I’m currently at work on an epic fantasy novel. While CITY OF SCARS takes place (you guessed it) in a city, the overall setting of the Empire of Jlantria is a lush and vibrant woodlands wilderness, a place of majestic trees, snow-capped mountains, clear blue lakes and vast skies. In other words, it pretty much looks like the Northwest.
One of my favorite things to do (when not slaving away behind an accounting desk or spending my every waking moment writing) is to go hiking. We tend to stay indoors during the winter season (my family isn’t really built for “extreme adventure hiking”, or whatever you want to call it when people intentionally plunge headlong into hazardous rain or snow for the thrill of it…something is wrong with those people…), but as soon as spring rolls around we tend to get busy with the outdoors adventures. Lucky for us, we don’t have to travel far: we have a half-dozen beautiful nature parks within driving distance, and if we “get wild” and go an hour out we have a near limitless world of gorgeous nature to explore. And that’s not even counting the ocean!
Being outdoors is terrific inspiration for writing fantasy. One of the points of high fantasy is the return to the older times: the world before industrialization, before “man” took over everything in sight with his cities and modern constructions. Being in the woods, going to the beach, and heading into the mountains always gets me into that “old world” mindset, to a time without skyscrapers and bulldozers, without fiscal cliffs and the internet. Whenever I’m lacking inspiration I go to the nearest place where I can imagine sorcerers and rogues traipsing around looking for ancient treasures.
Tell me you can’t imagine seeing trolls and dark elves and wizards inhabiting these scenes; something vast and powerful living in those waters; some ancient spirit hiding, just out of sight in the shadows of those trees.
For me, fantasy is about connecting with other worlds, places different from our own. They’re not always better places, but they allow us to get that sense of wonder that only comes with discovering something new and unknown. The joy of discovering other worlds. Some people get that from video games. I get it from the outdoors.
As you can clearly see, Steven Montano is not well. Check out his site to learn just how deep his madness runs.