Why I Write Fantasy
Fantasy. The word has some interesting connotations. Ask a room full of people and you’ll get reactions ranging from obsession to derision to disinterest. But what is fantasy? Webster’s Dictionary has several definitions:
· imagination, especially when extravagant and unrestrained.
· the forming of mental images, especially wondrous or strange fancies;
· An imagined or conjured up sequence fulfilling a psychological need; daydream.
· A hallucination.
· A supposition based on no solid foundation;Not all of them are completely complementary, are they? Even more interesting is what happens when you tell someone you *write* fantasy. Sometimes you get those looks – the ones where people seem to be looking for the horns sprouting from your head or the Dungeons and Dragons game sticking out of your backpack. I should know, some of my family members have been the ones giving me those looks.
But you know what? I don’t mind. I’m a fantasy writer and proud of it!
So why do I find myself writing in such a “strange” genre? Perhaps it’s because I’m a bit of a dreamer myself. Growing up, I used books as an escape, a way to forget the real world for a little while, and often the books I chose were about Hobbits or Elves or Magical Wardrobes. For a short while, I could be part of something bigger. I could be a dashing hero. I might even save the world!
When I began to write, I naturally started drafting novels that had fantastical elements. My characters demanded settings that were more than just our everyday world. And I loved the freedom and creativity it takes to create something brand new. It’s that act of asking What If…and not being held back by the constraints of the “real” world.
But what I also found was that so much fantasy was based on the male hero, the patriarchal society. And I wanted, no needed, to change that. I wanted worlds where women are equal to men, where their voices are heard and accepted. Where women are the strong main character that saves the day, not the Sleeping Beauty who lays passive and unconscious for most of the story until the Prince rescues her.
My short story Princess for Hire took those tropes and turns them on their head. I wanted to write something that put a spin on the usual Handsome Prince rescues Helpless Princess we’re all so familiar with. And even better, I wanted to create a world where anything was possible and nothing was unexpected.
Most of all, I wanted to write something that fell under the definition of fantasy I like best: Imagination unrestricted by reality.
MuseItUp Publishing. You can also visit me at my website (http://www.jamiegreybooks.com) or my blog (http://www.jamiegreybooks.com/blog). I’m also on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jamie_grey.