Writing fantasy: the truth inside the lie

It has been awhile since I’ve posted. I just got back from a week in Atlanta on business. I didn’t have a chance to work on my novel while there. But I’m back now and excited to be writing again.

Fiction is the truth inside the lie.

Stephen King wrote those words. In writing fantasy, we can apply King’s words because we are creating a fantasy world and then making our readers believe that our lie is real. We couldn’t do that if there wasn’t some truth inside the lie. So in order to create a realistic fantasy world we must start with the truth and then build a lie around it.

I ran across an essay on the topic by Penny Ehrenkranz:

Did you ever wonder how David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Orson Scott Card, Stephen King, Piers Anthony, or J. R. R. Tolkien created their worlds? These and other successful fantasy writers found the magic to create realistic fantasy worlds, but they didn’t find it in a book of spells.

Creating your fantasy world means building a world based upon reality and making sure that your reader knows the rules of that world. Your characters must remain true to those rules throughout your story. For your readers to accept and continue reading your story, they have to believe in your world and accept what is happening to your characters.

J. R. R. Tolkien begins his Lord of the Rings series with The Hobbit, by creating a world so real that it has become a classic upon which so many others are based. … How do you go about creating a reality that readers will accept as readily? There are several things to take into consideration. Your setting must be believable. Characters should dress appropriately for the period of your story as well as use weapons appropriate to your world. If magic is involved, you should define the rules of magic and stick with them throughout your tale. Read entire essay.

And so, now that I’ve revised the historical parts for accuracy, I’m going back through THE MAGIC QUILT again, chapter by chapter, focusing on the magic world that is Katharine’s reality. Is the fantasy world that I’ve created in the young adult historical fantasy realistic, believable and most of all, exciting to young adult readers. I look forward to this part of the revision process — building the lie.

Take a vacation from writing in paradise

If your first love is a tropical paradise, or if you need a vacation from the daily grind, I recommend Key West. Harry and I spent a week there drinking in the sights and sun, the majesty and the peacefulness of the Keys. We left our computers at home in order to better develop our love affair with sunshine.

One of our favorite activities was the WIND & WINE fireworks cruise with Danger Charters on July 4 at sunset. We started in the Gulf and cruised to the Atlantic where we saw the fireworks reflected on the ocean water. Beautiful.

Gulf waters of Key West
This picture shows the Gulf waters of Key West at the Sunset Celebration where every day hundreds of people gather on the docks of historic Mallory Square to watch jugglers, a sword swallower, tightrope walkers, and flying cats perform.

But alas, we are now home. Reality set in with lost luggage and a brown yard due to Raleigh’s heat and drought. Paradise lost.

I am reposting an entry Key-ping Paradise in your Honeymoon: Unexpected Gifts from Key West linking an essay that Harry and I wrote together about our love and nostalgia for Key West:Key-ping Paradise in your Honeymoon: Unexpected Gifts from Key West