The 3 Keys to Successful Portal Fantasies

The 3 Keys to Successful Portal Fantasies

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Portal fantasies are both evergreen and surging in popularity. The classic trope of people traveling from one universe to another is rich with possibility, and every generation has their iconic portal fantasy, from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to Every Heart a Doorway. One aspect of portal fantasies that attracts authors in the SFF genres is its simplicity: The fundamental mechanic of a portal fantasy instantly injects tension, mystery, and adventure into your plot while leaving you free to do the fun work of building a fictional universe from the ground up. But as sturdy as they are, even portal fantasies can go very, very wrong. This OnDemand webinar covers the three keys to writing a successful one.


Jeff Somers ( began writing by court order as an attempt to steer his creative impulses away from engineering genetic grotesqueries. His feeble memory makes every day a joyous adventure of discovery and adventure even as it destroys personal relationships, and his weakness for adorable furry creatures leaves him with many cats. He has published nine novels, including the Avery Cates series of noir-science fiction novels from Orbit Books (, the darkly hilarious crime novel Chum from Tyrus Books, and most recently tales of blood magic and short cons in the Ustari Cycle, including the novel We Are Not Good People and the novellas Fixer, The Stringer, Last Best Day, and The Boom Bands from Pocket Gallery ( He has published over 30 short stories, including “Ringing the Changes,” which was selected for inclusion in Best American Mystery Stories 2006, “Sift, Almost Invisible, Through,” which appeared in the anthology Crimes by Moonlight, edited by Charlaine Harris, and “Three Cups of Tea,” which appeared in the anthology Hanzai Japan. He also writes about books for Barnes and Noble and and about the craft of writing for Writer’s Digest, which also published his book on the craft of writing, Writing Without Rules, in 2018. He lives in Hoboken with his wife, The Duchess, and their cats. He considers pants to always be optional.

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