Reality Loaded Fiction

“My job is to make things up, and the best way to make things up is to make them out of real things…”Terry Pratchett

Someone said to me, “It is impossible to write urban fantasy that touches readers at any kind of realistic level. The genre is too wild and fanciful to allow for significance.”

I told him, “I hope life in your icy, boring, little box grows to be less miserable and lonely,” and I walked away glaring.

Most of you already know how I feel about this kind of close-minded literary outlook. I believe every book is a world, and the minds of authors are filled with different realms, waiting to be explored and enriched by readers’ interpretation. If all writers based their worlds in the same reality, the reading universe would be a sad, dreary place.

It is true that great books are made of real life journeys. That is the reason why I subscribe to that philosophy. But unforgettable reading experiences are lived in word-worlds were writers share their special—and very personal—kind of magic.

These thoughts came to mind after I shared the first chapters of my Works in Progress… with a professor and an editor. I’m overjoyed to say that the editor’s reaction was somewhere between a loud reading climax and a vicious “This is not it, right? Give me more, give me, give me, give me!”

The professor, on the other hand, said my tales “Were nothing more than great ideas, corrupted by an imaginative little girl who is depriving an intelligent woman of her opportunity to ascend to greatness.”

Scarred and Blood Grudge develop in very different worlds. Scarred is set in place that is exactly like ours. In Blood Grudge, the things of myth and imagination come out to play, love, and hurt. And both novels-to-be were birthed out of the real womb that is my witchy writer’s mind; a place where my realities, fears, dreams, fantasies, nightmares, hopes… have merged to create the stories I hope touch different people in very real different ways.    

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson took me into the terrifying reality of young girls living through the nightmares that are eating disorders and cutting. I’m lucky, lucky, lucky, for I’ve never experienced any of the two. And I’m grateful, grateful, grateful, for Laurie’s writing reality touched my heart and made me feel.

Some expert’s study of body mass index says that according to my height, my ideal weight should be 117 lbs. Well, here is what I have to say to the expert:
 123.5 lbs.
And loving every ounce of it
Heavy with thick “unexpected laugh[s]”
And loving that, too 

Care to share fictional titles that have touched your souls, my Wicked Luvs?

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  1. Diandra Linnemann12/08/2011

    The touching parts of stories are not what happens to the characters, but how they make their choices. And why shouldn't these choices not take place ina world that is more than what we experience in our day-to-day life? After all, "Harry Potter" is about growing up and conquering your fears. "The lord of the rings" is about doing what is right, even if it means losing parts of yourself. Of course these stories could be told based on a purely "real" world, but talking in symbols to intrigue our minds is a great way. Wait, how did that sentence go... "Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that
    dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be
    beaten." (G.K. Chesterton)

    I love writing fantasy and urban fantasy stuff, it happens almost without me noticing. But this literary snobbery is very real, in Germany as well - I know there are literary competitions I would not even stand a chance of winning, because - and yes, I have checked the archives - the winning stories are ALWAYS about a) WWII, b) racism or c) feminism, and usually in a very realistic/depressing way. Oh, and have you ever had someone trying to make fun of you for the stuff you read? ^^

  2. Slommler12/08/2011

    I too love the different worlds that writers create!  Always leaving me breathless and wanting more.  Love love love it!  Wi9ntergirls sounds like a good read!  I experienced the cutting with one of my granddaughters.  It was so sad and all is well and she is happy and healthy and doing great!!
    Hugging you

  3. Beautiful, intelligent and appropriate quotes, Diandra. They explain my feelings exactly. The narrow definition of 'literary' some people try to use, really makes me want to puke. And don't even ask me what I feel every time someone ask me to write the stories of my military experiences... 

  4. you are looking wickedly sexy :) will try find time to read your "books" frankly right now its a quick look see in the net

  5. I'm happy your grand-baby is now doing okay. I bet the great support system she found in you and the rest of your family was paramount while the issue was going on. "Happy and healthy" are good, good, good!

  6. Well, gracias on all counts. It is always nice to see you here, especially when I know how busy you are. Hope the mommy community plans are going well. I'm going to your blog to spy on you ;-)

  7. Someone said to me, “It is impossible to write urban fantasy that touches readers at any kind of realistic level. The genre is too wild and fanciful to allow for significance.”

    Really? The characters my favorite authors create are nothing but believable. I have no problem accepting the possiblity that the government are trying to clone people not just animals. UFO's? I'm sure if a alien craft sat down on The White House lawn, they would explain it away. As L A Banks use to say, "Reality is stranger than fiction.

    Sometimes I think Urban Fantasy or just plan old Fantasy is just a precusor to what's to come.

    And Magaly, I'd be more interesting in what the editor has to say than your professor. You go girl!

    Melissa C.

  8. Funny thing is that the meeting was set up by the professor, in an effort to get someone to tell me that I "was wasting my talents." Ha! How is that for irony? 

  9. Sweet Zombie Goddess12/08/2011

    You know what they say: Those who can't do, teach.  Sounds like he is living up to that saying in spades!

    I have suffered from eating disorders since I was 16 and was a cutter too.  Geesh, I am one pathetic chick lol!


  10. I don't think you are pathetic at all. I think you are brave for sharing it, and because you are working on it. I've been reading up on cutting (after the book) it is a difficult psychological dilemma; I'm very happy to know you are better now! 

  11. I'd have to say the Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher. It's very realistic, at least to me. Magic is powerful, but it isn't always the solution. Harry gets hurt a lot, fighting all the big bad supernatural beasties, the politics are realistic, and Butcher is one of the few really great authors with a massive fan following that doesn't have a lot of fanfic. This isn't because he frown on it, but because he's so talented a writer that all the little points that fanfics could arise from, he not only touches, he does them better than almost anyone else could. The characters are real, the problems are real, and the solutions all have very real consequences in the lives of the characters.

  12. Looking good girlfriend!!! I too get furious at experts telling children they are fat, and taking no responsibility for the spiral of depression those children disappear into.
    And how did you keep your temper with that snooty professor?,,sheesh...some people really need to learn to look at themselves!
    Just started reading the book you sent me...and enjoying every page :D

  13. It's funny, I have loved so many books, and yet to say one "touched my soul" is, for whatever reason, giving me trouble.  "The Salmon of Doubt," Douglas Adams' final, unfinished novel really touched me becuase it was unfinished and left so very much to wonder.

    The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Spear and A Break with Charity by Ann Rinaldi really touched me when I was young.

    Harry Potter had a huge effect on me in a way I still can't identify.

    For me, a great book is one that, when I finish reading it, I miss the characters and I miss the world.  Or one that changes my worldview - though that happens more with non-fiction for me.

    I am shockingly enwrapped in Pride and Prejudice right now - something I did not expect.

  14. Exactly, one of the things I like about Rachel Morgan from Kim Harrison's The Hollows Series is the fact that Rachel is surrounded by real problems, relationships, gender, sexual identity, inner views of good and evil, and just like Harry, Rachel, too, has to pay the bills. That sounds pretty real to me.

  15. You know? I don't think he means harm. I think he is old and unteachable, and that is sad. I have another professor who doesn't have a whole lot of respect for some of the fiction I write, but he is intelligent enough to appreciate that it is good writing. "Not [his] cup of tea" like he says, but he does his best to make the writing and writer better. I appreciate that.  

  16. I'm not surprised you liked Pride and Prejudice. The main character is a strong woman who rebels to the expectations of her times. Does she remind you of anyone? ;-)

  17. theresa12/08/2011

    You look great!

    And Urban Fantasy like High Fantasy can touch anyone who dares to feel. Just my two cents ;-)

  18. DARKWENCH12/09/2011 are one HAWT CHICKIEBABE!!  looking good Magaly :o))

    I am one of those people (and I know there are many out there) that love urban fantasy - or for that fact, fantasy of any kind - because it takes you away from the daily normal grind.

    You can be in another place or another time - even back in time, in a different era with different surroundings etc., all of which make me forget my "troubles" for a short time - which can be a breath of fresh air...

    The "Someone" who said this to you must be one of those old stuffy types - we get them in the music and film industry too - they are so artsy-fartsy and up themselves that they can't imagine outside the box....

    Follow your heart Magaly and write what you feel is right....It's your journey after all :o))

  19. Autumnlovei12/09/2011

    girl! 117 and youre 123?! how DARE you!? :)

    you look fab!!

    I am supposed to weigh 150 and I weigh 160... and with soon anticipated baby weight coming.. I will remind myself of your awesome kick-booty attitude! ;)

    happy holidays! ;)

  20. lilacwolf12/09/2011

    PPTHHPTHPFFTHPPPT!!!  That's all I have to say to that guy.

  21. Magaly, you look amazing darling ;o) You sexy thing!!! ;o)
    That guy can go to you know where and stay there!!!!!!
    Hugs ;o)

  22. I personally believe that a good writer can take inspiration from every facet of life and turn it into something that can relate to anyone. And some of the greatest writers can do it with ideals and imagery that can't be found in every day life but can be Universally understood by the Spirit. And your writing is fabulous so that professor can shove it! =)

    I've been told my entire life that writing poetry will get me nowhere, except maybe living in a basement apartment, eating Ramen every night. And honestly, those were some of my best days...

  23. Well aren't you a super hottie??? YOU GO GIRL! You look amazing. My husband said he would have a fantasy about you but he knows with your Marine training you could probably kick his ass. ;-)

    My dear, your professor is a narrow minded twit. I have read your works in progress and salivate for the publication. Your writing allows me to escape into the very world you speak of where the human brain explores all the possibilities of what we dare to call reality. Keep on, my love...always.

  24. And I, dear Theresa, dare to feel the experience and the magic!

  25. And no one can walk it for me, right?

  26. Happy holidays to you, too, dear. And thanks for the compliment. It is great to feel happy about living in my own skin. And I will allow no one to take that away from me.

  27. Indeed on all counts lol

  28. My own poetry usually leaves people wishing for blindness or deafness if I dare read it, but I'm sure your poems like my tales take you to places others will never touch.

  29. Your hubby is too funny. He made me laugh like a loon; tell him I said thanks.

    And your words about my WIPs did something to my heart that leaves me so grateful that words can't quite describe how I'm feeling!

  30. "Write about what you know," isn't that the golden rule? Even if it's fictional, you need to base it on something you know in some shape or form, because if the reader can't identify with it on some level, they wont get in to it, and they wont finish reading it. And eventually people will stop reading your books. If there's no reality in the fiction somewhere, it wont seem real enough to the reader to make them want to believe it, will it?

  31. I will write what I want, and I hope some like it, and many appreciate my words, and if others love it, it will make me a happier Witch...

  32. AutumnWind12/20/2011

    Looking amazing and quoting Terry Pratchet... If I wasn't already in love with my man... LOL You are my inspiration in the next Get Off Your Broom challenge!!

  33. Wizardess912/28/2011

    “I hope life in your icy, boring, little box grows to be less miserable
    and lonely,”....writing that down to use in the future. I can never think of these perfect things to say quickly enough!

  34. Well, we shall inspire each other then, for I'm joining, too. And I can break some serious rules for a Terry Pratchett lover LOL

  35. Don't forget to make air quotes lol