Saturday, November 12, 2011
Why read/write fantasy?
I took an awesome creative writing course in college on short stories. When I told my teacher I wanted to write fantasy, he kind of discouraged me, saying I should write slice of life stories. Persuaded by his reasoning, I gave up fantasy writing in search of things of more literary value. Hmmm, looking back I think that was a mistake. Not that writing literary fiction or learning how to write literary fiction was a waste of time, quite the opposite, but I think there is some merit to reading and writing fantasy. First off, for me, reading fantasy is about escapism. It's fun to leave your world and completely delve into some other realm. Then you can safely come back and face reality. It's therapeutic. Second, I like writing fantasy because I can write about issues in a metaphoric way. (Uh-oh, one of those literary terms. That doesn't belong in fantasy writing...fantasy writing should be about fun.) Well, it is, but for me, there is a battle between right and wrong out there and good and evil. (Bullies evil, underdog good.) And in fantasy you can take that to an extreme. Magic can be good or bad, I can talk about issues that people don't normally talk about these days except in fantasy: righteousness, loyalty, oaths, self-sacrifice. Wait, don't these sound like literary terms? Yes, that's right, there's so much in fantasy that is of worth, just as in literary fiction. One last thought, when was the last time you were dying to read that plotless literary, high brow 700 page book? Exactly. And when it comes to paychecks, who do you think gets paid more? Just ask JK Rowling what she'd prefer to write.