Why I Write Fantasy: The Yearning

When first I wrote fantasy, I yearned for escape, to be lost in worlds of fantasy myself, away from what I perceived as the misery of my own existence at that time.

Then I wrote because I yearned to write as well as my heroes, to be my heroes, use their ideas, their motifs, and make them my own. I yearned for this so profoundly I didn’t even consider how transparent my efforts would be. I just did it.

After that I wrote because I yearned to express new ideas in fantasy form, and to explore those ideas, fresh from the classroom or pages of a textbook, clothed in the flesh of fantasy. (Now I have that Billy Idol song in my head!) I yearned to say something profound, something startling, to share my epiphanies, and perhaps to inspire epiphanies in others. It was a big yearning.

Now I yearn to write well, and share my stories. To engage, entertain, and be enjoyed. No more, no less. I do not need to escape my life (and recognize how blessed it has been), nor attempt to emulate my heroes (though their examples still shine), and ideas continuously appear to bubble along under the surface when I have a story to tell and characters faced with problems and adversaries to overcome. (And my characters always seem to have plenty of problems!)

I yearn for the joy of writing, and the many pleasures it brings. The high of finishing drafts and edits is addictive. The searing hit of a new insight or finding a fix for a narrative problem is intense: whole new vistas of possibilities open up when one of those ideas strike, and they are fantastic to behold. The solid satisfaction of seeing the pieces of your work slot into place and become a cohesive whole that you can take pride in. The simple pleasure of a well turned phrase. Each day I yearn to have one or more of these things happen again, and so I show up, sit down, and try to write something worth sharing.

Yearning still fuels my desire to write, and specifically to write fantasy, a genre in which I have total freedom to craft the worlds I want, and to people those worlds with personalities shaped by experiences very different from my, or even our own, but always with the common thread of humanity hanging between us. Every day I yearn to explore those worlds, to go there and be a guide for others to follow, so that we may discover those places together.

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