I suppose I could be categorised as a fantasy writer.
I don’t necessarily trumpet it out. It probably isn’t the first selling point I push for my stories (I prefer to focus on the humorous side), but I can’t deny there’s a strong fantastical side to most of them. After all, how else would you describe a story where someone falls of the face of the world, or travels back in time to visit some economically challenged dinosaurs, or dies and has to solve a missing person case in Heaven? If that’s not fantastical, I don’t know what is.
I also quite like to read fantasy. Not fanatically – I like to balance it out with other types of books, fiction and non-fiction. But it is something I enjoy now and then. I’m actually reading a fantasy series right now and quite enjoying it.
When I’m reading, of course, I tend to compare the contents with the stories I write. One key aspect is the large focus on magic within this series. It’s pretty much the central element. This got me thinking about the place of magic in fantasy stories in general, and in my stories in particular.
I couldn’t help thinking about the central place magic plays in most fantasy. Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Narnia, Game of Thrones – you couldn’t imagine any of these without magic. It’s the central element, or at least one of the most central elements, in all of them.
But in my stories, there isn’t really any magic – at least nothing explicit. No characters waving magic wands and saying things like “abracadabra” and making amazing and unworldly things happen. I’m not sure if that’s ever going to change. While I understand the appeal of magic, I’ve often seen it as a bit of a cop-out. Characters can use it to get out of situations when there are no other options available. I know it’s usually more complicated than that, and that magic often has unforeseen circumstances, but still – it’s just not how I want to be doing things.
But while it’s true that there is no explicit magic happening in my stories, I still like to think my stories are full of magic. I suppose storytelling itself is magic. How else can you take someone into another world? How else can you help someone to really inhabit another person, and see things from their point of view? And I like to think that my stories celebrate the magic of the everyday – things like friendship and finding ways to make the world better. In my world, that’s more magical than any hokey spell or incantation.
So that’s my take on the whole magic thing. I try to make my stories as magical as possible, even without any explicit magic. Then again, for my next story, maybe I’ll throw a bit of additional magic in – who knows where that might take me.
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