Breaking through the barrier: believability

How quickly the week has gone – again. But I have tried to break through the barrier and fill that blank screen with words that work – albeit as first draft. My challenge from last week? To reconcile the magic of witchcraft with the logic (and science) of on-line technology- which I found difficult because I am ignorant of anything to do with science, especially chemistry and physics. Previously, I’ve blogged about the difference between magic and logic – and here I am trying to find a commonality between the two extremes that will be plausible to my older child readers (assuming that this project ever sees publication). Stop! Of course, it will. Go away, Doubt.

This age group (9-12) has moved beyond the simple magic of – anything can happen because it’s magic. This is where the logic has to blend seamlessly with the magic of, in my case, witchcraft. I have been researching witchcraft and it is amazing what is on-line about this subject. Modern witches do exist and there are many books about my topic, both fiction and non-fiction.

I wonder if other writers are finding similar difficulties in combining the magic of younger childhood with the logic of growing up. So, given that magic and logic exist at opposite ends of a spectrum – where along this continuous, moveable line ought they to join up? How much logic and how much magic is about right for this age group? Or am I thinking too much about it and should it be just about 50-50 as it happens naturally in my story? Maybe I am overthinking this. After all, I am a non-fiction writer as well, and logic has led most of my previous writing. Is this why I find it hard to just let the magic in naturally where it fits? Maybe, but magic is not natural.

That is my problem. If my story is to be believable and capture the interest of my intended readers, then the natural and the spiritual world must blend in ways that SEEM natural, even if they are not. Which is why we writers cannot just invent anything without having researched the subject. So this week I have ventured into that spiritual world and realised something important: research in fiction.

I haven’t previously considered research in fiction before, maybe because I imagined that fiction writers just make up stuff. Yet, it seems obvious to me now, that when I am deeply engrossed in the stories written by one of my favourite authors, Lee Child, in order to draw me in, he has to have researched the background and the actions that he has plotted and make me BELIEVE it – even though I know it is fiction.

Believability! Is that what I am doing with my children’s writing? Even though older child readers know that witches are not real – it is up to me, the writer, to make them believe otherwise – to believe in the magic of witchcraft.

So what have I learned? What do I need to take forward this week from these reflective musings about fiction? Research helps to link magic with the logic of reality – to create believability. Got it! Now all I have to do is achieve it.

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