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Relatable.

It is a concept easy to miss/ignore in writing–especially fantasy writing. We authors get so caught up in the extreme, the fantastical, the unique that we forget to make our novels, characters, and worlds relatable. It may sadden you to learn that most readers enjoy the fantastical, but that they connect with the relatable. And you must make your readers connect. So being retable is not something we can add a dash of or skip altogether. The entire novel must have a sense of being relatable.

Thankfully, a new style of novel is becoming increasingly popular. It leads the way in both the fantastical and the relatable–showing that you do not have to sacrifice one for the other. Take the young adult novels that set a fantasy story on Earth (like my own Mark of Orion coming out this Thanksgiving). Without endorsing any of these novels, other examples include the Artemis Fowl series, Fablehaven, and the Percy Jackson novels. In these worlds authors blend the immensely strange of fantasy/magic with the immensely normal of modern day life. They cling to both the best parts of exciting, breathtaking fantasy and the real parts of life that people struggle with or enjoy every day. These novels have proven to be wildly successful because their craftsmen know how to mingle the appropriate mixes of storytelling elements.

Whether or not you are writing a fantasy story, you can learn a lot from the talent of authors in this developing genre. Do not become so caught up in the mundane that you bore your readers. Neither become so swept up in the adventurous that you forget to make your characters and the experiences they undergo relatable. Adventure is where we capture readers’ attention; the relatable parts are where we teach them and make our impact.

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