Monday, 5 September 2011

Will there be unicorns?

I read a story the other day. It was written with a beautiful, light touch, full of magic and sparkle. For several pages I was swept along in this fairytale world. The writer could have introduced giants and unicorns, and I would have believed every word because the story was written with such sincerity of emotion.

But then, in the last paragraph, it became clear that there was in fact a rational explanation for how all the 'magic' happened. I was devastated. It was like finding out Santa Claus doesn't exist, or that it wasn't the Tooth Fairy who left a sixpence beneath your pillow. Or, it was like one of those escapades where the main character wakes up and realises 'it was all a dream'. This wasn't a magazine story, so there was no fiction editor in the background insisting the events had a plausible cause. Maybe the writer felt they were straining credibility too much by pursuing the magical theme right to the end. Or perhaps they lost confidence in their original idea. Either way, it was a shame.

Firstly this made me think that maybe everyone wants to believe in magic. Even someone like me, who hardly ever reads fantasy. But if a story grabs me then it doesn't matter what genre it's in. If it's well written and I connect with it then I will read on. If the story features magic, I want it to stay magical right until that final full stop. I somehow feel cheated when reality snatches away this wonderful, mystical world the writer has persuaded me exists.

The second thing I thought was how we have to keep pushing our ideas further to see where they can go. If some of our ideas are a bit 'off the wall' sometimes it's tempting to dismiss them as too fanciful. Yet the most interesting things seem to happen when we follow those ideas and see where they take us, instead of playing safe.

So, this week I'll be playing with my latest off the wall, fanciful, daft idea. It's quite exciting. There might be unicorns!

17 comments:

Old Kitty said...

Bring on the unicorns!! Oooh was it like a lovely story only for it all to have been a dream!??! Ooooh that would annoy me too!!

Good luck with your story - may you be wrapped in magic and fantasy right to the end and back!

Take care
x

joanne fox said...

Sprinkling some magic on you and Charlie too! x

MorningAJ said...

I think a little magic never hurt anyone!

Teresa Ashby said...

I love unicorns! Sometimes we just don't want a rational explanation do we - good luck with your story :-)

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hope you manage to find those unicorns in your story, Joanne - that's one I'd like to read! And yes to the magic in fiction.

joanne fox said...

Yes we all need a little magic AJ!

Teresa, I suppose it depends on the circumstances. If you're alone in your house at twilight and think a ghost is throwing shadows and making the floorboards creak, then I guess a rational explanation would be welcome!

Rosemary I'll let you know if I do.

Frances Garrood said...

Have you read Thurber's wonderful story "The Unicorn in the Garden"? I love it! (It can be found on Google.)

Laraine Eddington said...

I am one who wants to keep believing the dream. If a story is carrying me along, I don't appreciate being shaken awake. I'm with you Joanne.

joanne fox said...

Frances, I don't know if I have, although the title rings a bell. I will check if it's in any of my anthologies and if not I will Google, thank you!

Long live dreams Laraine!

Shirley Wells said...

There's something very special about unicorns. I love them! As Frances said, "The Unicorn in the Garden" is a wonderful story.

joanne fox said...

Thank you for visiting, Shirley, and welcome to the blog. I have read that story on the Internet now and enjoyed it a lot. I love Thurber's voice which is so distinctive.

susanjanejones said...

I love any magical story Joanne, sometimes I write only to be told, 'this isn't believeable', we all need a bit of magic. Look forward to reading about the unicorns.

joanne fox said...

I get that 'not believable' comment too, Susan!

Jenny Woolf said...

Magic DOES exist though! :) I have been niggling away at a story I've written in which the main character is part of someone else's dream. I hope it's not a cop out.

joanne fox said...

Jenny that sounds really interesting - go for it!

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I love fairy-dust and unicorns and can't wait to see where this all takes you and us too! :-)

joanne fox said...

Thank you Kim!