That’s my self-imposed assignment for the next month: picking apart other fantasy novels to see how they tick.
You could say that it’s not exactly a terrible burden to have to read some of the most beloved genre novels of the past ten years. Of course, you may have some of the “varying” opinions about those novels and their content. If you do . . . shhhhh . .. it’s okay, so do I. There are some seriously messed-up themes in some of those much-loved books.
I’m not in the business of telling people what I hate, though, so I’ll skip the detailed analysis of my deepest genre loathings and stick to my work. I need to figure out the whys and wherefores of several successful fantasy series.
Why do people love these books? What makes them work so well? Who are the beloved characters? Which plots are the most important? The wheres . .. the locations, worlds, maps . . . how integral are they to each series? What do we remember the most about them? What are the primary themes of the books? How can I create something as wonderful? How can I create something BETTER?
Those are the big questions that I hope to answer this month.
Picking books apart isn’t really something they teach you in school. Oh, sure, they throw some heavy-handed symbolism at you in high school, but no one discusses why things work out and how. And I’m just a high school dropout with a community college nursing degree– I haven’t spent several years at Iowa’s writing school learning how to write deathless prose. So it’s all learning on my own, bit by bit and piece by piece, fumbling for the answers.
I’ll be doing that this month, for sure.