Friday, August 10, 2007

Beyond High Fantasy

I recently realized that I had a bias towards High Fantasy, specifically favoring it over other subgenres within fantasy. I felt it was what I should write and that I should not deviate. In trying to identify myself as a writer with very specific parameters, I limited what I could do, the stories I could tell.

This week, my wife and I watched a film titled Pan’s Labyrinth. This is a remarkably well-made film that uses magic realism in a brilliant way because to me, it seems that the audience could question whether there was ever any fantasy in it at all. (Hopefully that isn’t a spoiler for those who haven’t seen it.)

My wife and I spoke afterwards, and I mentioned that I wouldn’t write a story quite like that even though I enjoyed it, and she questioned my motivations. I found that I didn’t have any good justification for exclusively writing high fantasy, and if I continued to pursue that one type of writing alone, I would eventually burn out. I think I was scared to try something new, afraid of stepping beyond the familiar one-world I had created. Now that those fears have been exposed, I realize how foolish they really are, and that it’s time to let go and simply write without self-imposed boundaries.

From here on, I think I will fall back upon the more general title of storyteller, rather than fantasy writer. All of my recent work has been fantasy, specifically high fantasy, but in the future, my active collection of stories will include other genres and subgenres as well, depending on the stories I felt led to write. My writing will define who I am, not a subgenre.

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