This week, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is asking what we love about the genre we most frequent, as writers. Click here to join the fun!
I’ve talked about my journey into writing fantasy before, but it bears repeating (especially when it’s the topic of the month). I came to fantasy very late. I never read much fantasy when young, though I suppose some favorites (like Bambi’s Children or Rabbit Hill) would classify as fantasy, just because the animals spoke.
I mostly read historical fiction growing up (Little House, Anne of Green Gables, everything Louisa May Alcott and American Girl), and I watched a lot of science fiction. I grew to appreciate the latter’s specificity of how things work and the way the world affected what could and couldn’t be done, and I loved the characterization and dialogue of the former.
And then I started writing. I began with a historical retake on Robin Hood (which one day I will finish) and then got this idea for a different story–one set in modern times, with the concept of…well, they’re basically fantasy powers, but at the time, I was trying to make them scientific. I had no real room for fantasy…not yet.
But then I started reading fantasy, starting with Tolkien and progressing to The Chronicles of Narnia and The Green and the Gray and progressing to great stories like the Penny White Series and Turquoiseblood and Journey to Aviad, and I discovered that…actually, I really like it, when blended with a healthy dose of science (I’ve never been big on magic, unless the “magic” comes from the way the world is framed). Here are some of the reasons why:
- You get to make up the history. New worlds, new cultures, new heritages are all expected. What better way to enjoy all the trappings of historical fiction without having to endlessly worry about “getting it just right”? I can go back and make the King Arthur and Dracula legends “as they should be” without having to worry about what did or did not actually happen in the world around them.
- You get to make up how your physics works. Nothing outlandish, or course, but if I want a world where hand-to-hand fighting still exists because projectile weapons have issues around certain substances, I can make it happen. This gives me plenty of scope for thinking out the logistics.
- You get to focus on people. With pure science fiction, there’s an expectation that we will investigate technologies and explore the science side of things…and as a writer, that’s never been what most fascinated me. It was always people and relationships, and in sci-fi/fantasy blended, I can get the people focus without losing the logic of sci-fi.
- The physical world is only the beginning. I love how fantasy opens the door of imagination to what else lies out there, to the idea that matter is a starting place, but not the end-all of the world around us. I think it’s a great vehicle, as a Christian (more on Fantasy and Christianity here), and I love the symbolism and metaphor and metaphysical trappings that are part of the fantasy genre.
So there’s my thoughts on the subject and why, sometime in the next few years (hopefully I can get everything written to my satisfaction by then), I’ll be publishing the first of a series of sci-fi fantasy books. (I’ve been writing them for the last twelve years, trying to get the details right, and I’m getting close…I promise.) 🙂
Copyright 2018 Andrea Lundgren
Image by AngelaSM, Creative Commons