The devil’s in too much detail.

     On several different occasions in my life, I’ve attempted something that, to this day, frightens me: I’ve attempted to read fantasy fiction.

     It’s…not working out. The only one I’ve ever made it through is “The Fellowship of the Ring,” and I only did that because I was in the Air Force and guarding a plane for twelve hours a night. Continue reading

Excuse me, you’re in my sandbox.

“Fantasy is totally wide open; all you really have to do is follow the rules you’ve set.”

Octavia Butler

“Fantasy is the only canvas large enough for me to paint on.”

Terry Brooks

     Another post about fantasy?  Yeah.

     In popular fiction, many authors create a “series” in an attempt to establish themselves.  This usually involves creating a single character who becomes the spine for the series (think Alex Cross, or the Lincoln Lawyer) – each consecutive book is about what happens or has happened to this character.  For fantasy novelists, our world is our character.

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You write thrillers, don’t you?

“As a filmmaker you get typecast just as much as an actor does,

so I’m trapped in a genre that I love, but I’m trapped in it!”

George A. Romero

“Genre categories are irrelevant. I dislike them,

but I do not have the casting vote.”

Tanith Lee

“Focus in on the genre you want to write,

and read books in that genre.”

Nicholas Sparks

“Genre aside, I’d like to make a film about people.”

Sophie Marceau

     Unfortunately for the writer seeking definitive advice on the subject of genre, there are an inane amount of conflicting viewpoints, and pithy quotes from all sides to make their case.  Fortunately for the perceptive writer, this means you can understand the subject of genre with relative ease, if you pay attention.  Please note that I used the word “understand,” and not “master.”  You won’t have mastered the subject of genre until you’re Stanley Kubrick or Steven Spielberg.  By then I doubt it will be much of a concern to you.  But for now, let’s look at this genre thing.

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Oh, fantasy? I meant a real genre.

“They can keep their heaven.  When I die, I want to go to Middle-earth.”

George R. R. Martin

“Many readers, many critics, and most editors speak of style

as if it were an ingredient of a book, like the sugar in a cake,

or something added onto the book, like the frosting on the cake.

The style, of course, is the book. If you remove the cake, all you have left is a recipe.

If you remove the style, all you have left is a synopsis of the plot.

“This is partly true of history; largely true of fiction; and absolutely true of fantasy.”

Ursula K. LeGuin

Fantasy Wallpaper: Steampunk Landscape

     More common even than the atrocious, “I’m writing a book!” seems today to be the follow-up statement “It’s a fantasy epic!”

     Let me start (or amend my opening, leastways) by saying this:  I love fantasy.  I love writing fantasy, I love reading (good) fantasy, I love finding fantasy movies and watching them.  Even when they’re bad, they’re still fun to watch.  I began in fantasy, and it’s all I initially wanted to write.  Or perhaps I should admit something and identify the problem with the fantasy genre at the same time: All I wanted to write was The Lord of the Rings.

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