Writing Dark Fantasy

I like horror and fantasy, mix those two together and you get Dark Fantasy, a sub-genre of horror.

Now, what makes a fantasy a dark fantasy? Is it things that go bump in the night? Dark and terrifying worlds and characters and creatures? The dark alleyways that smell like trouble? The gross and gruesome nature of death?

The answer to these questions is yes, obviously. But, Dark Fantasy is more than just horror mixed with fantasy. What is considered a dark fantasy anyway?

Harry Potter? Red Rising? Hunger Games? The Darkest Minds?

Naturally, one might assume these titles are perfect representations of dark fantasy but if you look at the definition of dark fantasy it’s simply horror + fantasy= dark fantasy. And even though dystopian novels and series have some horror in them and are dark in nature, I don’t think they fit the bill. Not all the way, at least.

I’ve read plenty of dystopian novels and I have to say they weren’t that horrifying, at all actually. I’ve also read horror novels and only one author has been able to instill a semblance of fear in me. You guessed it, the king himself (Stephen King).

I’ll get to the point before this drags on: How does one write a proper dark fantasy novel? A novel that’s not just dark but terrifying as well? That’s not just dystopian but also a living nightmare?

Well the answer is real simple: Make that your intention when you write your dark fantasy novel.


  1. think about what scares people the most (ten things at most) and find a way to incorporate all of it into your novel.
  2. Don’t just think dark, think dark and terrifying and horrifying and even a little gross.
  3. make your most intense scenes your scariest as well, make the reader crawl out of their skin and hold their collarbone protectively.
  4. read horror and dystopian novels, of course.
  5. try to make your world a place no one would want to live on but at the same time people would visit just to see what it’s like.

Those are just five things that can help you with dark fantasy, along with tropes and archetypes and story and stuff like that (which will come in the near future). This is just to orient you, you know? Get your brain working and tweaking to start hatching the plan .

Anyway, that’s my spiel for the moment.

Till next week. . .

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