Why Fantasy? – Response to Picking a Genre

Hey everyone!

beck-stewart
Image Source – https://www.facebook.com/beckstewartauthor/

Today’s blog comes as a response to an article I read recently in a brand new blog by fellow author (and my girlfriend <3 ) Beck Stewart!  (Psst: click here to find her blog and follow!  :) )

In Beck’s latest article, she wrote about how she came to write her first novel (still in production) as a Steampunk story.  And it got me to thinking – I know I’ve touched on the history of The Sword of Dragons before, but I don’t think I ever explained why I turned it into a fantasy novel.

The Sword of Dragons, formerly Sword of the Dragon, began life as a Sci-Fi.

….No, I’m not lying, and no, I’m not crazy!  ;)  Every time I tell people who have read The Sword of Dragons this fact, I get the most incredulous looks, but it’s true!

Star Dragon Legion

Image Source - http://best-sci-fi-books.com
Image Source – http://best-sci-fi-books.com

The original story that eventually spawned The Sword of Dragons was called Star Dragon Legion.  The basic premise of the universe was that a peace-keeping organization (the titular Star Dragon Legion) would seek out gifted magic users throughout the universe and train them to become Star Dragons.

Among the many things that these recruits learned was how to harness the “power of the dragon” and eventually be able to turn themselves into dragons at will.

An elite organization that only accepted the best of the best within their ranks, the final test for a Legionnaire to graduate was to complete a quest, and it had to be unique and special, something no one else had ever done.

The protagonist of this series was a young Chris Ector, found on the world of Halarite, which is very much the world you all know from TSOD.  And Chris Ector was actually Cardin Kataar’s original name before I changed it.

From Sci Fi to Fantasy

Some of you may already know part of this story, but in high school, I had to select and complete a senior project.  Being an aspiring writer, my project was to write a short story (including taking a college-level creative writing course to help with the writing and learn about how to get it published) and attempt to publish it.

Image Source - http://www.3dartistonline.com
Image Source – http://www.3dartistonline.com

This was where the short story Sword of the Dragon came from.  I wrote it for my senior project, and was Chris Ector’s final test to graduate.  The test?  Travel to an uninhabited planet where the fabled Sword of the Dragon was rumored to be kept, and obtain it.

Ultimately, this short story, written between 2001 and 2002, never was accepted by any lit magazines.  And to be fair, by my standards today…it was very, very poorly written, and the story lacked much.

However, this was when the idea sparked in my mind to make a high fantasy novel.  Why?  Because Star Dragon Legion was too disjointed, too unfocused.  Not to mention, at the time, people’s reaction to the basic concept told me mainstream was not interested in people who could turn into dragons (but I think that may have changed since then….)

In any case, I really liked the concept of the Sword of the Dragon.  In my mind, Halarite was already set to go as a stand-alone fantasy world.  The characters were in place already, had a history that I had already spent years developing.  And when came up with the plot for the first iteration of the novel, it worked out well.

And that really was it – where I wanted to take the story, how I wanted to tell it, it really worked better as a fantasy story, rather than a sci-fi with fantasy elements.

Even better, I had already created a world map for Halarite (as bad as it was…I am no cartographer,) but there was still much work to be done.

Building a Fantasy World

Though I knew who all of the main characters were already (though some of their names have since changed), much of the world needed to be redeveloped from the ground up.

Image Source - https://images8.alphacoders.com/
Image Source – https://images8.alphacoders.com/

For instance, magic in Star Dragon Legion worked on sci-fi concepts, rather than a ‘mystical power.’  Since there was to be little to no sci-fi elements in the fantasy version, I needed to rebuild it from the ground up.  However, there was one concept I kept from how magic worked in SDL…but I’ll save the spoilers ;)

There was also the universe and its inhabitants, as well as travel.  The stories of SDL spanned an entire galaxy, and travel was accomplished with massive capitol ships, transports, and fighters.  In TSOD, there aren’t ‘aliens’ per-se, though in the strictest sense, they could be considered that.  Humans living on Halarite, plus elves and orcs.

Even more species will be introduced in coming novels, at an increasingly accelerated pace.  But to travel to these other worlds, magic is the one and only method: portals.  No space ships.  No FTL drives.

There are also no projectile weapons more advanced than bows and arrows.  Not yet, anyway ;)  But that…well, that is for another blog article for another day.

That’s all for today, everyone!  Whew, almost as long as my articles used to be in the beginning!  I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the genre of The Sword of Dragons.  And don’t forget to stop by Beck’s blog and facebook page and give her a like and a follow! :)

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

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