Adding a new twist to your Fantasy story by changing the setting
Newway12 at 2:55PM, March 18, 2011
A written suggestion asking creators to open their minds to unexplored possibilities.
In many ways, the Fantasy genre is the concept of fiction in its purest and most unadulterated form. In this genre everything from the characters to the setting is completely fabricated and subject to the creators imagination. Every other genre is grounded somehow to the real world. Historic fiction is grounded by its connection to history. Science fiction is grounded by the laws of science. The only limit Fantasy has is the creativity of the storyteller.
But instead of being a genre that embraces its limitless nature, Fantasy has arguably become one of the most structurally ridged genres. Most Fantasy stories are influenced at least on some level by the Lord of the Rings. That is not necessarily a bad thing, the Lord of the Rings is the story arguably ushered in the modern fantasy story. But the constant clinging to J.R.R Tolkiens story tropes and archetypes has just as often hurt the genre as helped it. But I believe that change is slowly but surely coming. In short Fantasy needs a revolution. And like all revolutions this on begins buy questioning the way things are. And perhaps no element of the Fantasy genre needs to be questioned more then setting.
Quaint rural villages, majestic castles and dark enchanted forests, this is the medieval setting for about ninety percent of the fantasy stories out there, and Id argue that it is the major reason why the genre has become so redundant. Most of the other clichés of the genre stem from this one in some way or another. If you move your story out of medieval Europe (or an alternate world that looks and acts amazingly like medieval Europe) it instantly changes the kind of characters that you need to populate your story. With a different cast come different character interactions and plots that would never come up with a traditional setting and cast. For example moving a story from Europe to say ancient India, might change the story a lot. The nature of magic might be different in an Indian based Fantasy then in a European based one. Instead of elves and goblins, your story might be populated by Apsaras and Nagas (If you dont know what those are google them) and other things that have pretty much gone untouched by the genre. Fantasy doesnt have to be set in the past either. Perhaps the most popular movie of all time just happens to be a fantasy story. Many people mistakenly label Star Wars as a Science Fiction story, but if you look at it closely its actually a fantasy story with the superficial trappings of Science Fiction. The Jedi are knights the Force is magic Darth Vader is an evil overlord, the Death Star is the evil overlords fortress etc.
This isnt an article telling you how or what to write or draw. Its a written suggestion asking you to question the clichés and tropes of a genre and perhaps think outside the box. The Comic world is filled with Fantasy stories and I firmly believe that changing the setting of a story can make your story stand out in a very crowded market. This is what I set out to do with my own work, and its something a wish more creators would do as well.