Why Fantasy?

While my little novel is making the rounds on its blog tour, I thought I’d take a few moments to share why I write Fantasy, of all genres.

  1. The weird looks. Seriously. Tell someone you write fantasy. People don’t always know what to do with that, especially if you look like a generally respectable human being. There’s nothing wrong with dressing up for the Renaissance Faire, mind you, and if I were a more outgoing girl who wasn’t married to her jeans and black tee shirt collection, I might do so. As it is, I feel like sometimes I ought to assure people, just so they don’t spend the rest of their lives wondering, that though I write fantasy, I’ve never even tried on a corset, nor do I have a medieval sword collection hidden somewhere in my house. Although, to be fair, there may be a magic portal we haven’t discovered yet.
  2. The creativity. When it comes to fantasy world-building, anything is possible. Yes, you have to make sure everything in your world is logical, that it all fits together. You can’t just throw a bunch of ideas into a world and expect them to fall into reasonable place. You have to work to make your world consistent and believable. But if you want purple suns and transfiguring villains and disappearing bridges, you can have them and more. It’s your world. Go wild.
  3. The escape. Going back to the last point, there’s nothing quite like entering another world, where things work so differently than in our own. Little is as wonderful as puzzling out the intricacies of a brand new world, marveling in the subtle beauties and blatant peculiarities. (Oracular pig, anyone?) Okay, this may be more a readerly response to the “Why Fantasy?” question, but whatever. Whether reading or writing, exploring a new world is sheer delight.
  4. The freedom. I have a sneaking suspicion that fantasy gives characters freedoms they don’t always get in more realistic genres. Fantasy cultures are often structured quite differently from ours, presenting opportunities that the modern seventeen-year-old just doesn’t get. Seriously, when was the last time you met a real-life teenager who defied curses to trek across a dangerous country at war against magical monsters and the like? Practically – and impractically – anything can and does happen in fantasy.
  5. The battle. G.K. Chesterton writes, “The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.” In fantasy, we often encounter dragons and other such monsters. And what I love about these treacherous creatures is that they can represent anything. The real-life monster could be a looming test, a broken friendship, the death of a loved one, or just plain, old self-doubt. Rather than writing about one specific evil, fantasy presents a dragon that is any and every evil, all wrapped up in one terrifying body. But it’s a body that can be conquered through courage, love, and faithfulness. That right there is what I love most about reading and writing fantasy – the proclamation that evil can and has been and will be defeated by good.

Keep the conversation going by sharing why you love fantasy!

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3 thoughts on “Why Fantasy?

  1. I am not a huge fantasy reader… but there have been some books I liked very much. Since I happen to enjoy your writing, I have purchased your “little novel”. It is 320 pages, Lisa, so stop calling it ‘little’, as that is somewhat dismissive. It should arrive in a few days and if we ever meet, you can autograph it for me. Still waiting for ‘Angelique: The Novel’.

    • Thank you, Ted! I hope you enjoy GRIT, and I’ll try to stop calling it “little.” It’s just that it feels a bit like the little story that could, if that makes sense. As for Angelique, I found my Angelique file while organizing a bookcase last week, so I haven’t forgotten. It’ll take some time to do that story justice, but it means so much that you’re still waiting!

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