A Great Book Genre and Why You Should Write It (Like Me)
My name is Sabrina Benulis, and I both love and thankfully have the time and ability to write, fantasy fiction. But a lot of people ask me ‘why?’ What’s so great about writing this particular genre? Or to make things short–why the heck did I pick it out of everything else available to my typing fingers? Well without further ado, here are my five reasons why fantasy of any kind just plain rocks. And if you’re a newbie, with any luck I just might convert you to the cause.
- It’s one of the youngest book genres. Really, it is. Sure, you might say, what about fairy-tales and mythology? They’re fantasy, right? Well, yes they are. But we’re talking about novels here, so I’m not going to give a dissertation on what makes mythology and fairy-tales a different breed. We’re focusing on modern times. So quickly, try to think of classic fantasy novels that defined the genre before the boom of the 1990s. If you can list twenty, I’ll consider you an expert. But to be concise, fantasy wasn’t really a strong genre until relatively recently–I’m talking at the earliest, the 1920s and we’re stretching it there. Anyway, what this means is that fantasy has room to grow, and grow. We’ve just barely tapped into the possible sub-genres floating out there. Fantasy romance, urban fantasy, epic, the list just goes on and on.
- If you’re a good writer, you can make any reader believe in the impossible and never question it once. Fantasy is a flight of fancy, but it’s presented as the real deal. The whole goal is to make a reader believe that maybe there’s a world out there they never knew existed. That it just might be plausible. Look at Harry Potter–and I use it as an example because everyone knows the books. You almost believe that Diagon Alley exists. And if you don’t, you probably still would like to visit.
- Nothing is off limits. Unicorns and angels are fair game in fantasy. So are fairies, vampires, griffins, and elves. Sometimes all of them exist in the same fantasy world along with a billion other creatures of the imagination. This is a genre where anything is expected and everything goes. Magic becomes the word of the day, even if it’s merely whispered.
- Rabid fandom is encouraged and desired. Well, you can be a fan of a book like Catcher in the Rye, but is anyone cosplaying as Holden Caufield? (And if you know someone who has I’ll back down a little). I’ll admit that this is where fantasy and science-fiction and horror share a common bond. These genres have the characters everyone likes to choose for Halloween, conventions, and let’s not forget fan-fiction and fan-art. We collect figurines and t-shirts and even limited edition pens if they have anything to do with a book series we adore. And stores like Hot Topic thank us. There’s nothing a fantasy author loves more than fanart and gushing–and I speak from experience.
- You can play pretend long after you’re past the age of ten. Fantasy is sharing. We first create an imaginary world when we’re toddlers or children. At that age, dragons are as real as the pet dog, and fairies are right in the backyard if you look hard enough. Then we grow up. But we still like to imagine other places, and creatures, and thrilling circumstances. Fantasy authors are people who live in the imaginary world of a child, but never really leave. We’re playing pretend and inviting you to share in the game as long as you wish. And nothing makes us happier than when you join in the magic.
In closing, I’d like to thank Books that Hook and all readers out there for making this guest post possible. Long live fantasy, and happy reading!
From Books That Hook: Thank you, Sabrina, for sharing your thoughts about why fantasy is a great book genre!