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so i have an idea for a story, that i'm working on - perhaps a book for all ages, so i don't have to extend the first draft length beyond my stamina's limits. my other projects, i aimed for full length novel length, but i think if i can make my book more accessible to younger ages instead of just the grown ups, i will not have to have as much copy (although i'm aware that it also means i will need to put more care into choice of words.)

the basic idea is: following the story of a child's growth, but as she grows up, the town grows up and the magic (for lack of a better word, more on this later) starts to go away: we follow the grown-up version's narration as she recounts the events, hoping to come to peace with that process. (the idea of a narrator recalling events that ended without a complete happy ending, is partially borrowed from my recent re-reading of "The Little Prince".)

the town begins as something resembling a village, secluded from the 'modern' world and at peace with itself; the gradual transformation of the village from a community into a destination, starting with a railroad arriving at the town, eventually causes the community to lose itself in the new attention. (the town is based on Hallstatt, a village in Austria, and the process is partially drawn from its tourism problem.) the 'magic' system in my story, while it does cause abilities, is more built around enlightenment than power, but it gets lost in the shuffle of the town's transformation, as well as the kid's changing life around him as he grows up.

these changes help reflect the more fundamental change from a benevolent community to an impersonal society, which as a thematic motif is meant for a more thoughtful, perhaps grown-up reader, while the sense of wonder in the early scenes and the narrator's eventual coming to terms  in the later one, are meant to help extend the appeal to all ages. (again, based on reception of "The Little Prince" from kids and adults alike.)

does this suggest any other works you read? what did you appreciate of dislike about it? in addition, if you had anything to contribute or suggest or want me to elaborate on, let me know.


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The basic idea reminded me immediately of "Cien Años de Soledad", by Gabriel García Márquez. It's a pretty well known work, so I wouldn't be surprised at all if you have read it already. In case you haven't:

The story takes place in a small fictional town called Macondo, in an indeterminate region of South America. In general terms the plot tells the tale of the Buendía Family, which is seemingly cursed due to their incestuous practices. The book falls into the genre of Magic Realism. Many strange occurrences happen from the beginning to the end, but in parallelism to the idea you have in mind, the magic starts to dwindle as the small town begins to grow and receive attention from the exterior, specially from a certain infamous US Banana company, which in part was to blame for the downfall of Macondo. You follow the story of 6 or 7 generations of Buendia, which suffer from solitude one way or another, sometimes due to unrequited/impossible love, sometimes due to frustrated dreams, sometimes due how they can't keep up with how Macondo has changed, among others.

In comparison to your story, this plot doesn't focus on a single character, but a whole family, so I imagine it'd be much easier for you to develop your main character successfully. Just a little detail, but in your introduction you start mentioning your main character as a "she", but later you say the "kid's changing life around him as he grows up." It might have been just a distraction, but if it happened because you're unsure about the gender I believe that's the first time you ought to decide.

I'm attracted to the idea of Magic as Enlightenment. Am I right in thinking that you want to create a metaphor about how enlightenment is lost the more the worldliness of society prevails? Is there as system you want to implement? Can people amass Magic/Enlightenment to become elevated, similarly to a Tibetan monk of sorts? Can people levitate or fly like the Dalai Lama? 

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Posted (edited)

ive actually never read gabriel garcia marquez, and didnt recognize the name until i plugged it into google translate and 'oh, it's 100 years of solitude'. but i might want to give it a look considering this. as for my story, the town isn't completely grounded down my the change - it prospers economically and in other conventional 'societal' measures of success - but it's not recognizable to the MC/narrator as her community, the town she knew, and this has almost grounded down the MC by the time (chronologically) that the narration begins. 

yes, i misdid the gender pronouns on the original post. the main character is a female (i'm not, so i thought i'td get me out of comfort zone and question my own assumptions) and im sorry for that - i make slips like that sometimes.

the 'metaphor' i'm aiming for with the idea of 'magic' as based in understanding rather than power: the idea is not to be a screed against progress (which i'm trying to avoid), but to challenge conventional wisdom about the nature of what makes living in society worthwhile - not economic or social, etc. but what is decent one person to another.  instead of progress VS tradition, the 'thematic conflict' (or 'dissonance'?) is the upholding of decency/dignity VS indifference (not hostility) to it. but i need to be careful to not screw that up, but i don't know how good i am at that carefulness.

i hope this clears things up? anything else you'd like to say?


Edited by cr47t
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The main question that comes to mind from is how real the magic is, and how much of it could be interpreted as a fantasy from the child's eyes. While I understand how the changes in the magic would reflect the community's friendliness and hospitality, I think your goal and the events of the story are at odds. For example, you mention that you don't want to write a story against progress, but I do think that "challenging conventional wisdom" makes me think that you should focus on how the people in this village would adapt to the changes in their society, beyond more than your main character.

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