Archive | 10:16 AM

Library Writers’ Group: Fantasy

11 Aug

I feel like it’s been forever since I wrote a writers’ group post. I love being able to share what we talk about.

Before we started, we were going around and introducing ourselves when one man said something that took me by surprise. He said, “I don’t like female authors.” This blew so many of us away! What a gross generalization! We talked through it a bit more and we think he meant that he doesn’t like the kind of literature women tend to write (emotional stories about families and romances) and it led him to never give female authors a fair chance. A romance reader might say he or she doesn’t like male authors yet like Nicholas Sparks. Is there an author or genre you never gave a fair chance?

We spent the majority of our time discussing fantasy. Many times, fantasy stories come down to the classic battle of good versus evil. This happens much more regularly than in other genres. We looked at a list of common fantasy tropes, including:

  • Real world mythology incorporated
  • A secondary world
  • An appeal to pastoral ideals (pre-Industrial technology)
  • Magic and powers
  • Heroes and villains
    (Part of this list came from the TV Tropes website.)

We also talked about different types of magic, which I’d never considered before (Wikipedia give a pretty good overview).

A big element of fantasy involves world building and many times this starts from scratch. Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus is a good example of world building for those who are not as eager to read high fantasy. I also see historical fiction as a type of world building in reverse. In historical, the world is already out there, but it’s up to me to find the details of it to bring a setting to life.

We talked about subgenres to fantasy as well.

  • Urban fantasy (city feel, city as a character like Batman’s Gotham)
  • Dark fantasy
  • Heroic fantasy (such as Beowulf and serial style series)
  • Magical realism
  • Steampunk (VictorianĀ technology)
  • Dieselpunk (modern technology)
  • Supernatural
  • Slipstream (also called ‘weird’ fiction, turning the known world on its head like China Mieville)
  • Superheroes
  • Dystopian

I asked the obvious SciFi/Fantasy question. I’m told that there is a thin line but that it becomes more obvious when you consider hard versus low science fiction. Hard science fiction takes a more realistic approach to the technology that influences the plot while low SciFi needs a little more suspended belief to read, more like a fantasy novel.

We were able to end our time with a short critique. I’m looking forward to the next month and sharing what I learn again!

Until next time, write on.

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