Magic is a mainstay of fantasy stories. In practically all fantasy novels there will be some power or ability that certain people/creatures have that could be considered magic. The mechanics for each world and setting tend to be varied, sometimes significantly. In some stories, the magic system is well-defined, in others, it can be vague and even inconsistent. In some worlds everyone understands magic, in others only a select few are graced with knowledge while the rest believe only in folklore.
I’m a fan of soft water, so I often have to stop and get a few shots when I comes across any falls. The trouble is, stopping, getting out the gear, getting the shots, moving around, getting more shots, and then packing up the gear to move on down the trail takes a lot of time. This trip I didn’t end up with as many shots as I normally take. Hopefully the ones I did get will yield a few more decent shots. (Plus I have video to edit; lots of video.)
I have always loved the fantasy genre. Ever since I first started reading books of my own choosing, I read fantasy and SciFi novels. Perhaps I loved the idea of being transported away to another world or to another time and place. Maybe I was fascinated by learning about beings who are different from myself. Whatever the reason, these stories felt and still feel like home to me.
Happily, today there is less social awkwardness attached to these genres. In fact, shows like The Big Bang Theory on CBS are helping to make being a geek mainstream. So when I hear people tell me they do not like fantasy novels, I always want to understand why. Deep down I hope it might just be a simple misconception that I can resolve; I really want others to embrace my beloved genre as much as I do.
There are certain things that when we see, hear, or smell them, they just put us into that proper state of mind where we are instantly transported to another time or place, or perhaps even another world. For each person, it’s always something a little different. However, I expect that history, tradition, and some instinctual programming in the back of our minds gives us all a fair amount of overlap.
I love spending time outdoors and I must admit that some trips are just more fun than others. Often what makes something more memorable is the unexpected, when something that should by all logic and reason be unpleasant, actually turns out to be fun. I’ve mentioned it before, but some of the best hiking I have done has been in the rain and for me a wet woodland road can easily send my imagination running wild. Who else has traveled the road? Where were they going and why? Was someone chasing them? Were they chasing some? Were they on a simple afternoon stroll? Visiting a friend? A colleague? A lover? The road exists, so someone at some point made this journey before me, yet only the faded memory of their passage remains.
Last week I was talking with someone about writing and the subject of what I write, specifically the fact that I prefer to write strong female protagonists, came up.
I can say that I have always been drawn to read stories with strong female leads. As far back as I can remember, that has always just seemed to be my preference. I am not exclusive in reading books with a female protagonist, but I definitely read more of those stories than ones with a male lead. For that reason, it seemed very natural that I would prefer to write strong female characters in my own stories.
However, last week I was asked something I had not been asked before: “Why does that appeal to you so much?”
The question gave me pause; I didn’t have a ready answer, I just knew that was what I liked. I had to stop and think about the reasons for a while and below are a couple of theories I have.