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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Create With Mystery

Create With Mystery

“On the contrary, the world where this Joy happens is as full of darkness as our own world, and that is why when it happens it is as poignant as grief and can bring tears to our eyes.” Frederick Buechner

Seeds of mystery by even minor characters can add an extra layer of atmosphere to the overall story world you are building. Sometimes the mini-sequences can pack a strong emotional jolt just because they are a brief close-up.

There is an excellent example in the novel The Crystal Scepter by C.S. Lakin. Every year, to a combination of disgust and fear by the inhabitants, the trolls visit the poor fishing village that Perth lives in. This year however, Perth finds he must face them and hopes to stave off their rage long enough to retrieve a stolen item.

Perth finds that everything horrid about them matches his information. Yet on the other hand they wore “shreds of clothing in a hodgepodge fashion,” and one wore dozens of necklaces. They spoke his language, much to his astonishment. And their conversation became stranger and stranger.

Perth stood listening in disbelief. Carrying on about tea and crumpets? These trolls were odder than he ever imagined. ‘I could get you some clotted cream,’ he offered without thinking.”

When the truth about the trolls comes to light, it brings tears as to what happened to them; admiration for their determination to hold on to their heart truths, and a recognition that light can exist even in the darkest moments. And touches of laughter as they wrestled with the good and evil battle they were forced to face.

For Perth, their brief encounter became another stepping-stone forward to decisions he needed to make and strength to face his own battle with darkness.

Journal Prompt:

Buechner also says that “Good and evil meet and do battle in the fairy tale world much as they meet and do battle in our world, but in fairy tales the good live happily ever after.”

How can this concept be applied to the genre you are working it. What have you read that would fit this description?

Share: The story where this works.

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