Twilight Times Books logo




Order Info

      Paperback version available from Dragon Moon Press.
     ~ or visit ~


The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy
Tom Dullemond and Darin Park, Editors.


A list of contents.

"Roots of Fantasy" by John Teehan
"Bringing Characters to Life" by Lea Docken
"How to Make Your Characters Real" by Tee Morris
"Race Creation" by Michael McRae
"World Building" by Tina Morgan
"Writing Effectively" by Milena Benini
"Plot Construction" by Marko Fancovic
"Medieval Clothing" by Lauren Cleeland and Kim Bundy
"From Fast to Feast" by Michele Acker
"Health and Medicine" by Michael McRae
"Magic" by Tom Dullemond
"The Stories Within Your World" by Valerie Griswold
"Religion" by Julie Peavler-McCord
"Live fast, die young, leave a beautiful corpse. Maybe two." by Tom Dullemond, Michael McRae and Tee Morris
"Combat" by Tom Dullemond
"Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together" by Tee Morris
"Humour in Fantasy" by Darin Park and Rob Durney
"The More You Know, The Safer You Are" by Tee Morris
"Market Resources" by Tina Morgan

Along with eighteen fantasy illustrations by Michael McRae.






Darin Park

Defining Fantasy

Fantasy. What is it? Is there a defining factor

Well, if you're reading this guide then you already have some idea of what fantasy is and you're ready to plunge headlong into creating your own story or novel. The definition for fantasy is as varied as fantasy itself. Fantasy will not fit into a neat label. Let's see why.

Definition: Fantasy is about elves and fairies.

Wouldn't it be great if we could say that one definition covered it all? But we can't. Elves and fairies also run amok in children's stories. Then there are dragons and wizards and a host of other beings that could be included in the framework of fantasy

Definition: Fantasy is historical.

That could very well be true. A great number of fantasies, including Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, could fall into the historical category. But there are endless possibilities for modern day fantasies, or fantasies that don't even include an announced time period.

Definition: Fantasy is all magic.

Fantasy does include the use of magic. But what about worlds where magic doesn't exist? What if it's a world like our own without science or magic, and people and beasts of all sizes and characteristics inhabit this world? Is it science fiction? Is that the qualifying ingredient? Magic? Even though that would make a nice generic definition to finally label our elusive "fantasy" category, unfortunately, it's not that easy.

Definition: Fantasy is about the fantastic that doesn't rely on science for explanations.

Since this definition is as close as we can possibly come to describing fantasy, let's expand on that. General agreement in the present day world of authors involved in the fantasy world is that fantasy is not science fiction. Fair enough. So, just what is fantasy?

Fantasy - Explained

Loosely, fantasy is an applied mythology, a creation in the mind of an author of worlds or events that could not possibly exist in the scientific realm. There is the tendency to create a sort of mixed breed with stories such as "Star Wars" where there are laser wielding aliens and druids with some sort of magical force. But on the whole, science fiction and fantasy usually has a line of demarcation.

Fantasy uses devices such as magic, fantastic creatures that fly -- no matter how improbable in the real world -- historical settings, modern settings, and so on. They do have one thing in common. There is no scientific explanation of how these things are achieved. Instead, the author creates a base of rules that are used entirely in the world of his devising that would not apply to the normal everyday world. Science fiction applies technology and expands to try to "forecast" other devices that could possibly exist in the near or far future, in short, based on reality and possible scientific achievements. If there is a matter-transmitting device, it is grounded in "science" with an explanation of how it could be achieved. It has to be carefully written and described to make the process as believable as possible to the reader.

Fantasy uses this describing factor, as well, but it is based on rules entirely created for the world that's being written about; the author does not attempt to create the possibility of such things working in our real world. It is a self-contained compilation that engages the reader in fantastic things that live inside the mind and propels the reader into a world where imagination is the key.

In creating this book, authors with expertise in different fields were called upon to give you the best possible learning devices to create your world. You will be taken on a step-by-step process of character creation, race building, world building, magic and its uses; combat, weapons and armor, religion, mythologies and a host of other ingredients for a successful story. This in-depth look at fantasy will generate inside you a wellspring of ideas. With the resources contained throughout these chapters, you will find a way to create a believable world of your own, with living, breathing characters.

Welcome to the world of fantasy. Welcome to the world of your imagination. Welcome home.



Comment from Piers Anthony

"I approached this book, The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy, on two levels: as an experienced and successful writer of fantasy, and from the adopted perspective of a first-time fantasy writer. My impression is that this book fits somewhere in between. My experienced self doesn't need it, but finds parts interesting, such as the discussions of using religion, and arms and armor.

Certainly there is comprehensive information and advice here. My concern is that it may be more than the novice writer cares to digest. He/She may simply want to dive in and start writing about magic, dragons, and fair maidens, and be daunted by the detail. So I think I see this book as a good guide for the writer of poor fantasy who wants to improve. The guidelines are good, even if they don't seem to apply well to frameworks such as my Adept or Incantations of Immortality that are not medieval or set in primitive societies."

Piers Anthony, author of the popular Xanth series and The Incantations of Immortality series.



Order Info

      Paperback version available from Dragon Moon Press.
     ~ or visit ~


  Authors | Book Store | Catalogue | Chapbook | Cyber Shoppe | FAQs | Feature | Freebies | Gift Shop | Main | News | Order Info |




Web site copyright © 1999, 2000 - 2005. Lida E. Quillen. All rights reserved.
Website designed and maintained by Lida E. Quillen.

Twilight Times Books logo design by Joni.

This page last updated 03-15-04.
border by Windy