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Old 04-21-2002, 05:53 PM   #43
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I'm thinking now that my primary question is vague. Who is to say what's serious fantasy and what isn't? I'm sure that each of us is serious about our own writing, especially when we're doing it, but that's not the same as writing serious fantasy. So I'll outline (off the top of my head) different, say, levels of seriousness, and see what you think:

1. Serious as personal escape from the mundane stuff we face each day. Nothing wrong with serving oneself for the sake of emotional health, it just seems to me to be the least serious of the reasons to call my work serious fantasy.
2. Serious as self-expression, which is the beginnings of art.
3. Serious as communication of personal loves and desires, which is one step above #2 because I the writer am not merely blurting, but trying to connect to my reader.
4. Serious as a believable story with inner consistency, memorable characters, and an engrossing plot.
5. Serious as an artistically well written story that communicates a sense of wonder and desire in the reader, along with the aspects described in #4.
6. Serious as a tale that includes #4 & #5 attributes, and is mythic in scope, changing the reader's awareness and expanding the reader's sense of being alive.

I consider Tolkien to have achieved #6, of course. I dearly want to get to 4, 5, and 6 with my story, and will not be happy with it if I can only settle for #4. I want #6.

Tarlondeion of Gondolin:
I have tried many times but i dont seem to be able to keep going. I love imaganing worlds but cant write stories without a proper reason.
What would be a proper reason?

KingCarlton: I wish you the greatest of success, especially in fairy tales for children. I have a hunch that the limitations of that form and audience may help you really enhance your writing.

Maikadilwen and StarCupCake: I think keeping a dream journal is a powerful way to gain inspiration and ideas for fantasy. I have done a little bit of it and intend to do more. Actually, when I write stuff for the first time it approaches the feel of dreaming.
A world upon a lost time, remembered in that strange and beautiful place between sleep and wake. Those in the Blue, indeed, live only on the border of a terrible dream; few have the courage to pass, yet all hope to awake with only the memory of fear in them.
I like that! You are a writer. This description borders on the poetic.

I was totally surprised by the eucatastrophe (good climax) that I ended up writing for my story. I was stunned. I had no idea such a powerful thing would take place as did, but it virtually wrote itself. I simply cannot give it away, I'm sorry; it's just too much a part of me, I guess. When and if I get it published all that will change. My goal is to have the story completely presentable to a literary agent by the spring of 2004.

Rose Cotton: Please have patience. I intend to get to your first few chapters. I encourage you to make your plants and animals being your readers can connect to.

Little_My*: The Nordic mythos is my home. I am Frisian by heredity, so I can claim it by Germanic descent. The Greek stuff just seems too cut and dry for me.

Daegwenn: Some of your Mylryt material reminds me of Xanth and Dragonlance. I used to have the mood problem, too. Somewhere along the line that changed for me, probably when the story took on a life of its own and the plot turns drove my writing in certain
directions such that I was writing to find out what would happen instead of only to satisfy the inner need for beauty, magic, whatever...

Regarding Battles:
I too found the battles to be some of the hardest stuff to write. How does one handle all the vastness of action? I'm told that I succeeded in my one big battle scene. The only thing I can tell you is that I described enough of the terrain to nail the thing down in the reader's mind, then had handy divisions of armies symbolized by their leaders, and concentrated on the key vignettes. I'm not sure that helps at all. I would suggest re-reading The Battle of Five Armies in the Hobbit, Helm's Deep in the Two Towers, the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in RotK, and even the Scouring of the Shire. Hmmm, it might be interesting to start a new thread to analyze, evaluate, and all that, with Tolkien's battles, to see why they succeed. Any takers?

Manelwen: your story idea is intriguing! As to starting, I refer you to the literary agent's advice above. For ending, I can't really answer that because I haven't come near the end of my long saga yet. yippee!

Starbreeze: regarding the ideas coming too fast: all I can suggest is make a note on a separate paper to key the idea for later writing, and continue with your current thought. One published author at the festival I attended said that she never writes from start to finish; she writes whatever scenes come to her and figures out where they belong in the story in the rewrite. So whatever works for ya!

Regarding the sexual thing, I have removed all graphic stuff from my story. It used to be there but I found it was calling attention to itself and distracting from the plot, even when it was a logic extension of the plot. I'm writing for the young adult (and older and younger) market, so I could go into the graphic stuff but don't find it necessary. It's the deeper emotions that matter to me and, I hope, my reader.

I'm inspired by dreams, by different places I've been (something as simple as a deer track cutting straight across the path in the woods).

As for how long I write before I feel it is finished without spoiling it, I am finding that the more I rewrite, the better the story gets, especially in the context of a writer's group. My last rewrite, which I will begin in about 3 months, will be a much more concise story that gets at what's really interesting as far as plot and character development, and a whole lot of fat will get cut out. No matter how much I once was in love with particular scenes. If they don't move the story forward, good riddance.

On illustrating, I have been informed that illustrating (especially for a first novel) is the prerogative of the publisher, not the author. Bummer, but there it is.

Okay, I've responded to everything that struck me as respondable on page 1. Enough for now. Happy Writing!
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