Tag Archives: magical realism

Food For The Soul

28 Dec

Books, books, books, books, books. For a writer books are pivotal if you want your soul to survive and stay weird and writer-y, as opposed to normal. I mean, think about it, what if our souls could survive on thoughts and feelings regarding the household, shopping, and whether or not our neighbour likes us.

No, our soul needs to swim in the energy of the worlds that we read about, the beautiful words that are constructed like an intricate sculpture. Energy we need every day or our souls will slowly dwindle down to Normal.

There are so many things good for us. So many things we should do daily, like walking/exercising, meditate, hug someone, drink water, and all that kind of nonsense. Well, I’m here to tell you that reading should be on that list too. Because if reading is on there, writing will surely follow. Trust me, I know. I’ve had the writing itch for a long time but my fingertips don’t bleed ink anymore, they’re dry. I know why. It’s because I can hardly remember the last time that I read anything other than the tests my students make. This year has been so hectic and stressful that I SHOULD have been writing my ass off, diving into other worlds and lives than my own, but the thing you really do when you get home is fall down on the sofa and find that you’re stuck to it. An invisible person has glued you to it, and that invisible person is called Stress.

Now it’s the Christmas holiday and I have a moment to breathe. More importantly, I get to read! And wow, have I missed it. Also, now the writing muscle needs training again. Why not start with a blog post? (I have missed you, Bloggy.) And after that, work on a story, no matter how rubbish I may have gotten with all that slacking off.

Then again, it really does help to remind myself, that writers don’t need to write in order to write. And any time my mind has wondered off (and it has done so often) conjuring up images of tough chicks, lonely detectives, murders, unusual people, and unexplained situations, I have been writing. I HAVE BEEN WRITING.

Magical Realism Writing Prompts

6 Aug

What reality doesn’t need some magic? I know all the ones in my head do, so here are some writing prompts to jazz up your imagination with some magic…

#1 The Jar
Your main character has moved into a new home on a plot of land and discovers a mysterious jar under the porch. The jar lights up when touched. What is it? And what does it do to the character?

#2 Flower Girl
Your MaC’s car trouble land him/her in a field of flowers where a girl is picking them. She claims the flowers sing and talk to her and she can make your MaC hear it too. Does your MaC accept that offer? Oops, too late. The little girl has touched your MaC, causing them to hear the flowers and a bunch of other side effects…

#3 Black Cat
Your MaC has a heap of personal problems and on top of that hits a black cat. It is seriously injured and your MaC takes the cat home to take care of it. As soon as it starts to heal it transforms into a person of the opposite sex. What happens with this new friendship?

Have fun writing. Magic is everywhere! *quill turns into an owl and flies away* Hey!

Love Is In The Air

26 May

A good love story is not that hard to find. An original love story, well, that’s a whole other story. Pun intended but really not that funny, I’m sorry.

All my stories contain a love story even if they are not the centre of my character-driven novels. Usually the main plot contains some sort of mystery, preferably one involving the involuntary death of a character. Or, like in my current WIP, the finding of one’s place as an unusual person in a world that promotes The Normal.

I’m a romantic at heart and the characters that visit my mind are interesting and fun, so of course characters are going to fall in love. How could I stop them, even if I wanted to? So yes, love. And since I’m a romantic, it would have to be romantic, wouldn’t it? Preferably even beautiful. This seems a tall order since love is a theme that will never bleed out. The key, like with any topic, is to keep it fresh and original. Like all my novels, I want this part to also be special. Again, tall order, I know. It’s really hard to that, even if you’ve read a lot, watched a lot, KNOW a lot about what is out there.

My latest WIP for instance, has a couple that you root for. Two characters that you feel  should be together. That’s already a triumph. There’s also enough tension and cute moments, as well as enough obstacles that mess with their happiness. Also good. But the ending is the cherry on top. The moment where all the swirls of different colours create the rainbow. Of course they will get a happy ending, but what kind? A kiss in the rain? Done before. A kiss on a dragon while the world around them is on fire? Not done before, but my story is magical realism, not fantasy. (Although maybe that has also been done before…I haven’t read that much fantasy. If it hasn’t been done before and you write fantasy, DO IT.)

The ending is the part I struggle the most with and to be honest, it’s why I had trouble getting back to writing. I put too much pressure to have a perfect, original ending for them. I decided to do what one always does when wanting to finish a story. I WROTE. Characters usually know what to do, they know themselves better than I do sometimes and I have to trust them. I just watch them and write it down. If I’m not happy with it afterwards, I’ll edit that one scene, but at least I’ll have something to edit. Also, it doesn’t hurt that in the meantime I can brainstorm, which really is like a storm when I do it. Chairs flying around and everything. This is why I work with snacks.

There will always be snacks.

Themes Make the Story Go Around

19 Feb

Like a carousel with haunting horses and dark chariots.

Some people might think that themes are unnecessary creativity stifling monsters that force you to actually think about your story and go deep, but since when are those bad things? There’s something to be said for just writing, and thinking can sometimes block you. However, there will be moments, especially at the start of a story, that your mind will block because you HAVEN’T thought about your story. Every character needs a main reason to do what they do and be who they are. It’s the same for the story itself. What drives the story? Including all its characters combined. It’s the base, the centre. Without that, the story won’t spin around.

I’ll give an example. At some point a writing bug caught me and I started working on a story involving a weird circus. I was inspired by an image and really wanted to create something wondrous to do that image justice. However, I was stuck after four pages. Why? Because of the theme. What was this story about? What did I want the characters to learn? To achieve? What was the point of it all? I’d put the curious girl and her fearful friend in the circus. They’d seen exotic animals without leashes, a mirror hall that showed strange reflections, and circus people that could give Lady Gaga a run for her money. But what was I going to do with them afterwards? I had just thrown them in there without instructions. Poor characters.

I find it difficult to think of a theme. I find it extremely difficult to think of where they are going. Yet, if I want to do my story justice (and I do), then I have to brainstorm on this. I have to figure them out. I have to put the story and its characters on that sofa and ask them psychologist-y questions, travel deep into their minds with pickaxes because that is kind of what writers do. And isn’t it wonderful?

Research As Inspiration

1 Nov

Drowning yourself in your story is the best way to ignite inspiration. Whatever your story is about, surround yourself with it. Find images and tape them to the walls of your mind. Or search for quotes that have to do with your theme/subject and scribble them on post-its. Basically any research helps. And how can it not? You have an idea that excites you and that’s why you want to write it down. Getting excited is only the beginning, staying excited is the key. Reminding yourself of all the aspects that you love about your story gives a boost of inspiration.

My favourite month is October and my favourite day is Halloween. Seriously, I like it more than my birthday. It also happens that I’m wrapping up a novel that involves a strange mansion, ghouls, a dog with three heads, people with eternal life, people searching to get eternal life, and an overall feeling of being on the threshold of life (and death) woven in between the words. What better than to get inspired for that final sprint on the day of Halloween?

*blows raspberries* Except that I was too tired from cleaning my brand new apartment all day. So I’m doing it now. Well, I’m writing ABOUT it now. What? Stop staring. I will do it. It’s just that I must share my pearl of wisdom with all of you other writers. And if you’re not a writer then you can enjoy peeking into the mind of a writer. Don’t mind the mess.

Now to prove to you that I am about to get down and writery, here’s a picture that helped inspire me.

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Let It Sink In

11 Oct

My muse has been playing truant since a few weeks ago. I wrote the first draft of my first magical realism novel and it was one hell of a ride. It’s probably the story I’m most proud of and I can’t explain why. Perhaps because I’ve done my best to add some beautiful prose, or because it has an Addams Family feel to it. But man, it was so frustrating, because after rereading it and getting back feedback from my ninja readers I realised I had to rewrite the ending. It was as slow and painful as having my nails pulled out. Exaggerating? Me? Nah.

My heels spontaneously began to drag themselves when my creative mind hit a brick wall covered in thorns and barbed wire. Somehow I couldn’t even work on other projects, because deep down I wanted to finish this story first. I had to. But how could I when my characters were playing hide and seek without having told me?

So as you can guess, I haven’t written in a while and as a writer, that is torture. I felt like a flower who hadn’t been watered. But today, finally, I had my eureka moment! Nothing is as enticing as a blank page and a pen. It’s like putting a chocolate cake in front of someone who’s extremely hungry. I had to write but didn’t really know what. My thoughts drifted to my story and I thought about the theme and what my character really wanted in those final pages. And bam, I had an idea. And bam, I started writing. And BAM, I had my flow back! Oh, finally. I’m no longer starving for words. What a relief.

For a while I thought I would have to lick the words from the books I have, but none taste as good as my own. Anyway, I’ll stop being weird. My point is that there’s no rush. At least, not when you don’t have an agent (yet). Sometimes it’s good to distract yourself with other things before having another brainstorm session. Sometimes it’s good to let your story sink in. Sometimes it’s necessary.

Summer Holiday

15 Jul

Finally. *slurps apple juice and leans back in chair* After months of hard work I can finally dust off my characters and play with them again. Working hard is rewarding, especially now that it means that I have a second MA and a kick-ass job. However, it was at the expense of grumpy characters who were eager to share with me the beginnings of new stories.

Sorry, characters. I’m about to make it up to you and I’m not sure you’ll like it. *gets out torture devices* On the agenda as well is possibly re-editing the slightly older magical realism novel that first I’ll be sending out to beta readers. That one was inspired by the Addams Family and involves a peculiar mansion on a hill, with even stranger people who have certain responsibilities regarding dead people.

Other than that of course I’m going to have fun and enjoy my freedom. I might start new novels, or work on older drafts, because man, have I missed writing! What are your plans for the summer?

writing beach

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