(Revisiting and revising some of my posts when I first was blogging 2yrs ago. . .)

When I research the “best” fantasy books of “all time” I get multiple lists with many of the same books: Lord of the Rings, Earthsea, Wheel of Time, Sword of Truth, etc.

Some common items I find with these books on the lists:

  1. High Magic – magic is a key plot device and common amongst the characters in the story
  2. Reluctant heroes and/or unlikely heroes
  3. Anyone could die at any time
  4. Events are grand and could change the face of the entire world as they know it
  5. Expansive world-building
  6. Interesting magic system(s)
  7. Armies & war
  8. Possible prophecy plot

Now these are some generalizations and everyone has their own list of what they feel makes great fantasy. But if these generalizations hold pretty close to truth, then shouldn’t any aspiring fantasy writer want to include these same qualities into their story?

James Scott Bell starts off “Revision & Self-Editing” by hitting on the marketable qualities of a protagonist. If you take Mr. Bell’s advice are you being formulaic? Or is it smart writing to see the trends of the masses and write with those same qualities? I’m not saying we need another vampire romance novel, but if the masses are still buying, why not?

I’ve read to write for yourself, but there is an audience that has to want to buy what you’ve put on paper. I think the market needs careful consideration.

Set the timer for 10-minutes and try this writing prompt.

Writing prompt #0030


Write about the qualities of your favorite protagonists from your favorite movies and/or novels.