The Fantasy Genre - Guest Post by Varun Prabhu
To all those who consider fantasy writing an easy task, I can prove that you are pretty much mistaken about it. Let me tell you the truth.
Fantasy has so many sub-genres, but let's say, three major divisions stand out: Urban Fantasy, High Fantasy, and Historical Fantasy.
Urban Fantasy is what we also call Low Fantasy. Now, this is relatively easy compared to the other two because here you are using our very own Earth as the setting. However, you can pretty much do anything in it. Research is paramount. Hey, you can even research mythical creatures and put them in your low fantasy story. This is what the urban fantasy authors are doing these days. Vampires, werewolves, fairies, etc...Use whatever suits your story. It is all set in a contemporary setting, so the descriptions are less and hence, as a reader, you find them easy to read and the story moves at a good pace. Of course, that depends upon the style of the writer.
High Fantasy, now this is a solid genre. Here you create a separate new world, a new universe. That universe has your rules, your laws. This world may have magic or may not. It is up to you. You can have the same mythical creatures you might research for low fantasies, but you could give them new names. You could create new languages, new cultures, new regulations. To do all these, you require the skills of world-building and that is an entire topic in itself. Charting maps is no easy task. Rivers, climate, weather, mountains, etc, you will have to take care. What fruits grow in what climate, what vegetables grow in what regions; the author has got to take care of all this. This genre is quite descriptive and one cannot blame. Research is maximum here. You need to create a history and mythology, and use that to influence current events. Most fantasies are a derivative form of mythologies and folklore we have come across in our world. For example, “The Lord of The Rings” is based on The Norse mythology. I, as a writer, dabble in this genre, for the most part. It allows me the freedom to make and bend the rules as I will. My upcoming “War of Illusions Trilogy” and “The Glaecean Chronicles” are all high/epic fantasies.
Historical Fantasy is nowadays a well sought out genre. Don't confuse this with Historical Fiction where facts are more important. Historical Fantasy is where you create a separate world but use elements of that historical period of the earth which you are researching. For example, you create a world which resembles the cultures and rules in, say, The Victorian Era. “A Song of Ice and Fire” is a good example of a series belonging to this genre, although it is classified under Medieval Fantasy which again is another sub-genre of Historical Fantasy.
Now that we have got to know the classifications, we already see that research is important in all the sub-genres. Better the research, better your story will be. So when you sit down to write fantasy, make sure you RESEARCH well, and when you are done, WRITE. Fantasy is definitely not an easy genre to attempt, but if you have adequate focus, it is not that DIFFICULT as well. To people who judge you and call your story a FAIRY TALE, tell them that the original fairy tales are dark and gritty (hey, don't forget the GRIMM BROTHERS), and then keep WRITING. Prove them wrong. Fantasies can be read by people of all ages.
People read fantasy to escape from the harshness of reality, but fantasy can send you a message that might help you face the problems in the real world. Who knows?
Trust me, friends, it is an interesting genre to read, and a much more interesting to write. So what are you doing here? Get Writing. Don't worry about the judgments. Go Ahead and Write; But like I said, Do Your Research.
About the Author
You can reach him at http://facebook.com/Varun.Prabhu.Author