All creative pursuits are part talent, part skill, and large part magic. What do I mean by “magic”? That’s simple, it’s the piece of you, your energy, your spark, that you imbue your creation with. Without that little bit of your own energy embedded in your creative work, it won’t have a voice, or at least not a very loud voice.
For instance, I attended a photography display at a local college recently. One of the assignments was to take an image of a sun rise. Seems simple enough, doesn’t it? Well, evidently two of the people found a similar location in a local park and decided to photograph it.
Both captured the image perfectly, framing the rising sun through the rose-covered arched trellis; however, only one of the images had a voice. Only one of the images made you feel as if you were there, standing on the dew-damp grass with the ground-hugging mist encircling your feet and shins. You could smell the rose-scented air, feel the warmth of the struggling sun beams as they climbed over the horizon, and hear the twitter of the morning birds greeting the new day. The other photo was a nice image, but it was silent.
The difference was felt, not just by me, but by most everyone who looked at the two photos side-by-side. Most tried, but couldn’t understand how two such similar images failed to invoke the same type of feelings. My hypothesis, one photographer pushed the energy of their feelings for the scene into the image they created, while the other photographer merely completed the assignment—they took a photo of the sun rising.
So, while one photographer captured an image using talent, skill and magic; the other photographer, forewent the magic and the project fell flat.
Books, paintings, sculptures, stitchery, knitting, any and all creative endeavors need that spark of magic, that little piece of energy from their creator in order to be more than just another object. When you write a story, you have to make those characters live. You have to put enough of yourself, your energy, into the characters and the world you have created for them so that other people can see what you wrote. That world has to form around the readers the moment they open the book, and those characters have to leap from the page and perform their actions with the reader in their midst.
To the readers and viewers (of visual art) it may seem like nothing short of magic. But if they can become involved in the worlds and characters that you have created, they can then add their own spark to it and make it that much more alive. The more energy that gets added to a creative endeavor, the more alive and ‘real’ it becomes. The Harry Potter series is an excellent example of magic feeding on magic. JK Rowling imbued her creations with so much energy, everyone could ‘see’ and experience her world. The readers then added their own spark by becoming so involved in the story that the characters became even more ‘real’, the possibility of that world actually existing became ‘real’. The whole idea grew into something magical, because she used all three ingredients.
When I wrote my book, “The Starstone,” I left a large part of me in the story. Danaria was a real world (to me), the characters were real (to me), and I was always concerned about their welfare. I saw the world, I conversed with the characters, and I struggled with their dilemmas right alongside them.
Hopefully, I left behind enough of my energy, my magic, to speak to others; to call them, to entice them to visit Danaria and see what adventures my characters could show them.