[Write On Wednesday] Magical Realism

This prompt was inspired by Amy Silverberg’s story Suburbia! which you can find in The Best American Short Stories 2018

Monsters 32 - Version 2

The Prompt

Write a story with some magical realism in it


  • Magical Realism is a type of writing in which much of the story is realistic, but there are magical or fabulist (fable-like) elements. Real world rules need not apply to everything. (In such a story, if someone is wrestling with jealousy, a literal green-eyed monster might turn up and chat with them, without explanation. Just there, in coffeeshop, not causing a commotion…)
  • If you’re new to this/uncomfortable with it, start your story the way you would normally start it. Let it grow and see what possibilities open up.
  • The point of this exercise is to stretch yourself; to play with different forms and see what dimensions might be added to your storytelling. The beauty of short fiction is that it doesn’t have to follow the same rules as a novel. 
  • As you write, pay attention to the theme that is emerging and the metaphors you’re using. Can you take one of those metaphors to absurd lengths? For example, if someone has a metaphorical black cloud hanging over them, could it be a literal black cloud that follows them around? If it’s raining cats & dogs, could it literally rain cats & dogs? Perhaps your main character is lonely and adopts one of the precipitated kitties? (And if you’re wondering why all my metaphors have weather in them, I’m sorry, I’m British.)
  • If you normally write fantasy, experiment today with writing a realistic story, and then see where you could introduce just a hint of fantasy, that ties in with the themes of your story. Or perhaps you could invent a new genre: reverse magical realism, where your fantasy has an element/character that is restricted to the physics of our world!

If you share you story somewhere (and here’s why you might not want to) post a link here so we can come and read it.

Did you write today? How did you get on? Who did you write about? Leave a comment!

3 thoughts on “[Write On Wednesday] Magical Realism”

  1. Always a refreshing look at things here. Thanks, Julie. I’ve played around in the past with a genre I call magical memoir. I often take credit for inventing it.

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