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This week: Take It To The HeightsEdited by: Kate=Secret Pal ~ 1063838
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Welcome to this week's edition of the WDC Fantasy Newsletter I am honored to be your guest guide to this exploration.
All writing contains elements of fantasy, be it a made-up story or a memoir. Those which embrace the Fantasy; weaving characters with powers, strength, magic, that is beyond (either above or below) that of the mundane, however, I think are some of the most creative works of writing either past or present.
Greetings, fellow weavers of other worlds.
All fiction (and some non-fiction) has elements of fantasy. Now, fantasy stories and verse, however, have as their foundation, their essence, the creation of another, parallel world, one outside the mundane. This world may be peopled by mortals in fantastical arenas, interacting with humans with powers or abilities outside the norm, with beings from other realms, non-human sentient beings, among others.
High Fantasy, I think, is the fantasy writing we, as writers, along with those who are drawn to read fantasy, envision when we think 'fantasy'. High fantasy is also known as epic fantasy, with the depth of invention, imagination, creativity of the otherworld. Think Tolkien, C.S. Lewis. I think high fantasy also often incorporates sword and sorcery, with 'battles royal'.
High fantasy is defined as fantasy fiction set in an alternative, entirely fictional or created world, rather than the real, or mundane world. High fantasy is not fixed with set rules. The fantasy may evolve in a world that does not exist, except in the mind of the writer. It may also be a parallel world we enter through a portal, like Alice in Wonderland. It can also be a distinct world envisioned within the mundane, like Harry Potter. Where there is a world within a world, the folks in the mundane are generally unaware it exists.
High fantasy is often serious in its tone and epic in scope, dealing with the grand struggle against supernatural, often evil forces. We often encounter fantastical beings such as elves, fairies, dwarves, dragons, demons, magic or sorcery, wizards or magicians, constructed languages, quests, coming-of-age themes, and multi-volume narratives. They are often based on legends or myths (i.e., vampires, the undead rising, Druid magic weavers).
We also find a threat in the opening of the story; the main character threatened by an unknown force. Unlike the sword and sorcery adventurer, the main character often desires to be 'normal' or accepted in his/her community, but is forced out of the pale by either special abilities or the necessity of combating forces of evil that would harm those for whom he feels affection or, sometimes, his/her entire world or state of being. This is where the main character learns of his past heritage (remember, often based on myths). With that knowledge comes power and confidence, giving him/her means of fighting and solving problems encountered in his/her journey. There may also be a muse or teacher (think Merlin) to guide the character and help him/her uncover and develop his/her powers to use for good or for self-gain (though the two need not be distinct from each other).
Along the way, our character often encounters a mysterious evil character or force, bent on world domination and on destroying the emerging strong protagonist. This 'bad guy' can have minions, may be a wizard or sorceror, perhaps a demon or god, even a former 'good' magician somehow wronged or cast out for reasons, whether deserved or not (another quest for the protagonist to uncover and use for good (or not)). The villain may have had predecessors who were once powerful (i.e., a vampire several times removed from Count Dracula).
So, good and evil play a large part in this type of fantasy (consider Lord of the Rings). I think this is one of the main differences between high fantasy and sword and sorcery. The conflict has a deep concern for moral issues (good and evil); the conflict is a power struggle between different factions in the fantasy world, with one perceived as 'good' and the other as 'evil'. High fantasy can also, rather than good and evil, deal with more ambiguous characters who can use both good and evil means to gain power and incite action in the fantasy. The ambigous villain may try to convince the protagonist that the means justifies the end, act as a mentor to help the protagonist develop his/her powers and skills and then try to convert him or her to the evildoer's way of thinking (and, often, acting) with promises of power and recognition in their world.
High fantasy, in its epic form, through the introduction and development of strong characters (both good and ''evil') can lead to a series to engage the characters (and readers) for more than one quest by enticing them to enter the otherworld and engage the magic and mystery and fantastical beings each encounters.
So, imagine, engage mythos and fiction and legend, and weave a world fantastical.
High Fantasy ~ epic in vision and sometimes proportion ~ envisioned by some members of our Community in both prose and verse. Enter these otherworlds and share your engagement, if you will, with the writers with a comment or review
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Thank you for sharing this exploration and I wish you a creative, visionary and engaging journey in a world woven of imagination and magic.
Until we next meet,
Kate=Secret Pal ~ 1063838
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