Friend Friday

I am so pleased to introduce you to Liesl Shurtliff, today’s guest blogger on Friend Friday. 

True Stories

When I first started writing, I resisted fantasy. I had always loved reading the genre, but somehow I got the idea that in order to be taken seriously as a writer I needed to write serious stuff, things that really could happen or really did happen. True Stories. Admittedly, I also thought this would somehow be easier. (This is not true at all, by the way.) Even though I enjoyed fantasy, I personally didn’t think I was creative enough to write well in the genre. All the fantasy books I had read just seemed so imaginative and beyond my own capability.

Kirby Larson was one of my first writing teachers. While I studied with her, everything I wrote was realistic fiction—no magic, no fairies or elves or dragons. (Oh wait. I vaguely remember one story with a flying scooter. It was so awful, maybe that’s why I didn’t think I could write fantasy!) Kirby was an excellent mentor who encouraged me and helped me develop my skill as a writer, but it wasn’t until I finished up my class with Kirby that I considered dipping my toes in fantasy, and a fairy tale no less. I told myself that it was merely an experiment. I’d just try it out for fun, but not feel pressure to take it seriously.

To my surprise, the more I wrote this little fairytale, the more I felt my imagination and creativity blossom. I also began to see how important and worthwhile fantasy and fairy tales really are, for even though the stories are full of the impossible, they speak symbolically of things that are true. Fantasy offers another lens to view truths that can’t always be proven, only shown. This is at the heart of all fiction, realistic or fantasy. This is what I hope I accomplished in my story of Rump. It’s not real, but I hope it’s true. 

Read a great interview with Liesl and her editor, Katherine Harrison, here. And lucky us! Liesl’s book has just published so we can all run right out and buy it.