NaNoWriMo Tip #4: Take the Fantasy Novelist’s Exam

By Jason Boog 

Quick test! Open up your National Novel Writing Month manuscript and re-read the first few pages–has anything happened yet? Now ask yourself, does your novel include “a young farmhand with mysterious parentage?”

These questions were adapted from the Fantasy Novelist’s Exam, an extremely helpful test that will help aspiring writers spot overused, derivative, or cliched plots before they get out of hand. This is our fourth NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. As writers around the country join the writing marathon this month, we will share one piece of advice or writing tool to help you cope with this daunting project.

Here’s more from the Fantasy Novelists Exam: “Ever since J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis created the worlds of Middle Earth and Narnia, it seems like every windbag off the street thinks he can write great, original fantasy, too. The problem is that most of this ‘great, original fantasy’ is actually poor, derivative fantasy. Frankly, we’re sick of it, so we’ve compiled a list of rip-off tip-offs in the form of an exam. We think anybody considering writing a fantasy novel should be required to take this exam first.”