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The 3 Biggest Myths About Fantasy Writers

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Today I have the privilege of featuring the lovely Emily Tjaden from the Dreaming Hobbit!  She has agreed to guest post and I can't wait for you to hear what she has to say.  
I’m not a fantasy writer, and I never have been.
Some people find that surprising, considering the range and span of my imagination, but while it’s true I can come up with decent ideas for fantasy novels, writing them has never been my strong point. Now what most of you are probably finding surprising is the fact that I’m writing this post.
Well, despite not being a fantasy writer myself, I know many tellers of epic and magical tales. I am in contact with them on a regular basis, and I definitely enjoy reading my share of fantasy novels. And, in being so exposed to the genre, I’ve realized that there are three great myths about fantasy writers.
The fact is, these myths can probably be attached to people who write other genres besides that of fantasy, but from what I’ve noticed, it’s the authors of dragon-riding, spell-filled, magical fiction that get the most heat here.
So what are these myths?
Myth #1: People Who Write Fantasy Must Be Ignorant of Reality

I think this myth was created by realists who can’t stand the idea that there’s more to life than reality. That it’s okay to imagine the otherwise. These types of critics don’t like to admit that people who prefer to tell stories set in a whimsical world are actually just as smart as they are. And so they write off authors of fantasy as “ignorant” and “naïve,” when, in reality (hey, look! I just used that word!), they often have acute observations of real truths that many other people miss, due to being too caught up in “what is practical” that they can see in front of them. From talking to fantasy writers, I’ve found the opposite of this myth to be true. In many cases, I’ve realized that it is the authors of otherworldly fiction that have the greatest grasp on reality. They know that it takes understanding reality to write compelling fantasy.
Myth #2: Fantasy Writers Spend All Their Time In Their Own Worlds
It’s true that they spend a lot of time there. I mean, don’t all writers? It’s our job, after all. But when people assume that we don’t ever come out of our “fantasy worlds” to face reality, they are the ignorant ones. As I said, skilled fantasy writers rely on a grasp of reality to make their work great. This means that they must spend time in it! They are not all incompetent basement dwellers. In fact, some of the most brilliant and competent people I know love to write epic fantasies, filled with magic and intrigue that reaches far beyond the real world. And yet, these same individuals are capable of holding extremely intellectual conversations about this world. Writers of all genres must learn to be observant of reality or their fiction suffers.
Myth #3: People Who Write Fantasy Do So Because They Can’t Cope With Reality
This may be the biggest myth of them all. The authors I know who write fantasy don’t do it to hide behind a mythical curtain and avoid facing their problems. In fact, they know that in order for people to see things the way they really are, sometimes they have to be shown to them in a different light. Such as fantasy. Jesus could easily have told his disciples stories about real people ignoring and accepting the Gospel, but instead, He decided to talk about plants. And if anybody can understand and cope with reality, it’s the One who created it. But Jesus knew there was something special about fantasy. About stories. About imagination. He saw the importance of showing something to people by cloaking it in a beautifully woven piece of fiction. And that’s what fantasy writers do best. Think about the wonderful truths buried in the works of Lewis and Tolkien. These are the things that writers of fantasy bring to light.
It bothers me when people call writers (both of fantasy and other genres) ignorant, incompetent, and stupid. When they give the impression that “you could do better.” No. I mean, what is better than communicating truth to people who are so caught up in everyday reality that they fail to see what’s right in front of them? This is why fantasy is important. Stories are important. And so are the people who write them.
Emily Tjaden is a novelist, editor, and blogger. At nineteen, she is the oldest of five, and a Lord of the Rings fan who likes hobbits, dragons, and coffee. Aside from writing weird, speculative fiction, her passions include music, photography, and helping others see the potential they have to make a difference. She can be found blogging about various creative imaginings at

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  1. Thank you so much for the opportunity to guest post for you! I had fun with it, and I hope everyone enjoys it. (:

    1. You are so welcome! Thank you for your insightful thoughts:) I love mixing it up with different people's writing styles. Keep up the great work with your own blog!


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