The Most Common Mistake in Fantasy Writing

Treason, Book 2 of Lichgates Trilogy, By S. M. Boyce

Treason, Book 2 of Lichgates Trilogy, By S. M. Boyce


Lichgates, By S. M. Boyce

Lichgates, By S. M. Boyce


I’m thrilled to have S. M. Boyce joining us today for a guest post. Boyce is a fantasy and paranormal fiction novelist who also dabbles in contemporary fiction and comedy. Author Thomas Winship said of her work, “Boyce’s storytelling is so rich and deftly executed that I found myself bouncing between pure amazement, unadulterated enjoyment, and absolute, perverse envy. She is that good.” Today, Boyce shares her insights about fantasy writing and world building. Without further ado, please welcome S. M. Boyce!


First off, thanks for having me! I’m here on my Treasonous Blog Tour to talk about my favorite thing in the world: books. In particular, the fantasy genre.


Isn’t fantasy fun? It has magic, monsters, adventure, battles, and a general sense of awesomeness that can’t quite be matched by anything else. Fantasy is based on the inexplicable. It brings the impossible to life. Both the author and reader can just let their imaginations roam. Well, for the most part. The novel still has to be believable.


A few of you just scoffed at me. I mean, theoretically, I just contradicted myself, right? Fantasy is based on the impossible. So why should it be believable?


No matter the genre, a fiction novel must allow the reader to suspend belief. That’s where the true power of fantasy comes from: the ability to let yourself completely and totally buy into whatever world the author creates. So if the author has a world where characters act with irrational motivation, we as the reader are going to scratch our heads a bit. We’re going to pull away from the story, and if it continues, we’ll put the book down.


Characters need solid motivation. Dialogue must be natural and fluid. The plot must include cause and effect. Creatures must appear before the plot needs them, or they’ll seem like a deus ex machina.


In essence, even the wildest story with the craziest characters and the most bizarre creatures must be believable. For instance, take a look at my paranormal fantasy novel Lichgates. It’s the first in the Grimoire Trilogy, a series I’ve been planning since 2006. I’ve put intense effort into making sure the plot flows in a realistic arc and the characters’ emotions and reactions are raw and real. The world I created—Ourea—is both beautiful and terrifying. Ourea’s magic has a philosophy to it, and the kingdoms even have economies and political struggles. It’s a diverse world, and you catch glimpses of it through the main characters’ narratives. There is a broader world behind the plot, one you can explore if you feel the desire. If you don’t want to do that, this background still creates what I believe is a more rounded, realistic setting that allows the reader to fully suspend belief.


So what do you think? What fantasy novel did you read recently that just wowed you, and why? Did you find yourself wishing you could slip away into the world the author created?


Boyce is a fantasy and paranormal fiction author who likes sarcasm and cookies. You can find her books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

 Boyce’s Books

Lichgates (Grimoire Trilogy #1)

Treason (Grimoire Trilogy #2)

Connect with Boyce

Website | Blog | Advice for Writers

Facebook | Twitter

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Goodreads Page | Amazon Page


S. M. Boyce, Author of Treason, Book II of the Lichgates Trilogy

S. M. Boyce, Author of Treason, Book II of the Lichgates Trilogy













Enter the Treason Blog Tour Giveaway!

Enter the Treason Blog Tour Giveaway!




  • Posted December 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much! It was a pleasure stopping by.

  • Posted December 17, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Great post, SM! Always pleasure to host you and get the word out about your books!

  • Posted December 17, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    I felt that way when I read Treason. I loved going to Ourea and meeting all the characters you created in that amazing world.

  • Posted December 17, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Great post, SM (feels odd calling you that!). You are spot on – it is vital fantasy has rules, consistency and plausibility. For writers the delights are in creating that in the background and not even using half they fabricate! For readers it’s that true escapism, where you leave the grimness of reality and ease into another place.
    I’m 75% through Zelazney’s Amber series, and his creation is wondrous- fabulous concepts but grounded by strong writing and memorable characters. Same as any good fiction I suppose!
    Good luck with the books- Lichgates has been on my TBR list for a while!

  • Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    That’s what I love, too, Kayla, getting to go there and meet the characters, because it’s so real! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    So true, Ross. Thanks for sharing!

  • Posted December 18, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, guys! Glad the post resonated with you. And Ross, hope you get a chance to read Lichgates soon!

    (P.S. You can just call me Boyce)

  • Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Ah! I may try that. Silverberry, instead of A. R. The two together sound like a fantasy novelist, but the A. R. alone sounds like a Madison Avenue exec!

  • Posted December 18, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Great post. Thanks for sharing the info. I think I’ll re-read my latest manuscript to make sure the realism and fantasy has a good balance.

  • Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for stopping by, Isabella! Hope your writing flows!

  • Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Favorite line from interview: Creatures must appear before the plot needs them.

  • Posted December 23, 2012 at 2:51 am | Permalink

    Yes, Alonna! That line is subtle, but deep. By extension, anything that needs to happen with a character should also be established, so we believe it when they do it. I remember watching a western, I can’t remember which one, but one of the characters was cracking nuts through out the movie. At the climax of the movie, he cracked a nut at a crucial moment. If I recall correctly, it made the villains bullet go astray. That nut cracking suddenly took on a world of significance, and brought a satisfied grin to my face. That feeling when everything falls into place is such a rush.

  • Posted December 23, 2012 at 3:16 am | Permalink

    Yep, I agree, Silverberry. Glad you agree with that line, Alonna. It’s one I write by!

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