Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Inspired, On Occasion.

When writing, I find inspiration in several places. While some authors tell you to people watch, I find that since I’m writing about fantastical worlds, looking at people in my world does not inspire characters. Now characters, in any genre, should resemble people we know (maybe not personally know) for the sake of the reader’s ability to sympathize with the character, but I find that most characters are created in the depth of my mind and I give them personal traits, not from people watching but from my own personal experiences.
One source of inspiration is artwork. Beautiful pictures create or reinforce stories in my mind. While working on a story about the four horsemen of the apocalypse and searching the web for research, I came across an awesome depiction of the four horsemen which I had to buy.
This picture still sits on my desk to inspire me. I’m not saying you have to buy it; I’m just using it as an example.

Another source of inspiration is nature. Beautiful plants, trees and landscapes can bring up wonderful images in my mind. Also, the weather is a great inspiration. If I sit outside with a notebook while a storm is brewing, it is easier to create a dramatic or dark scene for my story.

Probably them most important inspiration is music. I enjoy all types of music and listen to different artists or genres to write different scenes or to get into different moods for writing. I love Gershwin and Tchaikovsky, Yo-Yo Ma and most things Celtic. World music and classical music hold such a variety of sounds that it inspires a plethora of images in my mind, while some rock inspires kick ass characters or fight scenes. With most stories I create a soundtrack, essentially. When I want to write a specific scene or about a specific character, I’ll listen to a specific song. At the bottom of this post I included an embedded music player (care of an awesome site for finding songs to listen to without having to buy the entire CD), which contains a list of songs I listen to often when I write.

Whenever I feel uninspired to write, I listen to music, explore nature and view art. Hopefully this post makes you think of what inspires you and gives you more ways to inspire your own writing.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The First Part Second

Now that I’ve had my extended rant, let’s cover a basic topic to be discussed by any fantasy reader or writer: What is the difference between science fiction and fantasy?

It still boggles my mind, the number of people who believe there is no difference between these two genres, but if there was no difference, why have they been given different names? It is true that they are similar, and that is why they are sub genres of “speculative fiction”, but they have differences which allow books to be categorized as one genre or the other.

Both science fiction and fantasy can be set in worlds past, present or future, which contain fantastical elements which make them different from the world we know. Both may contain people or objects with powers not found in our world. The main difference between fantasy and science fiction is how these worlds and powers are explained.

If a person’s powers are due to magic – its fantasy.

If a person’s powers are due to science – its science fiction.

In some worlds there will be a mixture of science and magic, but the dominant force will determine the genre.

If a spaceship flies because of magic – its fantasy. Just being set in space does not make it science fiction.

Luckily, most books in these genres makes it very clear to which genre they belong. Some ride the line between science fiction and fantasy, but ultimately they are defined as either sci/fi or fantasy never as both genres.

This is a pretty quick explanation and hopefully it makes sense.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A bit more about fantasy as a respectable genre...

Today we’re going to examine the idea of those who are against fantasy as a genre. As seen in this article: , fantasy is a much despised genre (by some). These people try to keep it out of the classroom, away from the best seller lists, and out of the group of literature which becomes a “classic”.

(Pictured: Someone who does not love the fantasy genre.)

To these “haters” and to those of you interested in this battle, I would like to point out several “fantasy” books which have become classics.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Le Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Sir Mallory

Idylls of the King by Alfred Tennyson

Watership Down By Richard Adams

Don Quixote By Miguel De Cervantes

Authors that have written more than one classic fantasy: Tolkien, Shakespeare.

In our sister genre: science fiction, we see many classics:


Turn of the Screw


Fahrenheit 451


It seems to me that many naysayers believe that fantasy is unbelievably easy to write and a fantasy writer has no credibility as an author. To me, a fantasy novel is just as difficult as writing any other novel, and as the aforementioned books show, fantasy novels can contain material that not only lets them transcend the limited beliefs placed upon their genre but also makes them thought provoking or insightful novels independent of fantastical or scientific elements.

I think it is just as likely for any fiction novel to be crap as it is for a fantasy novel to be crap. With that in mind, it is also as likely for a fantasy novel to be superior to the majority of the rest of what is published as it is for any other genre to be placed above the mainstream novels.

Ultimately, if you are a fantasy reader or writer, be proud of your genre, especially because it is proving that it should be respected with each new publication printed.

(Pictured: Someone who loves the genre of fantasy.)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Some may consider me a lowly fantasy writer, one who sits in shadows ready to easily write novel after novel about useless made up worlds full of uninteresting impossibilities, but I consider myself a fighter. One who stands against those nay-sayers, those that loathe the genre of fantasy. Surely, many books have graced the shelves of bookstore and libraries - ones that were of a lesser quality, the quality of crap, and many of these did fit in the fantasy genre, but that does not make fantasy innately a form of feces created by mind, pen and paper. Many fantasy books have had profound effects on human culture and thought. While few (if any) have won a Pulitzer Prize nor the Nobel Peace Prize, they have contributed to the world of literature and will continue to be that bug and or bird poo that you can't clean off your windshield. Hopefully you can scrap through all of that "crap" to find good fantasy. I'm not saying my books are of that higher, thought provoking quality; but I will fight to the death to keep fantasy as an accepted genre (not to be confused with the scum sucking genre of science fiction - don't even get me started), to allow books, like mine and others to raise other fantasy novels to higher peaks, ones that will surpass chick-lit (vomit) and the "classic" horror/romance/sci-fi/thriller-lit (puke fest) in the realms of literary acceptance.

In all honesty, I do love fantasy and feel as though it is underrated. I also love sci-fi (when it stays where it belongs ;p) and I hope to use this blog to promote the fantasy genre to readers and writers alike. Enjoy.