Hi H3roes! You are in for a real treat today. I snagged a famous author to write a guest post for me! No, the author is not me. Actually, the soon-to-be discovered Christian YA & MG author JP Cabit. His blog The House of Happy chronicles everything from his friend Planty to How To Summerize Your Life.
JP is also a fearless superh3ro and is presenting a fresh view to a highly debatable subject. May the Lord richly bless his ministry to reach others for Christ and encourage the saints. Enjoy and be challenged.
Coffee Without Cream…?
I like my coffee with a little cream. Just something to take the edge off of the burnt-bean flavor that many people love. I watch old people take cream in their coffee, and think, “How could you live here so long, and not have gotten used to the flavor of coffee yet?” Hopefully by the time I’m old, I will have learned to stand the flavor of black coffee now. Or physical coffee at least…in the here and now, I like my literary coffee black.
“So, a blog post about coffee…” You lean back in your chair, unconvinced. “Writers love coffee, but I’m not about to read a whole post about it. And what on Earth is literary coffee?!”
Literary coffee is fantasy, and the cream…is magic.
Harry Potter, Narnia, and Percy Jackson are (now at least) among the most renowned fantasy stories. People love to see Harry wield his stick, Aslan bringing children on cross-dimensional trips, and a demi-god doing—well, I’m not sure what, I’ve never read the book. *Weak laugh*
What do you hear when you hear “Fantasy?” Probably what a lot of people think of. A unicorn. A castle. Perhaps a wizard or two. Maybe an epic hero, and some cross-world traveling. Perhaps a “Chosen One” as well. But when I sit down to write fantasy, a completely different thing comes out. I jump out of my world, through my keyboard, into an Earth vaguely familiar, but strikingly different as well. Some things are different, but not too much. English is predominant, if even an odd sort of English. Technology has been stunted, communication comes via post, and we are not too far ahead of ourselves. Unicorns may exist, but only as a species. Wizards are unheard of. And I typically stay away from “Chosen One” archetypes—But of course, that’s just a matter of taste.
Why no magic? Isn’t that what fantasy is all about? Well, not exactly. A “Fantasy” implies something you daydream about…an escape form the real world. Fantasy does not need magic, because for certain, when I daydream, there is nothing magical about it. 🙂 I’ll first give you a practical reason for fantasy sans magic: Magic can tend to be a cop-out. In a normal, magicless world, you could surmount an enemy’s fortress by, perhaps…negotiating craftily with the sentinels, perhaps slipping the guard a photo of his childhood sweetheart that you cleverly managed to find, and using a bookshelf as a ladder into the main keep, having of course burned all the books in the previous room, not only to make the bookshelf lighter, but also to create a wildly successful distraction.
Then the bell rings—Round two!!! And the aforementioned magicians step onto the scene. What tricks do they hide up their sleeves? Well, only one—they fly over the wall on a broomstick.
But this is not the main point I am trying to make. Magic stunts creativity in this way, but it is not why I’m against it.
“So what’s the real reason?…” You ask, leaning forward over your cup of cocoa, “Why no wizards? I mean come on. They’re—epic!”
As a Christian, I believe in the power of God. I also believe in the Devil. And you just gotta wonder sometimes: Just where are Wizards—for that matter, Warlocks, Wicked Witches, Conjurors, and Cronies—getting their power? Are the powers of magic really what we should be focusing on, when writing for our own enjoyment, as well as for the people of God? I don’t think so.
I can see how the flash of colors and people zipping through the air can be a very visually attractive scene. Perhaps even alluring.
A warning, dear friends: Beware the allure.
I am tired of going to the library, picking up, and putting down, books that look otherwise amusing. In my search for a good read, I am tired of dealing with ghosts, goblins, dungeons, dragons, curses, creepers, and commendation of the powers of darkness. Isn’t there a book out there…a book about a fantasy world with more imagination than incantation?
Don’t read this as a shame-fest. Read it as a challenge. A challenge to all Christian fantasy writers: This summer, try your hand at Magicless Fantasy. Be creative! Stretch your imagination!
Try to write some fantasy this summer without the cream. 😉