What I Look For In A Fantasy Novel (Guest Post from The Daisy Tree)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Hey, peoples!! Today I thought I'd surprise you all with a special treat: a guest post from my blogging-buddy, Hannah Mary Walsh of The Daisy Tree. She's a super-sweet friend & her blog is precious too! (Plus, our first names AND initials are the same!! How cool is that??) Be sure to stop by and tell her hello for me! And I hope you enjoy reading this list of her favorite things to find in a fantasy novel... <3

  "Hello Readers of Plottinger Twist! I'm Hannah from The Daisy Tree - a different Hannah than you usually hear from! Hannah kindly invited me to guest post on this lovely blog of hers, and I was completely happy to do so. I hope you enjoy this post.

 --- I've always been an avid reader of the fantasy genre. I especially love High Fantasy - fantasy books that take place in another world. I've always been enthralled with stories involving heroic quests, princes and princesses, and magical creatures. Today, I'll be sharing with you a list of six qualities that I look for in a High Fantasy novel. (Keep in mind that these things are my own personal preferences...I know that many other readers may have completely different opinions on what they think a fantasy novel should be!)

1. Epic World-Building
When I think of great world-building, I immediately think of J. R. R. Tolkien and his Middle-Earth books. In those books, Tolkien creates an incredibly rich and complex world. It's hard to believe that he just made it all up. In fantasy books, I think the world needs to be thoroughly (though interestingly) described and explained in order to get the sense that you are truly visiting another place.

2. A Relatable Protagonist
  Because fantasy books are set in an unfamiliar world, I think that having a main character whom we can connect to is very important. Someone like Jill Pole from C. S. Lewis' The Silver Chair, or Ani from Shannon Hale's The Goose Girl. We need someone who is lifelike and realistically flawed.

3. An Unpredictable Plot
 Sometimes fantasy novels follow a familiar pattern. Something like: young, reluctant hero gets swept off on an adventure after finding out that he/she is the chosen one, and with the guidance of a wise old mentor and the help of a magical item fulfills his/her destiny of saving the world. Sound familiar? Probably. But there's nothing wrong with that! Some of the greatest books follow a pattern similar to that. At the same time, though, there needs to be some unique aspects to the plot and some unexpected twists to keep things from getting predictable.

4. Humor
This one is important to me! Fantasy books can sometimes be so serious and dark, so it's nice to have an amusing character or two who lightens things up. Every story needs a Reepicheep or a thief named Eugenides.

5. A Good Villain
Well that's an oxymoron, is it not? By a good villain, I mean a well-written one. I think an interesting villain needs to have some depth of character to him/her - not just be mindlessly evil for no reason.

6. Portrayal of Real Truths
The Fantasy stories that mean the most to me are the ones that portray real truths. The stories that give a clear and beautiful picture of true courage, sacrifice, or kindness. I think good stories - fantasy or otherwise - make us think and teach us something important.

“One tiny Hobbit against all the evil the world could muster...He knew he would try again. Fail, perhaps. And try once more. A thousand, thousand times if need be, but he would not give up the quest.”

There are more things that I like included in a fantasy story - sword-fighting, a sweet romance, beautiful quotes, talking dragons, and so on, but the six that I included in this post are the things that I consider to be pretty essential to a story. Those are the things that make my favorite fantasy stories my favorite. I'd love to hear what you think! Let me know what some of your favorite fantasy novels are, and what you think are essential qualities to a good fantasy story. Toodles! :) "


  1. Replies
    1. I think it's cool to see what other people look for in their books & compare notes... (It's always cool when they happen to line up!) :)

  2. Great post! I love fantasy, and I agree with you. All of your points are pretty essential to a fantasy story. I also love that you mentioned Ani from The Goose Girl. She's a very relatable character.

    Have you read Seraphina by Rachel Hartman? It's a very well written YA fantasy, with the added bonuses of talking dragons, beautiful quotes, and sweet romance. I think you'd enjoy it!

    1. Hey, thanks so much! I haven't read that yet, but I've heard some great things. I definitely need to check that one out!

    2. Hmmm... The Goose Girl. That one sounds too interesting to NOT look up!! :D

  3. Great post to remind me, a fantasy fiction writer, what to focus on and the bigger picture of fantasy fiction. I agree with you on all of the aspect you talked about and loved the examples used!

    1. Hi, Hannah! Thanks for stopping by & reading!! Didn't she do a great job? :D
      I'd love to check out your blog if you have one! Come again! <3

  4. Oh, I totally agree! These six items are very important for a fantasy novel. And talking dragons are just chocolate icing on the cake. :) You should do a follow-up post with a list of novels that fit these requirements!

    1. Thanks for stopping by & following, Serena!! :) Yes, I think Hannah should come back eventually... (Maybe we can persuade her to? lol!) Your blog is lovely, btw!! <3


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