Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Writing question - what is magical realism?
What is magical realism?
The first two series that I have published are YA magical realism. In the magical realism subgenre, the main story is realistic in every way except one. There is always one magical element.
In the Whisper Falls series, the magical element is the ability to travel between present-day and a different year in the past. Mark and Susanna (the main characters of Whisper Falls series) encounter a waterfall who permits them to travel between Mark's world (now) and Susanna's life (turn of the 19th century). Otherwise, their stories are realistic for the time in which they ordinarily live. (Some readers might assume that this supernatural element makes this a time-travel book. I think it is better to consider this series to be magical realism with time-travel elements.)
For the I WISH series, the magical element is the presence of Grant, a supernatural being. Like a "genie", he can fulfill wishes, only they must be humanly possible. Grant is the magical element; everything else is realistic. Part of the conflict in the I WISH series comes from Grant's desire to use his magic, even though it's not part of the rules.
So, in both series, the point of magical realism is not the supernatural element. It is about how the characters react to, live with, or hide that extraordinary circumstance.
[I often get questions about writing. I'll answer each of the most commonly asked questions in a separate blog post. You can navigate to them from my website, too.]