8 Key Steps to Binge-Worthy YA Fantasy - Deepstash
How to Write Page-Turning YA Fantasy that Keeps Readers Up At Night
  • Craft Complex, Relatable, 3-D Characters
  • Craft A Villain That’s Hard to Hate and Love
  • Build Romance Into the Subplot
  • Always Show Over Tell
  • Use the Five Senses Instead of Deferring to Explaining
  • Good Dialogue Matters
  • Craft An Immersive Fantasy World
  • Build In Plot Twists Readers Never See Coming

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Tips to achieve this:

  1. Learning about the character on a surface level
  2. Understanding how the character thinks through personal journal prompts
  3. Journal prompts from the POV (point of view) of close-related characters such as parents, siblings, or a master

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A few romance tropes of YA fantasy are:

  • Enemies to lovers (my personal favorite)
  • Best friends to lovers
  • Strangers to lovers
  • Love at first sight

But they are some cliche's to tread on carefully:

  1. The brooding, sexy male with dark hair and mysterious eyes
  2. Underdog girl seeming to be plain yet chosen by all
  3. Characters with baggage that only the other understands
  4. Characters who are constantly fighting, yet are in love, but keep trying to kill each other

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Always Show Over Tell

Use Body Language Liberally

Body language allows you to shift a reader from reading to experiencing, the subtle change needed to keep them flipping the page.

One sign that you’re telling instead of showing what your characters are feeling is your use of emotional tells. These are little tags like ‘was scared’ and ‘felt happy’.

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Good Dialogue Matters

Dialogue serves to fulfill several aspects:

  1. Dialogue allows readers to learn more about the character speaking
  2. Dialogue allows readers to learn about important facts pertaining to the world
  3. Dialogue reveals the character’s world view and hints if they’ll change

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Craft An Immersive Fantasy World

Building such a world is a feat on it’s own, however, here are some the main elements to consider:

  • The magic system
  • Geography of the land
  • Government
  • Money
  • Education
  • Culture
  • Fantasy creatures and monsters
  • Festivals, holidays
  • Legends and myths
  • Roles and ethics

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Some tips to accomplish this are:

  • A revelation that is new yet weaves through the fabric of the story intricately
  • A shocking detail about an obvious character with a greater secret than readers realized
  • Explanation towards the book’s end about details learned in the beginning
  • A new meaning for something that seemed set in stone

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