21 Days of Posts – Day 20 – Why Am I Writing A Fantasy Novel?

Est. Reading Time: 4 minutes

This is day twenty of twenty-one days of posts between January 10th and January 30th of 2021. Hello again to those who read previous days, and hello to those of you who may have stumbled across this post “out of order”. You should go back and read from Day 1, for a few reasons. It explains why I am doing this. It is the first one, and I may make reference to something in it in this post or a later one. It also has a list with each day’s post (once they are available) and you can jump to whatever topic you are interested in. Thanks for reading!

I wrote about this subject briefly back on Day 2 of this series. I mentioned that a fantasy novel was an ambitious project. I also mentioned that I like the freedom to make new rules and realities. All of that is true, but there is a deeper motivation and a cowardly avoidance behind my endeavor to write a fantasy novel.

I’ll dispense with the cowardly avoidance first. I didn’t want to write a novel based in our current world of social distancing, masks, paranoia, hysteria, hypocrisy, and madness. If I had started an all new book back in November of 2020, and it wasn’t a fantasy or sci-fi book, I would be compelled to include the COVID madness in the narrative. I’m so done with all of it, I couldn’t bring myself to do that, and I wasn’t in a sci-fi mood on November 1st, so I went with fantasy and with adding to an existing work. Call me a coward if you must, but there was no way I was going to write about masks, social distancing and all the rest of that nonsense. I get enough of it now in TV shows that I watch.

So, what is this deeper motivation? It has a lot to do with watching the success of fantasy books being turned into fantasy movies or series. The very idea that it might be possible to actually bring this stuff “to life” if my book does well (admittedly, that is a farfetched dream) is overpowering. Even if it is never successful enough to be picked up for a movie or show, I hope it helps someone escape from their life for just a few minutes at a time as they follow my characters and the story I put them through. Fantasy books tend to do that well.

When time flows differently in a story, I feel it makes the reader pay a little more attention to dates and the passage of time. My fantasy story, as I hinted before on Day 2, has no concept of weeks or day names. There is a ten month year, with each month having forty days in it. Days have no names and time under a month is counted in quarter months. To denote an exact day within a month, a person has a couple of options. They can say “on the fifth day of Doilah (the second month of the year), or they can turn it around and say “Doilah the fifth”. If they wanted to tell someone that their sword would be ready sometime in the first ten days of Orda (the third month of the year), they could say “in the first quarter of Orda”. I’m not sure why I wanted to change this aspect of the world, but I did and I’m pretty satisfied with it.

Getting to design this world, with its countries, mountains, rivers, seas and the like, and getting to name all of them is wildly exciting, as is creating new plants, materials, elements, metals, chemicals, and stone types. It is a little like playing god over this world I am building. Actually, it is a lot like playing god. I decide the rules for everything. How long do people live? Are there spirits or ghosts in this world? Heaven? Hell? Are any of the religions based on anything supernatural, or are they all made up to simply control the masses?

How does government work? What languages are spoken? How are goods bought and sold? Is there a system of currency? How pervasive is it? All of these questions must be explicitly or implicitly answered at some point in a story of any length. If they are not, the characters wander around in a hazy, unfocused fog and the reader is uninterested in what happens to them.

And what are the names of these characters? The process of naming characters can take up loads of time. How are they connected? What are their motivations? All of this can be explained in the process of telling the story, if done properly. Which brings me back to the concept of planning.

There’s a ton of planning that needs to go into my fantasy novel. I’ll have to use some tools to organize it, describe it, edit it, and write it. I have gathered several of these tools and I hope that once the fast is over that I jump straight to using them to finish this book. If I leave this work unfinished, I believe I will deeply regret it.

God doesn’t leave anything unfinished. His creation, which he only took six days to make, is complete. People come and go in this world, but the world is complete, lacking nothing. It is amazing to think about how incredible that it. Genesis 1:31 tells us –

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

It was very good. Enough said.

Lord, thank you for this world you created for us. We know that man has disturbed what you originally planned, and we also know that one day You will make everything new again. Please help us to look to You until that time.

Tomorrow is the final day of the fast and the last post in this series will come out at some point during the day. My hope is I continue to post here more regularly and also continue to write my fantasy novel. Wish me luck!

Featured Image: Photo by Anna Gru on Unsplash

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