Monday, June 25, 2012

25 Things You Should Know about Writing Fantasy

The list, care of Terrible Minds.

From said list...
2. Fantastical Fiefdoms
Fantasy is vivisected into various gobbets, limbs and organs — sword-and-sorcery does battle with epic or high fantasy, horror-tinged fantasy used to be “dark fantasy” but now it’s “urban fantasy” or maybe “paranormal fantasy” or maybe “fantasy with vampires and werewolves looking sexy while clad in genital-crushing leathers.” There’s fantasy of myth and fantasy that’s funny and fantasy that’s laced with a thread of science-fiction. You have magic realism and one day we’ll probably have real magicalism and I’m sure there’s a genre of fantasy where lots of fantasy creatures bang the whimsy right out of one another (hot centaur-on-goblin action, yow). Sub-genres have value as marketing tools and as a way to give you some direction and fencing as you write. Otherwise: ignore as you see fit. Or create your own! 

3. Rooted In The Real
Reality is fantasy’s best friend. We, the audience, and you, the writer, all live in reality. The problems we understand are real problems. Genuine conflicts. True drama. The drama of families, of lost loves, of financial woes. Cruel neighbors and callow bullies and loved ones dead. This is the nature of write what you know, and the fantasy writer’s version of that is, write what’s real. Which sounds like very bad advice, because last time I checked, none of us were plagued by dragons or sentient fungal cities or old gods come back to haunt us. But that’s not the point — the point is, you use the fantasy to highlight the reality. The dragon is the callow bully. The lease on your fungal apartment is up and your financial woes puts you in tithe to the old gods who in turn make for very bad neighbors. You grab the core essence of a true problem and swaddle it in the mad glittery ribbons of fantasy — and therein you find glorious new permutations of conflict. Reality expressed in mind-boggling ways. Reach for fantasy. Find the reality.

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