Why I Write Fantasy
This is my first post on the blog hop The Insecure Writers Support Group: a monthly blog hop therapy group for writers.
(If you’re here for my writing lessons and have no need for this warm-fuzzy-feeling stuff, I’ll see you on Friday.)
February 7 question – What do you love about the genre you write in most often?
Why I write Fantasy
When I was young, fantasy novels were a way to escape. The adolescent mind rebelling against some perceived injustice. The sense of wrongness in the world that I had no word for, just the driving need to escape. I read all kinds of fantasy because anywhere was better than here.
In my teen years, the nameless repression began to identify itself as the message of my “true” role in life became apparent. I fled to fantasy. Whether it was Star Trek or Dungeons and Dragons, fantasy was a place where female characters weren’t penalized. I didn’t care if my heroines fought with swords, magic, or phasers. They could fight. Anywhere was better than here.
As an adult, I began teaching in an urban school in a poor neighborhood. I watched my students do incredible things despite the struggles of poverty, and I thought, “If only they were living somewhere where they didn’t have these problems.” Surely, anywhere was better than here.
Then I moved to a wealthy suburban district and watched the students there struggle not under the weight of poverty but of impossible expectations. I saw this at every school I taught. Every background, every race, every environment. No matter where I went, my students had the same needs, the same hopes. Only the monsters changed.
This is what fantasy does. It illustrates what is common to all people. By telling stories in cultures that do not exist, it strips away the reader’s preconceptions and politics. By changing these rules, those biases no longer affect the reader’s experience. This leaves readers only the shared human experience. The basic needs that unite us: shelter, safety, belonging, and self-expression are present no matter how foreign the setting.
Fantasy allows us to drop the expectation and biases of our own culture in favor of the common human experience. Fantasy isn’t about escaping. It’s about examining what is common to all human experience. The buildings may be different, but people are all the same. This is why I love fantasy and why fantasy is so important.
Fantasy shows us that everywhere is here.
Thanks for reading,
To continue on the blog hop