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Reading and Writing

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by spectre, Oct 3, 2016.

  1. spectre

    spectre Sage

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    We're all writers of one skill level or another and given that, I was curious as to what people expect of a fantasy story? For me I guess I expect to be presented with the impossible yet somehow have the story come to a familiar logical end. That might seem like an obvious expectation of fantasy but what I really mean is that I read (fantasy) to see boundaries pushed, but I still need some realistic anchor. I'd love to read an excellent mindless and totally fantastic book if anyone knows of an actual good one btw. Anyway I wondered if anyone would care to share, and even hoped so as a means of 'marketing' research.
     
  2. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    The emotional core. A lot of fantasy writers get wrapped-up in their worlds and the plots and perhaps, the larger-than-life characters but the emotional core - a significant relationship, a character's growth, whatever - is what makes a story worthwhile. I think you need that kind of grounding if you're going to work in the fantastical. It's like an anchor for the reader.
    Even when reading story summaries, if I can't figure-out what's the emotional core, I don't even bother with the story.
     
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  3. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

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    On one level, what I expect from a fantasy story is often what I expect from a story of any genre: the opportunity to become engrossed in someone else's life for a while. As long as a story is engaging, everything else is moot. Having said that, the genres I pick - fantasy for the main part, as well as historical fiction and the occasional science fiction - present not just a life that's different from my own, but a world that is too. So guess the second most important aspect is escapism.

    Beyond that, what I expect from a fantasy story varies depending on who I am reading. Generally authors are fairly consistent, so I know who I can go to when I feel like reading something that's threatening and sinister, or expansive and optomistic, or fast-paced with an undercurrent of humour, or serious and complex.
     
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  4. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I think for me it's ultimately about escapism. It's about stepping out of the real world and into another, about forgetting reality for a while and experiencing something different.
     
    spectre likes this.
  5. I have very diverse reasons for reading in general, but i'll keep this answer relating to why i like fantasy particularly. I do want to be plunged into another world, escape the real one, experience all sorts of cool stuff that could never happen in reality. I love intricate fantasy worlds, most of all those that make me wish i could live there. But i also love the deep insight into human nature that fantasy can provide. You have so much leeway to explore humanity using fantastical elements such as immortality, magical powers, etc.
     
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  6. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Auror

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    Fantasy can be escapist in nature, but for me, the best fantasy is simply approaching our real world's (people's) issues and themes from a different perspective, which could be a hair's breadth from reality to completely alien. Leaving our world completely allows for reading without fact-checking (an annoying habit of mine with historical fiction, LOL. Heck, it's hard to read history books and not say "that's an educated guess, not reality") and a chance to accept the "reality" of what we're reading without question... unless the author buggers it. But even then, the benefit of the doubt goes to the writer, or at least should. Seeming incongruities that mesh in the end are some of the best things in fantasy fiction.
     
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  7. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    If I had to choose between this and escapism, I'd go with this. I'm pretty anti-escapism.
    In fact, I think that the assumption that fantasy (and fiction, in general) is primarily a form of escapism will ultimately be detrimental to the genre.
    I mean, I guess individuals can still use it for escapism if they want but, y'know, that shouldn't be it.
     
    spectre likes this.
  8. Any genre of writing can be escapist.
     
  9. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    To me, it's all about the characters. Give me someone (or someones) I can relate to and want to cheer for and I will probably read the story to the end.
     
    DragonOfTheAerie likes this.
  10. I agree. For me characters make or break a story. I love juicy personal/internal conflicts; my interest in stories flounders without them.
     
  11. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    What subgenre of fantasy are you writing in? Marketing research should include learning what the readers you're trying to reach actually love and enjoy in their books. Asking a blanket question in a fantasy writing forum (just because it's fantasy) isn't probably going to get you the clear information you want, meaning we all read/write enjoy different types of fantasy.
     
  12. spectre

    spectre Sage

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    Thank you for saying this, I think fiction in general on it's merrits is supposed to substantiate innovations to unconventional circumstances often contributing something that doesn't happen in the real world.
     
  13. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    Can be. And it can not be.
    I prefer it when it isn't.

    Well, I guess fantasy does often, by definition, deal with things that do not happen in the real world.

    But I don't think that means that escapism is the primary or best use of fantasy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2016
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  14. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

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    I like high concept stuff. The best kind of fantasy, or any genre of book for that matter, to me is when they someone can describe a book in just a few words like 'a kid is invited to join a magical school for wizards and witches'. It needs nothing that immediately separates itself from other books. A lot of people tend to develop stories that may as well be fantastic but they wouldn't be able to describe something interesting in so few words, and so I end up rarely reading them.

    It's also about taking unique ideas to creative an original story and world, but delivering it in an engaging way.
     
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  15. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Auror

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    While this goes into defining high concept, I don't think your example qualifies. Potter might be able to be considered high concept, maybe, but not from that logline. Basically, any book can be described in a single line.

     
  16. Darrin Drader

    Darrin Drader Dreamer

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    I prefer my fantasy somewhat Tolkienesque. I like the world to have elves, dwarves, and magic. I used to think gritty fantasy was the way to go, but after the last tend years or so, I miss the D&D worlds that managed to capture wonder rather than dirt and feces.

    That said, my fantasy novel, Echoes of Olympus, is set in ancient Greece. There are reasons, and I put them in the book.
     
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  17. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    I'm in it for the characters. I love character-driven stories, and reading and writing about people and their complexities. I also enjoy the worldbuilding aspect of fantasy (a little too much). Cultures are really fascinating; it's fun to explore them and see how they function and influence each other and change over time.
     
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  18. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Sage

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    I expect a story that will take me away from my reality, one that pulls me into it and it's characters. That's it, just a good read with a good plot. Of course, I love fantastically done worlds and characters, so the better they are, the more I'll be interested in the book. I want the story to be different then any other stories outside of fantasy, exciting, entertaining and well... out of this world.
     
  19. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

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    The only real difference is that high concepts are generally phrased as a question, but even then anything could be described in a single line. That's why the definition of what is and isn't high concept is often debated. In a way it's a subjective thing. I'll admit though I didn't write the best example.
     
  20. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Auror

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    Well, it's not important really, like many things different people define it differently. The term should be left in Hollywood where it belongs, as far I'm concerned.

     
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