By day I work 60 hour weeks. At night I am a devoted father and husband to the world's greatest family. Somewhere in the non-existent time between the two, I am a writer. Join me from the beginning as I chronicle my adventures to become a successful published author.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 29 - Writing Wisdom - The Role of Morals in Writing - Part IV: Hyper-Fantasy

For those who were wondering, I did not forget this series! I shifted it to the Wednesday Writing Wisdom section, so it's a mini-series in the actual framework. Part V: How Morals Affects Our Use of Technique will be out next Wednesday and will likely conclude the set. I will then link them all into one easily accessible form for your convenience.

Hyper-Fantasy is a writing concept I completely made up out of thin air and gave a term to in order to describe something I had not seen really described before. So what is it then?

Hyper-Fantasy goes beyond just the imaginary. It is intense, surreal, and even garish at times. Everyday events and feelings are heightened and enhanced. It would be like painting the scene of a park in neon pinks and greens and yellows and reds. Here is an image that roughly gives the idea:

Surreal Art  

This surrealism meets intensity and imagination gone wild can be used in numerous capacities and combined with methods similar to graphic realism. The important difference is that in graphic realism, you are scrutinizing something as it is, more than may be realistic in the setting, such as obsessing over gory details of a decapitated body in the middle of an intense fight where you can't slow down at all. With Hyper-Fantasy, you are changing reality and focusing on what in your writing ultimately comes across as raw emotion.

So what are some examples?

In a fantasy novel, hyper-fantasy can be used to describe not just the visual setting of a fantastical, magical, and alien world, but also the feelings, the scents, the awe and the wonder.

In an action novel, it can be employed in heightening a character's intense emotions in the heat of the moment. It can be used to also express delirium.

It can also be used in horror, violence, and sexual encounters.

In horror and violence, it is where the author doesn't just obsess over the details of a violent encounter, but unrealistically portrays the actual violence. It is often over the top, gory, bloody, and so incredibly distorted that it sickens, repulses, and turns off those with normal sensibilities. There is a difference between noting you shot an enemy, versus describing it in detail. Similarly, there is a difference between describing it in detail and crafting exceptionally disturbing and impossible imagery that is intense (hyper) fantasy of a twisted mind.

In sexual encounters, this is where the author doesn't just hint at the situation or even describes it in detail. Instead they paint an unrealistic picture of what sex is like, what is possible, and what emotions are felt. In hyper-fantasy versions, we're not talking about elf meets goblin and they hook up for some kinky times. Instead, it distorts what the sexual experience is so much it can only exist in the fantasy of the author's mind and is intense to a point not possible in reality. I think porn to some degree is like this, but in writing you can also get peoples thoughts tossed in and noticing aspects that no one could ever notice in real life.

As can be seen, hyper-fantasy has many applications. Like other techniques, you can use it for love or violence, fantasy worlds or enhanced experiences in our world. More than just the visual image, it includes all the sensations heightened to new levels. As adults we can more easily recognize this intensity of distortion, but for children we would not teach them about what love is by showing them hardcore pornography. We would not show them House of 1,000 Corpses. Thus, there are social and societal norms for what is acceptable.

Some would push those boundaries and call it "edgy". To some degree, some may be. But there is a grey line wherein if you go too far you are now closer to obscene and simply evil or sinful, most especially when marketing it specifically to younger audiences.

Next week I will discuss how I view the moral writer's use of these levels of detail.  


Donna, I think the more accurate would be description on LSD.;-)

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