Sunday, May 8, 2011

Why I Write Fantasy - Marc Vun Kannon

Welcome Marc Vun Kannon, fantasy author with "characters in motion"!

Amber: Why do you write fantasy? 

Marc: Let me tell you a secret: I don't write fantasy. I write stories, which more often than not have a fantasy setting. Fantasy allows me to make stuff up, to not have to worry about "getting it right". There is no "right" in fantasy, there is story logic, there is consistency, there is coherence, and lots of other words beginning with "C". Like "Characters." Characters are the heart of my stories, which are best described as "characters in motion." Writing a story is showing them in action, discovering the reasons for those actions, revealing the meanings and consequences of those actions. Fantasy is a non-serious way to talk about serious things. 

My only real rule of writing is never to do what's been done before, even if the person who did it before is me. As a result I don't confine myself to any one genre, I'm always pushing to try out new styles. Fantasy is a supercategory, with many different fields for me to try yet. The good thing about writing about people is that they transcend categories. A good character can fall in love while solving mysteries and chasing monsters in a space station. These are the types of stories I like to read, and want to be able to write. I have been exceedingly fortunate in finding Echelon Press as my publisher. They don't tell me 'it can't be done'.

Amber; What are some of your favorte fantasy books?

Marc: The books that I love are of course the books with the strongest characters. Lois McMaster Bujold's Curse of Chalion is the best of this breed, combining a strongly developed set of characters with a unique plot and excellent world-building, areas in which I am weak. Lawrence Watt-Evans writes about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, trying to remain themselves. Dave Duncan (the Seventh Sword trilogy), Tanya Huff, Patricia McKillip (RiddleMaster of Hed), C. Dale Brittain (the Yurt series), and Nina Kiriki Hoffman (The Thread that Binds the Bones) are among my favorites.

Amber: Why do you think readers love fantasy?

Marc: Not all readers love fantasy for the same reasons, of course. Some read for epic sweep, intricate plots, or panoramic world-building. The word here is scope, and scope means possibilities. Readers want to see those possibilities made 'real'. For some simply reading about them is enough. I try to learn from them as well. To me a bad book is one that has no lessons for me the reader to take away. (Not that authors need to hit their readers over the head with "the meaning of life" diatribes, either. Stories are characters in motion. Diatribes are not motion.)

Amber: Would you write fantasy even if no one read it?

Marc: There is no such thing as an unread book. I am a reader, and I write books that I want to read. That's the only reason to write that I know of. For me the possibilities I want to see made real are usually internal, what does the character do, why, what does he become? I do not know the answers to these questions before the book starts. Sometimes I don't even know what the questions are. Writing is a process of spinning out the character's internal logic ("What'll he do now?") and capturing it on paper. As I write page 1, I come up the questions that carry me forward to page 2, the solutions on page 2 leading the way to page 3, and so on. 

Marc Vun Kannon has spent his days pumping gas, servicing fire extinguishers, attending school, and writing computer code, while ekeing out whatever time to write that he can. He's itching to reverse those proportions.

Short Stories

Ex Libris 
Steampunk Santa
Bite Deep 
Chasing His Own Tale 
Boys Will Be Boys 
Off The Map 


Unbinding the Stone 
A Warrior Made 

Coming 5/2011: St. Martin's Moon
The Moon is haunted, but the werewolves don't know that!

Visit Marc at his website

No comments:

Post a Comment