Every conceived story has the ability to cross from its predominant genre into something else. Sometimes that is dealing with specific subject matter. Other times that involves the inclusion of another genre to bolster the story. I believe that Fantasy stories are primed to be stories that will almost always cross into other genres. I believe that this is due to the nature of the Fantasy story. Now, I believe other genres can have this capability, but I think Fantasy does this easiest.
Why Fantasy Crosses Genres So Well
I see Fantasy as a primer. It is like this. When a story is created you have two choices of primer. The first choice is the real world as we know it. With this primer, you see the majority of stories residing in. Many authors may create a fantastical story line, but it is based on the idea that this is our world and the mechanics and present knowledge remain in tact. The second choice is the fantastical primer. As I’ve discussed previously, the degree of the fantastical elements can be slight and almost unnoticeable or consume the entire world. Those are the two primers you can choice from. There aren’t really any fuzzy areas. Either the story is in the world we know or it isn’t.
For anyone who hasn’t painted anything with the intention of it making color stick may not understand my primer analogy. When you paint a wall in your house, you first paint the walls with a drab primer in the white range. It lays the foundation for the final color of you wall. You take you lovely green or light yellow and paint over the primer. The primer helps keep the color in place and helps prevent chipping. There aren’t many colors to choose from with primer, because it’s supposed to be painted over. My analogy should now be crystal clear.
Like the real world, a well established fantasy world is a base for a story. It establishes the world that we’ll be functioning in. Take that away, and many times the story can be missing something.
Why is it a Primer and not a Genre
Now, I’m sure there will be many people who disagree, but I honestly feel after reading story after story, that a fantasy world is more of a base than the find of story it is. It is far less drilled down in subject matter than say a romance. With a romance, you know you will get a romance. There will be a struggle of a guy and a girl trying to get together. With a mystery, you know there will be something to be solved or at least attempted. With a fantasy, the only real qualifier I’ve been able to identify is that something or someone fantastical is in the story and they must deal with the consequences. To me that qualifier is very vague and doesn’t give me a sense of what the story is going to be about.
This is when I realized that Fantasy stories often layer another genre on top of fantasy. This is where many of the subgenres of Fantasy emerge and boy are there a bunch when you think about it. Many, not all, are ways of describing a Fantasy that has major elements of another genre. What is the most telling bit about why Fantasy is more of a primer is that I can’t if you don’t layer any other genre, instead of having a real world drama, you simply have a fantasy drama. This isn’t true of a mystery. A mystery with no elements of anything else, is still a mystery.
What are your thoughts on Fantasy as a primer?
Find the other Regarding Fantasy Series Posts:
Regarding Fantasy #1: Fantasy is all about the What If.
Regarding Fantasy #2: Black Female Protagonists in Fantasy. Where are they?
Regarding Fantasy #3: About why Fantasy is primed for escapism.
Regarding Fantasy #5: Worldbuilding in Fantasy can transcend just a story.