Fantasy is not easy to write. There are so many things that can go wrong, so few things that can go right.
Fantasy isn’t just epic quests, an adventure to save the world, or kingdoms at war. Fantasy comes alive in the little details that the writer weaves into the story, the fine threads that make up the world and the people.
It’s that kid who goes on a quest because he wants to make something of himself, because he wants to grow and explore the world around him. It’s that mother who lost her children in the war, it’s the burden that weighs down on the hero’s shoulders every time they have to make an important decision.
Because they can save the world, or they can be the reason why it crumbles and burns.
Things are not black and white in fantasy. At least they are not for me. Magic isn’t bad, the same way a gun doesn’t kill people. But the abuse of power, the misuse of a tool, that’s what’s bad. It’s a king that can be good and benevolent to his people, or turn into a tyrant after the loss of someone he loved. It’s the grief, the pain, but also the joy and happiness that people experience.
Does it matter that they experience those things in a land with dragons and sword-fights? Does it make any real difference if the protagonist is not human, but an elf?
For me, fantasy gets to explore every day things like friendships, discrimination, racism, but in a bigger, larger, and more magical environment. It gets to present things that people don’t usually want to talk about, things they want to hide away, because people expect things in a fantasy story to go crazy.
But it’s not going crazy.
It’s being honest.
Life is cruel, unkind, mean. Sometimes life likes to knock us down, and then kick us a few good times, just to make sure we’ve fallen low enough. Life looks at our plans, and no matter how well we’ve made them, how sure we are, life shreds them to pieces until there is nothing left.
And then again, life is measured not by the times we fall down, but by the times we rise up. By the times we dust the dirt off our clothes, by the times we try again and again.
Because we get stronger every time we fall down. We get more resilient. We can stand a little taller every time we have to stand up. We learn with each unkindness and cruelty. We learn and we move on and somehow we get to our destination. A bit roughed up, but wiser, stronger, more capable.
And getting up again is worth it. No matter how hard it is, how heart-broken we are, getting up is worth it. Because staying down means not trying, and we can change nothing if we never try. But standing up means that we get another chance to try, another chance for things to change.
Another chance for things to get better.
For our dreams to be within our grasp.
And that’s worth it.
You can’t expect to see change, if you never do anything differently. – Meg Biram
You have to move. You are not a tree. You don’t have roots. You have to move, and change, and grow, until you are all you want and dream to be. You can’t expect change to come, for your life to be different, when you are sitting still.
The first step towards anything is always the scariest, but it’s also worth it. Change, move, be better. You can and you should. You owe yourself that much. If you do not like your life as it is, if there is something you want to change, then do it.
If you won’t, then who? If not now, then when?
There is no time like the present. There is no better time to start shaping your future and making your life what you want it to be.
Do it. Move. Change.
You owe yourself that much. You owe yourself happiness, and joy, and the life you’ve dreamt of.
Life is hard. Life is difficult and as we grow up and we grow old, life likes to slap us and know us down, dedicated in teaching us important “lessons”.
Ever so slowly, we lose our fearlessness, our passion and our wonder. We no longer see the world as a child does, with pure joy at every little discovery, with the need to explore, create and satisfy our thirsty curiosity.
Life teaches us to be afraid, to stay put and mind our business. Life, experience and knowledge help bury that child inside each of us.
But an artist needs those qualities. An artist needs to be a child, to look at the world with wonder and joy, to feel no fear, or anything that can hinder or block the creativity and the curiosity that powers his work.
In his heart, every artist remains a child and every child is born an artist. It’s just a matter of whether or not he will let life and growing old and weary stop him in any way.
Maya Angelou has talked about the importance of emotions. And that holds true for stories and storytelling.
Stories in their core are about feelings. What the reader feels, how invested he is in the story and the characters, how immersed he is, how close to home their troubles, and fears, and hopes hit. Stories are for the sleepless nights, when you can’t put down a big because you have to find out what happens next. Stories are for the people you meet between the lines; the people you carry with you for the rest of your life. Maya Angelou was right after all :”People will never forget how you made them feel”, and a reader that has cried and laughed with your story will always come back for more.
Stories are feelings.
Even a story in a fantasy setting has those same feelings. Even though it has knights, and princesses, and dragons who couldn’t be further from reality. Yet, a good story will have the reader worrying. Will the hero succeed? Or, will he be with the one he loves? Will he fail?
Good writing makes the reader feel.
It makes the characters feel alive and as real as the people outside the book. The book made the reader angry, happy, sad, anxious. It gave him a whole spectrum of emotions to experience. Emotions that blew up in his mind and his heart like fireworks. If a story made him cry, laugh out lour, or even hurl the book half way across the room, that’s the story that’s going to stay with him.
Stories tag at heartstrings.
Stories are feelings.