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Question
Hello, thanks for taking time to read this.  I like to write Fantasy stories, and am working on developing my own world. I am great and making a map, churning out interesting characters and settings, but I have trouble making a good plot. And when I do get inspired, and put it down on paper, it seems to abrupt. It seems like there isnít enough back story, and I really have trouble keeping it from becoming a novel when I try to put back story in, but even then the plot feels like it starts and ends in a hurry. Is there anything I can do to fix this problem?

Answer
Tyler, this is pretty much just my opinion... and one I've never heard anyone else voice... but here it is.

Fantasy tales do not lend themselves very well to short fiction.  This is especially true if you're talking about inventing your own world, complete with maps and whatnot.  And that's WHY: you're inventing a whole new world.  If you want your readers to really feel that world come alive, for it to be as real in their minds as Middle Earth or Narnia, then you need longer fiction.

If you want to stick with short fiction, then you'd best stick to fantasy elements that are tried and true.  The less new information you need to impart for the readers' enjoyment of the tale, the more time you can spend on plot.

It could be (and without reading your work, I can't say for sure) that your "abrupt" plots seem to lack backstory because your world isn't coming through as fully as it needs to.  

My other caveat on this is that I'm not a huge fan of short fiction.  In fact, I'm not even a mild fan of it.  I don't like it a bit.  Truly high quality short stories are, in my opinion, about as common as good food in a high school cafeteria.  Not impossible to find, but not easy, by any stretch.

If you're still fixed on doing short fantasy, I suggest picking up some collections of short fantasy fiction, to see how it's done.  See how those writers managed to convey a whole new world in only a handful of pages, and see if those techniques can work for you.

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Vincent M. Wales

Expertise

I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.

Experience

For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

Education/Credentials
BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

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