What not to (not) write in fantasy.

I’ve seen some posts going around on what not to write in fantasy, many of which amount to:

  • Don’t write evil kings.
  • Don’t write people who are evil for the sake of evil.
  • Don’t write bullies.
  • Don’t write villains at all actually.
  • Don’t write mentors.
  • Don’t let your characters learn how to do hard things on their own though.
  • Don’t write people on adventures.
  • Don’t write people fighting evil governments.
  • Don’t write any fantasy species ever written before.
  • Don’t write any fantasy trope ever written before.
  • Don’t write any fantasy plot ever written before.
  • Just… don’t fucking write fantasy I guess??

And this is such utter bullshit, my friends.

We do need more originality and diversity in fantasy, but we don’t need to remove everything that fantasy is and has been in the process.

(Especially, especially, when diversity is being included in traditionally cishet white male protagonist fantasy stories.)

Maybe the chosen one with special magic powers and a royal bloodline going on a quest with a group of friends to defeat the evil king has been done before with a white cis man a thousand times over, but how many times has a black trans woman got to go on that adventure?

Maybe elves and orcs have been written into the dust, but they still make great templates on which to tell stories with original twists, and there’s nothing about them that stops a good, emotional story from hitting you straight in the heart.

Maybe dragons have been done by every writer ever to write fantasy, but you know what? Dragons are fucking awesome, my dudes. Many readers are always gonna love them.

Maybe we have told the same fantasy stories over and over again, but every step you take away from the known template is a step you have to spend more and more exposition on before the reader will understand your original creation.

So don’t let anyone make you feel like that your (inclusive) fantasy story is too ‘traditional’ to be good. As long as you produce a well written story you’ve put your heart into, it’ll be a story many readers will love. 

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