I keep my cards close to my chest, and this site is the preliminary base of it all when it comes to the manuscripts I'm working on and the works I'm producing.
One thing for sure is this: it’s hard writing fantasy. It can be hard to write it well, and it can be incredibly hard to get it out there.
There’s an overabundance of fantasy authors, and many books will go through the self-published and online roads because big publishers are simply not that interested in new voices in this increasingly competitive and overcrowded market.
It begs the question: is it all worth it?
How I feel about it
I’m not yet at the stage where I’m able to publish a manuscript. I’m proverbially close, but I’m not there yet. I have a few avenues that I could explore to get my work out there, but I’m not at the stage where I can know for sure which avenue to travel along.
I'm very aware of just how competitive the market for a fantasy novel is. I know that being able to entice a literary agent with an idea is increasingly hard because there are so many fantasy authors submitting their work. Publishers are not overly interested either, as it’s increasingly difficult to reach significant audience numbers.
In essence, everything screams to me that I should not be writing fantasy. I can write - and have written - non-fantasy but, taking aside the fact that it can be about as commercially viable as rainwater in England, it’s what I love.
I love reading it, I love writing it, and I love watching it on the small and big screens, too.
I’m not alone in this love, but is part and parcel of the problem down to the ease of access for fantasy on the screen nowadays? I think we have become a society who watches more than we read, have we not? The combination of more new voices being able to access agents online, and the increase of fantasy on the screen, has surely contributed to just how saturated the market is. I feel that it’s only going to get harder and harder despite the fact that it’s what so many aspiring writers strive to be, i.e. a fantasy author.
Should this deter anyone?
For anyone who genuinely wants to make a career out of fictional writing, the outlook does appear to be somewhat bleak. I suppose any writer needs to sit down and ask themselves this one key question:
What do I want to get out of my writing?
Is it commercial success? Is it personal enjoyment? Is it a way of spilling your creative energy in the only way that it can be expelled to save you exploding? Is it therapy for you? Is it the way you can make sense of an increasingly nonsensical and open world? Is it just for the love of creating a world? Is it for the love of creating a world that you yourself can escape to?
It could be a combination of all the above. I think the modern writer must embrace the fact that writing is usually a long and arduous journey filled with emotion; the good, the bad, and the ugly. It can reveal a great deal about yourself to yourself, whether that’s from the reflection of a piece of work, or where you notice things about your story that were perhaps nonchalant when you wrote them but now they make more sense, and they’re a part of you on that page. I write in my career, but it isn’t creative writing or fiction. Instead, I’ve spent six years (and counting) on my fictional work outside of my career, and I consider it a labour of love and a lifelong passion.
Personally, I don’t feel that aspects like the fear of failure or a lack of commercial success should deter anyone. There’s only one way to find out where your journey leads you to, and that’s to not just take the first step but to keep on going as far as you can. This does, however, require a significant amount of patience.
Perhaps, in the words of Fleetwood Mac, you should just “go your own way” and let go of the worries about what you should be doing. Create your masterpiece and get it out there in any way, shape or form that you can or desire. There are widely available self-publishing routes nowadays, and you never know what might happen.
Why I’m saying this
A fantastic question! Why is it that I find myself after a day of (real) work in my office writing this potentially nonsensical blurb about the hurdles and quandaries of modern-day fantasy writing?
For me, it’s therapy. It also serves as a reminder about never giving up, which is an easy thing to do in today’s hectic modern age. It’s being honest and reflective. It’s hard to fall on to that “perfect” idea, and what may feel like perfection to you may not resonate in the same way with others.
Writing is imperfect, I believe.
For anyone who reads this blog, it might just resonate with you and maybe help you a little too. I believe that you must be realistic as a modern-day writer, but we writers paint our dreams on the canvas of a page, so we naturally dream big. Accepting that it’s nigh impossible to avoid big dreams is a part of the emotion of being a writer, as is acceptance that such dreams do not always pan out the way you wish they would, or in the way that you would like them to. Make sure that you’re able to deal with that, and if you feel that you have no one to turn to, please don’t hesitate for a second to get in touch with me.
Unless I suddenly become inundated with inbox requests, I’ll do my best to engage with you.
People have read my work and been gripped, and others have read it and complimented my writing skills, but they didn’t feel the same way about my story as I and others did. Ultimately, I love fantasy. That’s why I write it, and that’s an inescapable truth.
To be true to oneself, I write what I love, which is doing what I love.
A space for ramblings, advice, news, press releases, and blogs that cover Mathisen's interests: rugby, politics, law, music...