Since I was a little kid I loved to run away into fantastical worlds. Be it make believe or reading a fabulous novel of heroes and villains, my head spent more time out of this world than in it. And maybe that was a good thing.
Sometimes growing up an only kid with a single mom sucked. My mom was the coolest and she was the best mom I could have asked for, but I was alone A LOT. And so I made friends in the books I read. I traveled with Aerin Firehair and slayed some dragons. I came into my own with Will Stanton and found the Signs to push back the Dark. I discovered magic with Harry Potter and fought the Dark Lord. My books were all I needed.
As I grew I started to create my own stories of kings and magic. I spent as much time in my own worlds as I did in others, but fantasy drove my own stories in a way that other genres could never match.
I quickly read every kids fantasy I could find and was onto more adult ones. By fifth grade I was starting THE LORD OF THE RINGS, despite the fact that it was dense in language and more difficult to get through. But it didn’t stop me and by 6th grade I was reading past high school reading levels.
I’ve never been one to listen when words like “can’t” are bandied about. If someone thought I couldn’t read something and understand it I would take the challenge and throw it back once I was done. I think it has a lot to do with starting off reading fantasy. These characters take on massive challenges and succeed, and though I couldn’t do that in sports or math, I could do it with reading.
In high school I wrote fan fiction and was pretty successful in my categories. I began to get serious about writing, taking theatre courses to learn a bit more about character and improv to help with my own story craft. You wouldn’t think that these classes had much to do with writing, but you’d be wrong. You can learn a lot.
For me the fantasy characters were always more engaging than ones in contemporary fiction. They had bigger stakes, bigger challenges to overcome. If they could do that then certainly I could overcome much smaller ones, right?
And that’s still how I think now as I work on a book of my own. Fantasy, of course. I’ve always been drawn to it and I probably always will.
Why do you read the genres you do? Share your stories in the comments below.
From my shelf to yours,