There And Draft Again

A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers

Why do YOU write fantasy? May 15, 2013

Filed under: Inspiration,Writing — thereanddraftagain @ 7:40 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

This may not have been deserving of a whole blog post, but I wanted to mention it because I thought it would be a lovely discussion point.

I wasn’t always a fan of fantasy. As a teenager I read every bit of historical fiction I could get my hands on. I loved the classics, but I took that further to include anything that was written awhile ago, even if it wasn’t strictly historical. I devoured the likes of L.M. Montgomery, Agatha Christie and Rafael Sabatini.

I fell in love with fantasy very, very slowly. And actually, it was the epic fantasy manuscript of a close friend that turned my head, not a published book or series. As I started to read it, I realized the “rules” of the genre were perfect for me. I could combine everything I craved; the action and adventure of Sabatini, the creepiness of Christie, and the sweet, ethereal description of Montgomery. It could all live in one world if I wanted it to.

But it was again my first love–history–that made me truly stick with it into this series. I always thought creating one’s own history was a cop-out… until I started reading the masters of fantasy. Now I think it’s beautiful. I love creating my own timeline. I love turning my backstory into something hundreds of years in the making, with politics and cultures drawn from Earth’s history, yet as fresh and unusual as I want them to be. And I love being able to incorporate just about anything into that history.

So here’s what I’m wondering: what made you love fantasy? And what made you want to write it? Now that you do write it, what do you enjoy most about writing in the genre? What is the biggest reason you keep coming back to it?

The excitement of building your own world from scratch? The permission to include and create anything supernatural or mythical? The creatures and the things that distinguish them from those we have on our planet? One particular story or author that you fell in love with? The allegorical power that comes with writing something this high concept?

In addition to the comments thread, I’ll be hanging out on the @ThereDraftAgain twitter handle for a little while today if you want to do some chatting about it. I’d love to hear why YOU write fantasy!

–Rachel O

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12 Responses to “Why do YOU write fantasy?”

  1. I love writing fantasy for all the reasons you mentioned. My favorite thing….is being able to take fascinating pieces of history and mythology and mesh it all together to create something new.

  2. Codes Says:

    I have always loved history, travelling, and architecture. I hate to admit it, but I almost like a lot of fantasy worlds better than our own, and through reading and now writing about it, for a short time every day I get to experience all its wonders and travel to very different places.

    • Rachel O'Laughlin Says:

      Fantasy does have an edge on this “pulling you into a different world” thing. It’s pretty awesome. 🙂

  3. Yael Itamar Says:

    Why did I start writing fantasy? Because I was thirteen and loved the idea of people discovering that they were gifted and meant for great things.

    Why do I currently write fantasy? Because even though I have grown disillusioned with the “special snowflake” trope, I am still fascinated by the mentality that makes readers crave it. Fantasy can be about those who are special, but it can just as easily be about those who STRIVE to be special.

    • I love that! I didn’t even think about the fact that most fantasy focuses on someone with “special” powers. I think it’s a great metaphor for the fact that everyone is gifted. It’s a matter of discovering and using those gifts, and fantasy does this in a grandiose and gorgeous way.

    • Rachel O'Laughlin Says:

      I love that! I didn’t even think about the fact that most fantasy focuses on someone with “special” powers. I think it’s a great metaphor for the fact that everyone is gifted. It’s a matter of discovering and using those gifts, and fantasy does this in a grandiose and gorgeous way.

  4. katemsparkes Says:

    I think I started loving it for the magic and the fantastic creatures, and for the adventure that I could never have in our world. Now I love writing it because of the possibilities. Literally ANYTHING is possible, at least until I set up my world’s history and magic system, which put limits on things. I love being able to have characters sort out the mysteries of their own world and seeing how they deal with problems that may be similar to ours, but in a whole different world.

    I’m not saying I’ll never write anything else (I am branching into contemporary paranormal, but that still leaves huge scope for the imagination), but I can’t imagine ever giving up Fantasy. Everything else feels like being squished into a little closet after you’ve had a forest to play in. 🙂

  5. RK Says:

    I just discovered this blog a few weeks ago. Really enjoy it.
    I write fantasy because I love history & mythology. I enjoy the epic scale of fantasy that’s always present even when it’s not an epic story. Plus, I enjoy the thrill of world building. I write other genres but I keep coming back to fantasy.

  6. deshipley Says:

    “I wasn’t always a fan of fantasy. As a teenager I read every bit of historical fiction I could get my hands on. … I devoured the likes of L.M. Montgomery, Agatha Christie…” — I almost squealed aloud. This sounds exactly like me, right down to two of Teen Me’s favorite authorial names! 😀

    I didn’t consider myself a fantasy writer until all my characters developed mythical ancestors behind my back. And I still enjoy combining awesome impossibilities (or so we think…) with elements of the everyday, modern world my body lives in.

    Though I won’t rule it out entirely, it doesn’t seem likely that I’ll attempt to build a high fantasy epic from the distant past upward. I prefer the approach that brought me to fantasy in the first place: Start at the surface, and marvel at how deep the story’s gone without my foreknowledge.

  7. kathils Says:

    For me the beginning came from Arthurian legends. As a grade schooler, I read, researched, took notes — I wanted to write my own version of King Arthur’s tale. The knights, the castles, the costumes, Merlin and all that went with him — I totally immersed myself. I never did write that tale. But the elements of that medieval time stuck with me. I started creating my own worlds and characters. I didn’t feel I could do Arthur justice. And, face it, a lot had already been written and re-written. There’s always a different angle, and telling the tale in my voice would have made it unique. But I wanted to get beyond that.

  8. My love of fantasy began with my grandmother, who read me The Hobbit when I was five, and proceeded to lend me all manner of sci fi and fantasy books – including many spins on the Authurian legends. I write because I love the scope of the genre, the backdrops and making the impossible live on the page.


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