For me, it’s never meant escapism. 'Fun' means joy. It means the prose is exciting, the characters are great, the action is delightful. All of this translates to reader investment.
People who sneer at the concept of a fun book as mindless escapism may understand reader investment, but they rarely understand that you have to earn it.
That’s not to say fun is the ONLY way to earn reader investment. But it’s a good way. And it’s harder to do than it looks. Hence why there is a not insignificant number of dry, joyless fantasy novels out there.”
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