This week: Beauty in a Fantasy WorldEdited by: Dawn Embers
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Fantasy Newsletter by Dawn
There is beauty in many places and differing views on creating the standard. In fantasy, another way to build the world and show characters is through their concept of beauty. This newsletter considers that aspect in the story telling and world development.
When it comes to sayings and phrases, the topic of beauty is one that comes up often and can be found in many different memes, web sites and motivational images. It's also a topic that we can consider as writers, in particular within the fantasy (or any speculative fiction) genre. There are the more known comments on beauty, like that it is in the eye of the beholder. That is one approach we can take as writers because it will depend on the character and their point of view as to what and who they see as beautiful. Let's consider beauty as a topic for fantasy with the help of a few quotations.
There is certainly no absolute standard of beauty. That precisely is what makes its pursuit so interesting. - John Kenneth Galbraith
This is also true for sizing in women's clothing in our world but that's another story/situation. There isn't an absolute because there are so many different aspects of the world that influence big concepts like that of beauty. Influences come in many forms such as culture, personal views, location and experiences that affect the overall creation of an opinion. This can be the same in a fantasy world or it can be different. There are some stories that use a particular standard of beauty in the creation of the world and within the plot. The YA book Uglies comes to mind as where a standard gets used but also is challenged throughout the series. Where a character fits in the world will influence how they view beauty of others or in themselves.
Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius
This is a quotation we can consider that has more of a character focus. We can view everything as an aspect that has elements of beauty but whether or not the character sees it is going to be a different story. That may be something that can help show different characters, in particular in a story that has more than one point of view shown. How the character views the world and what they see can showcase some of their differences. Plus, how can you go wrong with a quote from Confucius. However, another classic one to consider is that by another legend.
There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in the proportion. - Edgar Allan Poe
As part of fantasy, this is something that can come to mind because we can use strangeness and create something beautiful in the fantastical worlds we create. While proportion isn't something we commonly think of when it comes to writing, more of an artistic element of a different venue, but still the general concept behind the quotation makes sense in the world of speculative fiction. The use of a strange beauty can also be used as commentary on views from within the realm of our own world through the use of a tale of some other made up place.
The options are out there and like beauty, it depends on your view and what you do with it. We have the pens, the paper, computer and whatever other medium necessary in order to be the eyes of the beholder. Now show it in a story.
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How do you show beauty in your fantasy stories?
Last month my fantasy newsletter discussed days that could be celebrated. This is the comment sent in over the topic:
Comment by BIG BAD WOLF
Some things that could be celebrated is a person's funeral. It could be possible that if one doesn't have a good send-off, where family and friends are eating and drinking and telling stories about the deceased, then the person might end up in a bad afterlife, as far as the peoples' belief system is concerned. In some stories, like in the Discworld series, a person knows when they will die, and makes sure that the party is held while they are still alive, especially in the cases of witches and wizards, who wouldn't dare to miss a good meal with free food.
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