Thursday, December 3, 2009

And So We Blog ...

Welcome all to the new SWS blog! We intended to host a variety of topics here that will further our mission. Current Bloggers will be Melissa Kuhl, Erica Procopio and myself (Drea Moore).

SWS is open to all writers and writing groups. Currently our member groups focus mostly on Science Fiction and Fantasy. We have one poetry group -- and I will see if one of their members would like to represent their corner and add a bit of diversity to this space. Other potentials are posts by our "artists," as SWS seems to have an abundance of writer/artist members and even more artists hovering on the periphery and supporting our larger group.

On Thursdays I will share opinions on the industry and the writer: Perceptions of SFF, e-books, self-publishing and what it means for the writer bewildered by the options. We're in the middle of interesting times and often panic and cynicism follow when, in fact, opportunity is rising.

First I wish to address the opinion of Fantasy Literature in the larger literary community. As mentioned at the escapism in fantasy fiction is often discussed as "only for children." I have read my share of literature and don't understand how classic lit is less escapist than fantasy. Often times the characters live in other eras or places I haven't seen that are as real to me as completely fictitious location. The only difference is the extent to which the author needs to generate "back story."

Even in the stories that take place in my own back yard, the characters are either neurotic or idealized to the point that the familiarity of location is the only thing linking me to the book. The shared history, environment, references to what is already known ground the unrealistic into the believable and encourage suspension of disbelief. The goal is the same.

What does escapism do in fantasy? It allows Reader to ignore the social messages Reader does not believe in, but manages to squeeze in that exposure nonetheless. While literature aims to stress the bounds of thought, so too does fantasy fiction. I must argue that the only difference is that one has to grow acclimated to different history, cultures, languages and references when reading fantasy. Mystery, Horror and Romance do not always require this ... but then I write fantasy and am a SFF fan. I have seen non-genre Readers stumble and fall apart around a fictitious word. Such imaginary settings are likely the reason such Readers get the idea of escapism. Reader following this pattern misses the familiarity in the imagined. Advocating that writers should write what they know fails to see that behind the veil of imagination we all write only what we know. All fantastic fiction is a reflection of this society, in some fashion. Be it relevant issues of sexism and oppression, family or power; the fictionalized setting allows for the exploration of these issues in a space removed from the loaded politics of modern America.

Besides, where is the line drawn between genre and literary writing? Where would you draw it?


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