This week’s Genre Grenade blows up Fantasy Writing in a 10 minute burst so you can bring goblins, heroes and trolls to your web content. Fill the goblet of the CMS with fantastic workplace web writing, either by creating it, or by hiring a true fantasy writer. Conjure up the dark lords and grab your invisible cape. We’ve got content to publish.
Hero. Artifact. Quest.
The Fantasy Formula
Hero. Artifact. Quest. Think Frodo, The Ring and the Journey to Mordor.
- Choose the hero and give him or her an important quest that they must undertake to gain maturity, power or Sales Goal.
- Choose a magic artifact that the character must obtain during this quest. Like Free Lunch Fridays.
- Then create a huge threatening situation (a war, natural disaster or magical event) in which the characters are all at risk – of losing their power, authority, self respect, lives etc. Much like your average work week.
Don’t mess with Middle Earth. It’s already muddy, filled with molten pools and pure healing waters. Besides, it’s a rule. Use the elements around you. Transform the water cooler, the supply room and the coffee grinds of the day-to-day and see what happens.
Since you’re creating a world no one has visited, it helps to have a map. And that means actually making a map. Here’s an awesome shortcut from Rob Parnell of the easywriting blog.
- Get a very large sheet of paper.
- Draw the coastlines, archipelagos and put some islands around it.
- Divide your kingdom into three parts with border lines.
- Put cities, farming communities, military posts etc. newar the coasts and rivers.
- Draw trade routes thru the badlands where nobody goes.
Remember that unlike Science Fiction, where the details are grounded in what plausibly could happen, fantasy is 100% imagined.
IV bags and hospital johnnies threaten mutiny against the supply chain!
In fantasy, high tech means magic swords, cursed jewels and invisible capes as power suits. Remember, Science Fiction deals with the ‘theoretically possible’. Fantasy deals with the impossible. But here’s the big one, and most obvious. Magic. That’s the secret weapon for all Fantasy. Dark, light, wacky or ripped from the occult, it’s the secret powers. As a writer, it’s the ultimate ‘get out of jail free’ card. No rational explanation necessary. Blame it on the magic. Again, transform the ordinary. For example, the bedpans, IV bags and hospital johnnies of your hospital eBlast take on supernatural powers and threaten mutiny against the supply chain!
What blog on monetary policy couldn’t stand for a couple of evil princes, some disfigured villains and a conniving power queen rival? Turn your org chart into a ranking of Warlocks, elves and dragons. If you want to go deeper, describe the class system for each. Who’s the king or the head magician? How does the government of Elders work? What do the peasants do? Are there bands of mercenaries roaming the countryside? Write a quick line for every character, describing their physical appearance, and an agenda that is at odds with other characters. Shouldn’t be too hard if you work in corporate America.
I willeth the Escalade for my liege be thine!
The stylized language and middle earthian terms can either dweeb up the story, or make it dark and creepy. Hobbits and Gremlins and Dwarves, Oh My! Dig a little deeper and the formalized speaking style starts to scare your co-workers as you bargain for an upgrade at the car rental counter. I willeth the Escalade for my liege be thine!
You make the rules of this new kingdom. Spell them out. The witch can’t get wet. The vampire can’t be exposed to sunlight. Set up the rules and then the challenge will be to avoid them.
The Common Mistaketh
That one word, Fantasy, carries tremendous stereotyping as World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons and Star Wars geek-lit. It has relegated the likes of Gulliver’s Travels, The Lord of the Rings, and Animal Farm to the children’s shelf. And yet the most compelling books for our time, at least for young readers, have all been heavily rooted in fantasy. Harry Potter. The Hunger Games. Twilight. And does anybody remember Mary Poppins?
Dip your pen in dragon’s blood. The adventure awaits.
A Practical Tip
Future casting is a nice way to say making stuff up. Every organization projects their products, earnings, growth, whatever. By turning this mundane reporting into a Middle Earthian adventure you’ve created a story that can be told throughout the organization. A vision of where your business is headed.
More Genre Grenades: Incorporating Gonzo Journalizm into Corporate Content