All of the stories I’ve been working with include slabs of what could be colloquially called, make believe. Mythic creatures, ghosts and aliens all appear in different guises in what I’ve been writing over the years. Indeed, the books, films and TV shows I’ve enjoyed the most have included all of these things.
The delights of the fantastical have always been compelling to me. I’ll readily admit that the real world is a marvelously complex and intoxicating place but my imagination always wanted to run around beyond the limits of the real. I wanted to colour outside of the lines when I created the stories.
And so I did. All the bright colours from the existence we all share on this beautiful little planet were just not quite colourful enough. I chased after the even more vivid.
But when I started to scribble my dreams down I realised quickly that, in most people eyes, I was just talking nonsense. Heading back to the mystic creatures, ghosts and aliens, I was clear on the fact that all of the ideas I had needed to have some element of truth tacked to them otherwise they just wouldn’t be believable. In The Circle of Fire, I had this enormous story of Dragons and magic but by setting the story in South Wales, in the here and now, I was able to give the whole thing a tangible sense of scale.
In all of the tales which deal in the make believe, they all start out by making the rules they work with clear. By setting stories in the ‘real’ world the reader is granted a lens to hold up and view the events. The scale is set so there comes a stronger logistical understanding of what means what. Variations in physics, biology or chemistry can be addressed quickly allowing the reader to understand when something happens which is out of the ordinary.
What I also targeted was history.
There are any number of fables and legends in every country around the world which are very well known. They’re so well known in some cases that they become viewed as an almost unofficial history of the land. I looked into the details of a Dragon fable from the UK and incorporated that into the mythology of my characters. My aim was to take something very well known / true and use the strength of that ‘truth’ to build upon. My story could then take on the shared aroma of believability and understanding.
The believability of any story is reliant on the author being able to show that the world being created takes itself seriously and is bound by a consistent set of rules. Things start to go wonky when a character suddenly does something which should be impossible. Add to that that you could be reading about any kind of whimsical strangeness and the reader has lost the anchor they need to hold them to what they’re reading.
So, yes. I was truthful in what I was saying when I wrote about Dragons and magic.