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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Grounding Fantasy with a Side of Humanity

Please welcome guest blogger Kinley Baker

There are a lot of people in the world who don’t consider themselves fantasy fans, but a lot of fantasy television shows, books and movies have had success. I think there’s a reason why these franchises have had success. The creators managed to ground their envisioned fantasy worlds with elements of humanity that the reader or viewer could relate to.


Examples of how this was done well:


Avatar is a fantasy world of spiritually connected beings who worship their mother earth. The reason why the movie is so popular, other than it’s awesome, is because the director made a fantasy with elements of humanity. The people worshipped their goddess, but they feared. They got scared. They loved. They had mothers and fathers and relationships. I still cry when I watch this movie because I cared about the characters and the director did an amazing job of connecting the two differing types of people.


This concept is really genius in the way it relates fantasy elements with the everyday. What girl in High School wouldn’t want a guy to show up and be only interested in her? Do you remember how difficult it was to understand boys in High School? Not only did they not really pay attention to you, but if they did pay attention to you, they were pressuring you into intimacies you probably weren’t ready for. And then, Hello Edward! He’s a serious-minded, vampire, who focuses all his attention on Bella and actually fears said intimacies. Talk about combining concept and target audience. Pure gold.

Harry Potter

The world of Harry Potter lives and breathes on its own accord. Does anyone even bat an eye anymore at the fact that this world is composed of wizards who carry around wands on a daily basis? Do we even process the fact that this isn’t normal? Harry is so real, and his challenges are so on par with tugging our heart strings, that the elements of humanity in this book make it so almost anyone can connect.

Lord of the Rings

Frodo is a hobbit. Does anyone think of that by the end of the books/movies? Or are we just in awe that this man from a small village managed to have a pure enough heart to survive the pull of the ring’s evil?


There are a lot of fantasy fans, but there are also a lot of disbelievers. If you can write a story that’s driven by elements of humanity that draws readers in, I truly think you can have success with fantasy or sci-fi. Television and movies are proving this today. As this trend continues, I think you’ll see more readers hop onboard.

I think it’s important to create relatable characters. Fantasy concepts that include things we understand, like love, hatred, kindness and conflict, are the things that will draw readers or viewers into a world that might be other from their own.

There’s a lot of appeal in escaping the monotony of the everyday. I didn’t see them worrying about insurance premiums on Pandora. That’s my kind of fantasy. As long as we relate our fantasy realms to our own personal experiences, I think we can make a few more people believers. After all, Harry Potter proved that maybe everyone does want a little magic.

Kinley Baker is the author of the fantasy romance, Ruined. She read her first romance novel at the age of thirteen and immediately fell in love with the hero and the genre. She lives with her husband and her dog, Joker, in the Pacific Northwest. As a firm supporter of all supernatural lifestyles, she writes fantasy romance, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy. You can find Kinley at www.kinleybaker.com.


Jessa is one healing away from death. Under the thrall of her gift, the Court's Senior Healer risks giving her life in exchange for her patient's.

Vale is a rebel ruler. When his brother is killed, he's given the throne and the decree from the Court to produce an heir or lose his family's hold on the land--and his deceiving advisors aren't afraid to use murder as a weapon if their directive to stay away from the Senior Healer goes unheeded.

But Vale burns to possess Jessa. The heat between them leaves a wake of smoke, and even the powerful forces above want to bind them in a union that lasts forever. Vale taking another would be a betrayal neither could survive.

Their enemies fear a child born of such a powerful Healer and Warrior, but the true threat lies in the bond forged in shadows and fused in fire.


Anonymous said...

Great post, Kinley. Thanks so much for sharing. I can't wait to read Ruined!

Bella Street said...

Awesome post, Kinley! And so true!

Jean Murray said...

Hi Kinley. You are so right about grounding your characters. Otherwise we could never make that leap of faith to believe in them. Great post and insight.