Twenty-nine-year-old Sophia John’s bookshelf is lined with George RR Martin, JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien and Neil Gaiman. A self-confessed escapist, she finds the real world mundane and boring. “Since childhood, I have always been slipping off to this other world where there is magic and adventure,” she says. Her love for all things fantastical combined with her passion for making personalised gifts led her to launch Fantastories in April this year. Through it, she offers to write personalised fantasy short stories that people can gift their friends and family. She weaves in the receiver’s quirks and characteristics into the story.
Averaging around eight pages (longer stories are written on demand for a higher price), the story contains pretty much anything your imagination can conceive — super powers, secret worlds, kings and queens, magical creatures and futuristic machines.
Sometimes, parents like to have the story to have a moral. For instance, a mother once commissioned John to write a story involving her two daughters, which would teach the elder one to not bully the other. The children were huge Pokémon fans, so John watched the popular cartoon series to get a hang of it, and turned them both into Pokémon masters.
The former advertising professional picked up some handy Photoshop tricks while studying a creative communications course at MICA, Ahmedabad. She designs the covers herself, with an option of a handmade cover.
John, who was forced to quit her job because of health complications, hopes her venture will eventually earn her enough to sustain her and her family. She is currently running a crowdfunding project on Indiegogo, aiming to raise `6 lakh that she can invest in expanding her project. “I feel Fantastories has a lot of scope. It can attract a child towards a reading habit,” she says. John also teaches fantasy story-writing to secondary school children under the Fantastories brand: “I am amazed at what they can come up with once they are shown the way.”
Get your story
To place an order, check out John’s Facebook page: facebook.com/fantastories42
Price: Rs 1,500 onward
To fund her project, visit indiegogo.com