Monday 30 May 2011

Writing fantasy fiction…

On Saturday I went to a talk by The Write Fantastic with the express purpose of hearing published fantasy authors talking about their experiences. It was my first of such events and a very rewarding experience. If nothing else it made me more focused on writing my own novels.

The panel topics included the merits of science fiction and fantasy awards, the rise of the paranormal (and an interesting discussion about the popular overuse of vampires and werewolves in epic fantasy and sub-genres where they really don’t belong) and the short story.

Having spent the last few weeks working on short stories this was a particularly relevant topic for me and it was interesting to hear the authors’ mixed views about whether the short story is a “trial run” for a novel. Some enjoyed writing short stories and used them to explore characterisation to aid in writing a novel. Others balked at the idea of writing a short story, not wanting to be confined by structure or word count.

Other discussions that spawned form the panels were fantasy being encouraged as a stand-alone genre separated from science fiction, professional suicide through authors genre-switching, the re-infantilisation of women through dumbed-down genre fiction, the return of the short novel caused by ebooks and a tribute to the late Diana Wynne-Jones. All in all it was a fruitful day and I feel re-inspired to add my own voice to the fantasy fiction landscape.

Elloise Hopkins.

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