Updated: Dec 1, 2021
Professional book editor in the UK helps writers of fantasy, romance and historical fiction how to create a fictional prince!
Royalty is a popular theme in various genres of literature, from historical to romance and even fantasy. Even today in our modern world, people are still fascinated by kings & queens, princes & princesses, and wealthy yet scandalous monarchies, so it’s no wonder that you want to create a fictional prince for your novel.
However, to create believable princes, there are five main factors you should consider, depending on your genre, of course. A prince in an Arthurian tale may be completely different to a prince in a fantasy romance.
As royalty is such a broad area, this post will focus on one specific rank. Keep reading to learn how to create the perfect prince for your story, even if he is far from perfect.
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1. Decide the Genre of Your Manuscript
Deciding the genre of your manuscript (if you’re only in the planning stage) is the first step to creating a believable prince for your story; the genre will shape their personality and ultimate goal throughout.
For example, if you’re writing a romance novel based around Arthurian Legend, the prince may be the chivalrous and romantic kind who has his eye on one lady he longs to marry. He may also become the classic knight in shining armour who remains loyal and compassionate throughout his marriage.
Related Post: 5 Captivating Books for Arthurian Legend Fans
Although some women are now tired of the knight in shining armour, I still have a soft spot for a knight saving the day! It’s comforting and reminds me that innocent chivalry isn’t dead.
Alternatively, the prince in a romance novel could be a hopeless romantic who crumbles whenever he sees his love interest. He may be useless at flirting and appear weaker than the other knights in the story, but due to his gentle nature and lack of bravado, he could win the heart of his dream lady.
On the other hand, if you’re writing historical fiction similar to Bernard Cornwell, Simon Scarrow and Conn Iggulden, you may decide to base your noble on a real prince or king from history.
If this is the path you wish to explore, the prince in your historical novel may have a different goal to a romantic prince.
Perhaps enemy forces plan to attack the castle and your prince has to fight alongside the king to protect the kingdom. If you’re writing a middle grade or young adult novel, maybe your prince has to learn how to fight or is still in training, making the final battle all the more dangerous. Maybe your prince has to embark on an adventure to rescue another character or a acquire a healer to save a dying relative in the castle.
These are only a few ideas for a prince in a historical story, but if their goal is to save their kingdom, castle, and people, they will likely need to be brave, adventurous, intelligent, physically strong and determined to save the day.
Related Post: How to Plan a Historical Novel in 3 Easy Steps
In contrast, the prince in your historical novel could be the bad guy who follows, or opposes, his father. Perhaps he comes from a family of arrogant nobles who have a lack of compassion for their people and consider themselves above everyone else.
In this situation, maybe a main servant rises up to rebel against the crown and defeats them by the end of the story.
And if you’re writing a fantasy novel that centres around a prince, they may have a different goal and personality again. Instead of desperately trying to attract the woman of his dreams through charm or win a battle against the enemy through strength, a prince in a fantasy novel may be more mystical and elegant with a hint of eccentricity, a little like Legolas and Thranduil from Tolkien’s Middle Earth.
Their goal may be to find and rescue a rare dragon from an enchanted forest before an evil noble family from another land destroys it, wiping the species from existence. Or maybe an ordinary teen grows up in an orphanage only to discover that they’re a royal prince who belongs to a magical monarchy.
As you can see from my examples for a romance, historical and fantasy novel, each prince would be completely different, which reiterates why it’s important to figure out the genre of your manuscript before you fully-develop your character.