True Magic in Writing Genre Fiction
Writing is about changing state of mind, about enticing a reader to suspend disbelief and accept that the spell the writer weaves is real, at least for the duration of the read. That kind of writing is true magic.
Some writers manage to create belief in a different world. The true magic of J.K. Rowling‘s achievment is not so much her characters or her plot but her most believeable and livable world, one with rich detail and facsinating parallels to our own, a wonderful place to escape. Fandom lives and breathes Hogwarts, Quidditch, and Diagon Alley. Some of this comes from the movies, of course, and there are also fandoms of Star Trek, Star Wars, Serenity, and Dr. Who, which have spawned novels based on the videos.
Genre fiction has the capability, I think, more so than mainstream fiction, of allowing different perspectives on the real and mundane, on the wonder of the world as it exists and on the foibles of the inhabitants. It is that shift of point of view, looking at a human through a vampire’s eyes, knowing what can and cannot be done with magic, working with a people who do not share fundamentalist/captialist values, that allows the mind to change state.
The saying goes, once a mind has been expaneded with a new idea, it can never go back to its previous state, but the true magic is to be able to think with both ideas, to contrast and evaluate the implications. Robert Heinlein’s 1960 novel, Stranger in a Strange Land, explores American culture with its hypocrisy and smug self-righteousness from a Martian point of view, one that is very telling and incisive. Mike’s use of true magic does not explain to him what it is to be human, but once he gets the idea, he changes the world.
Open your mind to some true magic with these books from the Magic of Solstice Fantasy Writers’ Tour.