The Value of Good Storytelling

Many fantasy readers are aware of two main sub-genres, high fantasy and historical fantasy. The similarities are easy to spot and make readers comfortable in both categories, but it's really the differences that count. While both can have (and often do) swords and magics, high fantasy involves worlds and battles much like our own....but different. Different as in on a different planet, travel involving portals, things like that. Historical fantasy is just what it sounds like. An epic tale set in a known-to-us historical time period. The characters and situations may be completely fictional, but these tales are usually grounded in some historical accuracy.

Why am I telling you this? I had to look it up for myself. I'm a fantasy reader from way back, but I was hard pressed to explain why some fantasy novels appealed to me while others didn't. After researching it a bit, I've come up with an answer that is not entirely based on the research, but makes sense to me. In my experience, most high fantasy novels create a distance between the reader and the tale by the language they choose to use. These types of novels seem to be less about the story telling and more about the outlandish fantasy. I don't mind outlandish fantasy, but only if it is paired with great story telling. Historical fantasies tend, imo, to be more concerned with the tale and its details and less about how the language sounds.


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