For nearly four years now, I’ve been seriously working on my own writing projects, including NaNoWriMo and several other novels. However, not until now have I come to the understanding that I am primarily a Young Adult Science Fiction writer and that I hardly write anything else.
That is, until I started writing an Epic Fantasy (or high fantasy, whichever you prefer) novel this spring. I didn’t really think about it, I just wanted to jump into it and complete my all-time wish to write a novel with a great huge story.
But as it turns out, Sci-Fi and Epic Fantasy are two very different genres to write. So what did I understand after writing the first few chapters?
First of all, the amount of characters has drastically changed. I can’t say my previous works (all unpublished) have had very few characters – my third novel had 23 and counting important named characters – but all of them had been introduced throughout the whole trilogy. However, with my epic fantasy novel, I have written maybe a 1/9th of the novel and I already have 25 named characters, which I find is a lot for me to handle.
Well, yes, not all of them are as important as the main six of the novel, but the fact that I have to make all of them believable, give them backstory and motives, is a little bit less manageable than having only four main characters throughout a whole trilogy.
Secondly, preparation becomes a thing. I haven’t had to do a lot of work before jumping into a novel before with the Sci-Fi, but with Epic Fantasy, things would get really messy that way.
I have drawn a complete map of the main continent of the story, I have made 4 different MS Word documents in my novel folder, which include information about the plot, characters, factions and races. And there’s more to be done – the history of the world must be completely fleshed out, religions need to be worked on a little bit more and I am sure I need to keep track of the different kingdoms in the novel (let’s not even mention all the different languages I have to work out).
What I’ve also found out is that Epic Fantasy is a pain in the arse to write. I write only in third person past, but I still need to jump around all of the main characters’ viewpoints and give them all different quirks as they are shattered around the continent. Yes, for the first time, I am writing characters who aren’t all from the same region.
And what is more, all the characters whose viewpoints I write in have their own independent stories. Ooh yeah, that means I am really not writing one novel but three intertwining stories at the same time.
Welp, that’s a hell of a work to do.