I never decided to start writing fiction. It’s just what happened. Until someone invented the blog, my only relationship with non-fiction was fantasizing about how awesome it would feel to write some kind of big historical treatise. That would last until I realized how much work that would be, and how lazy I was. Then it was back to telling stories where I could make things up. I like it when all the citations point back to my brain.
That’s why I’m honored to be hosting the first all-fiction-and-poetry week at the Speakeasy. It’s my jam. My world. There’s a craft and beauty in all kinds of writing, but it’s made-up stuff I get. The really good part – my favorite part, really – is that I’m here for the best possible theme: Tales of the strange, the supernatural, and the unexplained. If fiction is the town where I live, fantasy is my home address. When done correctly, fantasy is a glimpse into things at once beyond our understanding and elementally familiar. When we glimpse the truly strange we remember how vast, how unknown our world can be, and we feel a bit of the unknowable within ourselves. We feel small, but we also feel revitalized by remembering that anything – truly anything– is possible.
Writing Broken Magic taught me a vital lesson, and I’m going to share it with you. This is, I believe, the very heart of writing about the strange:
Magic doesn’t behave.
It just pretends to. It gives us just enough of itself to make us think we understand before yanking out the rug. The truly strange is wild, uncontrolled, always slipping out of our grasp. If it worked exactly as we expected, if it’s no stranger than your blender or your DVD player, then it’s not the Strange anymore. It’s not Unexplained. What makes the fantastic fantastical is that you can’t predict it, can’t control it. You feel it, know it maybe, but you never understand it.
That’s what I’d like you to think about as you work on your entries this week: the truly strange is strange because it’s got a foot outside of our world, and while it might play by some of our rules, it doesn’t play by all of them. Which rules it follows might not be the same today as they are tomorrow.
The only rules magic needs to follow in fiction are the rules of awesome storytelling. Awe yourself and you’ll awe your audience. I’ll get to that in later weeks.
The winner of this week – and the next three – will win a copy of my novel, Broken Magic. It’s a coming of age story about the awkwardness of high school, the pain and joy of love, and the wonder of seeing the unexplained.
I’m so excited to get to spend the month with you all. Now bring all the Weird you can muster in 1,000 words or less.
Tales of the Strange, the Supernatural, and the Unexplained
Be sure to use the mandatory visual prompt
Grid closes to submissions October 10, 11:59 pm
Voting begins October 11, 12:00 am, ends October 11, 9:00 pm
Winner announced Friday, October 12, 12:00 am
Please visit the yeah write challenge grid.