As writers we all have our favourite genre, right? Some write sci-fi, some paranormal romance, some women's fiction...but a whole heap of writers just love writing and reading fantasy! I haven't been one of those writers. Sure, I like some fantasy novels -- The Magus by John Fowles would be one of my favourites, and I've definitely enjoyed reading some bloggers' fantasy novels (am currently being wowed by Make Believe, a wonderful fantasy anthology featuring our very own Lynda Young), but I usually prefer to sink my teeth into a good Pat Conroy, Anita Shreve or Jodi Picoult along with my penchant for reading and writing romantic fiction (which some say is fantasy anyhow!). I also saw the LOTR trilogy and just went to The Hobbit yesterday and really loved Avatar. That's all got to help, right?
HOWEVER, and this is the rub, what do you do when your Writing Group decides on a whole-group project? These fans of fantasy of course have decided to write a fantasy epic -- going the whole hog -- creating our own particular world (one of our members is a scientist, so the progress on this has been a little slow as he likes to get the sun in the right place to cause the right climate, blah blah). We have to keep reminding him that this is fantasy -- we can create our own world -- but he is more of the sci-fi bent.) That said, I'm sure our fantasy will stand up to quite rigorous analysis.
But I digress -- what does a romantic fiction writer do when she has to write a fantasy chapter to seamlessly blend with other chapters/characters/worlds written by other group members? Well, this bunny did a crash course in Fantasy -- devoured the books, the movies, the dictionaries. I even wrote and won joint first prize for my first fantasy story at Kathy McKendry's Knights of Micro Fiction for a story I imagined of two knights entering a Dark City, called City of the Dark Gods.
For the Writing Group joint project I was given the character of the Princess who lives in the castle on the edge of the city. She has to hook up with a commoner (young man) and go on a quest. So I asked myself -- what do fantasy princesses do/look like/act like? I read a few books such as Tamora Pierce's Alannah series which I enjoyed, so I read a few more fantasy books featuring young girls. After that, I went to THE TOUGH GUIDE TO FANTASY LAND by Diana Wynne Jones and found that:
Princesses come in two main kinds:
- Spirited and wilful. A spirited Princess will be detectable by the scattering of freckles across the bridge of her somewhat tiptilted nose. Spirited Princesses often disguise themselves as boys and invariably marry commoners of sterling worth. With surprising frequency these commoners turn out to be long-lost heirs to Kingdoms.
You may be able to help me here as I have to write at least 1,000 words of my Princess chapter for homework and the deadline is looming.
- Do you have any hints/suggestions on writing fantasy?
- Do you have any particular suggestions for my fantasy Princess? Such as a name, description, personality? All suggestions welcome!!