Fantasy Fiction is composed of stories set in imagined worlds, or set in our own world but with elements such as magic or supernatural creatures. The latter is sometimes called "supernatural".
It is interesting to note that fantasy can be combined with almost any other genre; Romantic Fiction, Science Fiction, Comedy, Action-Adventure Fiction, etc. Fantasy is one of the most popular genres for amateur writers.
The author may think that just because it is "their world" they can do whatever they want with it. This is true. If they want to have lakes of purple fire, that's fine. It's up to them. They just have to keep things in their world consistent, establish rules, and don't try to come up with scientific explanations for things like shapehifting (unless you're a biology professor). Just say "magic".
When they are mapping out their world, they should bear certain elements of geography and ecology in mind:
-Forest|Swamp barriers don't work. Swamps are in low lying areas, so at least mention the ground sloping downward, and maybe include changes in the vegetation. It doesn't really matter if you know what it's changing to, just say it's changing. If you must put in a steep barrier, you'd better have a cliff right there.
- Vegetation changes and gets thicker when you get near water.
- Not every water source has to be a massive lake or river that goes on your map. It's okay to have tiny little streams, springs, ponds, or pools.
- Mountains aren't bare shards of rock jutting from the ground out of nowhere. One, they've got vegetation on the bottom, and even when you leave the tree line there will still be things like lichen, flowers, and shrubs (unless you're in a polar region). Two, there'd better be lots of mountains to go with it.
- There are several different types of wetland. There are bogs (hummocks, moss, cranberries, sparse trees), fens (water less acidic so different plants are there, like sedges and heaths), and marshes (year-round standing water and cattails). It's not all swamp (water, grass, and monsters).
- Water is life. There will be lots of animals in and around water, especially if there isn't any for miles around.
There are many different creatures used in fantasy. Some people use existing creatures, some make their own, and others do both. When using an existing creature, you will want to add your own elements to it to make it less cliche, but you will also want to do research on established mythologies to avoid straying too far. If you're going to make dragons breathe rainbows, just make up your own race (or a "sub-race").
Common Mythical Creatures Edit
- Elves - (Typically) Graceful, long-lived humanoids with pointed ears. They usually live in forests and do not eat meat.
- Dwarves (Typically) Rough, short humanoids who live in underground tunnels and have a fascination with stonework.
- Dragons See main article.
- Unicorns - (Typically) White horses with a single horn on their head
- Pegasi - (Typically) White horses with feathery wings.
- Fairies - (Typically) Small, shiny, winged humanoids. some bring good luck, others are evil.
- Merpeople (Typically) Swimming people with the body of a man or woman but the tail of a fish.
- Trolls/Ogres - (Typically) Large, brutish humanoids with gray or green skin and harsh, guttural voices. They kidnap and/or eat humans and wield clubs, axes, and hammers.
The descriptions are simply so you can get an idea of the creature. Don't strictly adhere to them.
Less Common Creatures Edit
There are many creatures which hardly ever get used in fantasy, but they can be just as good as elves, dwarves, and dragons.
- Onis - Japanese demons which deceiver and devour humans, as well as people's souls after they die.
- Tengus - Chinese crow-like demons
- Tanukis - Japanese "raccoon dogs" which have a jolly and mischievous personality, though can be gullible and easy to trick. They have the power to transform objects into leaves (and vice versa).