I did not know I was a fantasy nerd until an interviewer pointed out to me that ‘you basically love fantasy’ because when she asked me to name my favourite books, I said Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.

She was just making an observation but I was absolutely affronted. I wanted to tell her no, of course I didn’t like fantasy. Pride and Prejudice was also a favourite book and that wasn’t fantasy. How dare she make such assumptions.

Poor 21-year-old Suchita didn’t know how right that interviewer was. Today, as an introduction to me, let me tell you why I absolutely adore to read and write fantasy – in fact I have observed that I cannot write a novel unless it’s set in a world not my own!

Dragons

It was Christopher Paolini’s Eragon [and the Inheritance cycle] that made me absolutely stark raving mad about dragons. Then I learnt that dragons could have different personalities and not all of them were as cuddly as Toothless [from How to Train Your Dragon series] or as wise as Saphira [Eragon’s dragon]. There was also Smaug and the Hungarian Horntail and Kilgharrah and Tintaglia.

The 4 dragons from the Inheritance cycle
The 4 dragons from the Inheritance cycle (source)

Something I wrote on dragons is here, if you want to take a break later: The golden dragon.

Swords – and sword names

This is definitely a dream. To write a sword fight. I adore the fact that there is a special sword for Aragorn in LOTR and there is an entire legend around Excalibur. I love when a mentor hands over a sword to a protégé and it comes with its own name and baggage.

Aragorn's re-forged sword
Aragorn’s re-forged sword (source)

Magic

I think my first foray into magic was Harry Potter which is why I didn’t like that LOTR’s magic wasn’t showy enough. But, but, I loved reading about Allomancy in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series and the almost unbound magic of Merlin from TH White’s The Once and Future King. I love how even though magic can be boundless, it still has strict rules.

I have written an entire manuscript on a magic system called dueryn – which maybe some day will see the light of day.

Character sketch for Merlin, the wizard
Character sketch for Merlin, the wizard (source)

Make your own rules

While I was doing a teacher training course, one of the things that I learnt which has stayed with me is the importance of structured freedom. I look at fantasy quite like that. You begin with a blank piece of paper and a premise and then you build boundaries around it. And once you have figure out what’s allowed and what’s not, the greatest joy is to then follow those rules or bend them.

World building

One of my favourite world building books was The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. And even though the trilogy left something to be desired, Mark Lawrence’s the Broken Empire series was equally fun to read, especially when Jorge would find some piece of advanced technology in a world that has perhaps left ours far behind.

The detail, the care, the attention, the steering clear of what we know of the norm and yet keeping it believable is an art that I bow down to every time I pick up a fantasy novel.

My current read The Wicked King by Holly Black is set in faerieland. You get to read it from a human’s perspective and the rules to get and keep power are different and cruel. I haven’t been this intrigued by a book in a long time.

I love Google. This is what came up when I typed faerie aesthetic!
I love Google. This is what came up when I typed faerie aesthetic! (source)

And since I’m talking about introducing myself, it would be remiss of me to not mention Robin Hobb and her Realm of the Elderlings books [16 in total]. She’s like my guru when it comes to understanding how to write fantasy well. Her books were the ones that launched my writing ship and I absolutely adore her – also hate her because her books will break you and remake you and reduce you to tears.

From my digital library. As you can see, dragons!
From my digital library. As you can see, dragons!

What’s your favourite genre to read/write?


Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.

33 thoughts on “Suchita’s tryst with fantasy

  1. hmmm, you know what my biggest takeaway from this post is “dueryn”….so when are we getting a peek at it?
    p.s. for a bibliophile I prefer watching ( oh how this shames me!!) fantasy. Maybe have become too lazy or else find it easier to keep the threads untangled.

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  2. I too like reading fantasy but the only thing that stops me is the amount of time it would take to complete a particular series. This is a reason to i try to find stand alone books in this genre which are there but not that much. I had enjoyed reading Elantris by Brandon and had wanted to read his mistborn trilogy but haven’t come around to reading it. As far as a genre is considered i try to read every thing (i have read two books by Barbra Cartland too) but i have found out that i don’t like mushy stuff that much. I may complete the book but it would take a lot of my will power to do it. Would be waiting to read your book. I hope it gets published soon.

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    1. It’s a thing I don’t like about fantasy too – how I have to read at least 3 books but I have realized over time I don’t need to read the second book if the first one doesn’t compel me to. I have read many book 1 but not continued ahead 😸 Mistborn is a long series so take your time with it.

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      1. yes, that happens to me too…..i sometimes don’t go with the book even if i like the first one because i know the series is going to take time to complete…because fantasies work better if they are read in continuity ….. other wise it becomes difficult to keep track of things…. Like i have read The lies of locke lamora but have forgotten that world completely now… I’ll have to read the first one to enjoy the second one now…. Same is the case with Nightside series and A song of ice and fire series.. 😀 😀 Now, i’m planning to delve in trilogies only…those i think would be lot more easy to manage than series that have large number of volumes… like discworld….or wheel of time…

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      2. I would not recommend re-reading Lies of Locke Lamora – it really frustrated me with all its detailing 😐 In fact just start the second! Wheel of Time is in my list and I really, really want to read it even if it’s some 14 books. But you’re right, trilogies are easier to manage.

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  3. Ney, fantasy. Seeing my children reading them and talking about it, I look the other way :). My favourite is literary genres.

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  4. Suchita, I also love the Hungarian Horntail. When I read Harry Potter I felt this is the ultimate fantasy world I want to live in. The perfect place to get lost into. There can’t be anything better, but when I grew up I realized magic, fantasy and imagination have no end. Loved reading your post!

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  5. Those are a lot of recommendations. If Im not anything it is a fantasy fan. Somehow I always believed you were one. Read you for the first time in A to Z…2019.
    I like to read and write both realistic, contemporary and historical fiction.

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    1. Haha that’s right. 2019 theme had been myths and legends 😃 realistic I can only write short stories. I loved your history inspired poems for atoz.

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  6. Oh wow, look at those dragons! The book covers are all gorgeous!
    Years ago, I was friends with an amazing blogger who wrote tales of dragons and faeries and I was completed blown away by the fact that in books, worlds and situations can be so different but the basics of storytelling remain the same.

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