Monday, June 16, 2008

Whining and Urban Fantasy Question

It's already been THAT kind of day... I just got back from a very relaxing vacation to all my to-do lists staring me in the face. I willfully ignored those (despite that nagging feeling that I'M FALLING BEHIND WITH EVERY PASSING SECOND) and I started at my usual coffeehouse, checked my email and discovered that I'd neglected a couple of time sensitive things (which I may or may not have fixed), and then just as I was settling in to start this blog, the wifi at the cafe crashed.

So, I had to haul self and computer over to a new spot and am now crossing fingers that this wifi will stay up and active at least long enough for me to write to you.


Anyway, I'd originally not intended to complain. Originally, I thought I'd answer the question that was started earlier on this blog, which is: why urban fantasy?

I think it's an interesting question because there are lots of answers for me. I think that the simplist answer is that I just seem to be "wired" that way. But the simple answer needs some explaination. Sometimes I wonder if readers "imprint" (like baby ducks) on the first thing that read or experience... and one of the first "grown-up" books I read cover to cover was J. R. R. Tolkien's THE HOBBIT. Clearly, that early experience warped me, because it lit up something inside of me that still searchs for elves and dragons, you know?

Ever since that first experience I get much more excited by a book that contains magic (or rocket ships, my second love.) It's like a drug... the synapses in my brain make happy noises whenever a plot turns on the discovery of a hidden occult talent or an adventure that leaves behind the ordinary.

Still, it's kind of a strange thing. Why am I wired like that? Why do I prefer stories that are, in many ways, divorced from "reality"? Why was I always one of those kids who scribbled "Believe!" and "Not all that wander are lost" on every notebook I used from middle grade up?

I know that I actually get a bit of an adrenaline rush when I read a book with the kind of adventure I crave. That's how I can end up staying up until well after midnight caught up in a really great book. But why that stuff? Why not, say, straight up action-adventure, James Bondy stuff?

I'm not sure I have an answer, but I'd love to hear yours. Why were you first attracted to fantasy/urban fantasy/whatever speculative fiction it is that turns you on?


Nicole Lorenz said...

I come from geek stock. My mom has always kept a library of fantasy novels and an abiding love for Star Trek, and my dad's been a nerd-in-denial since I've known him ("What do you mean you've never seen Dr. Who? What's wrong with you kids?" Yeah, dad, you're not a nerd at all.) I was introduced to speculative fiction at an early age because of them.

When I started writing my first novel, I didn't intend it to be fantasy - it just started drifting that way. I actually fought it, because I didn't want to write the same swords/dragons/epic quest story that kept appearing on my mom's bookshelves. A friend had to talk me down from trashing the novel, saying, "So what if you're writing fantasy? You don't have to write the same stuff your mom reads."

Of course, she was right. The novel ended up in urban fantasy territory, and that's where I've stayed for 90% of my creative writing since. It's a happy place to be. My characters occasionally go on epic quests, but they bring their laptops along in case it gets boring.

Angie Fox said...

I've always been interested in what's unusual, what could be. Growing up, one of my favorite shows was Ripleys Believe It...Or Not.

With paranormals, part of the story is exploring things that are different and exciting. I like seeing what worlds authors create, and it's fun to try my hand at it too. Everything is open to be discovered.