Welcome to another episode of From the Writing Desk. Today, I have a secret to tell you. I love Fantasy! Okay, that’s not really a secret. You would probably have guessed it based on the books that I’ve talked about on this blog, if the title of this post hasn’t given that out already.
I’ve always loved reading as far as I could remember. The earliest books I remember reading were the Key Words Reading Scheme series, or Peter and Jane as I used to call them. Those were probably during pre kindy times. I’ll have to ask my mom about that. I graduated from those to Enid Blyton books, stuff like Brer Rabbit and XYZ and Other Stories. I collected the Secret Seven series, but I can’t remember if I have all of them or not. I also remembered reading the Bookworm Investigators series, which is from Singapore. (Side note, on researching information for this post, I found out that the Bookworm series and Enid Blyton were criticized for having racist undertones. I wonder if that makes me secretly a racist.) Oddly enough, as I got older, I started reading less mystery/thriller novels.
Then I had this thing with the Left Behind series for a while. I read each book as them came out, almost religiously (heh), but looking back, they weren’t really that great. Sure they had interesting stuff happening here and there, but I can’t really say I’d recommend anyone to read them. But it’s a stepping stone to my love for fantasy because I liked the large cast and multiple book series. Which led me to…
The Wheel of Time. I still remember picking up the first two books of the series from a charity sale just because they were huge and it was a long series. It was around the time when the Lord of the Rings films first came out. It factored into my decision to get those books too, because of the medieval setting. But I remembered getting stuck in the first book for a long, long time and then giving up on it. It was too much for my 10 year old brain to handle.
It was around this time that someone recommended me the Harry Potter series and I devoured them like crazy. Funnily enough, the only one I ever bought was the Order of the Phoenix. I would later attempt to complete my collection, which I still haven’t completed yet.
From there, I went on to read the Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion before returning to Wheel of Time again. Mainly because of a desire for something with as much background story as Arda. And this time, I was hooked. I devoured the books like crazy, and never really felt the slump the series was infamous for. I caught up with the series just before the release of Knife of Dreams, which might have contributed to that. I read the Inheritance Cycle during this time, after I was introduced to it by a friend. Incidentally, I read the books before I watched Star Wars so I thought they were pretty great until the fourth one.
I was introduced to Brandon Sanderson from Wheel of Time. He help completed the series after Robert Jordan passed away. But I didn’t really jumped into Sanderson right away. I read a Song of Ice and Fire after I watched the first season of the TV series. And then I started to get interested in writing. I listened to Sanderson’s podcast and watched his lectures on YouTube and then I started to read his book and I was hooked. The Cosmere is the world I’m currently “living” in right now.
I’m not as widely read in the fantasy genre as I’d liked to be. I’ve read Lynch’s Lies of Locke Lamora. I’ve read Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. I’ve read some of the Witcher books, Storm Front and Promise of Blood and a score of several others, but I’ve never been drawn in as much as I have to Wheel of Time and the Cosmere novels, especially the Stormlight Archive. There’s just something about epic fantasies that makes them so immersive. I like aSoIaF too, but I’ve never really been as into them as I was with WoT and the Cosmere. I’ll try to get into Malazan soon, I’ve heard that it has a similar scope.
It’s why I’d like to write epic fantasy someday, but I’m not quite at that level yet. Not even close. Writing alone is a difficult chore, much less juggling ten different point of views on twenty different plot threads that will eventually tie up neatly while building an entire planet that has dozens of kingdoms and different cultures spanning over two hundred characters. I’ve tried writing fantasy twice, and finished only one, which was a small scale urban fantasy. The other one is back on the drawing board, though I think I’ve figured out how to fix it. AGK, the current book I’m working on, is also a fantasy novel but it’s not epic. It’s set in a single city. Maybe someday, in ten years or so, I’ll have honed my craft enough to give it try. But until then, I’ll keep my head down, work hard and write while fantasizing about writing that epic fantasy.
That’s all from me and until next time, Happy Writing!