What’s in a difference?
As an author of YA urban fantasy, I use some of the criteria that applies to fantasy overall. For example, my characters have a goal or quest they must fulfil in order to achieve their destiny. They have certain powers that help them in their journey. They fight mythical creatures and they combat weird and horrifying enemies who get in their way.
But of course thousands of writers do the same, no matter what genre they write in. So what did I do to make my work different? Well, the lead protagonist in The Silver Flute Trilogy is mute. How did I make him communicate, not only with his fellow characters, but with the readers too? Obviously it was neither practical or desirable to use swathes of description of sign language, apart from the odd gesture. I overcame this by simply not putting inverted comments around his dialogue, but instead made sure any speaking he did was in its own space, so readers weren’t forced to try and separate dialogue from narrative. Furthermore, when he had a flashback, or needed to use his powers to find anyone or communicate with someone who wasn’t actually with him, I used short passages of italics. This indicated to the reader what was going on and kept them in the story, without the need for a huge info-dump, thus bogging the story down. Instead, they would see through his eyes and “witness” what he was witnessing. By making him mute, I found a vehicle to make life more difficult for him and as he was also mixed race, a “reason” for society to make him an outcast.
In the second book, one of the main protagonists was a monk. So what? Well the difference in this character is that he’s not only a monk, but a former demon warrior. He finds an unlikely affinity with one of the female characters, who possesses a singing voice so pure, it can bring enemies to their knees.
In the final story, the heroes find themselves trapped in a world filled with demons and monsters. Using their combined powers, they bring about the downfall of this place, after having fought off a human/dragon hybrid. Although this may sound a typical fantasy device to propel the tale to its conclusion, I tried to make the main antagonist, who’s a demon, somewhat different. He is concerned with status in a world where only the most ambitious and ruthless survive. He is full of doubts and terrors, hardly the normal emotions of a demon, and although he chose to be what he is and be where he is, he gradually comes to realise he’s made a huge mistake.
As you can see I’ve endeavoured to make my books stand out from the crowd. Have I succeeded? Well that’s for the reader to decide 🙂
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