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I've been having a lot of fun this week working on something I've always kind of dreaded having to do in the past, RESEARCH. For me this word brings to mind searching dusty archives in libraries, poring over informational books, talking to strangers, all the while hoping I'm gathering the right information for whatever paper, article, etc. I've been tasked with writing. The talking to strangers part was always my biggest fear. It still kinda is.
But this week I hit a stumbling block in revision work I'm doing on one of my stories. The only way to fix the problem was to do some research. It occurred to me that this time the research I'd be doing didn't involve doing any of the things I normally dread. This research would involve searching the internet, and delving into the best middle grade and adult fiction I could find that involved my two favorite genres, mysteries and fantasy.
Why you may ask was I having to read about and search for these two things? And why the need to look for both adult and middle grade fiction? Well I'll tell you. Because I'm revising a novel for middle grade readers that has magical fantasy elements of a nature I haven't successfully found examples of in this readership. Thus the need to read both adult and middle grade fiction that are both mysteries and fantasies.
The other thing I've been searching for are articles on ways to improve on the magic I've added into my plot to make the overall mystery stronger and more complex. Two things that I've been told I need to work on with this particular manuscript. But something that is hard to do when your story is a little different in the way the magic is used. I've included links to some of my favorite articles on how to work in magic into a story or to build a magical system.
Writing Fantasy:A Short Guide To The Genre
How to Create a Unique Magic System for Your Book
So You Want To: Write an Urban Fantasy
Creating A Magic System
On reading these articles I've decided I need to write a magical guide for my novel and then use that to revise my story and make it stronger. All the while I get to do a lot of one of my favorite things, read and read some more, all in the name of improving my craft. What could be more magical than that? This is the kind of research I can really get into.
Do you enjoy stories that have magical elements? What are some favorite novels you've read (besides Harry Potter) that have been magical and mysterious? Share them in the comments section below.