Fantasy writer Ty Johnston is touring the blogosphere this month, in part to promote his latest e-book novel, Demon Chains, but also because he loves blog touring. His other fantasy novels include City of Rogues, Bayne’s Climb and Ghosts of the Asylum, all of which are available for the Kindle, the Nook and online at Smashwords. To learn more about Ty and his writing, follow him at his blog tyjohnston.blogspot.com.
Some questioning from a fellow fantasy writer got me to thinking recently. Why do I write mostly in the fantasy genre?
It is a question with no easy answer. Literature of the fantastic and speculative was part of my childhood, a big part, so perhaps there is a bit of nostalgia which keeps my interest going.
That being said, after spending some time thinking over this topic, I came to what I feel is a stronger reply, a better answer. I remain tied to the fantasy genre because of the freedom it allows me as a writer and as a reader.
While the general public might hear the word “fantasy” and think of dragons and men waving around big swords, fantasy is so much more than that, not that there’s anything wrong with dragons and men waving around big swords. When I write in other genres, I often find myself feeling limited intellectually and emotionally, possibly even spiritually. I have no sense of such fetters when working within fantasy.
Fantasy writers write in their favored genre for a lot of different reasons, but one of my draws is exploration of the mind and perhaps the soul. I like to delve into the various elements that makes us human. I find the ability to do my exploring through fantasy. When I am withdrawn into fantasy, I feel as if I’m an explorer of old, charting new territory. If not new territory for others, often enough I am discovering new territory for myself, within myself.
Again, I gain little sense of this from the other genres.
I do not mean to belittle other genres of literature, because each has its place, its good and its bad, and I read widely across all genres. However, as a writer, I find the other genres limiting, making me feel forced to refrain from boldly traveling to new worlds, whether those worlds are physical or metaphysical or beyond.
Within fantasy, nearly anything can occur, anything can be thought and weighed. Admittedly some of the sub-genres of my favorite literature offer limitations, but those limitations are often similar to the ones I find in the non-fantastic genres. When I feel the need, I can work within those limitations, but when I wish to expand, it is to the wider possibilities of fantasy I must turn and return.
The simple answer, then, is that I write mostly in the fantasy genre because of the philosophical freedom it allows me as a writer and reader. The other genres I find somewhat stifling, at least part of the time, and often too literal, too strict, too methodical. With fantasy, I can fly, I can soar.
And hopefully readers will explore and travel with me.