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Holbrook
March 24th, 2005, 12:35 PM
I have been working on a new manuscript since Christmas. I had hoped to have the first draft done by Easter, but here we are and though I have written 70,000 words, I have come to realise I need to write at least another 70,000 to get the story told in first draft.

My thanks to one gentleman for his extensive feed back on this rough work *g* and making me think a lot...

The thing that is worrying me I seem set to produce another monster of over 200,000 words final draft at this rate. Yet it seems I need that length to tell my tales *sigh*

I am also finding I am not writing "fantasy" in the accepted sense of the word anymore. I have fallen into a grey area where I love to create worlds based on ours at various points in history, adding a little "magic" or difference without the fullblown so called "accepted fantasy"

Heck, my latest review from onlinewriting was a dozzy lol... I was told I was writing Recency Romances and why the hell was I posting them on a Sff and horror writing crit group....

So where does the line begin? I believe I write "fantasy" in the fact that all my work happens in worlds that do not exist outside my head. Much of them are twisted mirrors of this world, fictional creations, therefore fantasy. Why do folks want to shove my work into a box with a label on it?

Hereford Eye
March 24th, 2005, 02:12 PM
Because it saves time.
Why do we call them 'blondes'? The hair color variation has no standard definition but we get away with it because we know how you all act. :rolleyes: Peoples' minds like to make things easy to retrieve so they work on patterns. For many, many people the fantasy pattern implies dungeons and dragons. When you try to follow a pattern more closely associated with Sean Stewart or China Mieville and their ilk, for those D&D people, it isn't fantasy so it must be something else.
Now, I can't wait till KatG corrects me.

Expendable
March 24th, 2005, 02:16 PM
Because some people think in boxes. They look at your round peg and are trying to pound it into the square hole and blaming you because its not fitting.

Why can't fantasy be romantic? Who passed a law that says it has to be one or the other? And who says you can't use just a little magic? Some of the best stories work that way.

Sorry to hear that you're having to write 70,000 more words but at least you know where you're going in the story!

KatG
March 24th, 2005, 06:07 PM
Because it saves time.
Why do we call them 'blondes'? The hair color variation has no standard definition but we get away with it because we know how you all act. :rolleyes: Peoples' minds like to make things easy to retrieve so they work on patterns. For many, many people the fantasy pattern implies dungeons and dragons. When you try to follow a pattern more closely associated with Sean Stewart or China Mieville and their ilk, for those D&D people, it isn't fantasy so it must be something else.
Now, I can't wait till KatG corrects me.

I ain't going to correct you, because you are right. :) There are many fantasy fans who have a very limited range of preferences and if something doesn't fit in that range, they don't like it and they aren't going to like it. And they don't have to either. The problem is not that they have limited reading tastes. The problem is that they assume that their reading tastes are shared by everyone else, even though a simple glance at the titles on the shelves shows that they are plainly wrong. But it's not entirely their fault. A lot of the fantasy fans who don't like them have convinced them that they are right.

There are also numerous fantasy fans who have read and who like very much writers like Sean Stewart and China Mieville, who write in other sub-genres of fantasy. And the publishers who publish these two authors and others like them are the same genre publishers who put out titles in the epic fantasy sub-genre. They are perfectly willing to publish a much wider range of material than people seem to want to give them credit for, something I don't quite understand. (I guess it doesn't fit in the proper label box, yes?)

So, Holbrook, options: What historical time period is your fantasy story set in? Is it before or after 1800? If it's after 1800, you can avoid the epic fantasy sub-genre altogether and market it to the genre publishers as contemporary/urban fantasy like Gaiman, Mieville, Hamilton, some of Barbara Hambly and the like. (Doesn't have to be set in a city.)

If it's before 1800, the genre publishers may still be interested. Believe it or not, they're trying to prepare for the next phase of epic fantasy, since a lot of epic fantasy is tanking. So, if you're doing something they find interesting, it may not matter if it's not Tolkeinesque. If it's set in the 1500's-1700's time period, there's a lot of interest in that right now. I'm seeing a definite increase in stories in that time period in the genre.

If you think the odds in the genre are too long, and the story is romantic, you're in luck because the romance publishers are trying to create a platform in sff and are looking at sff writers doing romantic stories, not just romance writers doing sff stories. Harlequin's Luna is looking for new titles. Length may be a bit of an issue for them, though. But it might be worth checking out when you get to that point.

Then there is the non-genre option and it's one you may want to consider. If you haven't already, read Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. She published, with some help from the romance folk, in general mainstream fiction and the books are fairly thick. And she's a bestseller. In a way, we all take the risk of limiting our market considerably by publishing in the genres with genre publishers, a trade-off for having the built-in fan audience of the genres. Non-genre publishing can have distinct advantages if you can get a publisher to bite. And right now, non-genre fantasy is particularly popular. Non-genre fantasies traditionally don't have a lot of fantasy going on but do make use of it in critical ways. You may want to read Jonathan Lethem's "Fortress of Solitude" as an example of the kind of thing that's out there from non-genre publishers.

So you do have several options, and need not panic. There will always be people who try to put your work in a box and label it, especially in America. But that's not necessarily how the market works for written fiction, and you are not required to agree with these people, however well-intentioned they may be.

MrBF1V3
March 25th, 2005, 12:32 AM
I tend to agree with the distinguished gentlepeople.

If what you write is like everyone else's work, what are you for? As a reader I tend to be turned off by books which can be described in five words or less (i.e. "Tolken clone with Valkyries.").

So, please, write something new and different. If you get published I'll want to go out and buy a copy, and I want it to be worth the trip to Borders. ;)

B5

Dawnstorm
March 25th, 2005, 01:27 AM
Well, you could try your story on a Romance board. I'm sure they'll tell you why it isn't a romance. You can then tell the SFF crowd why they're wrong with their appraisal. You've got it from the experts. :rolleyes:


So, please, write something new and different. If you get published I'll want to go out and buy a copy, and I want it to be worth the trip to Borders.

Seen the embryo. Seen the babe. It's coming along nicely. :)

Ken Floro III
March 25th, 2005, 07:40 AM
I would love to offer some profound insight, but it seems I've been long beaten to the punch. I agree with the panel. If you can crank out that much material, and make it shine, somebody will want it. Also, as a former employee of Barnes & Noble, I can definitely attest to Diana Gabaldon's success - when a new title of hers came out, they practically scampered off the shelves into peoples' arms. So you have a piece that tweaks the genre mainstream, I say, damn the torpedoes - full speed ahead! Break a leg (preferrably somebody else's).

SubZero61992
March 25th, 2005, 01:21 PM
Seen the embryo. Seen the babe. It's coming along nicely. :)

:eek: :confused: :eek:

kater
March 25th, 2005, 04:25 PM
I think that it's fantasy and other than that all this definition of what it is and isn't isn't worth the breath people use to discuss them (no offense to those who do) There are now so many sub-genres and definitions you could probably create a whole new for yourself and sell it as the first in the genre, that'd make it unique and have a major selling point :D If it really eats at you, once you've finished ;) send it to a publisher and ask them what they think it is. That way you can't be accused of mis-labelling it.

Abby
March 26th, 2005, 12:49 AM
I have fallen into a grey area where I love to create worlds based on ours at various points in history, adding a little "magic" or difference without the fullblown so called "accepted fantasy"

I was told I was writing Recency Romances and why the hell was I posting them on a Sff and horror writing crit group....
How do you think those people would consider George R.R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice? Or Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell? I think they both get stuck on the Fantasy shelves in bookstores, but GRRM's series involves very little magic, and Clarke's novel references a lot of true history.