Faerie and Writing with John Burridge


Written by guest blogger, John Burridge. John is a science fiction and fantasy author, former Renaissance fair performer, fairy enthusiast and all around funny guy. John recently gave a presentation in Eugene on Faerie which I found insightful and inspiring. In fact, it was so inspiring I wrote two short stories immediately afterward based on some aspect of his presentation that sparked my imagination. For that reason, I wanted him to share his fairy expertize here.


Faerie and Writing

So, in terms of writing Faerie, there are some questions you have to ask yourself as a writer.  

What kind of Faerie are you writing (nature, mythic, mediaeval, historic, urban)?

Will the Faerie characters be “common” or “royal”? (War for the Oaks)

How will Faerie society be in sync with the local human society?  At odds with?

How empowered are the characters of Faerie; do they use magic? Are they harmed by cold steel?  Would they march on the White House, or summon the forest to protest clear cutting?  Would they try to take over media and entertainment networks?  

What prohibitions govern human and faerie relationships?

And most importantly:  How are faeries alien to humans — they do all sorts of things that seem crazy or cruel to us, but by their own lights make perfect sense.  How are these differences shown in character interactions?



To summarize, Faerie illuminates our relationships with and attitudes toward nature, civilization, modes of thought, and the human condition.  The Realm of Faerie has ranged from the Elemental, to the Outlandish, to the Preserving Sanctuary.   Faerie magic shows us how we love, what we fear, and how we die.

When I write about Faerie, I want to partake of the Tolkien essence of it.  I want my Elves to shine a different light (and shadow) on the truth.  I want them to reveal the wonder of the connected world.  And I want the reader to risk peril in the hope of transformation.


John Burridge Bio

John Burridge’s parents wanted to be world travelers, so that’s why he was born at a dam construction site in Pakistan decades ago. Before long, he had scaled Egyptian temples, explored throne rooms, and raised havoc in cathedrals. 

On the family’s Oregon return, John’s focus soon turned to adventures of science, fiction, and fantasy.  By 4th grade, he wanted to be a physicist like his hero, Mr. Spock.  His physics fantasies died in college calculus, though John did learn to run Reed College’s experimental reactor.

John lives in Eugene with his family. He is a computer support technician by day and a fantasy and science fiction writer by night. Since 2001 he has been an active member of the Eugene Wordos, which he serves as co-chair. 

He is probably over-caffeinated.