Author’s Corner: Creating Believable Fantasy

Creating Believable Fantasy

For a work of fantasy to be believable and engrossing, it must be plausible to the reader. Too much detail can become boring and make the reader think he’s back in school being harangued by a tedious teacher.

Too little detail, and the author is asking the reader to take sometimes giant leaps of faith in strange situations, and this often undermines what is already strained credibility.

Herron sits at a table with his books displayed

Author R.L. Herron

When I wrote the fantasy thriller “Blood Lake” (Readers’ Favorite Bronze Medal, ForeWord INDIE “Book of the Year” finalist and Shelf Unbound “Notable 100” book) I was confronted with these issues, but I couldn’t ask the reader to just believe – I had to demonstrate plausibility, or I would lose them.

This required me to spend a great deal of time doing extensive research. One area was Cherokee history, and the other was a deep dive into their mythology.

I researched the history of the Cherokee in America, including their forced removal from the area in Tennessee they had occupied for many hundreds, if not thousands, of years. It was an event now known as “The Trail of Tears.”

Readers who enjoy fantasy books want storytelling that allows them to be swept into the story. To paint a realistic picture of this and immerse the reader in the dynamic conflict, I had to do a lot of research into actual documented Cherokee history with the powerful governmental forces of the time. This type of actual information, when woven into the plot lines, captures the reader and the detail brings the story to life.

I also knew, in order for the story to hold the reader, there had to be a plausible foundation for the Cherokee curse that became the fantasy basis for the story. Hence the research into their mythology.

If you put in the time and effort and do the research, your novels will transcend mere fictional storytelling. They will become imbued with a realism that creates a multi-dimensional experience that, in turn, will heighten the reader’s immersion in the story.

That not only wins awards, but it also attracts readers.

About R.L. Herron

R.L. Herron, the author of multiple works of fiction, including several Readers' Favorite medal winners, lives and writes in Michigan with his lovely wife, and a finally-paid mortgage. His books are all available on Amazon and online with Barnes & Noble. Visit Author R.L. Herron's Website, Broken Glass.

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