Welcome to Writers’ Uni-Verse-City (or WUVC for short because every university has an acronym), a place where writers/bloggers can meet to discuss the craft of writing in the Internet age. WUVC will involve independent research, setting a curriculum and hopefully finding other participants (like you – readers/bloggers/writers) to: chip in, give tips, suggest books and other materials for study, teach me the ways of the warrior writer, and offer to guest post here at Uni-Verse-City (contact: annotationseditorial@gmail.com).

Today I’d like to welcome Sonia Medeiros who is the last of the talented writers we’ve had as guests for WUVC’s Literary Genres Blog Series. Sonia’s giving us some into writing in the Fantasy genre. 

I’m thrilled and honored to be part of Nicole’s writing in different genres blog series. Sharing space with all the wonderful writers here is more than fantastic and I cannot thank Nicole enough for inviting me.

Living the Fantasy Life by Sonia G Medeiros

Dobryna - image via wikipedia
Dobryna - image via wikipedia

I blame my parents for my obsession with love of fantasy. As a child, I had what you might politely call an active imagination. I was often in trouble at school for daydreaming (though, really, I had already finished the work…usually). But did my parents act quickly to contain this? Did they enforce the boundaries of reality and the dangers of  dwelling in imaginary worlds?

Nope.

In fact, fueled by their passion for science fiction/fantasy, they fed my taste for the unreal with a steady diet of A Wrinkle in Time, Narnia, King Arthur, Wonder Woman, Conan, Lord of the Rings, Edgar Allen Poe, The Twilight Zone and WWF Wrestling (my dad *shrug*). They encouraged me to tell them my odd little tales and allowed me to pretend that I was a warrior princess from a magical world sadly marooned in this one without my powers.

Despicable, right?

Okay, okay. It’s not all their fault. They had some help from my grandfather who, while he may outwardly appear all CNN and Sunday Morning, further indulged my growing predilection for the fantastic by charging me with the task of collecting all the alien pods (actually the fruit of the sweetgum tree) from the lawn (a mighty sneaky way of getting the yard cleaned, if you ask me), listening to my sprawling Smurf epics and allowing me to watch The Neverending Story something like 642 times (although I’m sure he never intended me to make a career of all those wild imaginings).

Pain Inducer (Sweetgum Pod) by Jeff Kubina at Flickr

So, there. As you can plainly see I have my parents (and grandfather) to blame for not being able to keep my feet on the ground or my head out of the clouds.

And I thank them for it every day.

Wikipedia neatly defines fantasy as “a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomenon as a primary element of plot, theme or setting” and distinguishes fantasy from two of its closest cousins, science fiction and horror, in that it generally “steers clear of scientific and macabre themes”. Yet, the overlap between fantasy, science fiction and horror is sometimes so great that it may not always be possible to tell where one ends and the next begins.

Ring21 - image via wikipedia

It seems generally acknowledged that science fiction accepts the natural laws of our universe and so is about stuff that could really happen, fantasy often flagrantly ignores natural laws and is therefore about stuff that couldn’t really happen, and horror could go either way.

I’m sure I don’t have to point out the problem with such a definition.

It’s true that fantasy is full of created worlds where magic reigns, and where there are dragons, wizards, elves, heroes of prophecy, Excaliburs, and kingdoms under siege by Dark Lords. But fantasy isn’t about any of those things as much as it is a way of looking at the world with a childlike openness to Mystery. It does not seek to limit what could be by what is generally considered “real.” The passage to a mystical realm could really be behind that cupboard door, never mind how many times you may have opened it only to find the cereal bowls. Fairies exist even if we never see them. And toys have a secret life.

This openness cuts both ways of course. The child accepts the horrible right along with the delightful. A monster might live in your closet, no matter what your parents say.  That passage to another world could leave you stranded there forever. And the world is different in the dark.

Fantasy looks at the world with all the wonder and terror of raw childhood.

While science fiction insists on an explanation and horror is often about what should be unreal intruding on the real world, fantasy allows the world to simply be. What is fantastic isn’t necessarily in violation of the natural laws of the universe or unexplainable but neither is essential to the story (besides, sometimes the real seems at least as implausible as the fantastic…quarks, anybody?). Fantasy is the genre of limitless possibilities and the freedom to explore them, whatever the story consequences.

I love science fiction and horror but fantasy holds the dearest spot in my heart because, like Mulder, I want to believe.

A few fantasy suggestions to tickle your fancy:

  • Piers Anthony’s very punny The Magic of Xanth series.
  • Patricia Brigg’s urban fantasy Mercy Thompson series (yes, it contains hot werewolves and vampires…but they don’t sparkle).
  • Greg Keyes Kingdom of Thorn and Bone series, especially The Briar King.
  • Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story. As much as I loved the film version as a kid, the novel is vastly superior in every way.

What is fantasy about to you? What are your favorite fantasy stories, movies or television shows?

Sonia G Medeiros is a writer of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. She’s the author of more than a dozen short stories and flash fiction pieces, blogs at WordPress, and is working on her first novel, a dark fantasy and a post-apocalyptic zombie novella. When she’s not wandering along the tangled paths of her wild imagination, she wrangles home life with one fabulous husband, two amazing, homeschooled children, one part-alien half-chihuahua, and two cats who battle each other for world domination.

You can find Sonia on Twitter and Facebook.

12 Thoughts to “Living the Fantasy Life – by Sonia G Medeiros”

  1. I’m in love with this observation: “The passage to a mystical realm could really be behind that cupboard door, never mind how many times you may have opened it only to find the cereal bowls.” Yes, indeed! That is the reason that fantasy is so captivating. It taps into our childlike wonder, our imagination, and our belief in the impossible turned possible. Great post, Sonia! And appropriate since I’m reading a YA fantasy novel right now. 🙂

    1. Thank you! I think it’s definitely my inner kid that makes me love fantasy so.

  2. Your descriptions of fantasy make me want to put aside all this real life stuff and re-read The Hobbit. Can you share a link to some of your original fantasy work? Though I’ve been following you forever, I don’t think I’ve read anything of yours in this area.

    1. I think what I have on my blog right now is mostly mild horror or kinda slip-stream. I do have a short story called “The Moon-Blessed” and a flash fic piece that’s more fantasy called “Paper Airplanes.” I’ll have to dig up the links. Thanks for asking. 😀

  3. Thanks Sonia and Nicole! This has been a great series, Nicole. Even though I haven’t always commented, I’ve been following and each of your guest posts has been fabulous!

    1. It’s been so great to read about all the different genres.

  4. Sonia just said all the things I can’t explain when people ask me why I love fantasy so much. It is all about wanting to believe that any of these worlds could be real. Really enjoyed this post…and the whole series, Nicole. I’m kind of sad it’s over 🙁

    1. Aww, thank you. I’m so thankful Nicole invited me to participate.

  5. Thank you so much for inviting me to be part of this awesome series, Nicole!

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  7. I have my dad to thank for my love of science fiction and fantasy. He had me reading Asimov at an early age, along with Heinlein and the like. I’m not sure when I discovered fantasy, but I remember reading LoTR in high school (back in the seventies…yes, I’m that old). I have read a little Piers Anthony, and, like you, vastly prefer the novel of The Neverending Story. I was somewhat disappointed in the movie. My favorite fantasy movie (if it can, indeed be called such), just might be Mirrormask, by Neil Gaiman. While it’s hard to name a favorite fantasy story or book, I’m very fond of Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. I remember really enjoying the Ghormenghast series by Mervyn Peak.

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