Calling All Fantasy Fiction Fans

I have over 900 followers on this blog and recently passed my year of blogging, which is super exciting for me! I cannot thank the people that have supported me through all of this. I would have never published my first book without feeling like I was part of this community. Asย I take steps forward to future writings, I would like to get some feedback on fantasy fiction from all of you. If you can answer even one question, I will be thrilled!

  • What would you like to see in an upcoming fantasy book that hasn’t been done?
  • What creature / race would you like to see highlighted that is often ignored or is virtually unknown?
  • What makes you feel most connected to a fantasy fiction story?

Thank you!

 

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32 thoughts on “Calling All Fantasy Fiction Fans

  1. Can’t really answer the first question, because I’m actually playing with the idea right now. ::grins:: Don’t mind the competition, but I would kind of like to have a chance to get a little further into the project before that competition comes along. (Don’t shoot me please!)

    Not sure if I am still just not well enough read, but I am having a blast playing with the different fairy types in my stories. I know I will probably be sticking with the pukah, but there are many, many different other races out there. I don’t recall hearing of any other stories that break into the fairy races.

    The characters. I don’t care if the story is dialog driven or action driven, but if I cannot connect to a character, then I am forever “outside” the story, rather than inside and participating. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I prefer to be outside, but there are other times I really want to be inside too.

    • So excited to see your thorough response!!

      I completely understand not wanting to answer the question from a writer perspective. I was hoping to catch some readers who would enjoy something but don’t want to write it. Then again, I’m on WP, so nearly everyone writes. ๐Ÿ˜€

      I have considered fairies, but I have never been a large fan. I do like nymph / dryad if it is a bit darker and not the happy-go-lucky type. But, still debating about it.

      I am completely with you on the last part. I am really glad to hear this from you!

  2. Hi Joshua! I have thought it would be fun to include a serpopard in my fantasy writing—it’s a creature appearing in Egyptian and Mesopotamian iconography which has the body of a leopard or other great cat and a giant serpent head or neck (sometimes, unlike a serpent, the head has ears). To my knowledge there is no mythology about the serpopard so that allows plenty of room for creativity.
    I don’t know if they’re darker, but I have a couple of works in progress with deciduous dryads, who are tough huntresses with an alien mindset (because for half the year they’re content to live in trees, and also they photosynthesize rather than eat). I figure, since they are the spirit of the oak, and oak is usually perceived as a symbol of strength and solidity, my girls should be tough and solid as well.
    Fun question, and I’m glad you shared your site!

    • Oh, wow! I totally had to look up the serpopard! I had never heard of that before, but I would definitely want to read about it. I am a fan of Slavic myth, so that is practically next door to the region I like to read in.

      I really like your idea behind the dryads. As soon as you get something out with those tough huntresses, let me know. I would love to read that!!

  3. Oh, now that WOULD be interesting – as a reader. Usually the fairy are depicted as happy-go-lucky, and they are not all like this. I think that is why I am writing about a pukha gone horribly … wrong. ::Grins:: Was thinking on the way home from work about someone with a bit more writing experience than I have exploring any of the fey in an unusual light. You know, smart, careful trolls, nice or polite red caps. That type of thing. Not totally against their culture, just… deviants from the norm. Some of it could be extremely entertaining, I think. Funny, in the least.

    • Ah, the Puca is a fascinating creature from Irish folklore. I like the stories about them shapeshifting into other creatures. Bia Helvetti has some great stories about fairies and imps that I enjoy reading. It’s great stuff!

  4. Okay, I’m going to attempt to answer these questions for you. I’m a relatively new fantasy fiction reader. I was given some YA Fantasy novels to critic from a librarian friend of mine, who was looking for ways to get young adults more interested in reading Fantasy stories…aka…get them to read something. After I read a few vampire and witch protagonist driven stories I began seeing how fantasy could be enjoyable to read. I’ve read it off and on since.

    The author that drew me into her world the most is Deborah Harkness. A few reasons why from a female lightly invested reader. I enjoyed her desire to bring history, science and literature into her book and make have it become part of the world she created. I have left both of her novels wanting to know more about Shakespeare and his friends, the Salem Witch Trials, Alchemy and so on. I do realize that I haven’t a huge background on what is normally found in fantasy novels, so may be typical behavior. I enjoy how she also made me forget that Matthew was a vampire, Diana, a witch and so on…she took the time to make them multidimensional people with bigger stories than just being fantasy creatures. They became relatable, loved, hated and even identifiable within myself, which really is what a reader looks for in my opinion.

    Not only do I want a great story, but I also want the characters to feel like family. I want to miss them when its over. I want the main character to have physical characteristics that I cannot identify with in the beginning, possibly even repulse me at the start, to then be the things I forget about by the end and overlook for the depth of their character. ..morals, duty..if that makes sense. (I could be rambling. You caught me on a good night. I don’t think the last 50 poems of mine contained these many words.)

    There was this series I read that had a troll in it. While reading the book I had him pegged as African American, I had no doubt, he was a great character…he was yellow in color, I think, but the voice he was written in for some reason made me want to see him another way.

    What hasn’t been done yet? I have no idea and based on what I have written, which is certifiable. ..I have no doubt, you may want to ask around. I don’t know enough….so t’is odd that I plopped myself down in your comment section and gave you my own version of your 411. Hope something I said helps. ๐Ÿ™‚ Or this was all for not and I’ve had my 20 minutes of writing ramble and now I can get to my own, way lesa interesting writings.

    Have a great night. (I’m so sorry if this is no help. Ha.)

    • Very helpful as always, Audrey! I have always been a fan of vampires until Twilight became popular. I like the old-fashioned Dracula version or something close to it. Same goes with witches. I rarely see a good bloodsucker anymore – they are all love stories.

      I definitely like mixing history and literature into my own stories, so I might like this Harkness. Most never catch on to the references unless I tell them though. Some of my stuff has to be dissected to get to the core of its meaning. Sometimes, its written as a rebuttal against an older writing. Then again, sometimes its just for fun. But, I am glad that other people look for this – I wondered if that interest was lost in the modern world.

      I once read that no story is really unique and they are all based around the same concepts. But, if I can capture something in a new light that makes a reader raise an eyebrow, or laugh out loud, or have a revelation that moves them in a meaningful way – that is what I want. It is really why I write, I think.

      Have a great night. I always look forward to your deep thoughts!

    • But finding the stories without dragons are even more fun. No dragons, no unicorns – you know the typical “rescue the maiden in distress because” stories? Yeah, I run across those a lot. It’s always so much more exciting to see stories without them. Or to see the stories where these critters are portrayed in the opposite – a bad unicorn, or a helpful dragon. (Though Norton does a wonderful job with the helpful dragons in the Elvenbane series.) Hmmm…. wonder why no one has done anything with unicorns gone bad?

      • I have heard of some folks, or at least talked to some behind the scenes, about Unicorns going bad. I personally have never been a fan of Unicorns. I loved the movie Legend and their representation there. Beyond that, I find them rather disengaging – maybe I need to find the right book.

      • Best one I’ve found – “White Horse Dark Dragon”. VERY interesting take on the unicorn/dragon mythos. Then again, I’m darn near horse obsessed, so if it looks like a horse, smells like a horse, and sounds like a horse – get out of my way! But, honestly, the “sweetness and light” honey I see about unicorns is just… sickening!

      • Series and a half before I can even contemplate that mess. And, I don’t dare write the two series concurrently because of the tones, and the fact I’m having to do some careful planning – a couple of scenes are going to be partially repeated in both about mid series. I’m not quite crazy enough to add something this far off the wall into the mix!

      • That’s all right. I’m trying to keep the ball rolling, and see if I can’t get through book 2 before I get completely mired down in school work. Then, it will be a bit of a break to the rest of the series.

        Though, my editor might have a few sharp words to say about the schedule, not much I can do about it.

    • They are! I have steered clear of dragons in my main writing just because of their overuse, but I always enjoy a good dragon story. I donโ€™t think anything has ever been better than Tolkien.

      • For some reason, I think because of my blogging and trying to finish my novel I can’t concatentrate on reading anything right now. I feel like those people who say they don’t like to read and I love to. Dragons are over used but you can create them with any kind of personality, behavior and special skills that you dream of. Making them unique. There many stories out there that are the same but have there our unique stamp. It is very rare to write something totally orginal.

  5. Hi, Joshua. I think my favorite type of creature is the shape-shifter of any variety, because it’s so like us writers as we “shape-shift” to create the different character types and personalities we write. As to my favorite sort of dilemma, it’s something we’re facing in the contemporary world now, like the environment, or climate change, global warming, etc. Maybe a race faced with having to make a migration to survive, but into hostile territory, or etc. Or a race trying to revive its world. Now, if you’ve read Sheri Tepper’s series “The True Game Series” ( 9 books in 3 avatars), you’ll know that she has done both those things. But I’m not just asking for more of the same, I’d like to see how someone else handles those same issues. Or maybe it could be a world (something like our own in this respect) which is nearly overcome with violence, in which the gentler creatures are trying to figure out how to “tame” or curb their aggressors. Anyway, those are my thoughts. Are you sorry you asked?

    • I have seriously considered shape shifters, but I am trying to give them particular traits so that they do not resemble any lycanthrope-like creatures. It will be entertaining to dissect if I choose to go that route. I have not read Tepper’s series – I really need to get out and read more. I am personally a fan of the same type of contemporary, dystopian themes. You may seem something coming soon in the works – – ๐Ÿ˜€

      I am definitely not sorry I asked! I like asking these types of questions. Maybe I should do it more often on my blog.

      • In Sheri Tepper’s series, there’s a fantastic sort of game of avatars called “the game.” There are all different ranks of fighters. The series starts with 3 books about a teenaged boy called “Peter,” who is under the charismatic power of a “Prince,” who abuses him. But Peter gets free and becomes a famous shape-shifter like his mother, Mavin Manyshaped, whom the second 3 books are about (along with the general world of the shape-shifters). The third 3 books are about Peter’s love, Jinian, also known as Jinian Footseer. She is the third avatar, and by the time the whole series is over, not just “the game” but “the true game” of correcting the fantasy world’s imbalance and helping the environment is done. That’s a very brief run-down of the overall story, but it’s a very exciting read. It’s from the 70’s-80’s, and you can get it from Amazon.com, in sets of 3 books, I believe. I hope you do get to read it, because Sheri Tepper’s a really good fantasy writer.

  6. Wolves are frequently used and I really like them. A few months ago, I was inspired by a photo (Erin Waldie’s ‘The Hawk at the Harbour’ (c)) to write a short story about that hawk and a raven. Hawks and ravens are too often considered as evil characters or allies of evil protagonists.

  7. Heh — I just released a new novel (“The Kitsune Stratagem”) which features several fantasy races which would qualify. Kitsune (as the title would indicate), wulvers (a sort of non-shapeshifting werewolf, of sorts), bunyips (lots of room for play with these guys; every description of them in the myths\legend is different), haltija (perhaps the most “traditional” of the fantasy creatures in the books, being a sort of nature-guardian type fairy race), and brief appearances by wani (poisonous shark-crocodiles), basan (fire-breathing chickens!), and maybe one or two other things I’m forgetting right now.

    I would like to see more rarely-used creatures, possibly from non-European mythologies, used in typical western-style fantasy plots. That said, I think the cries that “elves\dwarves\dragons\etc. are overdone!” are fairly silly, same as I would “stories with horses\swords\guns in them are overdone!” These creatures may be used to the point that readers are very familiar with their tropes, but that familiarity simply means you don’t need as much description to convey what they are, just like you really don’t need much description for a horse, sword, or gun when they appear in your book.

    • First of all, Congrats on the book release. They are definitely creatures that I am not familiar with. When I write, I primarily focus on non-European mythologies as well, but mine are primarily Slavic (which you likely have noticed based on my bio). How much time did you spend putting the book together?

      • Sorry it took so long to reply; I thought I had signed up for e-mail alerts on responses, but apparently it didn’t take. Also, my virus scanner blocked my first attempt to check back; it still says you have a security certificate issue.

        I DO look towards “European” myths, as well — I have another ongoing fantasy series which does use the traditional elves, dwarves, and dragons — but even in that series I have a very… I guess you would call it cosmopolitan view of fantasy. I like being able to have my psuedo-European cultures and psuedo-Far East Asian cultures (and whatever else I can think to include; bunyips come from Australia’s aboriginal folk tales, for example) existing side by side, with all of the fantastical creatures of both mythos interacting with one another… and possibly interacting with extinct creatures of the real world (I have moa farms briefly mentioned in “The Kitsune Stratagem,” for example; moa are a large flightless bird from New Zealand that went extinct about six hundred years ago).

        As far as how much time I spent putting the book together goes:
        It took me about nine months, from start to finish, for the initial write. It really should have been shorter than that; there was one chapter in the middle I got horribly stuck on, and I spend more time on that one brief section (seven and a half months for less than 10k words out of the 140k word novel) than I spent on the rest of the book combined. That figure includes research time, as well.

        I initially sent it out to a publisher; then that publisher folded after my book had been in their slush pile for about three months. By that time, I’d had some success self-publishing a different work, so I decided to self-publish this one rather than wait months — if not years — by going through someone else. After that decision, it took me about six months for editing (contracted out), cover art (partially contracted out; I hired out the artwork but did the typography and print wrap myself), book design (done by myself; this took me very little time for the eBook. For the print book… well, there’s a reason the print edition was released a month later than the ebook), the final proofread (which, *sigh*, still failed to catch a couple things until after publication; fortunately, uploading corrected eBook copies is fairly easy to do for most retailers), etc.

        So, overall, about two and a half years. It won’t take nearly that long for the sequels; I’ve already done most of the necessary research, established some business contacts for editing and cover art, and understand what I’m doing on the technical end a little better. How much faster it will be I can’t be certain, however.

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