Reality Grounds Our Fantasy

In the book, Madeleine L’Engle: Herself, Ms. L’Engle talks about writing fantasy with this recommendation:

“Before you take your flights of fantasy, before you explain what a tesseract is, you have to make the reader comfortable in something homely, as the English use the word homely, which is more homey than homely.”

So, as you begin to construct the world of your own unique art, how can you make your reader or viewer comfortable? How can you ground them in reality?

Pick something so normal that you take it fully for granted. Something you’d usually ignore except for this exercise. Is it patting the dog on the head before you leave for work? Maybe the cup of tea you drink after dinner.

Once you have it in your mind, delve in and write (or draw or dance or act) the scene. Describe the thing, the moment, your actions. Show us what is happening. Give us the benefit of your experience and the concrete reality of the thing.

With your completed piece, ask yourself how you can use this sort of reality to pull people into the world you’re creating.

FYI – If you want to be inspired, pick up a copy of Madeleine L’Engle Herself: Reflections on a Writing Life compiled by Carole F. Chase. These short pieces will pick you up and make you want to make art in the best way you possibly can.