Writing Fantasy: How to Write Fresh When Following a Recipe
by: Jeff Wheeler
When a reader falls in love with a new fantasy world, they can be skittish about trying something new. One of my heroes growing up (and the man who inspired me to write) was Terry Brooks and his Shannara books always outsold his other series. I was willing to follow him into the world of the Magic Kingdom series and his urban fantasy series, but like many others felt the recipe of Shannara to be the most enjoyable. I was always ready for another helping!
During my own writer’s journey, I did not want to be constrained to write in a single world. My imagination has always been like the opening credits of Star Trek, with a craving to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go—well, you get the drift.
But that leads to a problem. How do you entice readers to try out a new world when everyone already loves the old one? Why start from scratch when the recipe works?
In my view, the wonderful thing about ingredients is the variety of offerings. Whoever decided to crush Oreos into vanilla ice cream was a genius. Authors are inspired by a variety of sources and then mash-up different ideas to create interesting new concoctions. Some work, some don’t. We explore and play with many. I’ve always liked to push and test myself to do something nontraditional.
So how do I make it easy for readers to swallow?