Fantasy by definition is the free play of creative imagination. When one picks up a novel that is fantasy he expects fantastical things to happen and he expects there to be creatures that bend the mortal rules of what can and cannot be done.
My latest work-in-progress features angels and demons. As I always do, I researched what is known and then created a modern day world to set my story in. My characters are fictional. Their world is fictional. And while I do use a lot of known lore in my novel, I put my own twist on things.
My novel doesn't attack religion. In fact, no religion is mentioned. So I found it interesting (as I always do) when what I thought was a small comment made by one of my characters started an intense debate with my critique partners. Friendly lines were drawn: those who weren't too happy with the comment and those who recognized I based my angels on the Old Testament.
Controversy can be good. It causes us to think and to ask questions. It challenges us to see things in a different light. One person might feel that all angels are good and should be seen as guardians, while another person might remember angels as God’s warriors: fierce and a force not to be mess with. I believe both views are right. If I’m thinking of an angel that guides mankind, I think of guardian angels. But if I’m thinking of angels fighting to keep Heaven and Earth safe, I picture warriors with their swords drawn ready for battle.
It’s important to read fiction with an open mind. It’s important to remember that the views of the characters aren't necessarily the views of the author. Good fiction doesn't come from a person preaching their personal beliefs. It comes from a writer’s ability to create a world so vivid it propels a reader into the characters’ world. Good writing will have a reader asking questions. That’s a wonderful thing. It means the writer has done more than just tell a story. He or she has woven together an engaging tale that has touched the reader on some level.
As a reader, I enjoy books that challenge my knowledge of a subject or that has me wondering where fact ended and the fantastical began. Hats off to all authors who are able to pull this off, because isn't the whole point of reading fiction to become lost in the story?
Happy reading everyone!