Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What is it about fantasy?

With Halloween just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to chat about what draws me to fantasy and all things supernatural.

Growing up, one of my favorite movies was Escape to Witch Mountain. The original movie made in 1975, not the latest remake. For those who aren’t familiar with the story, it’s about two mysterious orphans, a brother and sister, who have extraordinary power and are chased by a scheming millionaire. When I was young, I was so intrigued with the idea of kids having powers that I asked my parents to buy me the book and I read that too. I used to fantasize about having powers of my own. I mean, how cool would it be to be able to move things with your mind?

Escape to Witch Mountain was only the beginning of my love for the unknown. To this day, my favorite genre is paranormal: vampires, witchcraft, angels, demons, gods and so on. I also believe that behind every myth there is a nugget of truth. But what truth could there be in vampires? While Bram Stoker brought us the story of Count Dracula and his journey to move from Transylvania to England, the legend of Dracula  goes back to the 1400s and Vlad Tepes, or Vlad the Impaler.  In fact, Bram Stoker’s inspiration behind Dracula was Vlad the Impaler.

Witchcraft dates back to before Christ and had often been thought of as dark or evil, but not all practitioners of magic dabbled in black magic. In fact, many used their powers to help others. From Merlin to the modern Wiccan, witchcraft is still very much alive. Okay, I’m not saying that I believe there are wizardry schools or people who can turn a mouse into a goblet or ride a broom through the sky (even though that would be totally cool). But I’m not going to rule out the ability to send some good luck to someone who needs it. Have you ever seen a penny and picked it up, maybe you chanted that all day you’ll have good luck. Maybe you searched for a four leaf clover or you wished upon a star. You would have been calling upon unseen forces for a little bit of good fortune. One last thought on the subject: many people wear jewelry to symbolize a belief or to protect them from evil. They believe these objects have power, therefore they do.

As far as angels, while I do believe in them. Is it that far of a leap to then believe in demons? If man can be good or evil, wouldn’t it stand to reason that higher powers could be one or the other too? Even though I have never seen an angel (at least not that I know of) I believe I have a guardian angel who worked a little (okay a lot of) overtime during my teen years.

I love stories that weave these creatures into our world and this is reflected in my writing. My debut novel, Embrace, is a story about a girl who discovers there are unseen forces in the world and she’ll need to embrace these forces to save her friends.

I think people like fantasy for different reasons. For me, it offers a brief escape from everyday life. In a paranormal romance, there is often an alluring and hard to resist male to fall for. In horror it’s the thrill of being scared, being on the edge of my seat rooting for the characters. How about you? Do you like fantasy and why?

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  1. It is funny how certain fantasy or supernatural concepts have changed, not only across the timeline, but even in the last few decades.
    For instance, my concept of black magic is most like different from your few of black magic, as I received my black magic from sources such as final fantasy and the likes.
    These old things are being altered with new spices and flavors and it is awesome!

  2. Just curious, did you ever see the sequel they made about 5 years later with the same actors?

    My sister and I loved that movie when we were young, too, but didn't know about the sequel until I hunted up the dvd to surprise her and they came packaged together

  3. Fantasy is like seeking and discovering the impossible made possible. Being able to move things with your mind, calling forth nature to do your bidding, turning a copper penny into a tiny thimble through alchemy...so wonderful and so dreamy. I just...LOVE it.

  4. MyTrickerGod, I do like how the concepts keep changing. It makes it all the more fun to read new books or see new movies.

    1000th.monkey, now that you mention it, I may have seen it a long long time ago. I'll have to see if I can find the DVD.

    Angela, well said!

  5. Oh my gosh, Escape to Witch Mountain! I so wanted to be them with the powers and such. I was right around their age too so I was just sure it would happen. ;)

    I love fantasy in books, movies, etc. It makes my mind explore down new hidden paths that bring out even more possibilities to think upon later.

    Love this post!

  6. Zencherry, I was about their age too and I did want to be them too. I'm going to have to look for that movie on DVD. It's been a long time since I've seen it.

  7. I have two kids, one loves Fantasy and the other does not.
    For myself, I think I don’t have the patience for the detailed world-building that this genre demands. Not only as a writer, but as a reader.

  8. Mirka, I can understand that. I have friends who prefer other genres and rarely read or watch fantasy.

  9. When I was a child, I wished I could fly, a la the Flying Nun (70s TV show) but without the nun's habit. I could use that magical ability now, given I have a horrible fear of heights...or more specifically, falling from them. And regarding angels: I have a few guardian angels that I count on on a daily basis.

  10. Flying is definitely an ability that would come in handy. And it's nice to know others count on their guardian angels too. :)

  11. I remember Escape from Witch Mountain! Wow, blast from the past. Admittedly I haven't read much fantasy but I'm just not a big fan. I think real life is so fascinating that I'm drawn to stories about real people doing real things. But I know fantasy is hugely popular and I appreciate you sharing what drew you to it!

  12. I love fantasy because I like to escape the real world every once in a while. I have a good imagination and reading fantasy is like taking a field trip into another person's imagination.

  13. I agree Kelly. I read to escape the everyday and what better way to do that than to take a journey into someone's imagination.