There was a time when people feared the land of Faerie and the Fair Folk who dwelt there. Mischievous at best and murderous at worst, even a good fae (fairy) was more likely to harm you or your family than share their mystical gifts, of which they had many.
Most commonly associated with Celtic mythology, the fae were thought to live beneath the hills in the Faerielands but would often come above ground to cause trouble to humans with no regard for the consequences. With faeries being blamed for any bad luck befalling a family, it was no wonder so many superstitions cropped up in an attempt to ward them off.
Depending on the lore, these mushroom circles are created by dancing witches or faeries, but regardless of their origin, it’s agreed that they function as doors into the land of Faerie, a place where humans should never, ever go. Time moves differently in the lands of the Summer and Winter courts and people who find themselves in that strange realm should never accept food, drink, or hospitality or they’ll never be able to leave.
Some people left out bowls of milk and honey to appease the fae, others hung cold iron horseshoes above their doors to keep them out. People warned travelers to stay well away from strange lights in the woods and moors and to always be wary of strangers who refuse to share their names.
And never, ever cross a faerie ring lest ye be whisked away to the Faerielands or driven mad.
Despite the danger, there is something undeniably enticing about the idea of other worlds existing apart from our own. Some of the most popular stories of all time revolve around the premise of a protagonist being transported in some way from their home to an unfamiliar reality.
In Japanese, this genre is called isekai. Even if you’ve never heard the term, you’re probably familiar with an anime or manga that begins with the protagonist being removed in some way, either by being transported (isekai ten’i) or reincarnated (isekai tensei) into a new world where they must new learn to survive. Or maybe you’re more familiar with stories like The Wizard of Oz, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and Alice in Wonderland which are all classic isekai by western authors.
Consider the emotional impact that the experience has on your character. Do they fit right in or do they spend the whole time wanting to go home? New, fantastic worlds are all well and good, but what about the life they left behind?
If you’re planning on telling a story of your own in the isekai genre, be sure to carefully consider how your character will be taken from one reality to the next and what impact that will have on your narrative.
Is the door magic in nature? Technological? Was your character taken intentionally or were they sent away? Was it all just one huge misunderstanding? There are many kinds of doors and experiences that can lead your character to their new reality and establishing the rules of their departure and subsequent arrival will help you make your story feel unique and more importantly, believable.
How it started:
HOW IT's going: