Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Three Components of Fantasy

I find that a fantasy story can generally be broken down into three component parts.  In Project Management this idea is called the Triple Constraints.  Since fantasy is more about imagination, I suppose it would be better to call them the Triple Imaginatives.  The three components are: Prose, World and Characters

Prose is all about the written word.  Simply put, how well does the writing support the World and the Characters and your enjoyment of them.  Is the writing a hindrance or a benefit?

Characters as a category is how well the author develops the narratives characters.  This can be done via a variety of ways: action, dialog, internal thoughts, etc.

World is the world as a character, aka world building.  This is generally the category people think of first when trying to define fantasy.

As for me?  I love Characters first, Prose second and World last.  Although that is a not a hard order but more a preference.  I find I enjoy a novel with great characters more than a novel with a great story.  I just simply get more mileage out of characters and prose versus world building but I enjoy all of them if done well.

Now, which authors do I think best represent each of these categories?  When speaking of prose, I find it hard to beat Patrick Rothfuss.  He has such a masterful touch with the written word and the results of his craft is beautiful.  Characters is a bit tougher but I find that Brent Weeks is hard to beat.  He has this unique ability to take a stereotypical character and take them to heights unknown, resulting in enormously complex and textured characters.  Lastly, World building is firmly in the hands of Brandon Sanderson.  Few living rival his skill at creating a living breathing world.

Image Source: WordTipping

1 comment:

  1. A wonderful post! I agree characters are more important to me than the world.