Another Great Blog to Bookmark!

If you haven’t checked out the Second Wind Blog, you’re missing out on a treat. With more than fifteen writers posting articles, there is something for every taste, from Noah Baird’s hilarious take on life to JJ Dare’s more philosophical bent, from Sherrie Hansen’s inspirational articles to Norm Brown’s blend of mysticism and reality. Here you can find contests, interviews and excerpts. You can even find me occasionally!!! So what are you waiting for? Stop by Second Wind Publishing Blog and check it out. Here are a few great articles to get you started:

DO YOU GESTALT? by Nancy A. Niles talks about role playing to get to know your characters.

Traveling Thoughts by Mairead Walpole talks about the magic of the Florida sun.

Top of the World at Just the Right Moment by Norm Brown talks about a stunning moment when he was in the right place at the right time. And check out his classic Do Not Lean, which was “Fresh Pressed” here on WordPress.

The Trouble With Birthdays by J. Conrad Guest is a celebration of life, baseball, and summer. And If the Novel is Dying, What’s That Say About Imagination? is a celebration of reading.

Writer Beware–POV Confusion/Character Overload by Juliet Waldron explains the dangers of too many point of view shifts.

Chemistry and Subtext by Lucy Balch tells how writers can enhance the budding romances in their books.

How living in Germany Helped Me Become a Better Writer by Coco Ihle talks about the importance of detailing subjects familiar to the author, but possibly unique or unconventional to someone else.

The Joys of Lying to Children by Noah Baird I had a hard time choosing which Noah Baird post to highlight, but lying to children is perhaps even funnier than Vasectomies For Beginners by Noah Baird. Or not.

Compelled to Compare by Sherrie Hansen talks about appreciating what she has, both as a woman and a writer, but my favorite is Don’t Keep Me Hanging Too Long!

Are You Happy? by J J Dare talks about being happy and feeling heated rush the assassin feels right after he pulls the trigger. Um, yeah. You’ll have to read the post. Or this read this one instead: Goodbye, Mr. Phobia by J J Dare.

Writing what you know by Nichole Bennett talks about writing what you’re comfortable with and researching the rest.

On Butt Glue, Diplomacy, and Lying: Lessons Learned by Laura Wharton talks about the lessons she learned in her first year as a published writer.

Isabella’s Smile and the Miracle in Dakota Park — by Calvin Davis is a delight parable for writers and everyone who needs a bit of assurance that sometimes the impossible is really possible.

Excuse me? What? by Dellani Oakes talks about the ways in which writing is like childbirth. If you’re an author, you will probably agree.

Killer Cocktail Events in Minnesota by Christine Husom talks about the Midwest Booksellers Association annual trade show. Be sure to stop by and tell her about trade shows you’ve gone to.

Interview With Deborah J Ledford, Author of Snare and Staccato

Excerpt From “School of Lies” by Mickey Hoffman

and don’t forget the Second Wind Short Story Contest!! The deadline is December 31, 2011, so you still have plenty of time to enter.

On Writing: Rules of Magic

There are two rules for writing about magic:

1. It always has a price
2. It must have limits.

I don’t know who wrote that, but it seems a good pair of rules when it comes to literary magic. As writers, we can do whatever we imagine, yet whatever we imagine must serve the story we are telling. Which means the magic must have a price and it must have limits. (If there are no limits, then there is no conflict and hence, no story. If there was no kryptonite, Superman would be just a ho-hum guy in a cape.)

Literary magic comes in vast array of guises — love, intelligence, beauty, skills, exotic worlds, wonder, wisdom. All have limits, all have a price and consequences. In the non-literary world, sometimes the ripples of such magic are small and unfelt by most people. Such as the magic of a smile. If you smile at someone, they might smile back, and that small exchange might make them feel good enough to smile at someone else. Other small matters might have dire consequences, such as an extra drink before getting on the highway. All lives impinge on others.

I read a story once, an anecdote, really. A guy found a spider swimming in his toilet. He decided to rescue the spider, took it out of the water, and set it on the floor. The next day, he found the spider in his toilet again, and again he took it out. A little later, he found the spider dead. Why, the storyteller asked, did the spider die? The answer: because one life impinged on another.

Whether that statement has validity in real life, it certainly fits with fiction. Everything in a novel should be connected to everything else, which means that small actions could have large consequences. Perhaps that is why fiction is so compelling — it enables us to notice such ramifications. We can’t see far enough in real life to be aware of such connections and their impact, but I’m sure they are there. And isn’t that what magic is? The manipulation of the real and ordinary?

None of my books are about magic as such, but all have an element of magic, even if it is just the magic of a quest, of love, of being different, of finding one’s self. The most magical of my books is Light Bringer, but the magic of the main characters’ harmonic resonance causes problems only because it shows that they are not exactly human. It has limits, since this particular magic doesn’t bring them much happiness — at least not yet. The price they pay could be the fate of the entire world.

What is the magic of your book? What is its price? What are its limits?


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