Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Why fantasy?

When I was young, it was completely uncool to read, especially in my class. Of course that meant that I would read all of the time. In grade seven we had a reading wheel that we had to complete during the year. It forced everyone to read twelve books in a variety of genres. After completely three wheels along with every single book by Tamora Pierce available at the time (they didn't count since they were all the same genre), I began to understand what kind of story I liked.

Alanna from the Lioness Quartet is one of my favourite characters to this day. She's strong physically and emotionally, aware of her own weaknesses, and just so damn cool. Ever since reading Tamora's books, I've expected every fantasy to be as fun and engaging with an amazing female main character. Authors such as Patricia C. Wrede and Gail Carson Levine helped fuel that expectation.

But then I discovered that fantasy was actually a male dominated genre. Where were all the girls? And why did the ones included always feel off somehow? Since I've gotten older, the success of Harry Potter, and more recently Twilight, caused fantasy to take over the bookshelves. There are plenty of great fantasies available for both guys and girls, though I still find it difficult to get exactly what I'm looking for in the adult section.

I've considered writing in a different genre because of the tough market of YA fantasy, but every time I've tried, it's never felt right. For me, it's not about what will sell, it's the story that really matters. And the stories in me tend to lean toward fantasy. However, unlike the high fantasy that I loved in my youth, I've migrated toward urban fantasy.

The question that drives me is what would I do with magic?

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