Let me put this out there right up front: I’ve never been a fan of fantasy fiction. No offense to my friends who write fantasy, or anybody that likes reading it. There’s nothing wrong with the genre (unlike romance), it’s just not my thing. Dragons, sorcerers, mages (are those the same thing??), knights, castles, and whatever other standard fantasy elements just don’t really speak to me.
Now let me be clear. I am not bashing the fantasy genre. (And I’m not trying to inadvertently shoehorn it into medieval period pieces either…that statement above just shows my ignorance.) I’m more than willing to admit that this is a me problem. Harry Potter? Never read them. Lord of the Rings? I’m not sure I could tell you who Gollum is. The only thing I know about Game of Thrones is that there’s some dude named after a mountain and the book series will probably never be finished. Those series are beloved by millions around the world. Obviously they are quality, classic pieces of literature, which means that the stories aren’t the problem. That leaves me as the problem. (No surprise there, amiright??) I think the biggest hurdle for me is my lack of imagination. I have a hard time grasping concepts that I can’t see in real life. Sorcery, portals to alternate planes of existence – I just struggle to get into.
Having said that, I have several friends who write in the genre, and I thoroughly enjoy their work, so maybe I’m coming around to it. We could even take it a step further if you want to consider this little gumdrop of info: I’ve been keeping an ongoing note in my phone for the better part of the last two years, jotting down snippets whenever something pops in my head that I think could make a cool fantasy location. Or a new, hybrid species of insect, rodent, or other vermin. Or races of creatures. Some of these ideas even have significant backstory already developed.
But my biggest source of inspiration comes from my two sons. Their imaginations more than make up for my absence of one. My oldest son is a savant when it comes to making up interesting names, and his creativity is second-to-none. My youngest son is amazing at going along with it. He doesn’t typically add much to the concept, but he’s also four, so cut him some slack, will ya?! Watching them play, and seeing their imaginations create something that has never existed before is pretty astonishing. Asking them questions about defense mechanisms, what natural predators there are, and what powers they possess is fascinating to see what they come up with. Those conversations is where a lot of “my” ideas come from. Stealing their ideas isn’t plagiarism, is it? Theft of intellectual property, perhaps? Probably. Does that make me a bad parent? Again, probably. It’s not so bad if I make them characters in their own worlds, right? Meh, who knows.
I gotta say, maybe someday, just maybe, I’ll have an epiphany and realize that I have a great fantasy story floating around between the note in my phone and my noggin. One thing is for sure, if that ever happens, I’ll have my two boys to thank for the quality material. But for now, who knows?
Thank you, that is all.
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