You can find him somewhere behind that tree over there.
Since last October I have been spending a large part of my life in a land of my own invention. Like many other fantasy worlds it has much that is familiar like horses, mountains, rain, and some that is unfamiliar or just unreal; dragons, for instance, or the odd less than charming religion.
Now, well over half a million words in, I am wondering why I am still there.
Part of the answer is pretty obvious; I like my characters, I think I have an interesting story, and I am enjoying writing both the funny moments and the heartbreaks. But I think the real reason is a little deeper, perhaps, and is only apparent in the little asides I slip in to give my scenes texture.
Food is something that I feel is important to any narrative that includes a human being. We do not just eat to survive, but we like to make the best of our meals. We will add herbs, serve it up piping hot, wrap it in a nice, crusty pie top, or roast it with garlic over a fire. I just can't resist it; when my characters are tired and go into a tavern or inn, the pie is always just out of the oven, the beer is frothy and hoppy and even though it is poor fare, perhaps far more veg than meat, the Inn Keeper has ladled it with loving care. It is a warming moment and a joyous one and though a fight might break out and it turn to heartbreak, it starts for a comfortable place. (See also: Taverns in Fantasy Worlds)
In this particular series, the characters travel around a lot, so there is plenty of bathing in cold streams, eating huge amounts of beans from the back of a wagon and sleeping snuggled up in a bedroll next to a crackling cedar wood fire. Sounds wonderful! Now, I have actually done this for real and it often rained, was cold and the food was crap, but I can't help it, in the story, it is the only way to live!
Friends are important in anyone's life, and a fantasy that does not have at least one good friend that can get killed off in a moment of heart-tearing tragedy is not doing it's job right. But before they die, oh what comfort they can bring to a small world!
So, between friendship, the ideal of "finding the place that is your true home," good beer and pots of beans on camp fires, fantasy worlds can be a pretty good place to live and mine draws me in daily and I love it!
All the way to the moment that I jump on the tablet and watch an old episode of House....