Question for Becca - and others

Sally Odgers sodgers at
Wed Jul 12 09:54:27 EDT 2000

>Obviously different children/teens respond to books differently, but this
>is just my experience with these ones.  FWIW.

I might take this opportunity to ask Becca a question. It's also open to
answers from anyone else but I need responses that presuppose the audience
is between 10 and 13.  It's a bit OT, but it relates slightly to the comment
on DL.

How much "realism" do you like/want/stand for in serious type fantasy? By
realism I mean logical consequences. If you don't quite understand what I
mean by that, your mum will explain.

Here's an example.
If an evil character has the opportunity to harm a good character, it is
logical that he or she will do it.
If a battle happens it is logical that some good people are likely to be
badly hurt or killed.
If something very horrible happens to a good character, it is logical that
he or she will probably be badly hurt emotionally.

Now in the real world, these are logical consequences. In "soft" fantasy or
"soft" real-world stories you can have safe, happy stories, but in serious
fantasy your characters can't be entirely safe. Not if you're honest with
your readers.

So, would you rather see the bad things I listed above carried through, or
would you rather see something prevent them?

For example, the evil character could be interrupted before carrying out
his/her harm.
The good people in the battle could have magic armour.
The good character could pull himself together and have a scar on his arm,
say, but none on his soul.

I ask this because I'm writing a quest fantasy for that age group right now.
I've elected to go down the "logical consequences" track, but I don't want
to worry my readers too much. There is a happy ending - but only happyish.
My heroine will never feel quite as secure as she did before.


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