Goodreads Sci-Fi/Fantasy Authors discussion

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Writing and Publishing > Why you write Fantasy?

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message 1: by Michael, Author (new)

Michael Bialys (bialys) | 29 comments Mod
I have my own reasons for writing Fantasy. I guess for me I love writing in that particular genre, because the sky is the limit.

If you can think it, and make it coherent within the storyline, than have at it. For example even in my first book, The Chronicles of the Virago, who would have thought a massive high-speed car chase down the Ventura highway involving a Demon, Three Fearies, a Hummer Limo and a Jag. Fun, Fun , Fun!


message 2: by Garrett Cook (new)

Garrett Cook | 8 comments I write fantasy, horror and Bizarro stuff because I think Realism has been a dismal failure when it comes to depicting reality. Fantasy gets to the heart of things, describes what they actually are, what people are really made of and what life is like. Lewis Carroll showed us more about Victorian England than any other author of his times, for example and I think that's a trend writers need to keep up with. We need to show people what real life is like.


message 3: by Mary (new)

Mary | 4 comments I write and read fantasy because life is fantastical. Look at and feel a sunset, there is nothing mundane about it - no matter that it happens at the end of every day. The sadness is that many don't see a sunset, or a sunrise. Might this be why too many do not see the fantastical in life? Look at the people around us, do we not see the elven quailities within them? Or the wraith? See the wave roll to shore, what is pushing it?


message 4: by Nathan (new)

Nathan | 7 comments I had a writing teacher once suggest that all fiction was, in essence, fantasy. While there is a kernel of truth in that, there is an added level of escapism to fantasy -- whether it's elves and paladins in some misty glade, or a handicapped police detective with uncontrollable psycho-telemetry.

Writing fantasy for me has been a way to remove any constraints placed upon the word and ask, "What if?" Once the imagination gets that kind of freedom, it's pretty damn difficult to write straight literary fiction.

I'm with Gary in that fantasy allows us to share our view of the world around us through a filter. A little candy coating makes some unpleasant truths to go down a little easier, and whether everyone "gets it" or not, at least some of them will. And that's always satisfying.


message 5: by Rosemary (new)

Rosemary | 7 comments Because it's really, really fun to get your hero or heroine out of a jam with a little magic or dwarf intervention.

It's also a terrific challenge to keep the characters real with motivations that make sense. I admire writers like Rachel Caine or Terry Pratchett who can ground their fantastical whimsy with some very human heart at the center of the story.


message 6: by Michael, Author (new)

Michael Bialys (bialys) | 29 comments Mod
I love this comment. I love writing my characters out the corners that I paint them in.


Michael Bialys


message 7: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Hello, everyone. New to the board.
I'm alot like Garrett and TeaTime. Because of my interest and love for spirituality, I think the truest realities are missed. I'm often told by people who don't read fiction at all (like Nathan said, to them, all fiction is fantasy)that if it can't happen, why read it? Why write something with all that fluff? I always tell them, and I believe in God, so if you don't, it doesn't mean this can't apply, that if the creator wanted to, he could have just given us a one color sky. It's kind of like what you said, TeaTime. Look at the sunset and all those beautiful colors and think about what that does to us inside. It's not that it's not reality. It's just not thought about in relation to stories and fantasy and imagination and all the color that any creator can splash onto a canvas.


message 8: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Since this group is for writers too, I hope you will allow me to ask this question. I am not asking you to read my book; I am not that intrusive. What I am curious to know is what cover you like best from my first novel, The Final Chase. Most people like the last one (currently out), but I'm really wanting to know which one appeals to true fantasy fans. For some reason, I think the second one would most (maroon cover). Please, I'd love any input you have.
Here's the link:
http://www.thefinalchase.com/Page_2.html


message 9: by Nathan (new)

Nathan | 7 comments I'm kind of partial to the third cover, but the second cover is also very strong. I'm a big proponent for sticking with the cover that makes you happier. It's part of why I'm redoing the cover for my first book -- not just to bring it in line with the prequel I recently finished.


message 10: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Hey, Nathan. This was all the publisher's doing, though. I wish I had had a little more control like you.
I have a thing for covers. Please post your website.


message 11: by Garrett Cook (new)

Garrett Cook | 8 comments I like the May 2006 one much better than the others. My publisher is an artist and quite skilled with photoshop, so he did the cover design on my book himself. I really like how it came out.


message 12: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Garrett, thanks. I liked your comment about freedom of speech on the other group board as well. Seems like we might have a similar train of thought.
As I said with Nathan, please do post your site for me. I'd love to see the cover.
By the way, all you authors, I am an 11th grade English teacher who is always looking for new books to recommend to my students. I always have a fantasy following, so let me know what you've published and I see what I can do.



message 13: by Garrett Cook (new)

Garrett Cook | 8 comments The cover can be seen at www.evilnerdempire.com. I'm not sure if my work is 11th grade appropriate, as my current book is dystopian Bizarro, but I don't know. I think it's thematically solid and has good cognitive dissonance. If you have students that are into Frank Miller comics and punk rock, they might dig it.


message 14: by Mary (new)

Mary | 4 comments I prefer the third cover simply because a crowded cover does not appeal to me - just like movie previews that try to show the whole movie in a few minutes.


message 15: by Nathan (new)

Nathan | 7 comments I'm still trying to coordinate the photographer and the graphic artist. I should have a cover, or at least a mock-up of the covers, in a few weeks if all goes well. Since one of the pivotal characters is a dead jazz pianist, I wanted to evoke the design motif of vintage Blue Note jazz album covers -- John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, etc.




message 16: by Charles (new)

Charles (kainja) | 73 comments I grew up on a farm, pretty isolated from other kids my age. I used my imagination a lot, and mostly my imagination ran towards fantasy. Then, when I discovered ERB's John Carter Series and Robert E. Howard's Conan, I was hooked. I think my mind was just attuned to those kinds of themes.

When I started writing I naturally gravitated toward those types of themes. I wanted to be able to give other readers the same kind of thrill that I got when I first read "A Princess of Mars."


message 17: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Gary, thanks for the comments. The main character chops wood as an obsession, not kill people with an ax, which is why so many of my readers were confused about the cover.
The original title was "The Chase Within," which reflects the interior landscape of the book. My publisher wanted to go with the adventure side of the book and let the psychological side be incidental, instead of vice-versa. Once I signed on the dotted line, my publisher had full rights to the title.
"The Final Chase" actually is fine, especially if you see what I'm doing in the book.

Thanks for your insight!


message 18: by Steingard (new)

Steingard (steingardvada) | 14 comments I’m with Charles on the "why" of fantasy: I’ve been a reader so much longer than I’ve been a writer, and some of my best reading experiences have been fantasy novels. Naturally, that’s the kind of experience I would like to give my readers in turn.

When that is said, I sometimes find the fantasy-label a bit of a burden. I come across so many people (in Norway – but I guess it could be anywhere) who claim that they aren’t really into fantasy because the plots are usually unoriginal, and – unlike science fiction – don’t even try to tell them anything about the real world. Then they read my book, and they say. “I actually loved it – but is this really fantasy?” It seems as if their very definition of the genre excludes anything original, experimental or thought provoking.



message 19: by Jeff (new)

Jeff I agree, Silje. There is definitely a stigma against the term "fantasy." It's like a fringe reading base, a base that's not really serious about literature, just fluff and stock characters. It's a shame.


message 20: by Charles (new)

Charles (kainja) | 73 comments It's unfortunate that many folks allow labels to overwhelm their own judgement. They'll hear "Conan," for example, and have a preset notion about what that means. I try to judge work myself on whether it's good or not, and not on what genre it might fit in.


message 21: by Pamela (new)

Pamela | 52 comments I write because it is what I read too. I write fantasy, SF and horror, in both regular and in romance too under another pseudonym.
I feel that these genres offer readers escapism from normal mundane life. You can still teach something, but also give the reader another world.
Think of fantasy a mini vacation--one the reader can afford more. Sometimes one needs a place to get away to when real life is pressing down on you and a book does just that. Fantasy takes worlds not known in 'real life' and enables the reader to join the hero or heroine on an adventure.



message 22: by Nathan (new)

Nathan | 7 comments Re: genre labels.

I was talking with someone the other day about this...how ALL of Ray Bradbury's books were in the Fantasy/sci-fi section, even "Dandelion Wine" which isn't fantasy in the slightest, and yet all of Vonnegut's novels are in the literature section, even though all of them are arguably sci-fi. Ultimately it comes down to the perception of the publisher, and wanting to distance themselves from "the gutter of genre fiction," even if what they're selling is genre fiction. It's possible that's changing, however. Genre sales drive book stores, not the things that appear on the Best Seller list (which is an artificial, arbitrary, and inaccurate list at best).

Write what you want to read, and chances are there is an audience for that who's been waiting for it.


message 23: by Lynn (last edited Jul 25, 2008 04:21AM) (new)

Lynn (camillalynnauthor) | 15 comments Hi! I'm new to your cool group. My name is Lynn & I write Egyptian fantasy. I used to love writing fantasy prose, but have since turned to writing scripts for a graphic novel instead. Fantasy to me has so many unexplored faucets to it. Your character can be anyone, any where, in any world with any rules, and the characters can have any powers you can imagine. It really is a fun genre. There are so few people writing Egyptian stories, which I love. I can't say my work is strictly fantasy because it has multiple elements that make it larger than just one genre.

I have a website with a prose version of the story I'm converting to a serialized Graphic Novel, which will also be posted on my site once my artist Clarissa finalizes some pages. If anyone wants to go check it out : Ra's Warrior

Lynn


message 24: by Steingard (new)

Steingard (steingardvada) | 14 comments Hello Lynn,
Is Egyptian fantasy an official sub-genre? Sounds interesting! I am an archaeologist by profession, and tend to be asked questions about Ancient Egypt, though I know surprisingly little about it.

Nathan: I hope you are right that things will change, though I don't see it happening very soon in my country. My fantasy novel is actually in the literature section, and (though it may seem like I am contradicting what I said in my first comment) I really wish they would put it in the Fantasy/sci-fi section too! What happens now is that the people who come across my book in the store, are the ones who usually don’t read fantasy, while the people who go straight for the Fantasy/sci-fi shelves (like I quite often do myself), miss it – which is sad, for someone with the modest hope of becoming universally admired …



message 25: by Chad (new)

Chad (Darvick) | 3 comments I write Fantasy because my mind leads me into Fantasy... Maybe it is an escape from reality, or maybe it is my way of feeling like a god of creation, but whatever the reason, I can't seem to help but create stories.

I decided to start sharing my stories a couple years ago, and started writing... Hopefully, others will enjoy reading them, and I can evolve as a writer. If I fail in those endevors, I will at least have the satisfaction of looking back at them in a decade or so and enjoy them again myself...




message 26: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (camillalynnauthor) | 15 comments Steingard,
"Is Egyptian fantasy an official sub-genre? Sounds interesting! I am an archaeologist by profession, and tend to be asked questions about Ancient Egypt, though I know surprisingly little about it. "

I don't know about an official sub-genre, but it's how I perceive it. It's really a mixture of adventure, action, fantasy, romance, & a touch of gore especially when heads get lobbed off by demon gods and snakes spit acid on people. I even have a couple of dragons & an Egyptian version of the Hydra in the story, sort of. I could talk about Egypt all day...

"My fantasy novel is actually in the literature section, and (though it may seem like I am contradicting what I said in my first comment) I really wish they would put it in the Fantasy/sci-fi section too!"
Can't you get it classified again? It royally sucks when your not getting to your target audience.

Chad,
I have to agree it is sort of like an escape from reality when writing fantasy. I dive myself completely into it and yell at people when they accidentally pull me from it.

Lynn


message 27: by Tianna (new)

Tianna | 2 comments In one sentence: Fantasy is so much more captivating!

Why write about the mundane every day life stuff when you can add elements like mind reading, flying, a distant (or not so distant) world with human eating worms!? Ok, maybe not human eating worms, but that's my point. Anything is possible!


message 28: by Norm (new)

Norm (normcowie) | 26 comments My fantasy books happened because an author I really liked died.

When Douglas Adams (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) passed away with so many books unwritten, I was inspired to give wacky sci-fi/fantasy a try.

Before this, I had two unpublished works, a horror gothic and a kidnapping book, but it turns out that humor is my niche.

I was thrilled when my first book, "The Adventures of Guy ... written by a guy (probably)" was compared by several reviewers to Douglas Adams' stuff, more so when my second book "The Next Adventures of Guy ... more wackiness" drew comparisons to Christopher Moore's craziness.

My first YA humor/vampire book, "Fang Face" comes out next year, and I can't wait for the reviewers' comments.

Norm

www.normcowie.com




message 29: by Rick (new)

Rick | 11 comments New guy alert!

I was reading through the posts and thought I'd add my 2 cents worth...

I've been a HUGE fan of the Fantasy genre since I was 12 and a babysitter handed me a copy of Dragons of Autumn Twilight to shut me up. I've been hooked every since. To me there is just something so wonderful about being able to simply open to the first page of a book get a chance to visit a whole new world. Reading a great book is all about getting a chance to escape to another place, and be a part of something you don't get to see on your drive to work every day. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my life but I can't get past my curiosity about what might be around that next corner...
Now that I've spent decades reading some really great books, I've decided it is time to try one of my own. I just completed my first book, based on an idea I had years ago back in college. I finally found some friends who would keep me accountable to keep working on it. Right now, I'm going back through, cleaning everything up. If any of you get bored and want to take a peek, I would really love to hear your feedback.

http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/1...

Thanks
Rick


message 30: by Rick (new)

Rick | 11 comments Hey Norm,

I read the exerpt on "Adventures of Guy...". Looks like a fun read. Keep up the good work!


message 31: by Shirley (new)

Shirley (discipleshirley) | 6 comments Hey thats a similiar scene for me. I grew up on a farm pretty isolated so make believe friends helped with the chores! Shirley


message 32: by Leslie Ann (new)

Leslie Ann (leslieann) | 48 comments Hello everyone,
I'm assuming you all are writers of sci-fi and fantasy, otherwise you wouldn't be in this group.

Let me introduce myself:
My name is Leslie Ann Moore and my first novel, "Griffin's Daughter' is a 2008 Ben Franklin Award winner for Best First Fiction. It is the first of a fantasy trilogy.

I started writing science fiction first, then jumped into fantasy. I don't just love to write; I HAVE to write. It's a compulsion. It's the only way I can relieve the pressure of all the people who are constantly walking into my head and introducing themselves, then promptly trying to tell me their stories.

I see my stories as movies scrolling by on the screen of my mind, complete with sounds, smells, sensations, etc. I just write down what I see and hear, and what my characters say to me and to each other. It's probably very close to what a schizophrenic must experience, except that I'm perfectly sane...at least, I THINK I am!!!

Fantasy offers me a way to comment on modern themes and problems in society while giving flight to my imagination by inventing other worlds. It also allows me to give life to various non-human characters and ask questions about how a non-human society would be similar and different from a human one. And also, I have to admit, I just love elves and centaurs and vampires and werewolves and faries, etc!!!

I look forward to conversing with all of you, my fellow authors!


message 33: by Norm (new)

Norm (normcowie) | 26 comments Thanks, Rick!! Pass the word ... read the sequel ... buy me a drink ... um, I mean ...

Norm
www.normcowie.com


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