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Is Writing and Publishing Fantasy Novels a Legitimate Part of A Writers Life?

Updated on June 22, 2016
Fantasy novels now have many authors, and fans who read them.
Fantasy novels now have many authors, and fans who read them.

Can of Worms: Is Publishing Fantasy and Science Fiction Legit?

One of the best ways to improv your writing and find more joy in your writing is to spend time reading. Not only to build a better vocabulary but to also allow your mind to wander. One of the ways to do this is by reading science fiction and fantasy books which have an element of both real and "unreal" to them. There are many people who don't see it this way and and find a way to improve your writing in a different way. I read a lot of fantasy, and science fiction novels, and know of many people who want to publish books in these genres. Those who publish in these genres tend to have great questioning minds and many are famous for that. The question becomes is writing a fantasy novel a legitimate means of writing?

These two genres are my more favored ones to read. I do read other genres but mostly these. Over the years, from the time I began to really read fantasy until now I seen one big change. It is not in the style of writing more so then it is in something, that there are still people who wonder why the genre even is out there and why there are still writers who publish novels.

The reason it is harder to be seen as a force before was because there was not a push in terms of readership. That is until the Lord of the Rings, and more so with Game of Thrones, both of which are high fantasy series.

I have a small group of writing friends with whom I talk with and enjoy lunches with, and plain have fun writing with. Two of us are also big fantasy readers, and writers. The others are children's book writers, and writers of literary novels. All of these are different and yet, similar.

When I first began to write fantasy, many would ask me why I was writing such nonsense. I think times have changed and the media, or more precisely Hollywood, has helped. In a big way they have made fantasy much more accessible.

It was after viewing Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, that my cousin mentioned he read Tolkien. I nearly did a double take. He has always been one to comment that fantasy is not legitimate. I couldn't resist. i Had to say it.

"Did you read the novel?" Of course I expected the answer of no, it's fantasy. Here was his answer.

Yes, and I was surprised how well written it was and much better than the movie, I didn't know about Gandalf and how long he had looked for the information he sought about the Ring Frodo had received from his uncle." I was surprised, very much so, that he had read the book, and he had enjoyed it.

"Oh, cool. So is fantasy legitimate?"Was my question to him.

"Well, I suppose so, I think I will reserve judgment until I read more."

He has become quite the reader of fantasy and of literary novels. He would be the first to admit that something is not a good read, and when something is more or less fantasy-science fiction books. While he'll never become a fantasy buff, he will certainly never say that the genre is a joke. He never did read fantasy but Hollywood movies he loves, I suspect that this is one way to get someone to read a book, and that the writer of the novel just got paid for this work.

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Favorite Fantasy Writer

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Fantasy Novels and Hollywood

It took Hollywood to make it work, and yet, for the reader who do read fantasy novels, and writers as well, it is still one of their more enjoyable genres. On the one hand a reader can step into a new world, out of this one for a while, and then come out with different insights into the "ordinary" world. On the other hand, the imagination it takes for an author to write fantasy is harder to maintain than some other genres, as the second it fails the reader will put it down.

The same holds true with any form of writing.

Is writing in the genres of science fiction and fantasy a real means to making money or have a chance to increase your readership, and earn enough income so that you can be writing for a living? Should someone who publishes fantasy be considered a true author?

That's a loaded question, to fantasy readers at least, for most it's legitimate area to read, as they will read whatever is good and well-written. They all have their favorites, but will read something recommended to them by other fantasy lovers. This is a fantasy community and every reader has their favorites, both in style of the books they read and the writers they read about. most are very clear on what they will read and why they read it. Then there are the others the reader who saw it in a big movie... and they do not like the books.

For others... it's a joke, until they see it on the big screen and give it a chance, and then they will say it's more legit. But never a joke anymore. At least as long as the movie caught their imagination and they pad good money to see it time and again.

For others, no matter how much a reader will recommend or not they will never read it or go see it on the big screen without scorn. To them fantasy is a joke, and they will admit to liking science-fiction but that is about all.

Still, fantasy writing is complex and challenging, but for a reader of fantasy they enjoy for what it is: Good writing. If the writing is good they will enjoy it, and that is what links them to other readers everyone who reads wants a good book.


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    • Rebecca E. profile imageAUTHOR

      Rebecca E. 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Adolfa-- yes it's an enjoyable read, and it's a great break from writing, but I suspect that fantasy writers also read a lot in their genre.

    • Adolfa profile image


      6 years ago from South Africa

      It is nice to see someone defending the readers and writers of fantasy! People should open their minds more. I think all fantasy writers have another level of imagination... Those who don't should enjoy the workings of those who do.

    • Rebecca E. profile imageAUTHOR

      Rebecca E. 

      7 years ago from Canada

      samson1-- it is so true, some will read while they are young and it keeps going when they get older, whereas some only get into reading when they are a bit older or wiser!

    • samsons1 profile image


      7 years ago from Tennessee

      up and interesting! I'm finding I like to read almost anything and yet when I was growing up, I hated to read. I envied my brother that could get engrossed in his reading and miss supper sometimes, and now that I've retired and find pleasure in writing, I find myself reading more and more...

    • Rebecca E. profile imageAUTHOR

      Rebecca E. 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Whisperindave-- sounds like a wonderful argument for fantasy if I ever saw one. yes, most have seen the movies, but would never have read the book before said movie!

    • Whisperindave profile image

      David Thomas Pudelwitts 

      8 years ago from Scottsdale, AZ

      I have been writing fantasy for forty years. It is legitimate. In fact some of the first true novels were dark fantasy or "gothic" novels. They were meant to be pure fantasy. Only later did novelists begin to write more "dramatic reality based literature." However let's face it if it is called a novel, it is, by its very nature FICTION and therefore a fantasy of sorts. What you are referring to is traditionally called "High Fantasy" anything having to do with mythical beings, elves, halflings, dwarves, faeries, etc. which many used to consider, along with science fiction, to be "low-brow" literature. However Tolkien raised it to the level of high-brow literature back in the 40's by using the ancient Anglo-Saxon Epic poetry of the Dark Ages as his base. Books such as Beowulf, are considered to be the highest form of literature and it is pure Monster vs Hero stuff! Don Quixote is a fantasy and yet is considered to be one of the first-ever novels. Just mention all this to your friends (read: fiends...jealous people who fear to write anything themselves), and see if they even understand what you are talking about. I doubt any one of them ever read Beowulf or Don Quixote. But I'll bet they all saw the movies!

    • Rebecca E. profile imageAUTHOR

      Rebecca E. 

      9 years ago from Canada

      RS Wright-- thanks for stopping by and making this fine comment, and it is true your sons will always love fantasy possibly because you didn't "push" them into it.

    • profile image

      RS Wight 

      9 years ago

      I read fantasy, my husband pretty much refuses to touch it, preferring what he calls pure prose (and might I add that we disagree heartily on the meaning of that phrase). Having always loved fantasy and Lord of the Rings being one of my four favorites, I eventually got him to read it a few years before the movie came out and, remarkably, he loved it but he still doesn't really see it as legitimate or at least of equal value as what he reads.

      The only way I could get one of my sons to read anything was by handing him every fantasy novel I could get my hands on and saying "try this one" until he actually found one he liked. That this is now the only form of pleasure reading he does really bothers my husband. He is continually lamenting the fact that neither of his sons has ever picked up either one of his favorite fiction books, "All Quiet on the Western Front" and "The Catcher in the Rye". My opinion on the matter is that those who don't like fantasy or see it as being as valuable as their favorite form spend far too much time criticizing it, in my boys case it's just that their dad is always telling them, in one form or another that what he reads is better than what they read and it just completely turns them off of his books.

      I know I really can't talk to my husband about the fantasy I'm reading and, while I can always have him provide feedback on my more "mainstream" writing, I am just not comfortable asking to give me his opinion when I am working on a fantasy piece.

      Oh, and just for the record I chose Tolkien too, and while he is one of my all time favorites I would have really liked to have seen Guy Gavriel Kay on the list.

    • Rebecca E. profile imageAUTHOR

      Rebecca E. 

      9 years ago from Canada

      ocoonocoon-- maybe because it is satiracal or because it is "easy" whatever you write is legitimate, is the way I think.

    • ocoonocoon profile image


      9 years ago

      I wonder why fantasy writing is so easy to make fun of. To me it is the purest form of fictional writing because it is completely "of the imagination." (maybe not completely, but the most out of any genre). Other genres are more rooted in reality, but all have an "element" of fantasy. (if it was just reality it would not be fiction).

      But to answer your question it is totally legitimate, and even if it isn't, who cares? It took me a long time to get over my qualms about writing fantasy fiction, but in the end I realized that's what I like doing best!

    • Rebecca E. profile imageAUTHOR

      Rebecca E. 

      9 years ago from Canada

      thanks for your point of view troy, always an interesting comment from a different point of view.

    • profile image

      troy joseph reyes 

      9 years ago

      fantasy novels are not legit, they are more of a marketing campaign put together by cynical publishers and aimed at adolescent minded individuals. why is it that most fantasy are trilogies? it is because of j.r.r tolkeins ring masterpieces or because the publishers make more money on a series in a genre that traditionally does not sell well across many different audiences. the only fantasy writers anyone need read are micheal moorcock,j.r.r Tolkien, robert e. howard, edgar rice burroughs, octavia butler(occascionally)ursula k. leguinn(occascionally) and johnathan barnes, all the others are hacks mining the Tolkien gold mine.

    • Gemsong profile image

      Madalain Ackley 

      9 years ago from Richmond, Virginia

      I love fantasy. I first was introduced to it when I read the Chronicles of Narnia which drew me in. Before that I only read hardcore sci-fi and over fluffed romance novels. Writing it is tricky. I vote legitimate. Someday I'm going to try to write it again.

    • Rebecca E. profile imageAUTHOR

      Rebecca E. 

      9 years ago from Canada

      love all your comments, it is so true fantasy is quite the entertaining genre

    • bayareagreatthing profile image


      9 years ago from Bay Area California

      I think I got hooked on fantasy when Legend came was my instant favorite. I have loved fantasy ever since! Nice Hub!

    • shamelabboush profile image


      9 years ago

      Fantasy or sci-fiction is one of my favorite genres!!! They are so fun to read... Nice hub Rebecca. Keep writing what you love.

    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 

      9 years ago

      To me fantasy writing is highly creative and complex as well.Sometimes I feel fantasy writers' need to think more than any other writers because they don't find any real life reference while they write the story or make any characters,perhaps they take inspirations by some innovative ideas.thanks Rebecca for this excellent hub.

    • Rebecca E. profile imageAUTHOR

      Rebecca E. 

      9 years ago from Canada

      I admit never really read Charles De Lint, but I be certainly reading it now!

      Everyone is right, books make the person, and sometimes we need entertainment!

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 

      9 years ago from Tucson, Az

      a great hub Rebecca!! I only voted Tolkien because Charles de Lint wasn't listed....actually Tolkien is just the best/really not fair to anyone else if he is in the group :) wonder if your cousin would like de Lint? get him Moonheart and see what he thinks :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Another great Hub, Much of my drive to excel was born in the books I read years ago and even today. Fantasy is universal because it speaks to man's basic desire and need for more.

    • KevCC profile image


      9 years ago

      Good Hub, although not quite so much now I have read a lot of science fiction and fantasy over the years,it's good entertainment. It would be a dull life if all books and films had to be "worthy".

    • rsmallory profile image

      Rebecca Sue Mallory 

      9 years ago from Central Texas

      Hey Rebecca E. I think fantasy is often looked at as make believe, hence a waste of time. But the truth is it is entertainment. A reprieve from our dull, uneventfull, stressful or boring everyday lives. It's a chance to remove ourselves from our daily troubles and immerse ourselves into another world full of romance, adventure and danger without actually endangering our lives or our hearts. Our imaginations are so vivid and our dreams and our own fantasies, while less spoken of as we age, are still there-brimming just under the surface. I believe that is why 'fantasy' as a genre is becoming more popular. Good hub.


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