1. MelissaL
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    MelissaL Member

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    Writing a Fantasy but having a little trouble.

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by MelissaL, Dec 18, 2009.

    Everytime I write a fantasy story I feel like I'm trying too hard to prove to my readers that make believe things exist. Does that make sense? For example I am writing a story about fairies who exist in the real world but for some reason I spend too much time trying to convince my normal characters that they exist, as if I'm trying to make the existance of fairies seem real. I know I'm probably taking this way too seriously and that I'll bore my readers but I can't seem to stop doing it! Do you think the problem is I'm not convincing myself they exist in my story? This is just a story so anything should be possible so why am I having this problem?
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    You shouldn't have to convince readers that fairies exist. It's a fantasy story, so the fantasy element is a given. Also, look at Harry Potter. There are clearly scenes in which characters of fantasy interact with the real world. Basically, I wouldn't worry about it and wouldn't waste time trying to convince readers. As I said before, this is fantasy, and your readers will [hopefully] know that.

    As for why you are having this problem, I'm not sure. But remember that doing something like this will probably hurt, more than help, your story. It helps to reread portions of your favorite fantasy novel and see how the author handles scenes with magical/fantastical creatures.
     
  3. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    My basic philosophy is that if you believe it, even if it's only in the moment while you are writing, they will believe it. If you cannot allow yourself to believe at least in the moment, then all the proof in the world that you can come up with won't help, because if they do exist, we currently have no real way of proving it. Just allow yourself to believe and it will come together if you have the skill for this kind of writing.
     
  4. TheAsylum
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    TheAsylum New Member

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    Always

    There's always a little space taken up by this. If you were writing a story based in a fairy world, then no. If your fantasy interacts with "real" world characters, then it wouldn't be realistic if the humans weren't skeptical. This however should be fairly short and not dominate allot of space. Try creating a step-by-step that you can use in any story.

    1.Boy is normal
    2.Boy meets an abnormal
    3.Boy doesn't believe
    4.Abnormal proves it
    5.They live happily ever after

    So, you create a 5 step (or whatever) process and your initial interaction should meet these requirements. Once your character believes, we should as well. Remember, this is writing, right and wrong is a gray area. Maybe in your story, steps 3 + 4 take the entire length of the story. That's fine as well, it's your story. Just make the multiple step 4's short and sweet. You also want them to be in order of magnitude. So don't start off with your fairy making an elephant disappear. Maybe start off with granting wishes or something that can be explained away by luck or whatever. Then hit em with the big stuff later!
     
  5. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Seeing is believing. Show the character a fairy. To make the reader buy it, foreshadow it. If one character leads another to see a real fairy, then they could foreshadow it by building up anticipation -- that the character is about to see something truly fantastical -- then the reader will expect to see something out of the ordinary and probably even be disappointed if it isn't fantastical enough. So, in a sense, it's more about what you do before the revelation than what you do after that matters.
     
  6. Phantasmal Reality
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    Phantasmal Reality Contributing Member

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    Yeah, whoever said seeing is believing is pretty spot on. If you introduce your readers to the fantasy element in a believable way, it should be fine. Have your character go through some kind of struggle to accept it, but keep it short. After all, once they've seen the unbelievable with their own eyes, it's kind of hard to just deny it.
     
  7. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have a similar problem with detail etc. in historical novel writing. I mean, your characters are in a really unfamiliar environment for the reader (if you are a historian you'll realise just HOW unfamiliar). The thing is, some things are mundane, they don't advance the plot, and don't need to be explained,

    e.g. 'she brought in the lamp and lit it'.
    There were different kinds of lamp in the past, and lighting one could be a difficult procedure, but really the details are only of interest to a historian.

    Similarly:
    'he took up his weapon'
    I'm always seeing this kind of sentence in fantasy stories: then the weapon is described in detail, 'it was wrought of gold mined from the seventh kingdom by worker elves etc. etc....' The info is just given because the writer is in love with his/her fantasy creation.

    The problem is deciding what's essential, and how to give the right kind of information to evoke the world they are in. I guess the 'show, not tell' approach is best if possible, to avoid lengthy paragraphs of tedious text-book style description.

    I think Philip Pullman is great at making his fantasy worlds seem like real places. He evokes a kind of pseudo-historical, olde England but at the same time never-neverland world (note I'm not commenting on the overall quality of his writing here).

    Remember, you'll always know more about your fantasy world than the reader needs to know. They'll just have to take it as a given that this world exists. Now get on with the story.
     
  8. MelissaL
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    MelissaL Member

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    Great advice everyone thanks! So I guess what I really need to do is not think about it so much and just show my readers that they exist, rather then explain why and how they exist.

    I think the reason I have this problem might be because I'm feeling bitter about things in my life. This year has been hard, I've lost a lot of close family memebers, my grandmother, two aunts, and my dog of 14 years. I wonder if a part of me has lost a little faith in the world which makes it hard to have fun with magical themes.
     

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