Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Why Write Fantasy?

I realize today that as a child, when I used to dream writing about the ultimate series of fantasy novels, I was conflating elements of two different writing styles into one. However, the one thing they both shared in common was the experience of fantasy in the mind.

I understand now that, for people who love to experience fantasy, they can make arrangements so that others can experience it through a medium of the arranger's choice, or the arranger can by him/her/other self experience fantasy by means suitable to him.

Through the first arrangement, the arranger is using his gift of expression in a medium, so that others will benefit. Therefore, he is likely to subscribe to the norms of the medium; for example, a fantastical novelist will likely write a novel with a beginning, middle and end, good grammar/ spelling, and clear, standard expression so that his audience will enjoy his work and be taken away to far away fantastical places. This might entail commercial success and steady employment, unless the arranger/ novelist does this service for free.

The second method involves the expresser / arranger choosing a medium of his liking, and expressing through that medium to enjoy the benefits of his fantastical world. In this method, I don't think the final work done through the chosen medium may be appealing to many outside the expresser, though it is wonderful for the expresser if it is appealing.

A good analogy would be the following: I dream of food, and how much ever I dream of the good food I can eat, my hunger does not go away. So by eating good food, I fulfill the pertinent desire. Even though the act of eating fulfills me, it has no effect on other people, save for perhaps the happiness they might have at seeing me happy.

That would be akin to the second arrangement, i.e. writing a fantastical work for myself because I enjoy the genre.

Expressing in a medium for someone else is like dreaming of good food, and with the desire to show others the taste I dreamed of, I will cook the dreamed food for them, modified to make allowances for allergies and other culinary individual expectations. Here, the fulfillment will come from seeing that the people who eat my food are happy eating what I am talented to dream about.

Coming back to the dreams I used to have as a child, I wanted the experience of fantasy for myself, with the reception from an audience as though I wrote a novel with them in mind.

Therefore, now that I know the distinction between the two writing styles, a lot of questions come to mind. Answering them will help me understand what it is I expect from myself and my writing.