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How Magic Magnifies Reality

I’ve always believed a story should be bigger that the author and for me this is how it happens:  Magic can add a whole new dimension of “reality” to an otherwise contemporary story firmly planted in the real.  The First Lie began as a story with psychological elements — as Selkie delved into the traumas of her childhood — but these forays couldn’t have been described as “magic”.  Although Selkie was named after Celtic folklore — after the seal people who peel off their skins and dance in the moonlight in human form — early versions of the story didn’t really borrow very much from the selkie myth — mainly because the author didn’t really know how to do that!  Then I read Haruki Murakami (notably Dance, Dance, Dance and Kafka on the Shore) and I got inspired to dabble in the surreal with surprising results.  Suddenly I was free to explore Selkie’s psyche into the realm of the spirit and amazing connections started happening between the story elements, way beyond what I could have plotted.  For example, the references to Odysseus and the Sirens happened accidentally when I came across a scientific article that linked the Greek myth with the moaning of monk seals.  Suddenly Odysseus and his mast were all over The First Lie, inspiring several bizarre events and taking the story to a whole new level.  This happened again when I started researching Hawaiian mythology — suddenly there were links and cross-links to other mythologies, making for an exhilarating ride.  Roll on the next adventure!