I'm thinking of writing my first fiction novel based on a medieval fantasy setting and I know nothing about writing. Any pointers for this type of genre? I think I read somewhere that you need a hero, and a quest item, etc. etc...

Personally I feel the novel will be somewhat of a tragedy. The hero being rejected by his family, betrayed by his brother, the girl he's in love with is killed by a female villain who is in love with the hero. The hero kills the female villain, all during the process of trying to save everyone from something(not yet determined).

I only have experience at technical writing, such as documentation as such. I have read maybe over 70 medieval fantasy novels, and now I'm edger to write my own.

Any pointers?


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    Are you writing for your own pleasure, or for the purpose of getting the work published? – David Aldridge May 4 '13 at 10:03
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    @DavidAldridge: What's the difference? – John Smithers May 4 '13 at 14:30
  • Purely pleasure, but I want to self-publish. – Xarcell May 4 '13 at 19:50
  • Hi Xarcell! Best of luck with your work :) This question is extremely open-ended - it's not really a question, it's an invitation for a wide variety of tips and advice. That could be an endless list, half of which would be equally applicable to any number of other similar questions. As such, I don't think this question fits the Stack Exchange Q&A format, and I'm going to close it. (continued:) – Standback May 5 '13 at 12:25
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    However, there's lots of great advice on writing in general, and fantasy in particular, all over the internet; members will be happy to point out their favorites in our chat room. And if you have any specific questions that pop up during your work, we'd love to have 'em! – Standback May 5 '13 at 12:25

Questions about "what to write about" are off-topic. But your question can be also interpreted as "how to start a novel" and so I'm going to answer that one.

First a misconception on your side:

I know nothing about writing.

This sentence is only excusable as a citation. But your name is not John Snow. So forget about it, because writing this question proved that you know something: Adding characters to sentences and sentences to paragraphs. Welcome to the club, you are a writer ;)

Now, you have read over 70 fantasy novels. That's a good start for writing a fantasy novel yourself. You know the basic concepts what is expected in a fantasy novel (or at least what you expect) and that's a good start.

Even more, you have a hero, a villain and a kind of plot. Give your hero and your villain a name, jot down how they look like, what they are good in, what they are bad in, open your word processor and go!

Yes, don't think too much. You have a gut feeling. Listen to it, it keeps you writing. Don't bother about rules, what should be done, what should be avoided. Just write how you think it's fine.

This might be counter-intuitive, because we have here a whole site with all these nice tips how to write a better story. But the truth is: Before you do not have some experience in writing all these tips will not help you. They even can be dangerous and kill your creative voice. Nothing is worse than follow rules you do not understand. And you cannot understand them without some experience. Even if they sound totally logical when reading them.

So follow the good old writer's principle: Just write! And if you stumble over more problems after you started your novel, come back and maybe we can help.


If you're an analytical type (and if you do technical writing, I guess you are), Writing Fiction for Dummies could be a very good match for you. It was for me :)

If you want to "try before you buy", read http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/snowflake-method/

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