Up on Heroines of Fantasy this week, our first male blogger for the spring! Peadar Ó Guilín is a writer of YA fiction out of Dublin, Ireland. His first book, The Inferior ranked among the very best books I read in 2010. It is available in the US. His second book, The Deserter, will be available in the US on March 12th! For more information on Peadar and his work, click on the name-ticky up there. Unless the Nork has incapacitated him again, he'd love to hear from you.
Dear Fantasy Writers,
Dear Fantasy Writers,
I'm a writer too and what I want, is to be remembered. Oh, I'm not talking about eternity here. What I mean, is that five minutes after you have finished reading one of my stories, you'll still be able to tell a perfect stranger what it was about.
A humble ambition, you might think, except I suspect that like me, you have wasted far too much time being mildly entertained instead of thrilled.
People read our work for different reasons: some like wizards; some *want* to be wizards, or thieves or dragons. There are fantasy fans who dream of escape to what they imagine were simpler times, when people had purer motives and better dance moves.
But for me, the true power of the genre lies in its name.
Fantasy means "imagination". It is creativity gone wild, or rather, that's what it should be. As a reader, I enjoy the tropes, but deep inside, there's a part of me that yearns to be astounded. I long to use the word "marvel" again and again in superhero-free sentences.
Science Fiction writers do this to me all the time, or they aspire to it anyway and it blows my mind that so many fantasy writers are content to let their genre cousins steal this crown right from under their noses.
But there's profit in old rope, isn't there? Perhaps it's no accident that SF sales keep shrinking, their shelf space collapsing before a never-ending stream of dragon-this or dragon-that.
Which is not to say I have anything against dragons! Or any other trope you might name. The important thing, for me, Peadar the Reader, is that when you use tropes, you twist them so hard that my lazy eye finally uncrosses; that I forget to go to the bathroom until I embarrass myself; that my coffee goes cold in the flask. That's all I want. Something new. Something amazing.
Oh, I'll still visit ye olde medieval kingdoms from time to time, like so many branches of McDonalds, because, well, when I'm hungry, I'll plug the gap with whatever comes to hand and... and Good for you! McDonald's do great business and not everybody can blow minds with every steaming plate that comes out of their kitchen.
But I want you to try. I insist on it. This is my demand and it is non-negotiable.
Or maybe you'd prefer for me to forget you while I'm still reading your book?