What else could F stand for, really? I'm a fantasy writer. It's what I do.
I've talked elsewhere about why I think fantasy is great. So instead, here are a few reasons why I choose to write it.
1. It's what I like to read. Well, I like to read all kinds of things, but certainly when I was a teen I liked fantasy most of all. In those days there wasn't anything like the amount of brilliant YA fantasy fiction available that there is now. Nor was there the same amount of crossover between YA and adult. Furthermore, fantasy wasn't a mainstream genre; it was for nerds only. I'd skulk about in the fantasy section of my local bookshop, looking for a different world I could lose myself in and hoping I wouldn't bump into anyone I knew. So even though fantasy is far more widely accepted than it used to be, I still want to write books I think my younger self would have enjoyed.
2. It's all about 'what if'. Fantasy allows you to explore unusual or extreme situations that wouldn't be possible in ordinary fiction. In that respect, no other genre is better at examining the fundamental questions we as people face. What does it mean to be human? How can we hold on to our morality in the face of extreme trials? Is murder/torture ever justified? What is loyalty? What is love? You know, little things like that.
3. It's also all about imagination. Writing fantasy is a perfect opportunity to become the creator of your own world, a world bounded only by the limits of your own mind. As long as you can think of a valid reason why currency is based on crystals or people live in floating sky-houses, you can let your imagination run riot. And it's that magical quality, that unfamiliarity, which throws the fundamental questions of point 2 into stark relief and allows us to see them in a different way.
4. It's fun. Everything I've said so far sounds quite serious, but the truth is that writing fantasy is a lot of fun. It's a genre that lends itself to play, to light-hearted takes on old tropes and gentle self-mockery. It allows – and in fact expects – nail-biting fight scenes, acts of heroism and the occasional life or death situation. At heart, it's a damn good adventure. And we all need one of those from time to time.
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