Yeah...it is -- -- --
But isn't that the point?
As an author, I have a particular audience. Every author pinpoints their market. Mine, I believe, are adults who refuse to leave their childhood dreams and ambitions behind...and for good reason. This is a good thing. In fact, I am one of these people. These are the people that refuse to sacrifice the beauty, creativity, and general awe of a whacked out storyline for the sake of living a "normal and realistic" life. Too many times have I heard the word "nerd" be used in a heavily stigmatic way, so much so that it suppresses the natural creativity and fun that comes along with reading, watching, and writing things that are, quite frankly, way out of our current reality.
So when someone asks what I've been doing with my life, I say I've been spending the last 2 years writing an EPIC FANTASY series.
"You mean like Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings?" they ask.
"Yes, that's exactly what I'm doing," I respond.
And then, this happens. A lot of the time, when I say I'll be spending 10 more years of my life doing the same thing, I get this as a response:
Not because people are generally "too good" for something as out-of-the-box as FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION, but mostly because these genres have been so stigmatized by the general public that it has developed into a dumping ground for writers who can't write. Yes, there are many authors who independently publish who can't write. They literally spend as little time as possible drafting, even less editing, and publish it for free to try and make a quick buck, but you know what? There are also authors who are traditionally published who can't write either, but those still sell because of reputation.
Why must FANTASY and SCI-FI be blamed for something that falls on all of our shoulders?
I will always be an advocate for the advancement of literature. Reading is a dying art and, that alone, can change the course of history. We must teach future generations to love reading like they love their cell phones, television, and computers. If we don't, we're just as bad as the stigma itself.
I believe we are past the time in our trendy popular culture where the moniker "nerd" holds any sort of shame, which is why I write FANTASY, SCIENCE FICTION, and all other sorts of genres in the first place. In the publishing world, it's not easy to publish SCI-FI or FANTASY traditionally. It's a growing market, but there are thousands upon thousands of new writers who all have the same aspirations, but unfortunately, there is no room for all of us. Most manuscripts end up gathering dust on a shelf somewhere or digitally rubbished in a mysterious agent's e-mail trash folder 500 miles away.
Anyone who picks up an R.T. Donlon novel can expect to be challenged, pushed imaginatively to the brink, and forced to envision a new world with extensive vocabulary and imagery. I pride myself on that. I know authors before me have done the same.
It takes a strong person to read FANTASY novels. It takes a person willing to accept that what they are reading is abstract - that it is not entirely rooted in the "real" world. Don't miss the point. We don't read FANTASY novels to make us feel something about our world. We read FANTASY because we expect better of ourselves. If characters can brave hideous beasts, fire-breathing dragons, magic-wielding wizards, and/or merciless gods, why can't we brave a world of corporate competition, the stresses of the bourgeoise, and senseless violence?
I hate to say it, but we are already doing just that. FANTASY just transfers the stress, fear, and intimidation of this world into something a bit more grand and far-fetched. It's for the people who can't help but go big or go home.
So tell me -
Are you too good for a good story?
Or are you ready to give FANTASY another shot?
Read on, my dear readers. Read on.