Fantasy is for me

It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
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OPTIONAL QUESTION: Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

MY ANSWER: Fantasy. Or to put it in a wider perspective, I should say speculative fiction, because I like to read and write in many sub-genres of speculative fiction, including sci-fi and magic realism, but fantasy remains my favorite, bar none. Here are the reasons why:

1. Fantasy is an escape from reality. Most fantasy stories have magic, in one way or another. As magic is thoroughly lacking in my own life, I like to read or write about the worlds where magic holds sway, where it is available for solving problems. I like to immerse myself in the fantastic doings of angels and werewolves and heroes, because I’ve never met such a bunch of fascinating characters in my life and never will. Fantasy characters, my own or those written by other writers, are my best friends, and occasionally, they help me deal with the real-life problems. If they could do it, I tell myself, so can I.

Picture by Bubulina65 on Pixabay

2. Fantasy presents us with its own set of rules. Sometimes, they are quirky or idiosyncratic, and they fluctuate wildly from story to story, but they are all different from the real world, where the rules are based on science and never negotiable. Even better, when I write a fantasy story, I make all the rules myself. I don’t need to fact-check. I don’t need to research or conform to the rigid scientific parameters. If I say that magic comes from frogs, and the more frogs a magician collects in his private aquarium, the more power he can command, it is true in the realm of my story. Nobody could gainsay me, even if no other fantasy writer ever collected magic from frogs. Or maybe someone did? Anyway, my story – my rules.

3. Most fiction is fantasy, if you stop and think about it. All the mythological systems and folk tales – from Greek and Indian to Russian and Japanese – are in their core fantasy stories, where gods walk the earth, and magic runs unchecked. Where talking animals help the virtuous, and demons punish the villains. Even the current trend of darkness in fantasy books has its roots in mythology and fairy tales. Have you noticed that many of those are pretty dark too, bloody and ruthless?

4. Fantasy worlds are frequently populated by non-human characters. I love reading (and occasionally writing) about elves and werewolves, intelligent badgers and amnesiac dragons, benevolent dryads and vicious toothy clouds. Their ‘otherness’ makes me feel safe, makes me feel that I belong, but too often, the difference between us and them is only skin-deep. Like us, those fantastic creatures go about their adventures while trying to fit in, to find their place in the world, just as we do in our not-so-fantastic lives. Perhaps fantasy is not as unrealistic as one might think.

5. My second favorite genre is M&F romance, but in my opinion, romance is pure fantasy as well, even though it doesn’t have magic or elves. It has something better. In the best romance stories, the male lover is an absolute invention, a figment of female dreams. A guy you encounter in a romance novel – sensitive, selfless, understanding, ready to sacrifice anything for the woman he loves, but still an alpha male – doesn’t exist in real life. Real marriage, I mean a successful marriage, where the couple truly love each other, is often 80% compromise and only 20% affection. At least that’s what I see around me. The ratio is usually reversed in romance, allowing the writer’s imagination to soar. Romance has its own set of rules and its own make-believe characters. If that is not fantasy, what is?

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This entry was posted in Insecure Writer's Support Group, Olga Godim, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Fantasy is for me

  1. Your take on fantasy sounds like a lot of fun. I’ll have to disagree with you on romance fiction heroes. I write beta heroes, much more realistic than those billionaire bad boys.

  2. Science fiction is much the same. I enjoy reading both and maybe someday I will jump into writing fantasy

  3. Great points. I love the wonder and possibilities of speculative fiction which is an umbrella all fantasy a few other genres. Happy IWSG!

  4. rolandclarke says:

    I may write mysteries rooted in our reality, but there are moments when I wish I could use magic. Or is that why fantasy creeps into my other pieces – like my June WEP?IWSG story.

  5. Erika Beebe says:

    I love the escape aspect of fantasy too. Happy IWSG Day Olga 🙂

  6. Most written romances aren’t realistic but we’d like to believe we can achieve it.

  7. patgarcia says:

    I’m a romance writer. I have had one romance short story published but it well received by both men and women. I see romance differently. I believe in the power and the integrity of love and find that societies all around the world are desperately trying to become mechanical in their emotions so they don’t feel. And that is not reality. Romance can be very real.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

  8. Loni Townsend says:

    I found myself nodding along with all your points. Fantasy lovers unite!

  9. Non-human characters and magic are always fun elements! I enjoy reading fantasy and seeing all the different magic systems that people come up with.

  10. emaginette says:

    And fantasy lets our imagination roar and soar. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  11. Sarah Foster says:

    Fantasy is definitely a lot of fun to write!

  12. kimlajevardi says:

    I love fantasy as well.Not only is there magic, but dragons as well. What’s not to like? 🙂

    Great post!

  13. Two of the sentences resonated with me–all fiction is fantasy, and romance is fantasy. SO true, when I think about it.

  14. I tend to write horror, but I think sometimes my work could fall under the general umbrella of speculative fiction.

  15. I agree with you on marriage. Compromise is vital. I guess that’s why they say it’s hard work.

  16. Diane Burton says:

    I admire those who write fantasy. I haven’t read enough to feel comfortable writing it. Yet. lol Your take on romance is interesting. I love reading about the Alpha Male, but Beta Males are the marriageable ones–my experience of 46 years. lol I agree about the compromise part. Yes, indeedy.

  17. Denise Covey says:

    Great post on fantasy, Olga. I like the sound of the freedom it gives, but I’m told writing about vampires is fantasy. Mine are in an historical world, so I do have to fact check, which is fun but exhausting and I’m sure to make a mistake which someone will pick up on. I often snigger that James Bond is a male fantasy. When men ridicule romance writers, that’s always my comeback.

    Have a great month of June.

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