Paranormals Are the Best: Part 2: “Oh, the world’s I have travelled …”

March2013 005This week we’re celebrating the world-building in paranormal fiction.

While all fiction has to do some amount of world-building, paranormal fiction here gets to play with its cousins fantasy, SF, and sci-fi. The author takes us to different places, times, adds and subtracts species, creates sub-cultures and secret histories, or perhaps plays with the rules of science in things like time-travel.

And let’s face it: picking up a book to travel somewhere new and exotic is WAY cheaper than the airfare there (especially the really far-reaches, where time, space, and current known-rules-of-the-universe sadly apply).

Talented authors create (and perhaps fulfill) in paranormal fiction the ultimate “what if” fantasy. What if … a secret culture of vampire protectors / warriors existed, or magic, fairies, the whole shebang really did exist? The possibilities (and the fun!) are endless.

Which is why I can’t end a post about paranormal fiction’s wonderful ability to take readers to new worlds and possibilities without a brief list of some of the favorites I’ve visited (and revisited).

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. Yes, some might consider this world that rides balanced by 4 turtles atop a giant tortoise flying through space more urban fantasy, maybe SF. Don’t care. Love this world, the Watch, and the comparisons and perspective it offers us on our own world.

-Susan Kearney’s The Challenge series. Before this, I never would have wanted to travel across the universe through space, see this unusual future, or be best friends with a spaceship’s computer system. The tickets for trip would have been out of this world. 😉 (sorry, couldn’t resist).

P.C. Cast’s Goddess series. Because really, who hasn’t wanted to wake up and discover they’re a goddess with a centaur husband in this magical kingdom with some connection to our own?

Elizabeth Vaughan’s Xyron, featured in the Warprize series. Somewhere between Earth’s early history, warring kingdoms, and intricate, intriguing cultures, you’re drawn into this kingdom, and asked to pick a side.

Okay, so that’s been enough from me. Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite world’s created in paranormal fiction (and you can see I’m pretty open in that definition)? Why? If you could revisit one again and again, which would it be, and why?

Thanks for reading, and hope you have a terrific week. And hey, if you liked this post, why not sign up for the blog so you don’t miss one?

It’s a Mad World – In the Real and Fictional World

Last week I finished the rough draft of my latest WIP; it’s a total mess. Today was a doctor’s appointment for the kidlet, meaning I had to drive into town, braving the idiots on the road who clearly place a higher value on their own time – and lives – above all else. Then I check out Yahoo news and there are articles about a school selling an art text book for $180 that has no pictures, and the now-defunct company, Zellers, looking for a new home for their mascot, Zeddy. Oh, and don’t forget the woman who was arrested in Texas for letting her kids play outside.

Lego store in the Disney Marketplace in Orlando, Florida – taken by me, August 2010 – art imitates life?

Looking at this, just how bad can my fictional world be? Or, how confused and bizarre does it have to be if art imitates life?

Oh, sure, in my initial revision notes I have questions like: “define her species here,” and “assume by this point that hero is completely unlike what he was supposed to be at the outset.” But at least I can change and revise – and make that world have an order and logic.

The real world doesn’t seem to want to play by those rules. Or maybe we just take too great an interest in the surreal and the bizarre – which means this is what we make note of, what makes it into top news, why people report on it in the first place.

Which leads back to fiction: do we have a need to find order in fiction? If we’re writers, to create that order? Are we searching for it in our reading? Should art reflect life, or does it have to be something else, possibly something better?

I wonder if perhaps this depends on where you are in your life and what you read. I love happy endings and romance because I’m not entirely convinced that happens in real life. I don’t want to read about horrible things continuing to happen to people until they finally succumb because I can turn on the news or read a newspaper to hear about that – and unfortunately, those people can’t be saved in revision.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading. Have a great week.

Do You Believe in Magic? : 15 Ways Magic Rules Supreme

I confess that recently I’ve been focusing a great deal more on my post-apocalyptic writing (if you’re interested in that, check out my other blog: ebfeir.wordpress.com). It very much depends on a mundane and non-magical world, and I’m guessing that between the diaper changes, bottle warmings, and endless Cheerios, I haven’t been feeling magic at all.

So, in celebration of magic – particularly in fiction – and to help remind myself and you why it is I love magic in writing, encompassing the magical, mystical, and fairy dust, here are:

15 Ways Magic Rules Supreme

  1. There is nothing mundane about magic.
  2. We too often lack magic in our real lives, so we definitely need it in our fiction.
  3. Magic is a marvelous problem solver. Not sure how that character did something or arrived? It was magic!
  4. Magic is fun. Magic can be silly, light, dark, and all the shades in between, especially when in so many ways the most literal interpretations of magic can be downright ridiculous.
  5. Magic connects us with our mythological roots and ancestral histories.
  6. Magic taps into ancient beliefs, fears, and ideas about how the world works.
  7. Fairytales – those timeless, moralistic, prolific teaching tools – are encompassed and defined by magic, and playing with the familiar and putting your own twist on it is foreign and familiar at the same time.
  8. Magic can and will lead to the unexpected and adventure for characters and readers alike.
  9. Magic takes us places and creates peoples and places sprung directly from our dreams and nightmares.
  10. Magic can make characters more heroic, sexier, stronger, more of a fantasy.
  11. Magic unleashes the possibilities of fantasies and playfulness in worlds where there are less limits on the possible.
  12. The belief in magic can return us to our childhoods where anything was possible, in real life or otherwise.
  13. Magic can bring new dimensions and possibilities to familiar ideas, like new possibilities for battle scenes, love scenes, struggles, etc.
  14. For a little while at least, while reading or writing the book, we can pretend to be magic, too.
  15. Magic frees our imaginations and dreams from the constraints of reality where we can create and rule worlds where good always wins, and there is always a happy ending.

Have I missed any reasons why magic does and always does reign supreme? Please let me know. Otherwise, I hope you have a magical week, and thanks for reading.