As the responses to the Why Write genre questions have trickled and poured in, I’ve been thinking a lot about genre and why I define myself as a fantasy writer.
And of course, if I ask other writers to torture themselves with difficult questions, it’s only fair that I try to do the same. But since I’m queen of this little corner of the internet, I get to take a slightly different approach to the process.
I can’t quite remember how my love affair with fantasy started.
Actually, that’s not true. I remember exactly how it started, but I can’t remember which particular book kicked it off. It was either Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsong, first of the Harper Hall of Pern trilogy, or Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s Dragons of Autumn Twilight, first in the Dragonlance series—yes, novels based on Dungeons and Dragons modules. I was a nerd in the womb, I suspect.
I was between eight and ten years old.
I don’t actually remember which of these books I read first, but I vividly remember coming across Dragonsong in the library of my gifted program. I read it in a couple of days, and then, completely book hungover, wandered down to my fantasy-loving older brother’s room in search of other dragon-filled reading material.
There, on his crowded bookshelves, I found the entire Harper Hall trilogy.
I was a goner after that. I think Dragonlance must have come next; Pern was my gateway drug. From that time on, I read mostly fantasy. I went through that long dragon phase, and after that it was King Arthur, and for awhile it was epics, and lately it’s been urban fantasy.
In discussing Why Write shenanigans on Twitter, I found myself saying, “The need to write is a part of me, like my blood type. I couldn’t not write. But what genre to write—that was more like choosing a friend or a lover. It’s part of me, but it could change.”
For me, that’s true. Maybe some day I’ll write historical fiction. I’ve always thought I might like to try. Or perhaps someday my fantasy tales will cross into horror. But for now, I want to write all across fantasy: epic, urban, romantic.
And in the coming weeks, I’ll tell you why.
Look for a Why Write post from Emmie Mears on Wednesday!