Embracing the Fantasy Genre

There's something I've been trying to wrap my head around for going on a year now, and that is the Fantasy genre and how I come to greet it. The second I think of Fantasy I picture dragons, fairies, knights, princesses in thick gowns, goblins, days of old, and a bunch of fresh bread baking in open flame ovens. This is clearly a stereotype of the genre since so many fantastic books are Fantasy without containing any of that, and a lot of books with those features are also great and engaging.

My struggle is this: I do stereotype the Fantasy genre and for whatever reason I'm finding a real aversion (in my head, of course) to calling my novel, Burning Spirit, Fantasy. My book is set in present day. There's aren't a lot of fantastical creatures. Yet, there's a heavy amount of magic, witches, warlocks, and a shapeshifter. I keep referring to my story as magical realism, but it's Fantasy through and through.

Then I made the realization that when people think of witches we often go straight for green skin, warts on big noses, black cats, and brooms. Take that a step farther and they're dancing around the devil and doing lots of naughty deeds with him. Witches, like the Fantasy genre, suffer from stereotyping as well.

That being said, I've had no trouble breaking down those mental barriers to make my witches (Elsbeth and her friends) as real and individualized as possible. So, I'm working to embrace Fantasy as my home and find my way around in the genre. The good news is that it shouldn't be that hard and I'm in really good company.

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