Because dragons.

the writer must also be a reader
the writer must also be a reader

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been using this blog to tease out my own writerly motivations. I’ve tackled why I create, why I write, and why I blog. Today, I’m posing to myself the question that I feel rather than hear when people politely ask me, “So, what kinds of books do you write?” and I answer with some trepidation, “fantasy.”

[Cue the swords and the sorcery and the Third Book in the Seventh Ring Cycle of the Mystical Dragon-Lords of Sha-na-na.]

Half the time, people seem to think that’s cool. The other half of the time they say, “That’s cool,” and I can see them thinking, “OMG, for a second there, I thought you were a mature adult.”

So I spend a lot of time thinking about why, when I could be writing Serious Novels for Adult-Type Persons, I am instead obsessing over how magic would actually work or the biology of vampires or what dragons ought to look like. Here’s what I’ve got–my fantasy writer’s manifesto:

above all, the writer must write
above all, the writer must write
  • I write fantasy because there is magic in this world. Call it faith, insight, true love, beauty, transcendence. Call it what you will. It is.
  • I write fantasy not because it isn’t real, but because it is true.
  • I write fantasy because I need to believe that there is more to our experience than what we can easily quantify, more than we can pin down with terminology and cage with names.
  • I write fantasy because dragons exist, but sometimes it’s easier to recognize them if we put wings and scales on them and have them breathe fire.
  • I write fantasy because we are all strangers in unknowably strange country. We are all the seventh sons of seventh sons. We are all liars and magicians, goose girls and thieves, and we all have our rings to bear, our swords to draw forth from stones, our destinies to chart by means both rational and otherwise.
  • I write fantasy because it is my lingua franca, the language of my patchwork people who meet in classrooms and dorm rooms, pubs and holy places, forest glades and cyberspace, to reach beyond what we can see to what is possible.
and then write more.....
and then write more…..

And, of course,

  • I write fantasy because all stories are lies, so we might as well have ALL THE FUN and put dragons in them.

Love to my patchwork people. ❤ What’s in your manifesto?

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10 thoughts on “Because dragons.

  1. Oh geez Brenna! I decided to take just one last peek in my e-mail before shifting over to writing. And there I saw this most amazing post from you that absolutely made my night. Your manifesto is magic, and human, and there is nothing better than “I write fantasy because dragons exist, but sometimes it’s easier to recognize them if we put wings and scales on them and have them breathe fire.” It’s perfect because it’s you, and you have figured out how to translate you onto the page. Geez, I am so grateful that you share, that you write, and that you take such striking photos of dragons (these are probably my favorite dragon photos yet, especially the dragon at the computer). Thank you for your candor and honesty. And for processing your process.

    1. Thanks so, so much, Vanessa. 🙂 I really appreciate that you read, and that you take the time to respond, too. I’ve really been enjoying your Tiny Letters–they so often speak to me exactly where I am.

  2. Your last point brings to mind Cliff Simak at a long-ago convention saying writers, especially f&sf writers, were all professional liars. He traced their line to an unathletic, myopic caveman who was a loust hunter and excused his failure to return with prey to the huge purple winged tiger he encountered. What could anyone expect against that? His fellow hunters scorned him but a few of the cavewomen thought he was kind of cute and wanted to hear the story again. And so the line has continued.

    1. Thank you so very much. 🙂 Insisting on magic is very good policy. I think the world would be a much better place if everyone thought as you do.

  3. Wow, Brenna! I’m saving this one as inspiration for me. Because it is true! And we do have all the fun…I feel sad for all those people who only read non-fiction because it’s “real.”

  4. Lovely….”because we are all strangers in unknowably strange country.” Isn’t that the truth?
    And the photo of the dragon at the computer made me smile.

    Keep on doing that good work, Brenna.

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