Thursday, June 7, 2012

What's Wrong With Fantasy...

You know I've posted about this before and still, it keeps happening. People hear that you are a writer, ask what you write. You tell them, "High Fantasy," expecting an excited, "Oooh!" like they do with every other author. Instead you get the, "Oh-I'm-So-Sorry" head tilt.

That look of pity, as if they just found out you're an orphan and all of your friends left you behind. I can't stand that look.

But reading the newsletters I get over on Writing Dot Com gave me proof that this still happens. I can expect it to happen to me when I begin telling people I'm getting published again. It never fails. And I still don't know how to handle it without being snarky.

I do know this, however:

"One of the criticisms often leveled against fantasy (and science fiction) is that it's "escapist" writing, that its purpose is to provide an escape from day-to-day life for its readers, transporting them into another world for a time.

I say, "What's wrong with that?"

I also ask, "How is this different from other genres?"

That's a direct quote from Robert Waltz, who wrote the newsletter. I want to know how this is different from other genres as well. He also stated that escapism can pretty much describe any work of fiction.

Personally, I've always said that every writer includes a little bit of fantasy in their work. First, the character is often fiction. Historical fiction is not spot on, unless someone is hiding a time machine somewhere and not sharing. How can you know exactly what happened and how people reacted? History only gives you a brief glimpse of events. If you did deeper and further into the past, reading letters and correspondence, you still don't get an overall "feel" of who those people were and what they were truly like. We can only speculate.

I'm thankful for the support of my fellow authors and bloggers when it comes to fantasy. While there are genres that I don't particularly care for, it doesn't mean I have no respect for the author. Writing is damn hard work, people! Respect that, if nothing else.

Have a great weekend!


Allison said...

I get similar odd looks, or just polite, uninterested nods from people who do not read sci fi or fantasy. I agree that fantasy is just as hard and meaningful as other forms as writing!

Mel Chesley said...

You betcha it is!! But yeah, I get that pitiful look of "I feel so bad for you, writing about imaginary things..." Meh. People!

The Owl Wood said...

I write Stuff & Nonsense, but I have long since taken to telling folk that I write medical textbooks and specialize in "social diseases". That way they just change the subject instead of blanking me totally.

Mel Chesley said...

Ha! That is awesome, Owl. :D I may have to try something like that.

Unknown said...

Fiction is by definition fantasy, just people are too stubborn to realise it. The earliest stories in human civilization weren't about ordinary things, they were about gods and monsters. A story about the ordinary isn't a story, it's a list of stuff. Fantasy delves into the murky soup of creative potential :)

randi lee said...

I don't tell too many people I write fantasy, but I guess it's also because I'm a private person when it comes to people I know. I'll tell every stranger in the world I do, but it feels different getting odd looks from friends and family!