The Wizard Did It

            Every story needs a villain. In the fantasy world, there have been helpful wizards (think Gandolf), but most often, evil ones. Helpful wizards don’t always turn out to be all that helpful. They intend to do well, but things go wrong. Instead of starting a warming fire, they set the forest ablaze. Or what should have been a nourishing drink turns out to make someone very ill.

            We all expect the evil wizard to cause harm, so it might be a huge surprise if the wizard actually does something kind.

            Your task is to write a story in which everyone suspects the wizard. Begin with the event. What happened, how did the wizard get involved, how do the people feel, and what is the eventual result?

            Is the wizard the main character or someone else? Is the wizard friend or foe? Where does the story take place? Castle? Forest? Mountain top?

            Are there a lot of people nearby or is the location remote?

            Lots of decisions to make, keeping in mind that readers want tension. On top of that, keep in mind that tone impacts the story as well. If you write a comedic story, the overall tone is completely different if terror and damage occur.

            Have fun with this one.

Magical Realism

Magical realism is a literary genre in which the world in which the story takes place, is realistic, with normal beings, places and objects. However, there is an undercurrent of magic or fantasy in which the line between the worlds in blended. For example, magical or supernatural phenomena exist in a setting that the author does not invent.

            Fairy tales are a good example because the characters live in houses, eat food, wear the clothes of the times, but something happens, an invasion of that reality, that changes the overall story arc. Characters have traits such as levitation, telepathy or telekinesis that they employ to get what they want, influence people or outcomes, or entertain and bedazzle others.

            Imagine flying carpets, bowls that dance and ghosts that haunt an occupied home.

            Your task is to write a story that incorporates some degree of magical realism. Begin by choosing what type of magic exists in the world, whether or not it can be controlled, and who, if anyone, can manipulate the magic.

            The story can be serious with potentially deadly outcomes or have a bit of humor when things/objects act in ways that do not occur in the real world.

            Have fun with this one.

Magical Beings

Think about a fantasy story that intrigued you. The images that come to mind will encompass the elements of the world itself (the setting), the characters and their quests (heroes and antagonists) and the magical beings that either help or hinder the success of the quest.

While not all fantasy includes faeries and other such creatures, many do, especially those for younger readers. Belief in alternate realities inspires many children to explore different types of stories.

If you intend to write fantasy, one factor that you need to consider is how to populate your world. Will there only be humans in conflict with other humans as they attempt to find or steal some type of object (such as the Holy Grail)? Or will orcs, wargs, ogres, wizards, trolls and other magical beings participate in the telling? If so, how will they enrich the story?

Your task is to write a story in which at least one type of being plays a major role. First do some research to discover the known options. If none of them appeal to you, create your own by beginning with its physical appearance and then by bestowing a combination of uses and powers.

How will the presence of this being influence the story? Will it be friend or foe to your protagonist? In what ways will it affect the telling? It can either move the action forward or slow it down by presenting obstacles for your character.

Have fun with this one.