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What Is Magical Realism And How Do You Write One?

Magical realism is a literary genre that fuses fantasy with realism. It is a subgenre of literature that draws on themes and elements from folklore, mythology, and cultural histories to depict the everyday world through the eyes of ordinary people.

It is a style that can be found in stories written worldwide, but its most notable writers originated from Latin America. Writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende, among others, became known for their use of magical realism in their work.


Origins of the genre

The genre’s origins are difficult to pinpoint, but most historians credit the genre to South and Central American cultures. In the 20th century, a number of authors began using magical realism to critique society and its ills.

What type of writing is it?

This type of writing is also highly political and often grapples with issues such as colonialism, fascism, and slavery. Authors such as Jonathan Safran Foer and Patricia Schonstein have used the genre to explore these issues in their works.

How to Write Magical Realism?

Whether you’re writing a novel or screenplay, it is vital to understand how to write magical realism. It is a great way to make your story unique and captivating, but it can also be hard to achieve if you’re not careful.

Pay attention to the details

Creating a strong magical realist story requires careful attention to detail and a deep understanding of the characters you are creating. It is also important to have a clear and concise theme that you want to portray within your work. This will help ensure your audience can connect with your characters and their supernatural occurrences.

Should have believable characters

A realism that is too over the top or simply a cheap trick can make your story feel unsatisfying to watch, and it can lose its power. The key is to ensure that the characters of your work are believable and that their supernatural occurrences are well-connected with their inner lives.

Contain different elements

The underlying structure of a work of magical realism is incredibly complex and difficult to pin down. It can include elements such as a family curse, an insomnia plague, prophecy and ghosts, time displacement, and more. This is a compelling genre that can be applied to many different types of works.

magical realism

Highlight the character’s shortcomings

It can also be a great way to highlight a character’s shortcomings, which can be exciting to include in your story. Adding this dimension to the character can add an extra level of depth and complexity to your story.

One of the most famous examples of the genre is Laura Esquivel’s novel Like Water for Chocolate, which tells the tale of a woman who is kept from happiness by her mother and is forced to rely on her magic powers to keep her alive. Throughout the novel, she encounters an array of supernatural occurrences that change her life forever.

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