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September 2018
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Aerden [userpic]
On the Nature of Fantasy

To market a story as a fantasy story, is it necessary for magic to figure strongly in the piece, or is it sufficient for the story to take place in a setting that has magic?

I'm preparing to write a story about an apothecary, his daughter, and a blackmailer/murderer. I'd want to market this as a fantasy story if I ever tried to sell it, but, so far as I can tell, magic isn't strictly necessary to the plot. I don't, however, want to write this as a historical novel because I prefer the fantasy genre.

Any thoughts?

Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: Theme from "Dexter"

I'd say, write the story you want to tell, exactly as you want to tell it. Let the agent or editor worry about the marketing side.

I think the fact that magic exists in the world as a whole, even if it doesn't figure strongly into the plot, is enough. I mean, that's just me, but if I read a story in which references are made to wizards and dragons and such as things that actually exist, even if they never feature promenently in the book, I'd think of it as a fantasy.

I spelled, "prominently" wrong, dag nabbit!

Fantasy is a very broad genre. I think you can do almost anything within it.

See Ellen Kushner's Swordspoint -- marketed and reviewed as fantasy, even though it has no magic in it. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. And it's set in a society/culture which doesn't believe in magic.

I think it's fine to market it as fantasy - as others have said there are a few books out there where magic is the background, not the foreground - Guy Gavriel Kay comes to mind. And hope that's the case because a couple of my books aren't very magicky up front :)