Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My car is a sword.

It occurred to me that writing in the traditional fantasy genre is the best vehicle for expressing my thoughts and feelings about the world. Or, at least it should be. After all, I am well-read in the genre, and I enjoy taking the simple idea of swords and sorcery and broadening it, filling it up with robust characters and new takes on magic and action sequences. It seems comfortable to me.

I imagine a lot of writers come to this realization about their genre sooner or later, but it actually dawned on me just a few days ago.

The reason I thought about this (I suspect) was because a friend recently told me they missed my "goth" stuff, which usually reflected my dry, pretentious sense of humor. When I was in "goth" mode, my characters could afford to hate the world for no apparent reason. I could develop cute, nerdy, pretentious goth girl characters. Not that I didn't write with feeling, but my writing supported the genre's stereotypes a little too much. In a sense, it was a bit like mental masturbation. Like the drum solo that never ends or the guitar player who overplays.

I've written more in the traditional fantasy genre this past year than in all the previous years put together, and I wasn't sure what drove me to it until now. When I write traditional fantasy, I worry less about the technologies involved, less about how to get my characters from here to there. Life is simpler.

Ironically, this leaves the door open for me to make things as complicated as I'd like. To me, fantasy is a more comfortable place to develop atmosphere and motivation, plot and pace. In fantasy, I seem to be able to create characters that pop and stories with layers. It all goes back to writing what you know and being comfortable expressing a full range of emotions and feelings within that realm.

Are you in the right genre?

Swords and sorcery. I'm happy to be back.

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