I am reading a really great book called The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass. In it he says, the thing that makes a book great, the thing that is often called magic is really passion. Passion is the defining quality that makes a great book great.
I whole heartedly agree. But I do have to wonder if there isn’t some magic involved too. He says that many of the authors of these great books look back and say that the manuscript wrote itself. Obviously that is literally impossible, but I’m sure you’ve had this same experience a time or two when the words just flowed as if from somewhere else. You sat down and felt the inspiration of an image or scene so beautiful and unexpected and were somehow able to translate it perfectly from the vision in your head to words painting it on paper.
Maybe this is talent or imagination at work, but sometimes it feels like magic. Where do these amazing images and scenes come from? How did you miraculously translate them onto page, perfectly, without stumbling over your own head or tongue like you normally do?
I recently had such an experience. I wrote a short story from a scene that came to me while doing something mundane. I pulled into the driveway came inside and sat down and wrote a story I didn’t know from one scene in my head of a psychic watching a man in an interrogation room. The scene she saw was dramatically different than the one the detective or anyone else would see.
I posted this short on my writing samples blog and submitted it on twitter for #Fridayflash. The feedback I got was amazing. Maybe these people were just being kind because that is what you do when you read #fridayflash writing? I’m not sure. Even without the feedback I felt really good about this story when it was complete.
I have never been a psychic. I do not have a southern accent, though my main character came to me with one. I’ve never even been further south than Nevada. I have stood face to face with monsters but not the kind she did. So where then did this story, her voice come from?
I don’t have an answer to this question. But I would like believe there is a little magic in this world even if it doesn’t come in the form of pixie dust like we believed as children. Maybe though, this is the form it comes in for those of us who love to write.
(For those who are wondering about the above mentioned short here is the link: http://kickingyourselfintheface.blogspot.com/2009/10/sample-3.html Judge for yourself. Feel free to leave feedback if you’d like. I’m happy with it though and felt like it was a kind of magic and I’m sticking with that because I think we all need a little magic in our lives.)