Monday, June 29, 2009

The Dark Side

We had great discussion last week about including God in our fantasy writings. Now, let’s go to the dark side and talk about villains.

All stories need a strong antagonist – one the protagonist must prevail against. And it can’t be easy. It’s even been said the villain should be stronger than the hero. Or seem to be.

What makes a good dark foe? What characteristics should you give him or her? What makes your antagonist different from all others out there?

Sauron, Darth Vader, Maleficent. Just three examples of fantasy, sci-fi and animated villains. One was redeemed. Two fell to their tragic deaths.

As Christian fantasy writers, how do we handle evil characters? How evil can we go? Can we make our dark characters likeable? Should we?

Lots to talk about this week. Spread the news! Let’s get more people on board for this potentially rousing discussion.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Including God in Fantasy

Doug wrote this about his WIP: They have the same God that we do, not our God mapped into some other form.

I attended a one-day workshop with SCBWI last fall and got the opportunity to talk with an editor from Scholastic. We talked about including God in fantasy novels. Her advice to me about having God in the story is to make sure it’s a natural part of the culture, whether fantasy, sci-fi or futuristic. Don’t put God in your story simply for the sake of making it “inspirational” or Christian. The reader will know if you’re hitting them over the head with a message.

She also advised me to give Him another name – I was calling Him “The Most High God” in my story. That was too much like the Bible, and fantasy writers need to keep in mind that there are not fairies, elves, wizards or dwarves in the Bible. That made sense to me. So, I renamed Him, Celtar. I think it works.

I also included a book of “Holy Writings” which my characters quote from time to time, so I’ve paraphrased enough to keep it from being a direct quote from Scripture.

Should Christians include God in their story? I’d love to hear your opinion on this. Let the discussion begin!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Should Christians Enjoy Fantasy?

I taught a workshop on writing fantasy last year at a conference. I opened up for questions at the end and got hit with a biggie. A woman asked if Christians should be writing or enjoying fantasy as the Bible teaches us to avoid sorcery, fortune telling and other such dark arts. She was genuine in asking as she wanted to write fantasy and but felt troubled. I find this a fascinating topic since I’ve always enjoyed fantasy and never had a doubt of whether I should or not.

I believe great truths can be told in a good story. Jesus Himself, told stories, many with fantastic elements, like a camel going through the eye of a needle (Matt. 19:24) or the vision between heaven and hell (Luke 16:19-26.)

I also think there’s a difference between using magic and wizards and sorcery to move the plot along and glorifying the practice of them. As Christian writers, we must be on guard so we don’t make the dark arts appealing to our readers. But a good fantasy includes these things. There has to be something for the hero to fight against.

So, let’s talk about this. What are your thoughts? Examples? Reasons? Let’s get some good discussion going!

Monday, June 8, 2009

What is fantasy?

To get some discussion going on fantasy, I’d like to start with the basics. When you hear the word fantasy, what comes to mind? When I think of fantasy, I think of fairies, elves, dwarves and characters like that. I think of magic and wizards and a quest to save the world from a dark and evil force. Sound familiar to you?

Webster’s dictionary defines fantasy as:
1) imagination or fancy; esp. wild visionary fancy
2) an unnatural or bizarre mental image
3) an odd notion; whim; caprice
4) a highly imaginative poem, play, etc.
5) same as fantasia (see below)
6) a daydream or daydreaming, esp. about an unfulfilled desire

Fantasia is defined as:
1) a musical composition of no fixed form
2) a medley of familiar tunes

The only part of these definitions I wasn’t familiar with was caprice, so I looked that up, too. The definitions are:
1) a sudden, impulsive change in thought or action
2) a capricious quality or nature
3) music same as capriccio (a lively musical composition of irregular form)

Hmmmmm … I don’t see anything in those definitions that fit in with my thoughts of fantasy. But let’s take a closer look. Any kind of fiction takes imagination, of course, but fantasy even more so. Fantasy writers need to come up with new worlds and characters. My WIP has fairies, dwarves, humans, a witch, a dark lord and characters of my own creation. And now that I think about it, a bizarre mental image is needed to picture them. Guess Webster's isn't too far off. :)

What about you? How does your story fit in these definitions? I look forward to your thoughts.

Check the progress of my fairy garden to the right
I’ve added Fantasy Photo Fridays. Send me your fantasy-ish pictures and I’ll post them, adding new pics every Friday.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A new addition to Fairies, Fantasy and Faith!

A quick announcement to let you know that I've added a page to my blog. I'm building a Fairy Garden and will be posting my progress. Check it out by clicking on the link to the right under Ten Random Things About Me.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Welcome, Fantasy Lovers

Greetings, fellow fantasy lovers! I’m happy you stopped by. With this first post, I want to acquaint you with the vision I have for this blog.

I am a published children’s author. Two years ago, I got an idea for a fantasy novel. The thought had never occurred to me to actually write fantasy, although I love the genre. But the idea wouldn’t go away, so I wrote the beginning to Fairyeater – my WIP – and showed it to my writing partner, Joyce. She read it and said, “Wow, you just found your voice.” So, I started working on the plot and characters. At first, my intention was to make it a trilogy, but after getting into the story, I decided to combine everything into one book with three parts. It’s a lot of work, but I’m enjoying it so much.

In the process, I’ve met several other Christian authors who love fantasy. And many wonder if fantasy should be written, read or watched by Christians. In the workshop I led last year at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference, we got into some good discussion regarding this, and I thought it would be great to have a blog where we could come together and kick the topic around. So, here we are. I’ll be posting once a week, on Mondays, to start with, and I hope we’ll get some good discussion going in the comments section.

Please introduce yourself and let us know if you are a writer of fantasy or simply a lover of fantasy. Don’t forget to subscribe. I’m looking forward to getting to know you!