What makes a fantasy story? Our first instinct might be to answer ‘magic’ – spells, mythical beasts, potions. Yet fantasy contains multiple key elements. Read the following simple breakdown of elements of the fantasy genre and tips to write magical, fantastical tales:
What are the main elements of fantasy?
Fantasy is (according to The Oxford Dictionary‘s definition):
‘A genre of imaginative fiction involving magic and adventure, especially in a setting other than the real world.’
Many fantasy novels involve adventure as a key feature. Characters may discover portals to other worlds or discover hidden magic, wonder and surprise in our own world.
Novels from C.S. Lewis’s classic Chronicles of Narnia series to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series populate imaginary worlds with mythical beasts, power-seeking tyrants and more.
Characters adventure through worlds where the impossible is possible. Exploring the ‘impossible’ is another common element in fantasy. Magical wands may weave spells that defy the laws of physics as we know them.
Other times magic is spoken, chanted, or ripples through land and landscape.
Let’s explore individual elements of fantasy, with examples from books that suggest how to use each well: