Don't get me wrong… I suckled at the teat of the highest of high Fantasy, but more and more in my own writing I find that its the opposite side of the coin that draws me in.
But the clean lines and straightforward goals of High Fantasy don't speak to the world I find myself in. Adult me simply doesn't see the world as black and white as non-so-much-adult me did, and the truths I once clung to have grown tarnished and muddy.
Now, I want heroes who do the right thing in spite of themselves. I yearn for conflicted villains who almost find redemption before falling victim to the easy slide into corruption. I want to write about grim bastards who are good when they can be and bad when they have to be, and I want to read about the same.
The kid who devoured every damn Dragonlance novel there was at the time from his reading throne beneath the stairs is still with me, but he's just one of several voices I go to for advice.
And more and more often, I find myself having to cover the eyes of that young adult as the serrated knife of fiction cuts someone to the bone.
Perhaps my once-healthy cynicism has grown twisted and malignant, but so be it. The High Fantasy stuff is a guilty pleasure, but it's on the top shelf of my mind, pride of place where it can't get too sullied by the blood and mud and vicious intentions of the creatures that are now in my head and demanding to get put on to the page.
My truth is that the goblins are as worthy of the page as the elves; that the orcs and denizens of the swamp lands are deserving of new and epic tales of struggle and victory.
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