Finding magic

Alex Aitken
Sep 27, 2016 · 3 min read

The magic

As a writer, it’s my job to find magic in the small corners that no one looks at, to make the unremarkable remarkable. I know that sounds cliche, and it is. When I write, I like to think of everyday situations and how I can make them readable or different. That is especially so with my short stories. With these pieces of writing, I like to take a slice of life and only show what is needed. You don’t need to introduce fantasy or magic to make a story magical to the reader.

The fantasy

Obviously, when it comes to the book I’m writing, I’ve thrown all of that logic above out the door. I’m writing a fantasy young-adult novel. Magic, demons, witches, and wizards rule my book. I do believe, though, that the magic from the book won’t come from the physical magic that is described but from the character’s fears, ambitions, and actions. So, how do you take something so ordinary as a feeling or an action and make it magical and exciting?

The emotions

How do you show emotions without “telling”? That is one thing that played on my mind while I was writing my first novel. Because my novel is written in third-person perspective, I couldn’t just look into the mind of my characters and spill out their thoughts. Well, I could, but that’d just be lazy writing, and no one would like to read a monologue of someone else’s life. So, I thought to myself, how can I show this? A lot of good authors have books telling you what you should do. But every author is different. I thought I could show the emotions by giving a few hints of how the characters might be feeling. Such as, maybe a character scratches on their thumb when they’re nervous. I believe readers will pick up on the subtle clues throughout the books you write and know when your character is nervous, or happy. They should know your character without “knowing” exactly what she’s thinking.

The scenery

We all like to get transported into different worlds and the various countries. That’s why we read books. They let us escape from our life for a few fleeting moments and let us explore someone else’s. The scenery is relevant to a book; maybe birds fly differently in your land. Maybe there are no birds, and the world has gone to crap? Who knows? Maybe the trees have grown so big over the years that you can no longer see the sky. We like to be taken away and lose our minds for a few minutes. At least, I know I do as a reader, and that’s the true magic of books.

Magic is everywhere

Magic is not just the abnormal or the paranormal. Magic is the brushing of your teeth or the necklace that your character found in a drain. Magic is the friendship between an old lady and her nurse who helps her every day. Magic is your characters and the emotion they bring with them. If you can change one person’s perspective with your writing, then you’re an author, and you’ve found something wondrous. I hope to continue reading for a long time yet and continue experiencing the magic of others, who like me, write.

Originally published at on September 27, 2016.

Alex Aitken

Written by

Writer and engineer @ Careem //

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