Monday, January 24, 2011

Why I Prefer Fantasy

Pic from this site
Why do you write in your genre?

I've been pondering this question lately and I've come to this conclusion:

I don't like reality. That is to say, I don't like other people's ideas of what my reality should be. When I read most YA contemporary literature today, I'm thrown back to high school. Not Forks High School where something interesting and creepy was going on at the Cullen's house in the woods. No. My high school, where the popular kids who dictated the school's fashions, music, and dance themes were so far removed from my taste in fashion, music, and dance themes that I felt like a social outcast. Why would I want to feel that way again?

Exactly. And that's why I don't read a lot of contemp YA. It's also why the ideas that pop into my head tend to be about a much more interesting high school than my own where freedom of thought may not have been the norm, but it was the exception for one girl or one boy who knew the world was bigger than the inane social rituals of a bunch of shallow people.

Yeah, I was that girl in high school. And that's why I write fantasy for young adults. I want to build worlds where anything is possible and you aren't restricted by your wardrobe. I want characters with something more weighty to consider than whether to take Trig or AP Pre-Calc. And I don't want my books to be all about teens getting drunk, having sex, and basically behaving in a way that's as foreign to me now as it was when I was 15.

I'm a snob about contemp YA. I'll be the first to admit it. I just flat-out prefer fantasy and sci-fi. Take one look at my bookshelves and you'll understand that. It doesn't mean I don't ever enjoy a contemporary novel or realistic historical fiction. In fact, there's one YA contemp that's so unique, I can't wait for it to come out.

But it does mean I'll probably never write one.

If you're a contemp writer, why do you prefer it to fantasy? (I stand ready to take notes.)

If you're a fantasy/scifi writer, what are your reasons for eschewing the 'real world'?


  1. AMEN Sis-tah! I'm right there with you.

    Loved this post.

  2. Hey! Hope to see your Top Ten songs later today.

  3. Thanks, Kristal!

    Alex, I'm just working on it as I read your comment. I promise! It'll be up very soon. Thanks for running the blogfest!

  4. I love fantasy because anything, absolutely anything, can happen.

  5. Yep. I totally see your point. Some people's realities ARE pretty boring. ;)

    But I do believe contemporary fiction rocks. When done right. That means there's more to worry about than Trig and AP Pre-Calc.

    Interesting post, though!

  6. I think I mentioned it in one of the chats before but complete fantasy and worldbuilding freaks me out lol I love reading it, but actually writing it myself? Ah, no thank you. I can write contemporary or historical with a touch of fantasy but that's it. The no rules, full rein on the imagination is too much pressure/responsibility for me. :)

    I actually like YA contemporary fiction, but I think that's because I loved high school. We didn't really have a popular group or outcast group so books like that are sort of like a fantasy novel to me in a way too. Actually all of the novels are foreign to me because my teen years were pretty tame lol

  7. I like contempt but fantasy/sci fi IS so much more fun! Great post btw!

  8. I've always preferred SF and F too! Real life is booooooring.

  9. Well put, Nicole! Anything can happen. That's my favorite part, too.

    You're right, Amparo, and I left out a bunch of contemp YA that I have read and enjoyed. My examples of Trig and AP Pre-Calc are exhibit A for why I shouldn't ever try to write YA contemp myself! :)

    Jenn, sounds like you had a great high school experience! I'll try not hate you for that. ;)

    Thank you, Colene and Elizabeth! I appreciated all your comments!

    Of course every genre has merit. Fantasy is just my personal fave!


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