This is not real, but it’s true – guest post at The Other Side of the Story

Today I’m guesting at Janice Hardy’s blog The Other Side Of The Story. Janice might be familiar to you if you follow my writing tips on Twitter because she blogs exhaustively and perceptively about writing. I first came across her in a post about opening lines and the example she gave – from her own fantasy/SF novel The Shifter – has stuck with me. I’m sure it will stick with you too:

Stealing eggs is a lot harder than stealing the  whole chicken. With chickens, you just grab a hen, stuff her in a sack and, make your escape. But for eggs, you have to stick your hand under a sleeping chicken. Chickens don’t like this. They wake all spooked and start pecking holes in your arm, or your face, if it’s close. And they squawk something terrible.

I’m not a fantasy author, like Janice, but I am fascinated by what gives fantasy its power. Underlying every good fantasy is a core of truth that means we put aside our logical minds and believe the story is really about us. Where I think this is most interesting is where it happens in mainstream fiction too. It’s a harder bridge to cross, of course, but once you tempt the reader over, the story possibilities are enormous… It reminds us most of all that every story has a logical side and also an emotional side. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the post. 


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  1. #1 by 300hikes on August 2, 2011 - 6:17 pm

    The idea reminds me of Ken Kesey’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

    • #2 by rozmorris on August 2, 2011 - 8:04 pm

      That’s a great example. We ask ourselves if he’s mad or not, but those questions become unimportant next to the journey.

  2. #3 by Sally on August 3, 2011 - 11:42 am

    Hi Roz! Very interesting article – and I love how you’ve taken the idea of reincarnation and turned it on its head. I too take reincarnation and twist it. I won’t tell you how just yet … want to get the novel complete first. 🙂

    You asked a very difficult question at the end: ‘What is it in your story that speaks, independently of logic, to your heart?’ Honestly, that’s a tough one to answer. I think that most writers will say that their story speaks to their heart in many ways, since the story usually comes from the heart in the first place. But if we do have to pick one major thing, I would say it’s my fascination with how every little thing we do has infinite repercussions. The reason I like Doctor Who is that the Doctor has an acute sense of the inter-connectivity of the universe. Steven Moffat has taken that element and really run with it.

    • #4 by rozmorris on August 3, 2011 - 4:56 pm

      Thanks, Sally! Reincarnation is a brilliant subject for storytellers. So ripe with emotion.
      Interesting you should mention Doctor Who. I blame the Jon Pertwee era for my entire imagination. It provoked such interesting questions about the world around us and the world of the imagination. Although my novel isn’t really sci-fi, I’ve always kept a sense of wonder about how far you can push ‘what if’ and still make very human stories.
      Agree about Moffat. I like him better than RTD. Moffat seems to have that relish for the strange.

      • #5 by Sally on August 3, 2011 - 8:26 pm

        The strange and the lighthearted, yes! Though I did like the Tennant era, RTD made his storylines too epic for my liking at times. I prefer the quirky humour of the present series.

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