Writing fantasy may be considered redundant. When an author creates an environment, all aspects are controlled. You can choose to limit that environment by historical reality or the geography of the earth, but it is still all imagination. The Fantasy genre specifically relates to either historically impossible conditions (say a Nazi regime in western United States at the end of WWII) or unknown location. Mars and the Moon have always provided locations with unlimited possibilities, even after successful exploration of those locations debunked most of the stories that have been written or are being published today.

Both the moon and Mars were used by Edgar Rice Burroughs in his Moon Men and John Carter’s Chronicles of Mars. He also invented places on earth, such as Lost World and The Land That Time Forgot. Burroughs is the epitome of the fantasy writer as he invented Tarzan, sent adventurers to the center of the earth, invented creatures, brought the dinosaurs back to life and even invented optional ways for evolution to work.

In my installment on series, I commented on George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones and J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Both of these authors chose to invent completely new worlds as well as new inhabitants for those worlds. They are all of these authors are successful in the fantasy genre because of internal consistency, completeness and the ability to weave a grand story. But fantasy can also be short stories that grab your attention. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Richard Matheson’s I am Legend are good examples.

Fantasy can be graphic, but is separated from horror or by the story being about the “Fantastic” rather than the “Horrific”. Shelley’s story is a blend of fantasy and horror. Most of Matheson’s other works are more focused on horror or at least the bizarre rather than fantasy.

Reading these works and seeing how the stories are knitted together will help you in your drive to write better yourself. The fantasy world can come from any dream or even a different examination of the common world. There have been stories of abnormally small or large creatures and people. Just changing the color of something common to something uncommon can blossom into a complete idea.
 

 

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Martin writes about writing in his weekly column Ramblings from Martin.

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