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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Overview Setting: Genre Focus: Fantasy

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

“The created fantasy world must have its own immutable laws.” Jane Yolen

The key to fantasy is belief.

Setting is integral to fantasy and science fiction. Sometimes the setting is a ‘character’ itself. But even when not used as a character it must become integral to the reality.

Jane Yolen notes that once you set up the ‘laws’ of the land: its premises and its logic—you cannot break it. Science Fiction leans on scientific laws or inventions. Magic has consequences.

In Charlotte’s Web, Charlotte could not be magically saved. There is only one ring that enables invisibility in The Lord of the Rings series, by J.R.R. Tolkien. In Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, only Max can choose to return away to his bedroom.
Reality is established through place, character, and voice. Jane Yolen divides created worlds into three categories: earthbound, faerie, and tourist

Earthbound is action in our world with possibly fantastic characters such as found in Wind in The Willows, the Borrowers, or Mary Poppins.

Faerie includes The Hobbit, The Riddle-Master of Hed. They are in worlds totally apart both in time and space. They include High Fantasy and usually include a serious tone of good and evil.

Tourist is a traveler who finds his way to another time, or world, or dimension. Tom’s Midnight Garden, the land of Narnia, Alice in Wonderland and Hogwart’s School are some examples of this category. This category can be serious or humorous or both.

Just as an historical setting establishes place, historical framework, season, time of day, moods, and atmosphere so integral is the same to fantasy and science fiction. It must be authentic to its premises.

And, like an historical, decisions need to be made re what are the key factors that you want to maintain as its influence?

Action Steps:

            If fantasy or science fiction is your interest it is important to be well read.
            1. Choose whichever categories most interests you and set up a reading list of two different series for two different age groups.

            Or, if you are not sure which draws you the most, choose two books from each category to read over the next few months.

            2. Keep a personal reading log as you read, watching for gems of brilliance and pieces that don’t work. Write down why you think it worked or why not.

Share: What is your favorite fantasy novel? Why?

Read deep, marcy

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