Why Did I Choose Fantasy?

I talk to people in person about my writing almost every week now. EVERY time someone asks me about my book it usually goes something like this:


Person: “Rachael, I saw on Facebook [I heard] you are writing a book. What’s it about?”

Me: (Starts to sweat. Thinks, how do I explain this in simple and interesting terms?!) “Oh, you know . . .” (more sweat, less eye contact) “Well, it’s about this princess – oh, and a prince. And, they, um, they are about to be married when the princess’ beauty is stolen. But, not just her outer beauty . . . her inner beauty, too.  Her love. She is ugly and not nice.” (Thinks to self that I sound ridiculous) “They have to go on a quest to get her beauty . . . her love back.”Um me

Person: (stares without immediate response) “That sounds interesting.” (some people are actually more expressive and say things like, “That’s great. I look forward to reading it.” That sort of thing. Very polite.) “What made you decide to write a book?”

Me: (feeling awkward and tongue tied. Still can’t make solid eye-contact) That’s a nice plant. The floor pattern is geometric. Come on! Focus! “I, um, I’ve always enjoyed writing, but this story just kind of hit me last December, early January, and I had to write it.”

Person:  “Wow. Well, good luck!”

 


This is only one variation of the conversation I end up having, but the point is that people are so kind to me, and I end up feeling like I look like an idiot, who can’t make eye contact, with a lame story.

Writer friends- I’ve written out a couple different synopses-type explanations, but how on earth can I get over this nonsense? I know it’s not far from the mark that I am an idiot (I’m willing to admit this because I’ve proved it on too many occasions), but I don’t think my story is lame. I freak out every time I try to describe it to someone without telling them the whole story. I get nervous and it’s like I can’t find the right words to describe anything, let alone a story that has been poured out of me.

This brings me to the question of the blog post. Why did I choose to write this story as fantasy fiction? Here’s the thing, my story, if it weren’t what it is, could have been set in a completely real and natural-laws based part of the world. Except, it can’t be. “What?” you say.

The subject matter than I deal with in my book is not something physical, and in order to tell my story, I needed a little magic.  Some may argue that magic truly exists. I think there is a spiritual world hidden all around us, but I wouldn’t say it exists as we think of magic. Magic is a tricky thing to deal with and one that I have struggled with endorsing at the adult level. I am never sure how I feel about encouraging the belief in such a thing, but when it comes to telling a story about things that have spiritual and soulful applications, it makes the telling more simple and comprehensible.

Fantasy is a good home for telling stories that dive into our inner-selves, past the physical interactions of people to the deepest recesses of our hearts. My book is such a story. In fantasy writing, I can make the world whatever I want, however I want. I can build upon the essential things the story needs to tell about without being limited by the “real” world.

I can take from the “real” world those things that help us stay connected to the story, but I can add things “unreal” to the story to cause a physical representation of the souls of mankind. It can give good and evil an actual face. I can use fantasy to portray love in a way that wakes our imaginations to see the width and depth of real love.

In fantasy, I can show you what I mean when I say that a heart without love or hope is an empty life. Without a little magic to help me, I don’t know how else to show you this kind of emptiness in a very physical way. So, that is why I chose to make my story fantasy and that is why magic is present in this made-up world. I want to show you this real-world truth with pictures instead of just words . . . fantasy has taken the words and painted a picture for us to see . . . a fantastical parable.

 

My friend, what are you thoughts on fantasy and magic?  Please share!


2 thoughts on “Why Did I Choose Fantasy?

  1. Love this Rachel! I deal with the same issue, not only about my writing-but also in church at times when dealing with Jesus’ use of parables, and the study of dreams and interpretation.

    Parabolic or symbolic speech is one of God’s languages. It’s the language of story, picture, and emotion, before it becomes the language of understanding and that trips people up. We want to know, and know now. We don’t want to have to hunt or search for the truth.

    But the best treasure is always buried, in a mountain, we have to dig a mine. You can simply state-beauty is only skin deep- but if you bury such truth in a story, the reader has to go on a journey and uncover the truth for themselves and so they come to possess the truth.

    It is hard to explain, my deepest issue is my work being classified as ‘fiction’ simply because it is allegorical. Even in church I’ve heard people try to distinguish between parables and ‘real’ stories Jesus told. Well Jesus was without sin, and according to the Bible, God cannot lie, so he couldn’t have just been ‘making up’ stories, he was expressing TRUTH in the language of story, he simply spoke in symbolic speech, just like one could translate a literary work into French. It is still true, but you may need an interpreter to understand it.

    Be blessed and know that you are speaking a God given language, there is no shame in it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessica, I love your comment so very much. It’s good to know that you understand the tension I feel! You have gone through this sort of thought process longer than I have, though, so you’re insight is most appreciated! As it gets closer to the time to publish my book, I’d very much like to have you guest-blog here for me. That is, if you’d consider the possibility. 🙂

      Like

Please leave a comment, question, or idea! I'd love to chat!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s