Fantasy Literature and the Writer’s Itch

Fantasy Literature and the Writer’s Itch

“I write to relive the itch in my head.”

So said American fantasy author N.D. Wilson, author of Dandelion Fire and 100 Cupboards, a wonderful emerging trilogy (set in Kansas) for young readers (and up!) who enjoy Harry Potter and the great works of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien.

I have to admit, that “itch in the head” thing comes closest to describing why I write.

I just wanted to mention that my newest book, A Guide to Fantasy Literature, is in print. For more, visit my Fantasy Literature website, or the book’s blog, Creeping Past Dragons, to celebrate fantasy storytelling in all its diverse forms, exploring why it delights and enchants readers of all ages.

The book, by the way, is a substantially revised edition of book I did in 2002, called The Writer’s Guide to Fantasy Literature, focused on advice for writers. The 2002 edition sold well (about 5,000 copies), but the company later dropped that line of books, and the rights to the title reverted to me. I felt (there’s that itch!) the material had broad applicability beyond writers, and revised it to focus on points about the types of fantasy and building blocks of the genre interesting to a general reader . . . while still offering many bits of advice, ideas, and creative paths for writers.

A lot of the book addresses core issues of storytelling, and imagination, and the role of sense of place, theme, and such in good stories, as practiced by some of the finest storytellers ever – from Tolkien and Lewis to the pantheon of other greats: George MacDonald and Lord Dunsany to James Thurber and John Steinbeck to modern literary wizards like Ursula Le Guin, Jonathan Carroll, and others.

So if you want to scratch that itch in your head with the magical wand of fantasy, check out that book, website, blog.

As always, let me know any feedback or comments. I’m happy to try to address them here or in my Creeping Past Dragons blog.

1 Comment

  1. As a fellow fantasy author, I’ll have to agree with you. I write things that I want to read. No one else is writing what I want to read exactly — and I’m constantly aware of all the cool things that could happen — getting “what if” ideas as I go through life. Now that I’m working on series novels, each new idea has a built-in cast to interact with it, and I really enjoy that triggering process — the “itch” as you call it.

    I got the idea for my first novel because I was working in a yeshiva high school and I thought… what if this setting was brought into direct interaction with kids studying magic. The result was School of the Ages: The Ghost in the Crystal. The next book, coming soon, puts those same characters into the Alice in Wonderland setting.

    Good luck with your book — exactly the kind I like to read!! — Matt Posner

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