Toothless Letter FFantasy. Since this entire month is about fantasy writing, F is going to be about fantasy itself.

So what is fantasy? Popping it into google definitions you get:

  • the faculty or activity of imagining impossible or improbable things.
  • a fanciful mental image, typically one on which a person often dwells and which reflects their conscious or unconscious wishes.
  • an idea with no basis in reality.
  • a genre of imaginative fiction involving magic and adventure, especially in a setting other than the real world.

We have a winner with point four, or at least, that is the definition that I am using for this month.

Yes, you can have fantasies (also called daydreams) where that person you like finally asks you out, or dream of going on holiday to Spain, or imagine being a super spy and saving the world, but to me fantasy is about other worlds, magic and abilities that don’t exist in the mundane world that we live in at the moment. Although science is getting to the point where some of the stuff it can do looks a heck of a lot like magic.

So you’ve picked up a book, how do you tell if it’s fantasy or not?

Is it set in the real world? If the answer is no, that’s a good start. Fantasy often takes place in worlds that are not this one. (Of course some fantasy does take place in the modern world, but personally I build worlds for most of mine). They can often be similar, or they can be very very different. Take my current works: Archmage takes place in on a continent with lots of different zones, but the one she lives in is a lot like Norfolk where I live with green flat plains; Mechanica Awakening is inspired by France, but most of the book takes place in a steampunk city, built in three tiers of brass and bronze; and Eidetic has labyrinthine mazes dotted throughout the main land, but is otherwise pretty average with forests and farmland.

Fantasy-Nature-HD2

Quite often there are forest, plains, deserts, mountains and all the things you would find on earth, just in an imagined land, because the current world doesn’t fit with what the author needs or imagines it to be. In Archmage I need a continent with varied landscapes and magic symbols over the place. Similarly Eidetic needed some whacking great mazes all over the place. Mechanica Awakening is steampunk, so has a great big metal city because steampunk and that doesn’t exist in the real world.

fantasy_dragons-264485-1920x1080_001Second thing. Non humans and fantastical creatures. Elves, Dwarves, Trolls, Goblins, Orcs, Fairies, Phoenixes, and Dragons. Got any of those in there? Fantasy novel. Of course, aliens are more of a science fiction thing, but it tend to be pretty obvious if it’s an alien or fantasy creature. Hopefully. My novels vary on whether they contain non humans or not. Fantasy creatures are more common. Archamge and Eidetic have them, Mechanica does not. My first ever novel, called Supernatural (very unoriginal, I know) had elves, werewolves, vampires, demons, angels, the whole pantheon in there. I’m working on that one, it’s hard when vampires are so overdone at the moment. But it is good.

green magicThird, magic. I will go into more detail on magic later in the month, but whether it be the classic spellbooks and wands, elemental fury, or more innate abilities, magic is one of the staples of the fantasy genre, and all of my books contain it in a variety of different forms.

And those are the three elements of fantasy. In my opinion, think I’ve missed anything out? Feel free to comment. I love comments.

And sorry this is a bit late. I was away over the bank holiday weekend so today has been sleeping in (because being in a proper bed after camping is amazing) and then cleaning everything we took with us because there was mud, mud and more mud everywhere!

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