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Characteristics that foster the love of fantasy

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message 1: by George (new)

George Straatman I tried to capture a cross-section of the fantasy elements that can vex fantasy lovers, but this time I would like to turn the light of introspection on the inherent nature of people who are drawn to fantasy...the traits that can make a person receptive to the beauty and magic that the genre offers.

I'll start the ball rolling with two traits that I believe are fundamental to developing a love of fantasy:

1. a sense of child-like wonder
2. a capricious, whimsical nature...these traits are intrinsically tied to the first.

Here is the trait that I feel makes appreciation of the fantasy genre highly improbable.

stolid pragmatism...with its many constraints, it can often be the killer of imagination...especially at the level one must possess to either read or write this beautiful art form.

message 2: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Helme | 4 comments I agree. I often found that while I was off imagining things, my mother was trying to keep me grounded in "reality". I had a friend growing up, whose mother was always upset when I pretended my Barbie was a witch. She even told me I couldn't play with her daughter if I did that. It didn't stop me, though. And I'm grateful to have the escape that fantasy brings. I believe it enriches one's life and gives a whole new perspective to the beauty around us. Our ideas spring from that which we see and shift to what we can imagine within that realm. It is a beautiful form of art!

message 3: by R.C. (new)

R.C. Rutter | 27 comments Cave Of Forlorn
Excellent observation George.
You just described me (#1 and #2)

I usually self-describe it as having a nature of curiosity and a great sense of humor (including the ability to laugh at one's self).

I have reached a stage in my life where my logical side (very technical) and my creative side peacefully co-exist.

message 4: by Christopher (new)

Christopher Bunn | 7 comments Good comments. I have a relative that believes reading (or writing, of course) is a waste of time, as it has nothing to do with the real world. I'd argue that well-written fantasy has everything to do with the real world. Like CS Lewis remarked, you can pack a great deal of truth into fantasy...

message 5: by Cleveland (new)

Cleveland | 10 comments A man who won't read is worse than a man who can't (physically) read. That is a waste of EVERYTHING.

When fantasy works it is important to work backwards to discover why. Often it is the subtle suspension of disbelief. It is the use of that tool that makes 'Journey to the centre of the Earth' a credible possibility. If by using that tool our natural curiosity had been captured then the result is often good.
I read,write and ghost write, prose and poems. But when it comes to fantasy stories I hate certain ones. Which stories of a fantasy nature are likely to let you down in the enjoyment area?

message 6: by Marc (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 97 comments Christopher wrote: "I'd argue that well-written fantasy has everything to do with the real world. Like CS Lewis remarked, you can pack a great deal of truth into fantasy..."

Absolutely true. You can show and say things in a fantasy context that would make no sense to people if they were presented abstractly. Much of the fantasy I read tends to fall into the lecture mode, where characters start monologuing about the meaning of life and such. I think it works better when you show someone living a certain way, and show the hazards and benefits of that way of living. Tolkien's whole point in LOTR was to show the downside of industrialism versus the upside of the agricultural world he grew up in.

message 7: by Ciara (new)

Ciara | 14 comments For me the beauty of fantasy is just that - it's fantasy. I don't have to dissect it to enjoy it. In fact, the most enjoyable fantasty is work I can get lost in, that takes me away from reality and the stress of normal living. If the fantasy does correlate to real life with a message that speaks to the reader, all the better.

message 8: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Landmark (clandmark) | 7 comments I totally agree with everyone. Fantasy is a chance to visit strange and enchanting worlds, to interact with people and mystical beings that are completely different from those we encounter in our real life, and to give our overactive imaginations a venue to let loose in. As George stated, I think those of us who love fantasy are still kids at heart, able to suspend belief for brief periods of time as we lose ourselves in other worlds.

message 9: by E.K. (new)

E.K. Martens (emily_k_martens) | 8 comments What I love about fantasy is the infinite possibilities. There are no constraints on the imagination. No boundaries. Yet, no matter how far away from your reality the story takes you, the impulses and emotions of the characters are still very real and very easy to connect with.

message 10: by Lisa M (new)

Lisa M | 8 comments What I love about fantasy is the pure escapism. Whether in a book or on a screen, for a brief moment in time you can be anything or anyone. And you can triumph. So often, in our mundane lives, we feel trapped and hopeless to change things. It's so liberating to live as someone else and come out on top, to change your life, to outwit and defeat your enemies. There is a lot of "evil" people in our world (even if it's just your boss) and we're not in a position to do anything. In fantasy, we can. And it's glorious.

message 11: by E.K. (new)

E.K. Martens (emily_k_martens) | 8 comments So true, and doubly so for writers! As readers we get to escape into someone else's battle/victory, and as writers we get to create our own.

message 12: by Okie (new)

Okie (okiecavies) | 1 comments Ciara wrote: "For me the beauty of fantasy is just that - it's fantasy. I don't have to dissect it to enjoy it. In fact, the most enjoyable fantasty is work I can get lost in, that takes me away from reality and..."
I couldn't have said it better....I think there is much more logic to creating a fantasy world than some may realize. I marvel at the absolute creativity of an entire new world...and I'm in awe at the logic and acute perception of 'reality' it takes to make that world 'believable'.

message 13: by Cate (new)

Cate (writermonkey) | 2 comments For me it was the sense of being an outsider and a desperate need for escape. If I didn't belong in this world, then surely there must be another with a me-shaped hole in it?

Of course, as a writer I get to create my own fantasy worlds and escape there anyime I want. :o)

message 14: by George (new)

George Straatman I think that the escapist aspect of fantasy is one of its fundamental a world (especially here North America)where a crude sort of cynicism has seemed to have infected most aspects of everyday life...the strong allure of escapist fiction makes fantasy and the world truly great fantasy invariably conjures...very attractive to the genre's fans.

message 15: by E.K. (new)

E.K. Martens (emily_k_martens) | 8 comments I actually wrote a blogpost on why fantasy is important to our society if anyone is interested:

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