This week: NostalgiaEdited by: Dawn Embers
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Fantasy Newsletter by Dawn
A consideration in how we can use nostalgia in writing and how some stories can trigger that experience of longing memories brought from the past.
Living where I do and having a busy work schedule means I tend to not go home to visit very much anymore. Adult life gets in the way, plus the 16 hour drive and inconvenient flight/rental combination so it tends to be years between visits. Recently, however, made the trip back and it has been days worth of feeling nostalgia. I also used to do a lot of my writing back home, including working on a fantasy novel which I may have somehow lost.
What is nostalgia? The textbook definition is that of "sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations." It's the experience many of us get in particular when facing something that brings back particular memories, both good and bad.
As this is a site focused on writing, the obvious here is that we can use the experience of nostalgia in a couple of different ways within writing. We can experience it ourselves during the writing process, within the stories where the characters have to deal with things that come up, and with the reader as they can have their own nostalgic reaction from a story. Using the past as an influence can be useful when writing even when it's set within a different world like those found in fantasy and science fiction. We are influenced by many elements in life and that includes our experiences and past. The experience of nostalgia is also something not limited to our own existence. Each character might have a moment or more of nostalgia depending on what happens to them in a story. Finally, there is the reader aspect and that goes not only for the stories on here but also books but reading is its own category.
There are some books now that give me that experience of nostalgia. I am one of those types who can re-read books a number of times. I know that I've read American Gods at least two or three times. And I started the Wheel of Time series twice too, with the first three books. Part of me wants to go back and read others from my pre-teen and teenage years. And I'm not the only one. Granted, there are some readers who don't like to read a book a second time, let alone three, four or five. Though if it has been 10 or 20 years, maybe it could be interesting even for them to check out a book or two from the past to experience the memories from reading the book before. I could list off many but this list here is some of the ones from my teen and first year of college that I want to read again, possibly soon.
Some of my nostalgia books that I'd re-read:
Wise Child by Monica Furlong
Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Of Two Minds by Carol Matas
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Dragonlance series by Margaret Weis and Neil Hickman
That is just to name a few that are speculative fiction. I have a few that are not in this genre range but it was one of my favorites growing up and has yet to change. That and maybe I should take some memory and get back to that fantasy novel even if I lost the initial attempt at a first draft. NaNoWriMo is coming up after all and this was an attempt from either 2009 or 2010. Reading and writing, both things that can be done either new or from the past. Can put some nostalgia to use either way, and you can too. What will you write? Which book will you read?
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How do you use nostalgia in your fantasy? What book from your past would you re-read for the nostalgia?
Last month, I discussed the concept of beauty and fantasy. Here are a couple of comments that were sent in over the topic:
Comment by Masterclass student
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder this one phrase covers everything. In as much as we've looked at a couple and wonder "What did he/she see in their partner?" We are looking on the outside and not the inside. Beauty can come from within and outshine what we see.
Take a Dragon. Depending on the scene, we can see Smaug or take away the Cumberbatch voice and substitute it with maybe a soft sweet voice and children will think it's Barney grown up.
Comment by BIG BAD WOLF Is Sam Vimes
One question about beauty is "Whose beauty?" For all one knows, female orcs might see big teeth in male orcs as sexy, and small teeth as not so sexy.
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