HOW TO WRITE BELIEVABLE FANTASY
One of the dumbest ideas for a novel would have to come from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Think about it. Some kids go to a house where they’re not wanted and they find this wardrobe. After finding it, they realize that this glorious piece of bedroom furniture is enchanted. Not only that, but the wardrobe, if opened by the right people, has an entirely different world hidden within it called Narnia. That’s ridiculous!
But this is where it gets crazy. We loved it! I know I certainly did. I sat on the floor of my third grade class listening to my teacher read that book to us, and I was enthralled, drinking in every word like I’d guzzle down a Gatorade after a 3 mile run in 100 degree weather.
If I’d pitched this story to you without you knowing anything about it, you’d say I’d lost my mind. Some kids go into a wardrobe to find an enchanted kingdom within. That’ll really get the agents chomping at the bit.
The idea here is that C.S. Lewis sold the idea, and not only that, he continues to sell the idea. People love the The Chronicles of Narnia, and it’s because C.S. Lewis did one thing right: his characters believed that what was happening was all true.
Many fantasy stories seem to teeter on the edge when it comes to presenting the fantastic parts of their world. It’s as if the writer is trying to convince the reader that the world really does exist! Characters become idiots so that some old sage can recount history to the main, as if the main didn’t already know the history herself.
C.S. Lewis and all other great writers of fantasy aren’t afraid of the fantastic. There’s no need to persuade the reader that these events could perhaps happen indeed. Twilight introduces vampires in a new way. Instead of having sunlight burn their flesh, it makes their faces sparkle. I can’t say that I was a fan of that, but it works because the author doesn’t feel uneasy about presenting it.
If you’re writing fantasy, don’t allow yourself to be bogged down with endless explanations. Let your characters live in the world and write the story as if they’ve lived in the world their entire lives.