As part of the Cybercon blog tour I wanted to do a quick post on why I dig writing fantasy fiction and I think starting off with just a few words might work – immersion, joy and imagination 🙂
Firstly, because as a reader I like being immersed in a story with a rich world and vast scope, so naturally I tend to like the same thing when I’m writing. Knowing that I can spend weeks and months in a world and with a cast of characters really keeps the job fun – which is SO important 🙂
I guess another reason is that the idea of ‘joy’ is probably undersold when critics write about fiction – when I read I want to be challenged sometimes, definitely… but sometimes I also want to feel happy, excited and joyful. A big part of that joy comes from the sense of wonder that I get when I read fantasy and it’s pretty similar for me when I have my author’s hat on. I don’t plan every single detail before I write a novel and so there’s still room for me as the writer of that story to feel wonder and a sense of awe when I/the characters discover something magical.
Fantasy obviously lends itself to exercising the imagination! And the more imaginative I can be, the more fun I have and sometimes, the better chance for me to experience that wonder myself. Whether it’s a magical setting or an awe-inspiring bit of magic or heroics, I love trying to imbue that in my stories whenever possible. Sometimes I think I can still remember the feeling from seeing Astro Boy, The Princess Bride or The Goonies for the first time, or reading The Hobbit or the first few books in The Wheel of Time as a kid and being enthralled – and even more recently, something like Neuromancer and I guess I’m chasing that feeling!
Another aspect that attracts me to writing fantasy is the idea of what I’ll call “high stakes with low trivialities.” Done well, fantasy has a lot of room for nobility and big themes, life and death struggles that sweep up lands and peoples, characters that stand up for what they value. Equally so, the heroes of such stories tend not to get bogged down with the trivial – nor does the supporting cast for that matter. When you’ve got a world to save it’s hard to care about fashion, appearances, celebrities and temporary trends.
Of course, fantasy like any other genre can totally deal with other themes and petty people who care about what clothes you wear but for me, the more of those elements that appear a story, the more it impinges upon the idea of ‘wonder’ and ‘awe’. (Equally so, any other genre out there can deal with high stakes and wonder of course).
Now, I spent a couple of days trying to find a source for this quote that I wanted to finish with but I can’t find one. I know someone in my writing group used it a few years ago, and they may have paraphrased it in turn – but here it is with apologies, but I write fantasy because I want to explore:
the price of morality, as explored through the aesthetic of wonder.