Friday, July 11, 2014

Why paranormal is so popular

Johnny Worthen, author of the new "Eleanor," is stopping by to talk about why everyone can't get enough of the paranormal:

Paranormal writing reaches for that often overlooked emotion in the human spirit: Wonder. Akin to love and horror, It is a juvenile emotion often lost in adulthood, beaten out by cynicism and experience. But in the best of us, there’s always at least a little spark looking for wonder in the world.

Wonder is the feeling of realizing there’s more to the world than we thought, more than we know and in the paranormal, more even than is known. A touch of magick in any setting creates a cascade of possibility and excitement. This too is in your world. How will you adjust to it? What else might be there?

That’s what Paranormal does that other genres don’t do. Whereas a person might levitate in a science fiction story with the aid of technology, if it’s done in a paranormal setting, it’s a whole different event. It’s a new nature that the world must respond to in a different way. It rattles us in a way that open ended technological progress doesn’t.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, 
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. 
- Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

Wonder. It is a powerful emotional tool but like a strong spice, a little goes a long way. If there’s too much magick in a story, it’s not wonderful, it’s reality. There’s a place for that but when miracles are commonplace, they cease being miracles.

In ELEANOR, THE UNSEEN for example, I go to great pains to create a realistic setting, with honest modern characters and places. Then into that, I drop a single paranormal thing - a Skinwalker – and allow the world to react to that. How the characters respond – fear or wonder, hostility or acceptance is the crucible that tests them.

Moreover, I chose to frame the miraculous in my story as realistically as possible. I created costs for it, recognizing (though taking some liberties with) the laws of conservation of mass and energy. This was meant to slide my paranormal out of the realm of the supernatural and into the real of possible biological. 

Eleanor’s wonderful power is balanced by terrible costs – the pain, always pain, change is pain. It’s work to do it, requires planning and time. Vulnerability. All this creates a metaphor for the story; change and acceptance, appearances versus reality, the terrible necessity of change and the desire to blend in.

Eleanor, shy, unassuming Eleanor is in fact wonderful, more wonderful than anyone can imagine. When the wonder is revealed does it mean she’s different or the world is bigger than anyone thought? Who must change?

How to get the book:


Heeere's Johnny!

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