So here I am eagerly awaiting the Australian screening of the second season of Outlander - the television adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's amazing best seller of the same name (first published as Cross Stitch here in Australia).
If you haven't read Outlander - and the next several books in the series - you'd best get onto it because you're missing out - big time!
Season one, last year was brilliant and followed the book faithfully. And now season two begins on Sunday night ... I can't wait! Neither can Stuart who equally loves the series although he hasn't read the books.
So, what's the big attraction? How does this essentially historical romance cross the gender boundary? Simply because it's so much more than a romance. There's well researched history, there's violence and adventure, there's political intrigue and there's sex.
Yep, so all the elements are there for a terrific read, but there's one more element this epic tale has that attracts readers of all genres - it's a fantasy.
I don't think it's technically classed as a fantasy, but the entire story is based on time travel which places it slap bang in the middle of the fantasy genre.
Now, for the record, I'm not fond of fantasy. Oh I've taken a peek at a couple of Terry Pratchetts, I've read and enjoyed The Hobbit (although LOTR was a bit too much for me - loved the movies though), and I'm just busting for the next Game of Thrones to hit the shelves, but I suppose in all this I'm not alone.
Generally, speaking though, fantasy isn't for me so I don't get this obsession people have with the fantasy genre.
One thing I do know about fantasy writing, is that it's incredibly popular. I think perhaps the recent crop of vampire, shifter, wolf novels out there might have had something to do with it although many of those fall into a relatively new genre called paranormal romance.
Fantasy, has been around for decades ... more and it's popularity is not decreasing. Do you read fantasy? Do you write it?
Since my mind doesn't just naturally run that way when I'm dreaming up new characters, locations and events, I wondered what inspires people to write fantasy. Where do the stories come from? The conflicts, the good against evil, the epic quests ... ?
So that's when I started doing some research and lo ... guess what I found?
One simple online search revealed pages and pages ... and more pages of fantasy story prompts. There are websites with lists, books you can buy, blogs you can read and contribute to ... the works. It's a huge, well developed and well populated industry dedicated to the outer reaches of your wildest well ... fantasy!
The other thing I discovered was that fantasy, as a genre, is holding hands with another genre - speculative.
Then suddenly I realised that fantasy is having some kind of friends-with-benefits relationship with romance.
Not satisfied with that, fantasy is getting tight with horror.
In fact, fantasy is very successfully snuggling up to just about every other genre out there.
So right about now, you fantasy reader/writers will be snorting derisively because this is probably old news to you. But not to me! This is not my area but it's endlessly fascinating to me that a genre can cross pollinate so well.
Yeah, yeah - that's old too after all we've just discussed Game of Thrones. Has there ever been a better cross-pollinator than George R.R. Martin?
So if you're in the mood to get down and dirty with your keyboard and fantasy's your thing, here are a few things you might like to look at:
- Writing Forward
- 101 Epic Fantasy Romance Plots
- Speculative Fiction - this one for you steam punkers!
- Fantasy Writing Tips
Until next week - be fantastic!