Over the years I've spent a lot of time writing the beginning of dozens of books. I've written the first three pages of non-fiction and memoirs, of historical fiction and romance. Fantasy is the only genre I've ever managed to really dig into as a writer. Maybe that will change - never say never - but fantasy has had a special place in my heart since I started reading. This list captures my absolute favorite parts of the fantasy genre.
1. The world is so big.
Fantasy and science fiction can be set anywhere (I mean, hello, Harry Potter), but I love that they often use gigantic, imaginary worlds. It's my favorite kind of creativity - getting to immerse yourself in an entirely new place and time, with its own traditions and customs. I'm always fascinated by the way authors play off of our own reality to create new places. When building my own world, I consumed dozens of fantasy books, observing what felt realistic but also foreign and fantastical to create Summer Twilight.
2. There's usually some kind of magic (or incredible technology).
Who doesn't want a little more magic in their lives? Whether it's a literal wizard waving a wand or a sparkle in a local villager, fantasy and sci-fi often play with magic (or incredible, unfathomable technology). Seeing how authors imagine a world shaped by these forces is incredible. Doing it right is a challenge - imagine, if you will, that suddenly magic exists in our world. What would change? What can magic do? What rules does it follow? Where do people get it? Finding creative ways to answer these questions is always a fun challenge.
3. You can break free from norms, conventions, and sensitivities.
One of the challenges of writing realistic fiction, non-fiction, or really anything set in a recognizable place, is the inherent sensitivities that come along with it. Because of our past experiences, we all have topics that hit us the wrong way, and if that comes out of left-field in a good book, it can ruin your reading. Fantasy and sci-fi let us explore critically important topics (like racism, sexism, disability and ability, mental health, just to name a few) but in a way that makes it a little less personal. It doesn't minimize our beautiful differences, our commonalities, and our complex histories - it just makes them a little easier to understand, because it strips away the political nuance.
4. It's a wonderful escape.
Sometimes I read to learn - but a lot of the time, I read for a good story and a chance to leave my own frustrations and challenges behind for a few hours. Fantasy and sci-fi are literally other realities; you can't get much further away from your own thoughts than that.
5. It's the best entertainment there is.
In my opinion, fantasy media is the best kind of media. I'm an avid video-gamer - World of Warcraft holds a special place in my heart (Warlords of Draenor aside), and the Elder Scrolls series is incredible. I adore fantasy movies - Princess Bride and Lord of the Rings are two of my all time favorites. And, I'm a committed Dungeons & Dragons player (currently playing an angsty teenage dragonborn barbarian, if anyone was wondering). Writing fantasy let's me explore all these different elements, and create another world for my readers to be immersed in.
Bridget is the author of Summer Twilight, available for purchase now!