Margin: Exploring Modern Magical Realism

I N   C A S E   Y O U   W E R E   W O N D E R I N G
What is Magical Realism?
s u g g e s t e d   c r i t e r i a

C A N    Y O U    D E F I N E
    M A G I C A L    R E A L I S M ?

MAYBE, MAYBE not. At Margin, we must confess we might be better at defining what it is not, rather than what it is. Therefore, this is what we're after: Manuscripts which explore contemporary definitions of magical realism. Our goal is not to seek a singular definition, but rather to expand upon current notions of the style.

D O    Y O U    H A V E    A    S T O R Y    F O R    U S ?
Ask yourself these questions:

"Is there an event in my story that cannot be explained by universal laws or logic?"

"Will my reader witness a collision of disparate realms in my story?"

"Does my fictional world clearly resemble my own real world? Does it share the same historical and/or cultural realities?"

"Have I allowed certain contradictions and ambiguities to exist in my story?"

"Is there a metamorphosis in my story? Is it treated as something mundane?"

"Do I use imagery, symbols, and/or metaphor to drive the narrative?"

"If the story is in first person, is my narrator a charmed or extra-ordinary storyteller?"

"Does the structure of my story reflect its deeper meaning?"

"Do I employ folklore, mythology and/or ancient systems of belief in my story?"

"Is the realism in my story heightened, even exaggerated or supercharged?"

"Might my story have a subversive message?"

"Do I have elements of both the unreal and reality interwoven into my story? Is the weave seamless?"

"Does my story involve otherwise voiceless characters, abandoned places or rejected ideas? Is my story told from the point of view of The Other?"

"Do I achieve a sense of enchantment without using fantastical devices and creatures -- i.e. crystal balls, dragons, magic spells, elves -- in favor of realistic objects and characters?" (TIP: YOUR STORY WILL GET PAST THE FIRST READING IF YOU MEET THIS GOAL.)

"Does my story illustrate an alternative truth?"

Some of this criteria defines, at least for us, some of the marks of magical realism. Some of it also defines what a good story is. If you can answer YES to many of these questions, then your story is likely a good candidate for submission to Margin.

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