This week: A Time to be BasicEdited by: Dawn Embers
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Fantasy Newsletter by Dawn
Sometimes we have to be a little basic even when it comes to writing fantasy.
As we near the end of the year, some of us are seeing seasonal features like cooler weather, sweaters and a plethora of meme relating to pumpkin spice. I do have to admit that I enjoy a good pumpkin spice latte (or cold brew). Guess I'm a little bit basic and I'm okay with that. While it's not exactly a compliment or a positive feature to be called basic, there also isn't anything wrong with having a basic moment or preference. In fact, basics are not only handy but very important aspects. In writing, we have our own elements of the basics and the genres also have aspects that are rather... elementary (or basic).
So what is basic (in this context) really?
Well, in the pumpkin spice reference, the term is usually used to refer to someone who likes something only because it's trendy or mainstream/popular.
In our writing we can experience that question or risk in fantasy because certain stories or types of characters become popular at different times. For a while, there were so many vampire stories being published that it became "basic" to have a story that included vampires and/or werewolves.
Before then, it was the traditional fantasy stories with elves and magic that had inspiration from Tolkien that seemed overdone, common, or following typical fantasy trends.
To some the risk or potential of writing within a trend could be a negative whether intentional or not, but it's not the only place where you might see or use something basic. Genre is an option, story is an option or even the characters. Even within the writing, there might be someone or some aspect of trendiness. Maybe you aren't following a trend with the story but what is the character like in their world? Is it possible for the character to be basic?
What is different or unpopular in one sense or world might be trendy in another. The main character or even antagonist might have that twist or feature that is mainstream. It doesn't matter if you have a vampire with some flare or an elf who likes pumpkin spice. Just enjoy what you write, basic or not.
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How do you approach the basics with fantasy and science fiction?
In August I did a newsletter focusing on dreams and the goals of characters. Here is a comment sent in from that newsletter:
Comment by Steven Dreading Xmas
Nice reminder to include things like dreams, wishes and desires of a character. But I think it's important that the dream does not become the only piece of characterisation used, otherwise you end up with a two-dimensional being. So many books I've read, the character just wants "revenge for my family's death", but that is all we're given. They need to be more rounded than that.
What I find interesting is how a character copes after they've achieved their dream. There is a great cartoon out there about Wile E Coyote finally getting the Roadrunner and his life falls apart because that was all he had ever cared about. This can make for some interesting character studies...
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