On Writing Fantasies
When I write I run into a similar situation a lot: whether I’m writing fantasy, or I’m writing conflict.
Here, I’m defining “fantasy” as “wish-fulfillment-y”, and so any story that highlights the goodness of what I want is a fantasy story. Good relationships, good societies, good schools, good…whatever. So I decide that there’s something good that I want to write about, so I sit down and start planning it. Say it’s a good school, so I talk about how the teachers are well-paid and passionate. There are accommodations for the disabled. The classes are small and promote growth instead of conformity. I get very excited about this school, and then we come to the fun part: the plot.
So, in this perfect school, where do we inject conflict? Well, maybe the struggle is in establishing the perfect school.
No, because I want to write about the school existing, not as the school before it’s even built.
Maybe I can do a dystopia version, and imply from that.
But I kind of hate dystopias.
Okay, so maybe write about the students of the school and their conflicts.
But I don’t want to write about the students, I wanna write about the school!
And at this point I might as well write a personal nonfiction essay.
Conflict is ostensibly the cornerstone of every story, and it’s hard to write a proper story without it. I’m drawn to so-called “conflictless” plots, and I’ve read the shit out of the four kishotenketsu articles currently available on the Internet. But those don’t really contribute to much more than a short story, and I’ve definitely got more than a short story’s worth of positive things to say about my fantasies.