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Choosing a genre: Why I love Fantasy

A question all writers get

Fantasy writers are often asked why this genre. Why did you choose it? There are so many ways to approach storytelling, and deciding the genre that will best serve the tale you have to tell is crucial.

Is Fantasy the right genre for you?

I've spent quite some time considering this question. Not only because it regularly features in interviews but because with a lot of the awesome Fantasy out there, the field is crowded. Would my stories be better served in a different genre? I wondered. But after pondering and experimenting, I've finally landed on the reason why Fantasy is and more than likely will continue to be my genre of choice.

Fantasy is the rawest form of a story. It is the original tall tale.


and why you might like it too...


Fantasy is the rawest form of a story. It is the original tall tale. Probably the type of story people first told around a bonfire and shamans used to explain the unknown. Fantasy is the tales of our childhood. A genre that allows us to manifest our fondest wishes and deepest fears. It's primal and powerful.


For a writer, Fantasy is a carte blanche. It lets us be as wild as we want because imagination is the only limit. As long as a storyteller is consistent and logical, there are no rules. You get to reinvent the world, the universe, the laws of physics. And there are so many directions to explore, from fairy tale retellings to contemporary to high Fantasy to haunting dark stories. This versatility is hard to resist. It is a gift to be allowed to be playful and experiment in a way no other genre would allow.


Fantasy allows for genre-bending too. I grew up on a varied book diet and still enjoy a bit of everything. I’m convinced it is essential to be exposed to different types of stories. It's good and necessary to surprise the reader, which is why I love to include influences and nods to multiple genres and devices from mystery, adventure, romance--you name it.

Allegorical Power

In many ways, Fantasy allows for the exploration of our humanity through a lens that is less threatening than history or our everyday reality. As a creator, we can change the structure of a world, alter the rules of a society, include people who look alien. We can go as far as flipping the laws of nature. But the conflict of being human is what’s universal and what makes any tale compelling. So Fantasy is the perfect vehicle to create allegorical tales that communicate deeper meaning subtly and get a message across without pandering.

Nostalgia & Wonder

There is something nostalgic about Fantasy that calls to me and that I believe resonates with many people. Maybe because as children, we grew up on fairy tales, or because we’re all drawn to things that fill us with awe—we love surprises and mystery. And so, Fantasy lovers everywhere allow ourselves to suspend disbelief and choose to indulge our fancies.

Relationships have stories. Building them requires conflict and pacing, just like the rest of your writing.

Ultimately, though, a writer can only choose what to write to a maximum degree. Beyond that, who we are, what we enjoy, what shaped us shines through. I am a Fantasy writer because I don’t seem able to write anything else. When I sit in front of my blank screen, no matter how ordinary a setting I start with, I can’t help but add some magic here and there. Because I like to see the world as a magical, surprising place, full of fun and absurdity and both meaningful and incomprehensible sadness. I think the closest I could get to write a realist novel would be magical realism—which I admire and love too.

We need Fantasy. All of us.

Back in the day, people were more superstitious. They believed in the supernatural as a matter of course. We now have scientific explanations for things that used to be magic and myth, so we satisfy our need for wonder through Fantasy.

So whether you’re a dedicated fan or just getting your toes wet, I urge you to pick up a Fantasy book or write something short in the genre. Whatever you choose, I wish you a thrilling, wild ride on your next fantastical adventure.

May the words take you to a fabulous new world and leave you changed when you return.

Dare always. Keep writing.

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