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Fantasy > Authors and readers - what do YOU love about fantasy?

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message 1: by Kira (new)

Kira Wilson | 15 comments Hi everyone!

So, we're all lovers of fantasy, right? Magic, monsters, legends, castles, knights and princesses, wizards and witches, etc. We all have our owns reasons for loving stories that deal with these things, but what I'm curious about is why.

What first drew you to fantasy? What keeps you coming back for more? What is it about that whiff of magic and mystery that makes your experience in fantasy fun and beautiful?


message 2: by Ben (last edited Dec 12, 2018 02:31PM) (new)

Ben Cass (bencass) For me, it was the slight differences to our reality. While I love "Wheel of Time" and "Shannara", I'm more drawn to contemporary or urban fantasy, because I love the idea of that stuff existing in our world, right beneath our noses. That's why I write more contemporary fantasy than anything.

Fantasy lets me escape this mess of a planet, and lets me dream of places that have to be better than this.


message 3: by Lenita (new)

Lenita Sheridan | 1010 comments It's all about the imagination. You can make anything up. I like to imagine my own flora and fauna. Creating a fantasy world is fun and creative. The "magic" in it is what keeps the plot moving, and despite the fact that I like to make up scenery, I'm really a plot person.


message 4: by Jim (last edited Dec 12, 2018 05:20PM) (new)

Jim Vuksic | 1038 comments As with any genre, I enjoy fantasy as long as the story line is technically well-written and intellectually challenging and the sub-plots and main plot follow a logical pattern and conclusion.

A prime older classical example would be J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, published in 1955. A more modern example would be Keith Donohue's The Stolen Child, published in 2006.


message 5: by Shomeret (last edited Dec 14, 2018 09:52AM) (new)

Shomeret | 138 comments Well, I love epic fantasy that shows imagination and doesn't run to formula but that's very rare. Instead I opt for epic fantasy with unusual characters.

In urban fantasy I like unusual types of magic as well as unusual characters. I can sometimes find more originality in urban fantasy which is ironic.

In both epic and urban I'm a big fan of witches who aren't stereotypical.

Edit--I forgot my favorite type of fantasy which is historical. I restrict this to books that have a strong connection to our world and its history. I would never call an epic/high fantasy novel historical because it's usually medieval flavored. I love historical fiction in general. Real or alternate history ( preferably including real historical personages) mixed with magic combines my two favorite genres.


message 6: by Jim (new)

Jim | 508 comments I must admit I like the opportunities for tweaking things. I think I'm a bit like Ben above, it's the slight differences to our reality


message 7: by Kira (new)

Kira Wilson | 15 comments Thanks for taking the time to reply to this, guys! My own preference is epic fantasy, about worlds with a rich history both in the mundane and magic. Thank you, Jim, for bringing up Lord of the Rings. It wasn't my first exposure to fantasy, but I think it cemented my desire to write fantasy and not just read it.

But well-written urban fantasy can definitely hit the spot as well. Ben, India, you guys have read Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, right?


message 8: by Jim (new)

Jim Vuksic | 1038 comments Kira wrote: "Thanks for taking the time to reply to this, guys! My own preference is epic fantasy, about worlds with a rich history both in the mundane and magic. Thank you, Jim, for bringing up Lord of the Rin..."

Kira,
I have not yet read Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere; however, I did read the 10th. anniversary issue of Mr. Gaiman's popular novel American Gods, first published in 2001. By the way, if anyone has chosen not to read American Gods because you have already seen the television series of the same title, which is based upon the novel, please rethink your decision. Although similar is many aspects, there are enough major differences between the book and the TV series to make both equally entertaining and surprising.


message 9: by Ben (new)

Ben Cass (bencass) Kira wrote: "Thanks for taking the time to reply to this, guys! My own preference is epic fantasy, about worlds with a rich history both in the mundane and magic. Thank you, Jim, for bringing up Lord of the Rin..."

I have not read it. I tried "American Gods", and thought the writing was absolutely terrible, so quit about 20 pages in.

For me, the best urban fantasy series are probably "Dresden Files" and "Mortal Instruments".

For high fantasy, I do not like Lord of the Rings at all; Tolkien has the most boring writing style I've ever forced myself to read. The story is a good one, and the characters are fine, but the writing made it very hard for me to finish. That surprised me, because I loved "The Hobbit" and read it over and over as a kid. I didn't read LOTR until right before the movies came out.

I really like Terry Brooks' "Shannara" series, and had a LOT of fun with his "Landover" series. My wife is not really a fantasy fan, but she absolutely adores "Landover". I also love "Wheel of Time".

My biggest issue with fantasy is the desire some authors have to describe every single detail of their world. As a fantasy author, I have absolutely no interest in describing things. (I know that makes me unique!) The only reason I did so at all in my first novel was because my critique partners said I needed to give them something in the way of description. (I went the entire first draft without telling them what a certain character looked like, because I didn't think his appearance was important at all. Thank goodness for critique partners, right?)

I much prefer dialogue; Orson Scott Card's "Mither Mages" series was fantastic, in large part because it was a lot of dialogue, with just enough description to give you a picture in your head.


message 10: by Jim (new)

Jim | 508 comments Ben wrote: "My biggest issue with fantasy is the desire some authors have to describe every single detail of their world. As a fantasy author, I have absolutely no interest in describing things. (I know that makes me unique!) .."

I sort of agree with you. I came to fantasy through a love of the work of Jack Vance who wrote fantasy and SF. His genius for me is that he doesn't describe his world in detail, but by 'showing not telling' manages to help you see it. I've always tried to do that in my world. The Vance technique was to fit in obscure details naturally into the situation, which gives the impression the author has everything mapped out to that level of detail
So you might have one character jokingly accuse another of being a dealer in second hand sphincter clasps.
It only needs one line but think how it can send the reader's imagination spiralling, or not if they don't pick up on it :-)


message 11: by Luke (new)

Luke Summers (lukesummers) | 3 comments Fantasy can be whatever you want it to be. There aren’t many rules. I love having the power at the end of my finger tips to create an exciting world and fill it in with intriguing characters.


message 12: by R.D. (new)

R.D. Bradley | 1 comments Fantasy is about endless possibilities - going anywhere, doing anything - with no limits except the imagination. And it leads us to better explore ourselves in the process.

In a word; Wonderful :)


message 13: by ForestRage (new)

ForestRage ForestRage | 2 comments I agree, it takes us to a world we can claim as our own. How often, in this hectic life, do we dream?

ForestRage


message 14: by Kira (new)

Kira Wilson | 15 comments Not often enough, ForestRage. But then, that's why we're authors and readers, right? ;)

Ben, I do know what you mean about Tolkien's writing style. For some reason my 13-year-old self could devour that stuff like it was cotton candy. Probably because I hadn't read much at that age and therefore didn't have much of a basis for comparison. These days, because I know where the "good parts" are, I'll frequently skip a lot of the dry and overly descriptive parts. But I'll still study some of his descriptive passages because personally I like having *some* description and Tolkien had some very intriguing ways of describing landscape.

That's the nice thing about having so many different writers out there doing fantasy. Everyone has something out there that everyone can enjoy, because everyone's tastes and preferences are different.

By the way, Ben, you might give Michael J. Sullivan's Riyria books a try if you haven't already read them. Excellent dialogue and character interaction in that.

Luke, R.D. and ForestRage, I wholeheartedly agree, and I would add to all that one of the things I find most enjoyable is the notion of heroism. How anyone, a person of noble or lowly birth, with magical powers or completely normal, can be put into a situation that requires them to perform extraordinary acts. These days, the world seems to be a bit cynical about the idea of heroes, but heroism can come in so many forms and I think fantasy is one genre that showcases that a lot. We all have the capacity to be a hero.


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