Fantasy Tool Kit (3): Your Fantasy World

It may take several posts to cover this issue, but that way I can always stop if no one’s reading them.

I wish to make it clear that by “fantasy world,” I don’t mean the divorces from reality and common sense routinely indulged in by our leaders and opinion-shapers, dopes and twaddlers. Nancy Pelosi can gas all she wants about an America where everybody’s on the dole and all sitting around composing symphonies and painting landscapes. This makes clear the distinction between fantasy and B.S.

A fantasy world is a world imagined by the story-teller, in which the story happens. You can also set your fantasies in what your readers would recognize as the real world. But it’s fun to make up a whole new world.

I wonder if you’ve noticed something about “other-world fantasy.” When a hobbit has to have his appendix out, what does he do? Tolkien didn’t say. The Shire, as he imagined and described it, had no hospitals, no dentists, and no taxes. Well, he did say it was fantasy, didn’t he?

These are the kind of details no one ever seems to include in a fantasy world. All right, who wants to read about having a toothache and going to the dentist? One of the reasons we read fantasy is to escape the annoyances and burdens of the real world.

Would it work, do you think, if a fantasy story did include such things?

I doubt it.

The first step in creating an other-world fantasy is to imagine a world, or setting, which you will enjoy writing about and others will enjoy reading about.

But if you’re just going to flap your jaw and not write anything, you might as well teach college.


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