What are some plotlines you’d love to see more of in fantasy fiction? I want to include some in my book.
I’d love to see domestic magic, where it’s just small things at home as opposed to miracles or big magic.
I think talking about politics in a magical setting is interesting, instead of just having vaguely medieval background governments.
I think a family adventure group (parents with kids) would be fun!
I think a plotline that intertwines the environment very closely with magic is certainly not overdone.
Exploring mental illness and neurodiversity along with magic is awesome.
I guess these are more themes than plotlines, so I’ll try to be more specific.
I would really like a story where a girl/woman saves a boy/man without irony, some sort of romantic connection, or unique powers.
A story about a character that claims to have power or some sort of distinction falsely while pretending to have it and being forced to solve problems without that thing while seeming to have it would be a fun challenge.
Seconded! A story where the chosen one isn’t an orphaned teenager with no ties anyway, but for example a father who has to decide between leaving his family at home or dragging kids and a pregnant wife along.
I also love it when the thing that initiated the story turns out a lie/a wrong assumption and the plot goes in a totally different direction, like the hero is told to save the king, leaves for the capital, is robbed, teams up with political rebels to get his stuff back, learns that the king wasn’t even in danger and that was just a trick by the people who robbed him, but by then he’s super involved in the rebellion himself… or something.
I’ll tell you when I think of more!
Okay, for once there needs to be a main character that understands that their friends want to help them! It makes me so mad in like Keeper of the Lost Cities (OMG THOSE BOOKS BUG ME SO MUCH) how the main character is always like “well, it’s a given that I’m gonna go, but none of you guys!- sentimental pause- I just want you to be safe! NO! You can’t come with me! NO NO! Okay, fine, TWO people can come with me. TWO! And I’m gonna choose the two guys that inexplicably like me to come!” Continuing on my rant, she didn’t have to work to become friends with anyone! They all just flocked to her. And one girl became friends with her and lost her best friend because of it, and [name_f]Sophie[/name_f] (the main character) completely ignores her! The author just focuses on the main character’s little love triangle and oh yeah! She once went on an adventure with all of her friends, EXCEPT the two friends who were the FIRST ones to talk to her, before she became ‘cool’. UGHHH… I hate her sooooooo much. But anyway. [name_u]Harry[/name_u] [name_m]Potter[/name_m] also doesn’t want his friends to help him… so I think your main character(s) should realize that their friends want to help them!
Another thing is, I always feel so bad for the main character’s sibling, that has to stay at home while the main character is off on adventures… [name_f]Madeleine[/name_f] L’Engle is so amazing because the two siblings who weren’t involved in the first adventure get an entire book to themselves later on! So, I think that the main character should either be an only child or have the sibling focused on too.
Also, in so many popular fantasy books, the main character is ‘special’- in the previously mentioned Keeper of the Lost Cities, [name_f]Sophie[/name_f] has all these insane powers that were given to her by these people, while everyone else was muuuuch less powerful and only had one power. In [name_u]Harry[/name_u] [name_m]Potter[/name_m], he’s the ‘chosen one’. And yes, I know there’s more to fantasy than those two books, but those were the two that I read most recently, so they’re fresh in my mind. It would be amazing if your character(s) were just… normal of their kind. Not some sort of specially gifted person or anything.
One thing I don’t really like in fantasy books is when the group of friends or adventurers all have super specific roles- one of them is the ‘smart one’, one of them is the ‘caring one’, one of them is the ‘athletic one’, one of them is the ‘powerful one’, one of them is just useless, etc. So, maybe have more dynamic friend groups.
I’ll let you know when I think of more; the above is really more ideas of things to avoid than things to add
YESSSS I am tired of the special magical people!! I am definitely avoiding that!
I am planning on doing something like that. Great idea!
Yes, this! I’ve always been interested in distorting the concept of a “[name_m]Chosen[/name_m] One” but none of the plots I’ve put to this have panned out yet. Possibly…
- Making the [name_m]Chosen[/name_m] One the villain
- Having the [name_m]Chosen[/name_m] One be dead
- What happens the generation after a [name_m]Chosen[/name_m] One plot? (I’m pretending The Cursed Child isn’t real for a number of reasons)
I also think a story without a prophecy aspect would be really unique in this genre. [name_m]Don[/name_m]’t get me wrong, I love a good prophecy, but it is definitely cliche.
Perhaps a more nuanced villain? Not just a Big Bad Evil [name_m]Guy[/name_m]™️, but someone who can be described as morally gray. They don’t cause problems because they’re evil, they cause problems because they’re scared or confused or unnoticed. I’m tired of villains who just want to take over the world…
I also hate love triangles. Not specific to fantasy. Also, I hate it when you have an even-numbered group of individuals and they all end up pairing in the end (or, worse, if you have an odd-numbered group and they all pair up except one, who has to pair up with a minor character). I think my big issue is actually romances that seem forced. If I feel too overwhelmed by college to think about having a relationship, how the bleep is someone tasked with saving the world thinking about one??
I have to go to the store lol but I’ll probably come back to this! Definitely bookmarking it for future inspiration
Ooh, one thing I really dislike is when the adventure is something that they just sort of fell into- it would be great if it was either something that they chose to do or something that they had to do based on the specific people that they are. Like, it’s annoying when it’s something that anybody could have done but a certain person arbitrarily is the one to do it, but if it’s like, they were the only person that bothered to pick up the piece of litter that turned out to be a treasure map or something (VERY random example, just trying to think of something), then they actually had reason that they were the one to go on the adventure.
OH! And I HATE when there are some people of a certain kind that get skipped over by whatever talent or power everyone else has- in [name_u]Harry[/name_u] [name_m]Potter[/name_m], there are squibs; in Keeper of the Lost Cities, not everyone gets a power- it just seems so unfair and arbitrary.
Ooh, but it would actually be really cool if the main character actually WAS one of these people- sorta similar to something that @almostactually mentioned earlier.
lol I just broke my first cliche: the wise wizard
[name_u]Ariel[/name_u] rolled his eyes. “I may be an elder, but I’m not here to solve all your problems. Figure something out.”
This guy is sassy
The thing about cliches is that they become that way for a reason! It’s sort of like popular names; [name_f]Emma[/name_f] is so popular because it’s easily recognizable, classic, feminine, versatile, sturdy, and has marvelous namesakes. Cliches are, well, cliche because they produce storylines that people recognize and enjoy. I think it’s more important to write cliches well than avoid them altogether.
Of course, too many cliches can start to feel boring. But wise elders are useful, that’s why it’s a cliche
Yes and I do love my cliches
I am just trying to completely break out of my comfort zone in this book!
I also really hate it that apparently the boys and girls can’t be friends unless they are dating eachother or already have a boyfriend/girlfriend. UGH. And the lonely one who noone likes always ends up with the hottest guy/girl in the end. SO ORIGINAL, AUTHORS. SO ORIGINAL.
Yeah, it’s so annoying how in books from boy’s perspectives, the guy usually only likes a girl if it’s a middle grade realistic fiction book and she’s like the most popular girl in the school, or if it’s fantasy and she’s like a princess or something. At least, in books that are written for like middle schoolers, it’s different with books about late teens. But from girl’s perspectives, in fantasy books she’ll usually fall in “love” with the first magical person that she meets!
The big one I want to see more of, not technically strictly in fantasy but that’s predominantly the genre I read, is hero to villain (though done 1000 times better than season 8 of game of thrones). Also, not really a plot line, but I desperately want to read more fantasy books about wlw. I adored [name_m]Gideon[/name_m] the Ninth, the Priory of the [name_u]Orange[/name_u] Tree and [name_u]Ash[/name_u], and having a wlw main character was definitely a huge part of that.
Personally, I am not a fan of prophecies, or the [name_m]Chosen[/name_m] One. However, some twists on this I Would be interested in trying are if the [name_m]Chosen[/name_m] One is chosen to destroy the world, despite wanting to do good, or if the [name_m]Chosen[/name_m] One is a bit of an asshole (selfish, arrogant, but not evil) and we follow a character who’s trying to persuade them to save everything.
I like when characters have to work out how to manage without their main skill. Whether that be a weapon or magic, seeing them without this forced them to develop other skills. Think a soldier who normally relies on brute strength having to get out of many situations with stealth or trickery. I dont mind if their skills/powers stay gone, or return later (as long as it has been gone for enough time), as long as it has a lasting effect on how the character acts.
How magic/fantasy affects daily life. I want it to feel more part of the world than just defeating the bad guys. I like to see it affect children’s games, peoples clothes, shops, cultural celebrations, pets etc. It makes the whole world feel much richer.
I love friendships. I hate that in fantasy, the best friend of the main character is often the sidekick. The main character has their quest, and the friend is along just to help their friend. I much prefer when the friend is more of an equal, with their own, separate motivations. That the main character wants to avenge their father, and the best friend will do anything to help doesnt quite cut it for me. This also allows some internal conflict if the goals of the two dont perfectly line up, and the main character has to put their quest on hold for a while to help the friend.
I do like a bit of romance in my books, but I am so sick of love triangles. Ways to refresh this would be for the two love interests to give up because the main character is so indecisive, or for the main character to not be the centre. Perhaps the main character and someone else both have the same love interest, bonus points if they dont hate or attack each other because of it.
Learning new skills. Many fantasy books are shown through the eyes of an outsider who stumbles across the magical world, as it’s easier to show the world to the main character and the reader at the same time. However, this often leads to the main character quickly learning skills (usually swordfighting or magic), being better than people who have trained for years in just a few days/weeks. If the main character needs to learn complex new skills like this, make it take a significant amount of time, and take us along for the ride. This was victories against opponents feel like they have actually been earned.
You would like [name_f]Cressida[/name_f] Cowell’s Wizards of Once. One of the characters is a wizard who doesn’t have powers like everyone else.
Oooooh! I actually have that book but was saving it for a plane flight because books that I own that I haven’t read before are scarce! That sounds good!