Story Notes

Story Notes: How can we ever be better?

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I was so excited for my story ‘How can we ever be better?’ to be published in Flyleaf Journal. Flyleaf is a fantastic publication that pairs artists with writers to produce beautiful cover art for individual short stories. I was lucky and absolutely thrilled to be paired with talented artist/illustrator David Curtis who created a beautiful piece for the cover of my story!

To read the story just head on over to Flyleaf Journal and order a copy.

Because I love to know about the origins of a story from the writer’s perspective, I thought I would share some notes about this story with you.

Spoiler Alert: There are spoilers in the story notes below. So if you want to read the story with fresh eyes check it out first at Flyleaf Journal before reading the notes.

About ‘How can we ever be better?’

This story brewed in my head for a long time. I never write anything down because I’m of the mind that if a story sticks around in my mind, it’s good enough to write. ‘How can we ever be better?’ started with the idea of a thief who steals words. I thought about it for weeks, here and there while I washed the dishes or went for a walk, then finally I decided to sit down and write it. I love how the process of writing reveals things that you didn’t know were there. Sometimes I feel like thinking about the story is a conscious action but the writing itself is almost mystical, a subconscious process. What started out as a simple fairytale developed itself into a more complex allegory that I only half intended.

I have my own thoughts about the meaning and the message; a cautionary tale about not blindly following people who claim to provide higher knowledge (especially if that knowledge is shallow and insubstantial), a warning to always think critically, a metaphor for our humanity and how, despite thinking we are evolved, we are still just angry monkeys. But I also like to know what other people see in the story. That’s one of my favourite things about writing metaphor/allegory/fairytales—everyone always takes what they want from it and sees in it what they want to see.

I’ve read this and other fairytales at writing groups before then just sat back to listen as people tried to guess or invent their own meaning. Often when people ask me what it actually means I’ll shrug and say ‘I like all of your ideas’. Because often the metaphors get away from me or create themselves naturally and I can guess what they mean, but because my writing is sometimes a very subconscious effort your guess is as good as mine.

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I’m a manic pixie dream girl (and I’m not shallow)

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This morning Ben showed me this video.

For those not interested in watching it I will summarize: the video posits that the ‘muse’ or ‘manic pixie dream girl’ is a sexist trope and that the character archetype of said girl is shallow, has no life of her own and only exists for the self-actualization of her male counterpart in the story.

In response I say: bullshit.

We were offended while watching this because I am (or more specifically was) a manic pixie dream girl and I am not shallow, without my own life, nor do I only exist for the self-actualization of the male counterpart in my story.

When I say I am a manic pixie dream girl I’m not exaggerating.  When I was younger I travelled the world, footloose and fancy-free, inspiring people (I literally called myself a muse), getting into wild sexual relationships, trying to help people be happier and championing freedom from day-to-day doldrums.  My greatest sorrow is to see people not living their dreams.  I specifically wear crazy clothes (rainbows, tutus, dyed hair) not just because I think it’s cool to dress like that, but to make people look at me and hopefully be inspired to bring a little colour into their own lives.

When I was younger (and even to an extent now) I was drawn to the serious types, the people with problems and the people (both men and women) who seemed unsatisfied with their lives.  I would chat with them, sleep with them and attempt to stir in them a passion for life and adventure because I believe everyone should get a chance to live how they want if they are not doing so already.

My favourite question was and still is: are you happy?

For a long, long time I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.  I pursued many different things most of which had to do with inspiring/helping people (I wanted to be a spiritual life coach at one point) or making things fun for people (I wanted to be an event planner who made individualized adventures for people).  I was all over the board.  I worked as a server and told people’s fortunes, I worked as a bartender and tried to inspire the drunks, I even quit a bar job to go to a party once.  Yup, to go to a party.  Finally, now that I’ve found my partner and settled down a bit I’ve realized I want to be a writer, but it took me thirty years to get to that point because I was so…manic.  But during all my wild and roaming days I supported myself, paid my own way and rocked whatever it was a chose to do (and still do, I hope).

Also for a long, long time I was on the lookout for a partner who I could inspire every day.  I literally travelled the world to find that person (it turned out to be a man but could have just as easily been a woman).  I invested loads of time and energy into every prospective partner I met and it was a fun adventure.  Then, one summer afternoon I met my future husband in the forest in the middle of a Live Action Role Playing game.  I had a sword and a shield and I was out looking for love and there he was.  He was an overweight, slightly depressed guy who was in a relationship with the wrong girl.  He was a bit sullen and still lived with his parents, but the second he saw me leap into action in the woods (sword drawn, bleach-blonde hair ablaze) he was hooked.  I dazzled him with my manic pixie dream girl charm and he dazzled me with his ability to love all of me (good, bad and crazy), his sense of humour and his kindness.  Soon his sullenness slipped away (along with the extra pounds), he moved in and we lived happily ever after.  He inspires me every day just as I inspire him and it’s all just a whole lotta love.

Now, in my infinite maturity (yeah right) my manic pixie dream girl ways have changed a bit.  For one I no longer sleep with the people I’m trying to inspire (as I’m sure Ben is grateful for).  Also, I’m a bit more rational (less pie-in-the-sky) and practical, and a bit more hard-assed (forged in the fires of tough life lessons).  But I still wear my crazy clothes and enjoy going into conservative environments in the hopes of inspiring people to wear a little less grey.  I channel a lot more energy into inspiring people to write and love their work, but I also try to generally inspire when I get the chance.  I put a lot into writing stories with a bit of magic in them (I just add a sprinkling of pixie dust) and I focus on helping Ben be the best person he can be.

So that’s me.

I am a manic pixie dream girl.

So does that make me a shallow, sexist trope?

Fuck no.

I am a person and I think all those other manic pixie dream girls are people too.

So maybe they are free-floating ladies who don’t have jobs they care about because what they care about is exactly what they are doing in the moment.  So maybe family isn’t of the paramount concern to them because they are focussed on their non-familial relationships.  So maybe they are muses and they love to be inspiring.  As a muse myself I know it’s not me-centred.  Being a muse means caring about the other person and not getting asked a lot of questions about yourself.  And that’s okay.  So maybe these girls haven’t figured out what they want to do with their lives and when the story is over they will go on to focus on themselves and their goals a little more with the help of their new-found loves.

So what’s my point here?

Just because I’m a manic pixie dream girl doesn’t make me shallow and I don’t think those other girls in movies and stories are either.

The stories are a slice of life and they are based on an archetype.  Just like the sullen men the dream girls love are an archetype (which is just as sexist according to this video’s logic, because it assumes all men are depressed, dissatisfied and should ‘man up’).  Archetypes exist because they are often representations of a type of person and they guide character creation.

 This is not to say I wouldn’t like to see a little variation (manic pixie dream boy?), and for the stories to be a little less cliche (because cliches can get pretty boring).  But overall I think it’s unfair to say that these types of gals are shallow and only exist for the pleasure of men.  I love inspiring people, it’s a passion of mine and I don’t think there’s a problem with it.  Sometimes it came with sexuality, sometimes it comes with pixie dust, but overall it was/is me and I’m pretty damn happy with who I am.

So please think before you go calling a character shallow, because that character may just be a representation of a type of person and us manic pixie dream girls have feelings too.

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Writing & Reading Animal Cruelty

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I was at a reading for a feminist writing series a couple weeks ago where a writer was reading from her book about a female matador.  In the Q&A period that followed the writers were asked about their worst reactions to their books.  The woman who had written the matador book said an editor refused to read/work on her book because of the animal cruelty.  It was at that point that the whole room gasped in shock.  They were appalled!  They rolled their eyes!  How could that editor be so silly? was the general question that hung in the air.  It’s an editor’s job to read books, so it shouldn’t matter what’s in it…should it?

I was taken aback.  I frankly expected more from a bunch of feminists.  If feminists expect people to respect their cause and concerns, shouldn’t they respect the causes and concerns of others?

I wanted to put my hand up and say I understood the editor’s perspective and shame on them for being so rude about someone’s preferences, but I didn’t.  It’s not that I have a problem piping up, it’s just that it’s a complex topic and I didn’t want to derail the conversation and take the spotlight off the writers.  So instead of speaking up then, I’m doing it now.

I’m a vegetarian.  I was a vegetarian for about ten years before I started eating meat again around the age of twenty-five or six, now I’m happily back to my vegetarian ways.  Every time I ate meat for the six or seven years I was back at it, I felt guilty.  I really hated it because I really love (and respect) animals and because I love animals so much I tend to get easily turned off when someone is abusing them.

But in a fictional story does it really matter?  To me it does.

Once when I wanted to write a horrible character, like a really horrible character, I made her kill a dog.  When I finished writing the scene I was horrified, but to me it drove home the impact of her horribleness.  Sure the character was manipulative and a rapist and was responsible for a couple of human deaths too, but to me none of that compared to the evil that was killing an animal.  After all is said and done I still have a residual feeling of guilt for using violence against animals to enhance the negativity of a character.  Why?  Treating animals well is just something I feel strongly about, even in my fiction.  So whenever I see a character in any circumstance be mindless or cruel to animals, I automatically hate them and hold it against them…usually forever.

Overall I believe animal cruelty does have a place in fiction, but if it’s sustained and pointless I tend to shy away from it because it’s just not fun for me to read something that makes me feel horrible for whatever animal is being harmed.

I think in some cases animal cruelty can have a point though.  For example I just wrote a story about an aquarium (which I think are disgusting, cruel prisons for fish) where the main character learned to feel empathy for the fish and ultimately sad about their enslavement.  But a lot of the time I feel that animal cruelty is either used because it’s an easy emotional trigger (like the way I used it to make my character evil) or it goes unaddressed as a problem.  People eat animals all the time, so why should hurting them be a problem?

Ultimately I wouldn’t want to read a book about a matador because the violence against animals isn’t being addressed (as far as I know), it’s just a backdrop for the story of the main character and I don’t find that interesting enough to endure animals being tortured.  Clearly the editor who was being mocked at the event felt the same way as me and I’m here to say I agree with her.  I feel what she’s feeling.  Everyone has their sensitive issues, or things they don’t want to see/read because it bothers them and I don’t think anyone should be put down for that.

For me, I deal with animal cruelty in fiction very selectively and frankly I think that’s perfectly okay.

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Guest Post: Megan O’Russell – YA in an Adult World

ImageI’d like to introduce Megan O’Russell, a Young Adult author and my very first guest contributor Happy Musings!  Megan has written a wonderful piece on publishing YA with a very adult publishing company.

YA in an Adult World

I write Young Adult fiction.  My first book The Tethering is set to release this May, and I am so excited!  I have great editors at Entranced Publishing and wonderful people to back me up in the cold cruel world of books.  But I feel like the black sheep of Entranced.  Not because I’ve done anything wrong, but because I am a part of the Young Adult imprint at the big sexy romance publishing house.  Entranced has a YA imprint called Rush, but most of the books Entranced puts out are of the much more adult and dirty nature.

We have twitter chats where they talk about their steamy love scenes, and I’m worried about my poor characters sneaking out the window.  I can’t participate in their cover reveals because the covers are almost naked!  And the book blurbs are things my readers are not ready for!

I want my characters to have grownup lives.  I want them to live and discover and grow as real teenagers.  But I feel awkward being excited about their first kiss when my fellow Entranced authors are playing with bondage.  In a group where Fifty Shades of Grey doesn’t seem all that dirty, can a story about first love hold its ground?

I would like to think so.  Not just because I want my book to succeed.  Not even just because it’s a different genre with a different target audience.  The sweetness, tenderness, and devotion of first love are things that we all have experienced right along with our first heartbreak.  The thrill of the first kiss is just as exciting as dirty things on a bear skin rug.

I mean sure, if you want to throw a little excitement into a YA book, just toss in a bit of non-sexual torture.  Maybe catch a few people on fire.  Dress someone in leather.  But do it all in a PG-13, teen romance friendly way.

I want to branch out, maybe write something a little more risqué for an adult audience.  But until The Tethering series is complete, I will exist in a world of (mostly) clothed, non-cursing, behind closed doors, teenaged angst.  Who knows, maybe my hero will even make it to second base.

About Megan

Megan O’Russell is a Young Adult author whose premier novel The Tethering will be released by Entranced Publishing this May.  Megan’s author blog can be found at MeganORussell.com, and her humor blog is at lifebeyondexaggeration.com.  For more news on The Tethering, follow her on twitter @MeganORussell.

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Editing my first novel

ImageAbout two weeks ago I got some feedback on my first novel (A Girl Out There) that I felt inclined to listen to, so I went back in time and gave it a read through.

Looking back I was shocked to find that it hasn’t even been a year since I wrote it, but so much has changed since then that it seemed (as I flipped through the pages) like a book I set about writing in my teenage years.  In the meantime I’ve written two other novels, a novella, a host of short stories and I am currently working on a fourth novel.

I have done a lot since the first novel and looking back, my progress shows.

As much as I was happy to have such marvelous feedback I was shocked at the state of the book itself.  It was lacking a depth and a sense of feeling that I like to think I am much more capable of now and there was far too much telling and not nearly enough showing.  It felt sloppy, inconstant and too packed with stuff that didn’t matter.  It had only been seven months since I wrote the damn thing, but I swear it could have been years!

So needless to say I was thrilled to tear it apart and put it back together with more detail, emotion and expansion on the themes.

The whole process started out a bit rough, because I was stuck in the voice of my current protagonist (Nil) and I couldn’t quite make the shift back to the old one (Cali).  Nil is sassy and sharp and Cali is soft and flowing.  So I wrote the first chapter in Nil’s voice (or something close to it) and Ben read it and shook his head.  I’m pretty sure I threw things across the room in my annoyance.

It’s hard going back.  I like to tie things up and move on to the next thing, I’m a forward thinker, not a backward looker.

In round two I tried again, smoothed out some of the rough edges, but still Ben didn’t like it.

I despaired and it was all very dramatic.

Ben said vague sorts of things like ‘I’m just not feeling it’ and I wanted to chuck ‘it’ out the window.

 So I tried again and the next round was a bit closer, then a bit closer, then I hit the nail (more or less) on the head.  It was a huge relief.

After that all was well, having gotten the voice back and reestablishing the character in my mind going through the rest of the book felt as good to me as throwing stuff out.  I love throwing stuff out.  I will periodically go through the cupboards in the house just so I can feel the satisfaction and lightness of having less shit in our lives.

I got to rip out huge sections of text and toss characters to the curb, it was deliciously liberating.

Then, when all that was done I got to build up the parts I had left shallow, try to enrich the relationships and encounters that remained in the wake of my clear cutting.

Overall the book isn’t completely indicative of the style of writing I have moved on to.  My first book was more of an adventure-style story than the others that have come after.  I have shifted my focus a bit to go more literary with my magic realism, but still there is something I will always love about the first because it represents my own personal liberation.  It was me taking back my creativity, my past, my writing.  I was coming out of a bad situation and into a better one and the spirit of change is obvious within the pages of the story.

I used to hate editing.  When it came time for Ben to provide his feedback I would flail and moan and he would wait patiently until I was done my immature spazzing.  But now I get it, editing can be freeing and even fun.  It can be interesting and reflective.

Overall I’m pretty happy with the results of my efforts and I hope others are too (although that remains to be seen).  But what I can say is that I have a new appreciation for editing and the joy of tearing something to bits to find the goodness inside.

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NaNoWriMo advice from a fast writer

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I’m a fast writer.

Seriously, short stories take me an hour or two (maybe) and a first draft of a novel has yet to take me more than a month and a half (at most).  Fast is just the way I’m built.  I think fast, talk fast (much to my parent’s confusion), hell I even do dishes fast.  I’m impatient to get on with life, so I get’er done.  To me this is a blessing, although some might see it as a curse.  Once I was in a writing group and one of my group buddies told me that one of my short stories should be revised and revised and that I should work on it for months.  I laughed in his face then quit the group (okay so maybe it wasn’t as dramatic as all that, but I still did disagree and eventually leave because the pace of the group was too slow).  Fucked if I’m going to work on a short story for months, I have things to do with my life.  Don’t you?

Sure you do.  We all have things to do with our lives and we want to get on with it.

So you’ve decided to jump into NaNoWriMo have you?  You think you can write over 50,000 words in one month?  You think you can get a first draft of a novel done in 30 days?

You’re damn right you can.

Here’s a list of my best advice for people who need to write fast this November:

Let go of slow

I feel as though writers have this romantic image of themselves more often than not.  Imagine a secluded space, a darkened cafe or a mountain top, or a secret garden or a dusty library.  There the writer sits, rolling up their sleeves, dipping quill into ink pot and writing the most romantic words of all time, the words that will make the world shiver with delight and quiver with depth of meaning.  There’s writerly advice all over the place suggesting we slow down, take some time and delve into the ‘true spirit of writing’; this pen/pencil/quill in hand idea of what writing really means.  I’ve heard writing compared to meditation, a slow unravelling of self onto the page, a long, deliberate exploration of your inner thoughts.  Does this sound perfect to you?  Do you want to be the hermit writer on the mountaintop slowly penning the perfect prose?

Forget it.  You know what’s boring?  Meditation.  I tried it once and it sucks.  There you are sitting alone in some room or some park when the world is getting shit done.  And please, the idea of writing by hand not only makes my carpel tunnel flare, but it also makes me want to stab my eyes out with pencils.  Who said self exploration has to be slow?  Who said good things take time?  Life is short folks, embrace speed.  Thanks to technology the world is moving faster and faster.  You’re keeping up, so why not your writing?  Forget the notion of slow and deliberate and open yourself up to the creative chaos that is breathless speed, the kind of speed that doesn’t let you pause and think, or ruminate on your success/failure.  The more you think (or over think) the slower you are likely to be because the thoughts and nit picking will slow you down.


Get busy

Schedule other things in your life, fill it up.  The more you have to do, the better because the more you will want to/need to cram into what little time you have left to write.

Also, the act of being out in the world is damn inspiring, walking inspires genius (so does working out – I’m pretty sure physiologically working out is good for your brain).  Taking time to let your mind work away in the background can be the very thing you need.  Don’t shy away from a social life, be inspired by it instead.  The more you force yourself into the writing without breaks or time to think the more clunky your thoughts will become.

Always schedule time to breathe.

Get bored

I bore easily.

As Ben can attest to, I need constant entertainment.

This is probably one of the main reasons I write so fast, because I get bored of my stories.  Not because my stories are boring (at least I hope not) but because there is only so long I like to linger in one spot.

So try getting bored.  Get bored of the word you are struggling with and move on.  Get bored of the sentence and keep going.  Get bored of the chapter, the situation and keep it fresh.  The more bored you are, the less you are likely to hang out with the same ideas forever.  Moving on is the best remedy for boring situations.

Relinquish attachment

I like to move.

I have changed apartments once a year for the past six or seven years.  Each time I move I toss out everything I possibly can (or sell it) and go into the new space fresh.  It’s liberating.  Stuff is just stuff, it means nothing in the grand scheme of things.  This state of mind, this relinquishing of attachment serves me well in writing too.

Words are just words.  They can be tossed out or rearranged like furniture, depending on your needs.  My ability to throw out things, items, objects, that I may have found important once allows me to quickly cull my words.  If a sentence isn’t working, I’ll cut it and start fresh with just the idea.  This allows me not only a certain amount of brevity, but a lack of attachment that I find speeds up my entire process.

Note:  If you have attachment issues and still want to try relinquishing as an experiment, just save drafts so you can go back and linger over your lost words once you are done NaNoWriMo.

Plan, a little

I’ve been running through the opening line for my NaNoWriMo project for the past week.  Just the first line.  The rest is broad strokes, open ended but with a vague idea of where I’m going.
I find a little bit of planning goes a long way, but too much can spoil the fun.  I’m writing a project with my Mother-in-law during the month of November which necessitated more planning than I’m used to.  But I don’t mind.  In my head it seems to be working out.
I don’t want to get stuck.  I don’t want an insurmountable surprise hurdle half way through.

A basic structure is a good idea and knowing the end is key.  Just enough to be ever so slightly bored.  To feel as though the story is slightly written, but still be left with some unexpected moments.

Dream big & positive

Before I even start a book I tend to think big.

I like to think about my potential audience, if I can sell it.  How it will be appreciated.

I don’t write to be famous or make loads of cash and I certainly don’t think anyone should (because good luck with that).  But it’s nice to imagine that some day your work may be read, enjoyed and even awarded, because who doesn’t like to be recognized for their talents and efforts?

I give you full permission to dream big, to imagine your adoring fans and your book/movie deals starring the hottest movie stars you care to imagine.  Because who knows?  And it’s always nice to have a little extra incentive to get writing.

Fuck your word count goals

Keeping track of work count is fun, but it can also be bad.
You have a story to tell, not a word count to achieve.

When Ben and I work out, Ben knows he has to work out for half an hour at least.  He used to watch the clock and as soon as it hit half an hour he would start feeling tired and give up.  So he started turning the clock around and magically he went for longer.

I’m not a psychologist, but I reckon that seeing your daily word count goal achieved will make you more likely to slow down once you’ve hit the mark and that’s just not good enough.

Try re-working the goal in your mind here’s some ideas of new ways to frame it that will probably get more out of you:

• Start writing after breakfast and write until you are genuinely hungry for lunch
• Give yourself a chapter goal – a chapter a day for example (especially good if you have a more concrete story outline)
• Write until you can’t physically write anymore
• Write until the idea is complete

Get competitive

I recently heard someone referring to completing their NaNoWriMo goal as ‘winning’ and I thought: fuck yeah.  I want to win the hell out of this thing.

I’m very competitive though, some people don’t care as much about winning as I do.

But in my heart I believe everyone cares at least a little about winning.  Find that time when you cared about winning something, whether it was the swim meet in grade 3 or the heart of your lover.  Find that and remember that feeling.  The elation, the high of competition.

Then go for the gold.

Win, win, win!

Open the document

This is the first hard part.

This is the one that gets me sometimes.

If you’re afraid to do it, it will never get done.  So just open the damn document and get typing.  I promise it isn’t as bad as you think.

So there you have it.  Some tips from a fast writer.
Have any more?  Let me know below!

P.S. If you actually want to be a writer, don’t use NaNoWriMo as a crutch – read THIS to catch my drift.

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You can’t spell Urban Fantasy without exposition

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I used to think I liked Urban Fantasy, but now I’m not so sure.

I like the concept.  A world of magic and mystery just beneath our own, adventures in the city where mythical creatures come to life and secrets unravel.  It all sounds so exciting in theory.

So I’ve been reading some Urban Fantasy of late, because I thought I had written an Urban Fantasy novel.  A girl hitchiking from Toronto to California, encountering subtle magic and finding the magic in herself, sounds pretty UF right?  Apparently not.  I am missing one important factor in my novel to make it Urban Fantasy it seems, exposition.

Whether it’s Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’, Doyce Testerman’s ‘Hidden Things’ or TV’s ‘Lost Girl’, they all share one important feature, massive amounts of exposition.  I have to admit I had to put down American Gods because it was too obvious for my tastes, I like my magic subtle.  What possessed me to finish Hidden Things I can’t say as it was pretty unbearable, but I did get it from the library which provides a magic motivator for me to get through it as it won’t stick around forever.  In terms of Lost Girl we gave up on it in the second season as we felt they were treating us like morons by explaining every last bit of what was going on.

So what is it about Urban Fantasy that inspires people to hand hold and spell out absolutely everything?  Shouldn’t it be obvious to readers/watchers that magical creatures are coming to life without having to say it aloud?  Do we really need to explain the fundamental magical underpinnings of reality in all its convoluted detail?

It turns out I don’t really like Urban Fantasy all that much, I like Magic Realism.  Although the differences could be debated eternally, to me it’s about the obviousness of the magic and the use of magic as metaphor.  The magic in Urban Fantasy seems to take a front seat, becoming the star of the show, whereas with Magic Realism it becomes a part of the backdrop, an element mixed in to add flavour and metaphorical meaning to the world and the lives of the characters.  The magic in Magic Realism is typically accepted, without need for endless explanation and exposition, it just is.

I don’t want the magic of the universe to slap me in the face, proclaim its awesomeness and try to show me how clever and inventive it is.  I want it to support the cast or characters, add meaning, metaphor and a bit of mystery.  I want to fill in the blanks myself, not have some over-explain-y character do it for me.  I want to use my imagination to create the connections, to do the work.  I believe that sometimes there are things that are better left unsaid.

Another problem with exposition in books where mystery is a strong component is obscurity.  The balance of explanation and obscurity can be hard to strike without just being plain annoying.  For example, in Hidden Things the main character had a ‘guide’ to the world of magic, but there were many things that the guide refused to explain.  So we got part of the story and the rest was written off as ‘something unexplainable’ by the guide.  He obfuscated, confused and tried to act mysterious and because of this it simply came off as annoying.  You can’t have it both ways, you’re either explaining it all or you’re not, but to try and walk the line is just unbelievably obnoxious.

I don’t do exposition.  The magic in my novel just is.  It is only very occasionally remarked upon by the protagonist, but overall it’s just a part of the world, like traffic and streetlights and fresh cut grass.  This leads me to believe that my story is not actually fully Urban Fantasy, but Magic Realism with a hint of UF.  I’m certainly open to other interpretations though.

So at the end of the day I feel like all the exposition in UF ruins the mood for me.  I don’t want to know exactly how and why magic is there, sometimes it’s just enough that it is.  I’d love to read more UF with a Magic Realism slant, but I’m not entirely sure how to look for that.  I don’t want my hand held or some character yapping in my ear telling me about the veil between worlds or the hierarchy of gods, I don’t want all the secrets unravelled for me.

I haven’t read a load of UF, so I certainly can’t comment on every book out there, but there seems to be a growing trend in the things I’ve read and watched that I’d like to veer away from.

Have any suggestions for more Magic Realism based UF?  Think I’m dead wrong about exposition?  Let me know!