Oh, it's not that I didn't read books on dragons, mermaids, and other magical creatures when challenged by my granddaughter. We had a "you read a book then I read the same book and we discuss it together" pact when she was in middle school. But, it took fellow authors, Hopson and Hashway, to start me choosing fantasy books on my own. It also started me wishing I could write them as well as read them.
Until I started looking into it, I never realized there were so many sub-genres of fantasy. I've counted more than twenty. Some, I have to admit, have no interest at all, but I also understand that to write in a genre, you must read that genre.Reading what's out there helps you recognize a good story from a bad one, an overworked plot from a new one, and a carbon copy protagonist from one that develops through the story into the hero or anti hero you hoped for. It also takes a magical setting.
The magical setting can come in the form of a present day small town and a high school girl who discovers she is a Phoenix like Cara in Hashway's Into the Fire. Or, it can be an imaginary realm of dragons and dwarfs like Modrad in Hopson's Vargrom series. The point is, the world a writer creates has to be all encompassing. The History, customs, culture, language, the good and the evil, all has to be there. The story depends on it.
Okay, so I have a character I've met in my dreams, and a world created in my imagination. Is that enough? Nada! At least not for me. I have not immersed myself enough in the genre to create something new and true. Perhaps one day, I will. But until then, I will keep reading my fellow authors' works of art and keep dreaming of the day I will see my Dragon Maiden on paper.