Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why fantasy?

First off, oops. Sorry for not posting yesterday. I need to do what Jon does and prep my post the night before to be published the next morning. But that requires so much planning! :)

I’m really good friends with the gal who cuts my hair. Like I’ve been going to her for almost 8 years now, and I worked for her husband’s company my last year of college. Anyway, she knows about my writing project and blog, so we chat about that sometimes when I come in.

Last night, Anya asked me, “Why fantasy?” A valid question, right? What is it about the genre that draws my interest? Why do I want to read it (almost exclusively)? Why do I want to write about it?

A more polished version of the response I stumbled through last night:

I love the realm of possibility and creativity that the fantasy genre opens up to readers and writers. Fantasy holds stories that take place in worlds where wizards and dragons and elves are commonplace, where men challenge the will and intentions of gods, where magic makes the impossible possible. It’s simplistically idealistic at times (or dystopian, if that’s your flavor), it’s got powerful and symbolic embodiments of good and evil, and it’s pretty damn epic in scope. It’s… well, fantasy. And we sometimes gravitate towards what lies beyond our reality, if nothing more than for the sheer entertainment that such a brief departure provides.

Oh, and a bit of a nerdier detail (to which my sister will wholeheartedly attest): I am (well used to be) a huge gamer. RPGs and MMOs were “my thang”. But is it the games that drew me to the genre or the other way around? Hmm…

So what is it about the fantasy genre that draws your interest? What do you like about reading that “made-up stuff”? And, if you write fantasy (as I intend to), why delve into that genre?


  1. RPG is Role Play Game, yes? WTF is MMO?

    Your post the other week explored this a little and I admitted that I am not drawn to fantasy, as a genre, but to certain stories. I didn't even know PJ was considered fantasy until after I read the whole series. GRACELING, I think is fantasy... I'll expand my admission to include not liking the idea of fantasy series, remember my description of a typical fantasy cover? I have to really sink my teach into this genre to get a good idea and maybe denounce my ignorance. I'm doing YA May. You choose the title. You get one choice. Whatever you pick, I'll read.

  2. I can't remember if I said this in a previous comment but you know that I read books to escape reality. For me, fantasy does that most effectively since it feels like being transported to another world and when executed well, a believeable one. I can't say if it's my favorite genre but I definitely read my fair share of it, and usually do so with great satisfaction. :)

  3. Trina, I love to live vicariously through the characters of my favorite books, too. Why and how do other worlds appeal to you more than the real one?

  4. Sorry, rough day in the office again. I so hope I get this new job I'm applying for!

    @Jon: you're correct on RPG. MMO = Massively Multiplayer Online (game). If you follow Natalie Whipple's blog, she and I are fellow gaming kindred spirits. :)

    I think there's always a draw to explore another world through the eyes of a good character. I don't think that's a sign of thinking your life sucks or you suck or anything. :) It's just fun to imagine "what if" through the creativity of a writer. When you really think about it, it's amazing the amount of detail that some of these stories contain. And it was all made up!

  5. Would The Maze Runner qualify as fantasy? It takes place in what used to be the US, but it now a wasteland...The first book takes place in the maze though.