Writerly Things 8/10/2020 Traci Kenworth

Image by Nicola Redfern from Pixabay

Writerly Things 8/10/2020: Do People Take Fantasy Writers Serious?

Traci Kenworth

There’s a saying that people don’t take fantasy writers seriously. Somehow, they think that all the creativity that goes into the writing makes it easy to write fantasy. After all, it’s all made up, right? So, it shouldn’t take a whole lot of talent to write? Just a whole lot of imagination.

Authors Shouldn’t Downgrade Other Author’s Work.

Just because you write literary, for example, doesn’t mean you trash your fellow author’s work. Every writer is called to a different pursuit. Some write genre and there’s nothing wrong with that. Frankly, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I enjoy all types of books. There are others who do the same. It’s a part of our reading life.

Readers flock to all sorts of books. Why deny them the right to read what they want and enjoy? Just because fantasy is often set in other worlds and times doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its merits. Just think of the vast audience of fans GOT had/still has. Movies, books, each enjoys its own rewards. Fantasy has brought us some of the biggest fandoms: J.R. R. Tolkien, anyone? C.S. Lewis? Mary Stewart? Susan Cooper? Marion Zimmer Bradley? And so many, many more.

Just Because There are Funny Creatures.

That doesn’t mean the work isn’t intelligent. Didn’t Tolkien craft languages with his works? C.S. Lewis brought out sharp contrasts between good and evil. Mary Stewart wowed us with tales of Merlin, Arthur, and the Roundtable. Susan Cooper further the Arthur legend. Marion Zimmer Bradley was famed for the complex worlds she built.

Imaginary creatures come with their own Wikipedia page. Some are based on legends. Some history. Others are built after much thought and research. They are both a gift and a curse to their authors. After all, fandoms have a hard time moving on even years down the road. Look at Star Wars. Alien. The Terminator. Predator. Even Jaws.

Time.

When it comes to historical, present, or future, often we have to lay the groundwork for what may or may not be invented by that date. There’s an uncertainty and yet with that comes a great satisfaction for what we create. Maybe there was never spaceships in the time of the French Revolution but isn’t it exciting to see how the author pulls off this stretch?

What about Back to the Future? Its inventions have long been a perk of interest for moviegoers when certain dates arrive. We like anticipating new things. Just like we like to view fantasy elements in our reading or shows. I think it’s the little kid of us out there in the fields, playing with their friends, imagining that footprint, the echo of pterodactyls to drive them back to safety.

No, certainly fantasy writers like other writers should be taken seriously and not dismissed. Some of the stories written have gone on to define the ages. Dune. His Dark Materials. Harry Potter. The Bridge to Terabithia. Sandman. The Eyes of a Dragon. The Dark Tower. We could go on and on. Not bad for a genre that some authors don’t take seriously.

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