It’s no secret that I love reading about the fae. It’s also no secret that I’m so picky about my fae books that I wind up disliking most of those I pick up. This doesn’t mean they’re bad books in my opinion, just that I want more from the fae in them.
And that’s my main problem.
So many of the fae books seem to use the same types of fae and the same sort of world-building. The fae as a species spread across so many different cultures. Yet we always basically see the same things, and honestly, I’m a lot bored.
Rather than just ranting about fae books. Which I honestly could. I thought I’d share a few things I’d like to see in books about the fae. Some of these are things I’ve definitely included in things I’ve started, but it might give you guys some ideas too!
To Court Or Not to Court
Can we maybe try stepping away from the Seelie and Unseelie courts? The seasonal courts I’m a little less bored by, but if you’re going to use them try to step away from the Sarah J. Maas or Seelie/Unseelie associations.
Now, I’m not saying never write the fae in a courtly setting. That would be incredibly boring. Royal families, political drama, and balls are all part of the fun of fantasy settings. But they don’t need to be the Faerie Courts if you get what I’m saying.
The Seelie and Unseelie courts are purely a part of the Scottish fae tales. That’s not to say other fae haven’t been labelled as so, as many of them have now. But originally you only see the courts in the Scottish tales.
The Irish Sidhe are known as the people of the mounds. So you could have multiple royal families and kingdoms spread across these different mounds with different types of fae. Sometimes they live in another world so you can still keep the portal fantasy aspect but change it up a little.
The Welsh Tylwyth Teg on the other hand tends to live underground or under the water. So you could have these massive communities of the fae hidden underground living their lives. There are multiple ideas as to how this group work though they’re often linked with a king or queen, meaning once again, you can keep your courtly intrigue. But the fae of different sizes in Wales all tend to be fair-haired and wear green. Sometimes they are labelled into different categories, but this is simply whether they’re an elf or a house faerie and things like that.
My problem with the Seelie and Unseelie is they’re often tied to the whole idea of good or evil. Light or dark. And no other fae legends seem to label their fae this way. The fae are all generally morally questionable and I’d like to see more of that in the world-building.
Can I Have Five More of These?
Variety is a keyword we definitely need to see more of.
I get it. The fae are beautiful, or at least appear so with glamour. They’re smart and dangerous. And if they aren’t beautiful or smart chances are they are something small and akin to a brownie or pixie. There are so many different types of fae out there that I’d like to see more of them.
Take Banshees or the Bean Sidhe for example. I can think of two main examples of Banshee from media and they’re the Soul Screamers books and Lydia from Teen Wolf. Banshees don’t have to be old women, though that is one interpretation. Another common one is that she’ll be young and beautiful with red hair. Why not have a banshee heroine or a best friend? There’s also a couple of variations on the banshee from other fae myths so why not use one of them as well?
Why not have a Dullahan as a villain or a Kelpie as a steed? Each of these would steer the story in a different direction. A Dullahan as a villain could worth for a gothic fae tale. Whereas having a Kelpie a steed or friend is very much an epic fantasy feel. I wrote a post last year on a few different fae from the book Fear the Drowning Deep and there are some fun fae and legends you could use there too.
I could go on about this for a while but I’d just like to see more examples of the fae. It can be so fun looking them up. I used Redcaps in an rp recently and we followed them up with a Fachan. And if you’ve not heard of them then go give them a google. It’s really kind of hilarious but scary. I have so much fun going through different stories and reading about different cultures interpretations of the fae.
And I think other writers should too rather than giving us the same kind of fae over and over.
Shake It Up
What I want essentially boils down to authors mixing things up a little more.
I know the modern world has one idea of what the fae should be, and I’m fully blaming Shakespeare for that. But there are so many different versions of the fae, and there are so many more stories that could be told.
Where are the retellings of Celtic fairy tales? I’d love to see some over the next few years.
Just, if you decide to sit and write about the fae, stop and think: could I do something different with the way the fae are built or live? If the answer is yes, then get on Google and have a browse. You’ll find there’s so much magic out there left to explore.