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The keys to writing Fantasy and Terror

Photo: Puntadas con Hilo

To train yourself as a good writer, first, you must read great writers. Growing up reading works by great authors such as Stephen King, Lovecraft, Alan Poe, Tolkien, etc., shows you a world of literary possibilities, whether it is fantasy or terror. I grew up with those genres, and I stayed with them.

Fantasy is one of the genres that gives you more freedom. You can write anything without fear of inconsistencies, but at the same time, everything has a limit. It is always good to give free rein to the imagination but sometimes you have to bring it back to earth.

To know how to write a specific genre, first it is better to define it:
Fantasy is the genre in which our mind flies to magical worlds, it is similar to the terror that leads us to dark worlds. When we write terror we get face to face with our greatest fears.


Fantasy as its own name indicates refers to something fantastic, normally this genre has been represented - in movies, video games, and literature - in medieval worlds, but in reality, it can be developed in any scenario, regardless of its historical time. As an example we have Dragon Ball, this TV series is developed in a futuristic world with space traveling, but is within the fantasy genre, due to its fantastic and full of magic scenes.
If at some point you have been told that writing fantasy is easy, they lied to you. Fantasy is a complex genre. A work of these must contain certain elements to be able to catalog it like this.

Basically, this means where the events are going to take place. A scenario in a work of Fantasy can be, from a magical world completely created by the author, or in a real city. Actually, for a novel to be fantastic it must not necessarily be set in an imaginary world, but I do recommend that you create your own universe because then all the content will be yours, your own mythology, which you can enrich while creating new chapters.

This is what will really define if your work is fantasy or not. To create a good argument I am going to give you the same advice that my teachers gave me: Trust in your imagination. For this genre, the best thing you can do is to use all that imagination. Feel free to create new races, your own language, a different universe, etc. However, do not write the first thing that comes to mind, you have to go around until you really believe that that is what you really want, you have to introduce the characters to your world. Everything that happens during your work, will help you improve your story and create interest. Look for inspiration in works by other authors, in movies, in music... If you decide to write fantasy get inspired by what makes you fly, and try to disappear from this world for a while, is undoubtedly the best you can do.


Although Terror and Fantasy start from the author's imagination, they are different. Terror is -among other things- creating situations to generate suspense, fear, panic, etc. In this case, the genre is usually set, mostly in modern times, but, an eye can also be set in medieval, futuristic or other times. A clear example is the film Alien saga, which is set in the future. And also, another personal one is my story, The Plague, which is set in a medieval world.
Although we have said that fantasy is not easy at all, terror is not easy either.

As in fantasy, your story's scenario is crucial. It can be created by the author or be a real one. The biggest difference, perhaps, is that the universe must be gloomy, it must inspire mistrust and create tension. I think one of the best tips to write this genre would be to discover your biggest fears, remember your most shocking nightmares, identify what you are afraid of and take all those fears, to create your own scenario.

In addition, we must add that both genres have several "subgenres", such as epic fantasy, dark fantasy or historical fantasy, an example of these subgenres would be, Tolkien's Lord of the Rings as epic, the trilogy of Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire as dark and Interview with Anne Rice's Vampire as historical.

On the terror side, there are psychological terror, gothic terror and the monster's terror, etc. Some examples would be Stephen King's Misery as psychological, Bram Stoker's Dracula as Gothic and Cthulhu's call from H.P. Lovecraft as monsters.
Clearly, there are many more subgenres, but what better way than to read more and discover them with time.

Gines Martínez



Inkspired Team

Sept. 10, 2018, 3:15 p.m. 1 Report Embed 9

Comment something

E. Q. Saenz E. Q. Saenz
I'm really into dark fantasy, so it's my best combination <3 I don't see a fantasy community, though
January 20, 2019, 18:26