swords, magic, creatures, that sort of thing. A main character who's most likely gifted in ways others are not. Not urban fantasy, and with supernatural elements. Is there a term for that? These are the things I don't know, but will learn as I research more. :) When I think trope, I think like--for romance, you always want a happily ever after, there is no cheating allowed, they can't be right for each other at first, there's always a meet-cute, etc. I'm wondering if there's "rules" like that for fantasy in terms of what a reader expects from a fantasy or horro novel, or if it's a bit more open-ended in this as long as your pacing is good. Of course, I realize there's no clear-cut, 100% way to do things and I'm not looking for that.

Offline Tizzy

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If you read fantasy (and it seems you do read a lot of it,) you should already know everything you need to. Unless you're looking for a formula, but sadly I don't think formulaic tales are as common in fantasy/horror as they're in romance. At least I haven't come across any, and the only general rule is to make sure to deliver on what you promise, as with writing for about any genre (and even that can be broken if you know how.)

I don't think you should write looking for tropes or standard story progression as I fail to find any common ground among the hundreds of books I've read. Just do what you know, and make sure to write something that won't leave the reader seething with rage. Tropes should come in naturally, after all. I know there are several in my writings, with only a couple of them put there on purpose.

Offline Boswser

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If you read fantasy (and it seems you do read a lot of it,) you should already know everything you need to. Unless you're looking for a formula, but sadly I don't think formulaic tales are as common in fantasy/horror as they're in romance. At least I haven't come across any, and the only general rule is to make sure to deliver on what you promise, as with writing for about any genre (and even that can be broken if you know how.)

I don't think you should write looking for tropes or standard story progression as I fail to find any common ground among the hundreds of books I've read. Just do what you know, and make sure to write something that won't leave the reader seething with rage. Tropes should come in naturally, after all. I know there are several in my writings, with only a couple of them put there on purpose.

Honestly, I'm glad to hear this. As willing as I am to write to market, and as nice as it can sometimes be to have a beat-sheet type guide to follow, the idea of an open story is much more freeing and somehow less intimidating--like I'm not years behind on some secret practice or flow, which is how I felt with romance.

Thanks for your reply!

Offline IWFerguson

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Welcome to the fantastical alternate world. Here are some of my favorite resources:
https://mythcreants.com/ (I don't read the gaming stuff because I haven't time right now, but the literature stuff is great)
https://thoughtsonfantasy.com/
http://dankoboldt.com/science-in-scifi/ (scroll down to the FactinFantasy section)
https://afantasyreader.blogspot.com/2009/04/index-of-maps.html
https://www.medievalcollectibles.com/
http://www.marketingsff.com/
http://www.breakingtheglassslipper.com/

I'm looking forward to seeing what others recommend. Good luck!
I. W. Ferguson, writer of speculative fiction. Debut novel Belief's Horizon coming in <s>early</s> mid 2018.  http://www.happen.net

Offline Boswser

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Welcome to the fantastical alternate world. Here are some of my favorite resources:
https://mythcreants.com/ (I don't read the gaming stuff because I haven't time right now, but the literature stuff is great)
https://thoughtsonfantasy.com/
http://dankoboldt.com/science-in-scifi/ (scroll down to the FactinFantasy section)
https://afantasyreader.blogspot.com/2009/04/index-of-maps.html
https://www.medievalcollectibles.com/
http://www.marketingsff.com/
http://www.breakingtheglassslipper.com/

I'm looking forward to seeing what others recommend. Good luck!

So great! Thanks!

Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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That's a good point. I want to write medieval-style fantasy--swords, magic, creatures, that sort of thing. A main character who's most likely gifted in ways others are not. Not urban fantasy, and with supernatural elements. Is there a term for that?

You are describing traditional high fantasy (epic fantasy).

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Offline Boswser

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You are describing traditional high fantasy (epic fantasy).

Learning every day! Thank you

Offline solo

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If you read fantasy (and it seems you do read a lot of it,) you should already know everything you need to. Unless you're looking for a formula, but sadly I don't think formulaic tales are as common in fantasy/horror as they're in romance. At least I haven't come across any, and the only general rule is to make sure to deliver on what you promise, as with writing for about any genre (and even that can be broken if you know how.)

I don't think you should write looking for tropes or standard story progression as I fail to find any common ground among the hundreds of books I've read. Just do what you know, and make sure to write something that won't leave the reader seething with rage. Tropes should come in naturally, after all. I know there are several in my writings, with only a couple of them put there on purpose.

Nice and to the point. Writing epic fantasy addresses a niche of readers who probably have ideas of what are the classical tropes of the genre. If that happens, readers are gone. It's better to let your imagination work for it. Tropes can't be avoided but their use can be minimized. As Tizzy said, formulaic tales in fantasy can be a writer's Waterloo. Difficult to keep readers interested when they already know what's going to happen.

Offline Vale

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Sounds like you're after epic fantasy when you're looking for tropes, conventions, and things to read or avoid. You can find epic fantasy in high (Robert Jordan) and low (George R R Martin) varieties. High fantasy tends to have more magic built into it, where low fantasy tends to shy away from magic or put a high cost on it. Low is also more likely to be gritty and have darker heroes, moving into Grimdark at the extremes.

You may also consider looking at Sword & Sorcery. While it has its own conventions which are different from epic fantasy, there can be a lot of crossover. Some Sword & Sorcery feels like a smaller scale epic fantasy with a more intimate cast of characters and smaller stakes that feel just as epic for the characters. You may find that as you write epic fantasy you're looking for something a little different, and high vs low fantasy and Sword & Sorcery might be other places to check out.

Creature fantasy is also pretty popular right now. Imagine it as mythological creature focused stories. Those stories are under the Dragons & Mythical Creatures category on Amazon. Dragons are, by far, the most popular, but don't discount other critters if you can make them work. Derek Siddoway rocked that category's charts with gryphon riders from November to January and I think he's still holding his own, just not Top 20, even now. Some of the classic gryphon authors who shaped the childhoods of so many fantasy readers in the 90s with their gryphon series have mentioned they're under contract for more gryphon books soon, too, so if you want to write something much cooler than a dragon, consider gryphons. Or, hey, avoid the two big ones in the category and give us wyverns or manticores or something.

Offline WDR

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My first suggestion would be to screw all the beat sheets, tropes, trends, fads, etc., and write the story that you have in your head. The most successful stories are the ones that are true to the author's heart, not the ones written to the formula of the day. There is nothing wrong with squeezing in a few elements of the latest pop fads, but the story will be more original if it comes from you directly. Readers definitely prefer stories that are fresh and original and not trying to cash in on the same thing that everyone else has.
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