For over a year now, I’ve really been wanting to build a secondary fantasy world and/or to write a story set in one. Or even a science-fantasy. But, everything I put together in both venues always returns to urban (or contemporary, pick your poison) fantasy. The frustrating thing is that I’m not sure why. I’ve alternately blamed laziness (in many ways, urban/contemporary fantasy is easier—most of the history, geography, and such are already done) and what I’ve been reading lately (the last few years have been predominantly urban/contemporary fantasy).
I’m not sure that either of those is the culprit.
That said, I’ve had a hard time getting into secondary world fantasies lately, and not for lack of trying. In the last couple years, I’ve read Sarah Beth Durst (kid’s recommendation; decent), Robert Jackson Bennett (decent), Gail Z. Martin (meh), Garth Nix (good, but not really clicking), N.K. Jemison (good quality, but not clicking), Scott Lynch (meh), Max Gladstone (good quality, but not clicking), Pearl North (meh), and Peter V. Brett (meh). The only ones that have completely “clicked” were Naomi Novik (Uprooted) and Steven Brust (new books in the Taltos series), both authors I’ve read for many years.
It’s possible that my tastes, and approach to writing, have changed enough that the secondary world fantasy doesn’t work for my writing anymore. I certainly haven’t lost interest in the genre, I still love Dragaera, Lankhmar, Middle Earth, and others, have Novik’s follow-up (Spinning Silver) on hold at the library, and all that. Maybe it’s modern fantasy writers, but that shouldn’t really harm my writing, in that regard, I don’t think.
Maybe it’s age, fatigue from parenting, and time.
Whatever it is, it’s frustrating.