Fictional World = Fantasy?

Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Enyo, Jun 20, 2016.

?

Is it fantasy?

  1. Yes

    6 vote(s)
    50.0%
  2. No

    3 vote(s)
    25.0%
  3. Not Sure/Depends (Please Explain)

    3 vote(s)
    25.0%
  1. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Usually covers Fantasy and Science Fiction, as I see it used (sometimes horror). A book like this that would appeal to editors of literary fiction could go there. Otherwise, it seems like I see most of it in Fantasy.
     
  2. Katy12250

    Katy12250 New Member

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    I'm just going to add - which may or may not help - that most surveys don't actually hit on the people who matter. For example, women don't like video games and women don't like first person shooter games. I'm a Steam gal and I can tell you for a fact that both of those are false. However, I'll bet there is a survey somewhere that says both are true.

    I would say what Enyo is writing comes closet to an alternate world novel. Yes, she's taking some parts of the real world, but she's also adding some parts that aren't (able to buy a person just as easily as a bolt of cloth) but that would make sense if something in our history had went a different way. So, I vote for alternate world, which I'll admit I see in the science fiction genre, too. Fantasy or S/F - it would be a coin toss.

    As for no people of color or of a different race, I'm going to agree with Steerpike on that. I've got hooked on paranormal romances (for absolutely no reason that I understand right now) and about 90% of then feature women of color.

    As far as finding out where the book would fit, Amazon is your friend. Type in some categories and read the blurbs on various books. Whether you're going to self-publish or not, that's a good way to see what's out there and how they are categorized. And the best part is that you can read the first chapter or so to get a feel for the book. If you're trying to find the niche for your book, looking at the books on Amazon (or any of the other major on line sellers) will help a lot.

    And don't be afraid to create your own category. How do you think some of the other categories came to be? At one point there weren't any steampunk novels, then someone wrote one and now it's an accepted genre.
     
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  3. Enyo

    Enyo Member

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    This is very stressful. I’m only looking to this because a friend of mine read the rough draft an really liked it and keeps pressuring me to publish. But, this conversation alone has my feathers ruffled, so I think I’m going to tell him to step off. Clearly if things like this are bothering me, deep inside I don’t want to deal with things like self-publishing, categorizations and the like. Sorry for wasting everyone’s time.
     
  4. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Publishing, if you actually want to sell above single figures, is a very tough business and very, very stressful on a personal level. If somebody isn't completely committed to the goal of publishing I don't know how they could get through it. Someone else's passion isn't enough.

    I think you're probably right not to do it now, Enyo, but things can change. So keep writing and worry about publishing when it's something YOU really want. :)
     
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  5. Enyo

    Enyo Member

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    Thank you. My friend has a hard time understanding things like that. He doesn’t realize he’s suggesting I open myself to criticism that may upset me.
     
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  6. Oscar Leigh

    Oscar Leigh Contributor Contributor

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    I think that's more this.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Commandante Lemming

    Commandante Lemming Contributor Contributor

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    Okay, so on the question of men reading more fantasy than women - I'm not sure if that's technically the case or not, but what I do know is that I know a lot of female fantasy readers, and know there are some really highly successful fantasy series that are specifically targeted at women (I'm thinking of Mary Robinette Kowal's "Glamourist Histories" - which are loosely based on Jane Austen but shelved genre fantasy and published by Tor - Kowal is a big deal in the sci-fi/fantasy community so what she writes is definitely fantasy first and romantic second). So you should be fine there.

    On the question of whether your world can be fantasy without magic or dragons, I would say yes - citing a big fantasy release last year - Seth Dickinson's "The Traitor Baru Cormorant". That one was seen as firmly within the fantasy genre and published by a leading sci-fi/fantasy imprint (Tor again) despite the fact that the world has zero magic, zero fantastical beasts, and zero non-human races. It was, however, set in a fictional world dealing with fictional cultures in a setting that was pre-modern (in that case, it looked like early colonialism in the 1700s).
     
  8. terobi

    terobi Senior Member

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    Frankly, I'm astounded that Steerpike has posted in this thread a couple of times, and nobody has even slightly mentioned Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy.

    Gormenghast is widely considered to be a part of the fantasy genre - it takes place in what appears to be a fictional world, in a vast sprawling castle (the titular Gormenghast) and its surrounding peasant village, which appears to exist solely for the purpose of providing servants and providing carved wooden models to the castle (which they keep due to ancient tradition, but have absolutely no idea why).

    There's not a single magical or supernatural element in it. It's simply a fictional place, filled with eccentric people doing eccentric things according to eccentric traditions.

    And yet, people still consider it fantasy.

    Might your work fall into the "Fantasy of Manners" subgenre?
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016
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  9. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I have a book that sounds like an equivalent setting - alternate history to the point that things are unrecognisable and may not even be Earth, different social systems, but no magic or mythical creatures.
    The Amazon categories for it are

     
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  10. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    @terobi yes, and there are a number of fantasy novels with no magic or supernatural elements, they just take place in a fictitious setting. In general such works get shelved in fantasy, and they certainly qualify as fantasy in my view.
     
  11. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Another of many examples is KJ Parker's fantasy novel The Company, which has been described as Lost meets The Italian Job. It's basically the story of a group of soldiers after a way, and the breakdown of friendship and family ties in their lives after the war, much of which centers around greed (I won't say more and spoil the tale). It's in the fantasy section of the bookstore, reviewed on fantasy sites, and the fact that it is fantasy seems to go largely without saying. But you could take the entire story and set it in the real world and have historical fiction. No monsters, dragons, wizards, magic, or supernatural elements &c. The fact that it takes place in a world that never existed is sufficient.
     
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