What is it with new writers and fantasy?

Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by EdFromNY, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. SmashedPumpkin

    SmashedPumpkin New Member

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    One of the fundamental parts of child development is to pretend. Imaginary friends (magical creatures), neighbours gardens (the wild lands), tree houses (fortresses), sticks (powerful rifles) and mud-pies (potent potions) are the staple of what, I would hope, most people grow up on. As a child I loved to play like this and I'm pretty sure my desire to create fantastical things is a continuation from that desire.
     
  2. Seraph751

    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole... Contributor

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    Fantasy, for me kidnaps you and takes you to their world. It's a step out of one's reality.
     
  3. Mordred85

    Mordred85 Active Member

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    Quite honestly, I've found it to be more of a trend on this forum for many pretentious writers to bash anything with commercial success. So, I'll pretend I hate Harry Potter which is far more creative than I'll ever have the time to be and make fun of middle-aged women who enjoy supernatural romance books as well. That makes me a superior wannabe author. Oh, I forgot the emoticon. :D
     
  4. Zack

    Zack Member

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    These two major influences do play its roles, and I'm inclined to believe that young aspiring writers, like me, are more inclined to write what interest them the most, and what have them hooked, and since fantasy colonises every entertainment's nook, it is only natural look.
     
  5. psychotick

    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Mordred,

    That's a trend on a great many writing fora, but I haven't noticed it as being particularly prevalent here. There are other fora I could think of where you see it far more.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  6. Robert Musil

    Robert Musil Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not gonna try and speculate on this as an overall trend, but to add my own experience as a data point, I'd say two things:

    1) Genre fiction (of any variety) seems to be an easy market to break into compared to literary fiction. I think people think they shouldn't even bother writing literary stuff unless they're going to be the next Pynchon or DFW, you know, "serious" authors.

    2) This is more specific to myself, but I think I really wanted to be an academic and write serious non-fiction, but didn't have the grades for it. So instead of writing a real history book, I make up a secondary world and write its history instead. All of the enjoyably getting lost in trivia, none of the peer review. This is also why the fantasy I'm working on is heavily shaded with alt-history of (real) Earth, and may actually end up as a straight-up alt-history instead.

    All of this is discounting the possibility, of course, that fantasy is just a popular genre that a lot of people read, and therefore a lot of people (want to) write. Or that it's more commercially successful, again along with other genres like sci-fi, romance etc. as opposed to literature. Pynchon and DFW may win all the Pulitzers but they'll (almost) never outsell George R. R. Martin.
     
  7. psychotick

    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Robert,

    Bit of a sore point with me I'm afraid. But literary fiction need not sell poorly. GRRM will never outsell Shakespear for example. In my view it is only an excuse for failure for a literary author to go back to his base and proclaim he didn't sell well because he was writing non-commercial, literary fiction. A fiction in fact. The truth is he failed to make his story readible enough.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  8. Carly Berg

    Carly Berg Contributing Member Contributor

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    As far as which types of writing are worthwhile and which types aren't, I don't think there's a genre or category of writing that I haven't heard put down.

    Under another pen name, I like to write short how-to guides, and I've heard that's just for money so not nearly as worthy as the lofty pursuit of fiction writing. At the other end of the spectrum, I also like to write flash fiction, which I've heard is not worthy for the exact opposite reason, because it has nowhere near the financial potential of other types of writing. Etcetera. Some things we do for money, some things we do "for the love," and some things we do hoping for both.

    If you like what you're doing and understand the general marketplace demand of that type of writing, it's the right type of writing for you.
     
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  9. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    As somebody who spent 3 years working on Science Fiction and supernatural Horror before starting work on a legitimate Fantasy story:

    I love other people's novels, TV series, and movies about realistic worlds, but when I write, I feel like I'm missing something if I'm not coming up with a fantastic detail myself that has nothing to do with the real world.

    My longest work to date has been a Doctor Who fanfiction, and I've argued for years that fanfiction is not fundamentally lazier than original fiction (the vast majority of individual fanfics are unreadably lazy, but the same goes for original manuscripts and screenplays). When I try to come up with mundane stories, I feel like I'm writing a bad fanfiction of Real Life that hits perfectly the stereotype of fanfiction being lazy copying with no originality.
     
  10. Domino355

    Domino355 Contributing Member

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    I can tell from what my own experience, as a starting writer who writes fantasy at the moment. (Though I am looking forward to start my next projects, both a romance work and a YA hard-sci-fi). I wanted to become a writer from book that I read, and as a child I read alot of fantasy (LOTR, Narnia, His Dark Materials, The Saga of Darren Shan, HP). So for my first novel, I want to tread at my "comfort zone" before starting with other ideas. (Also the reason my novel is a one-shot and not part of a series like I previously intended.)
     
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  11. Hwaigon

    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    True. And little has been written of remarkably real in the realm of the unreal. Say, realism in fantasy. Once one opts to pull some such
    feat, writing, any writing, becomes increasingly more difficult and commonly-understood genre boundaries disappear.
     
  12. Hwaigon

    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    The thing is, if you botch up your own ideas, then you rain on your own parade. If you screw up a franchise with your funfiction, it's a whole different
    thing. That's why, I think, writing fanfiction is hard - you always, even subconsciously- benchmark your version against the original.
     
  13. Safety Turtle

    Safety Turtle Contributing Member

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    Well for me it was simply a question of the story I wanted to tell was better suited for fantasy than any other genre.
     
  14. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Shh. The safeword is Swiss Fish Salad. :D Contributor

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    There are a slew of fantasy creatures, and mythological creatures readily
    available to pick and choose from. While most fall under the old standard
    of being as they have been, others get reinvented and not always for the
    better. It is an easy place to draw from, considering there is a massive
    amount of material to draw from as well. Besides look how popular it is
    as a genre that gets the most attention on a commercial level. That is not
    to say that every new writer is writing Fantasy because it is highly popular
    at the moment, but that is not to say that there aren't those following to
    ride the wave of the genres popularity.
    It is simply easier to write about elves, dragons, and magic because there
    is a familiarity to all things Fantasy.
    Not that this is a bad thing, or that I am implying that the genre is bad.
    I just happen to find that it is only can to do so much on it's own. So it
    takes away some of the luster it had when I was younger, due to these
    pitfalls. I like however the hybridization of Fantasy and Sci-fi, because
    it brings more to the table and allows for a little bit more, as they
    are opposite each other.
     
  15. Lifeline

    Lifeline Out of the Night Supporter Contributor

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    Good on you! It was exactly the same with me.. started within my comfort zone and moved on when I got enough confidence (or nerve) :D
     
  16. Aurryn

    Aurryn New Member

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    I am presently writing my first novel and it does happen to have fantasy aspects (ok A LOT of fantasy aspects! LOL) but in my case never read Harry Potter (it's just a more successful version of "The Worst Witch" but that's whole other conversation!)

    I did read The Hobbit in school but my love of all things fantasy started earlier then that. I was a voracious reader before I was a writer, I love love loved the Dragon Riders of Pern series and then I read The Neverending Story before I saw the movie with plain old Bastion Balthazar Bucks who I swore was my book twin.

    So while other little girls wanted unicorns I was desperate for a fire breathing dragon. When I made the decision to actually start writing this was the world I felt most comfortable in - where the freaks ruled and normals were, well just boring old normal. It was also one of the few genres I was reading where the girls could carry a sword and fight alongside the boys and to a tomboy like me - well it was a no brainer.

    My protagonist is female and she is pretty much me - except maybe if I dragged myself to the gym more regularly. She is smart and a little emotional, she has a wicked temper and sense of humor and sometimes she cries and sometimes she kicks butt. She does NOT need saving but she does need a hug every so often. This is the character I would have loved to have when I was younger and she's also a little what I wish I could do.

    Fantasy for girls is where I get to be the hero and not the prize.

     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
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  17. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Aurryn Welcome to the site!
     
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  18. 123456789

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you so much for this honest analysis. I've always said that fantasy is largely about wish fulfillment, ie. fantasizing.
     
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  19. Aurryn

    Aurryn New Member

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    I've lived a semi exciting life but that will never ever make up for a lack of dragons! LOL
     
  20. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Non-SFF can be wish fulfillment fantasizing too ;) Haven't you heard of SFF that carries as much depth as the best realistic fiction?
     
  21. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Active Member

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    Fantasy, for me, has always been about several things.
    First and foremost, yes, escapism. As a child, and even now, I love delving into the lush worlds of good fantasy. Its like traveling, but often with magic and dragons, lol. It was always a great way for me to escape what I saw as a boring world- reality.
    It's also about exploring what can sometimes be seen as "taboo" topics in a safe way. By placing difficult subjects in a fantasy world, it allows for closer scrutiny. I've always liked that.
    But really...I just find fantasy more interesting than realistic fiction. I've always been that way.
     
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  22. PirateQueen27

    PirateQueen27 Member

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    This is an interesting point I hadn't thought of. Personally, I have been writing fantasy since I was 14 (now 27). I found it as a way of expressing myself and escape (tough childhood). A way of being able to channel a part of creativity where no one could tell me "write" or wrong. There's just something in the comfort of escaping the everyday/ordinary. I would love to write a murder mystery one day though or just a fiction novel. And just as a side note, I never played video games. But I did read different fantasy novels from time to time.
     
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  23. Dr.Meow

    Dr.Meow Active Member

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    Well for me, I was into fantasy when I was 7 or 8. I read the Hobbit and LotR books around that time, and ever since I've been hooked and preferred all things fantasy. Movies, games, books and yes, my writing as well. It's been over twenty years of loving fantasy now, and I really don't see an end to it. I will watch movies and play games that are non fantasy as well, but when it comes to books I'm exclusive, I will not waste a moment reading non fantasy because reading for me is a bit different for me. I have to be in the mood and I have to really enjoy the story a lot to do so and want to take the time to read it. I have trouble writing anything other than fantasy for similar reasons. I hold no great interest in stories that aren't fantasy, and I've always thought that it takes a lot more effort and imagination to come up with a good one anyway. With non fantasy genres, it's easy, there's a pool of resources to take from, even for sci-fi. If you try to take inspiration from another fantasy though, people will stop as say "this is just like so-and-so's book", then won't pick it up again.
     
  24. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Shh. The safeword is Swiss Fish Salad. :D Contributor

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    Considering in bookstores Fantasy is in the Sci-Fi section,
    that means I write Fantasy too. :D
    Only difference is mine takes place in the future, and has no magic. :p

    #BookStoreLogic
     
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  25. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Active Member

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    Western civilization is dying and young people don't want to be part of it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017

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