Thursday, October 16, 2014

Reasons Why I Write Mainly Fantasy

I have a confession to make. I may be lazy. I write fantasy novels and novellas because I find that the easiest way to get right into the story. Give me an idea and I’ll run off over the hills with it.

 I’ve tried short stories. They’re hard work. You have to cram everything into a limited number of words. You have to eliminate all excess verbiage and unnecessary descriptions. I used to submit to anthologies, even have two stories published in them. I’ve also had editors of two collections I submitted to, in their gentle rejection letters, commenting my short stories sounded like they should really be novels instead.

I also have a mild resistance to writing for specific collections. They are usually based around a theme. They want tales to fit the theme. Some days I just don’t feel like writing in themes (or told what to write).

I would like to write historical novels, but the amount of research terrifies me. I’ve done at least one manuscript where I had to dig into backgrounds of actual locations and historical characters. I spent a fair bit of time on it, always wondering if I’d made any factual errors. It is still lurking in the closet.

I enjoy science fiction, but my theory here, is if the tale is not based around some scientific principle, or could exist as a story without the radical science, then perhaps what is being written is not science fiction. I have one sort-of-completed SF manuscript. I keep going back and changing things because every time I think I have my futuristic science down pat, I read that current technology has already passed me by. Curses! Rewrite! At this rate the epic may never see the light of a publisher. If I try this again I will go so far into the future the critics won’t be able to complain about my science.

Of course, any unexplained science could also be considered magic, so back to writing fantasy.

I enjoy the world-building that goes into my fantasy writing. I’m a bottom up builder, creating only what I need to know of the world in which I set my story. You still need to pay attention to logic, whether it is the magic system, the religion, economy, geography, or the weather. You still have to be consistent. It adds depth to any tale.

Generally, I write in two fantasy styles. My Dark Lady and Queen’s Pawn series of tales are what I describe as medieval-style fantasy, or high fantasy. I still have to do some research, and make the core of the story follow some kind of logic. I have to keep extensive notes, but the details of the character’s backstory and history, are made up by me. Makes the research easier.

The other fantasy style I currently work in is my Housetrap fantasy detective series. Here I allow my imagination to run amok, strange folk in an almost familiar urban setting. I feel free to throw in elements of science fiction on occasion, because it is my own strange science. I don’t have to explain it. I plan to even toss in the kitchen sink in my next story, just because I can.

But enough about me.


The Novels:
The Dark Lady Trilogy
The Queen’s Pawn

The Novellas:
Knight’s Bridge
The Housetrap Series (six…so far)


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

You know how to tell a story. Why don't you unearth your historical works and google the facts for accuracy.

RJHore said...

Probably because that sounds like work?

I guess I'm always afraid someone will poke a hole in what I've written.

I don't feel the need to be quite so accurate if I call it fantasy?

Olga Godim said...

I write fantasy for the same reason: it's all mine. People complained about my high fantasy novels. They said my heroes speak the modern tongue. So what? It's my world. My heroes don't have to speak medieval English. Or am I wrong?

RJHore said...

I think you are correct.

If you are telling (translating?) a story from your world, you would translate it into the current version (aka modern) of English.

The only thing I would avoid is using too modern (or hip) phrases. Better to make up your own that would apply more to your world.

The same applies to swearing or curses. More fun that way too.