“Buen Camino!”

“Buen Camino!”

These words offer wishes of good fortune to travelers of the Camino, or ‘The Way,’ – a pilgrimage on the Compostela de Santiago trail that runs from southern France through northern Spain. A friend from my writing critique group recently invited me to trek this 500 mile path with her. I was excited and intrigued at the prospect.

I wondered what it was about the Camino that had me so enthralled. The Camino pilgrimage is a physical challenge, but it is primarily a spiritual journey, one that thousands have traveled since medieval times. Daily hiking compels the traveler to interact with the land and its many ancient sacred sites along the way, as well as to inwardly focus on their own interior soul landscape. The pilgrimage is reminiscent of the Celtic Imram, the name given to the physical voyages and counterpart soul quests of the ancient Celtic peoples of Ireland and Britain. The Camino invitation brought back memories of one of the most important Imrams of my life – my journey to Glastonbury, England. It was a sojourn that eventually fueled the inspiration for my Goddess of the Stars and the Sea novels.

Glastonbury, the ancient isle of Avalon, is the setting in my favorite novel, the classic The Mists of Avalon, penned by Marion Zimmer Bradley. The story tells      the Arthurian Grail legend from the feminine viewpoint of Morgaine, King Arthur’s half sister and priestess of the Goddess. Bradley’s novel has been a best      seller for many years because it touches the collective psyche of our times. Her novel characterizes the re-emergence of the … Continue reading

Billion $ Market for Visionary Fiction?

visionary-foresight-28034198

I write visionary fiction.

Unfortunately, mainstream agents and publishers do not recognize visionary fiction as a genre. In fact, they have dubbed it “the kiss of death” with the flat of their swords.

In the past, visionary fiction was heavy on preaching and light on storytelling, so it deserved temporary banishment to the time-out corner.

But enough is enough. The majority of today’s visionary fiction writers have mastered page-turning plot and in-depth characterization, with the bonus of writing fiction that uplifts and transforms.

There’s a need – no, a yearning – these days for what visionary fiction has to offer.

Need convincing?

Let me introduce you to an organization called GATE (Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment), “an evolving community of creative, business and technical professionals in entertainment, media, and the arts — and the interested public — who realize the vital and expanding role media and entertainment play in creating our lives, and who aspire to consciously transform those domains for the benefit of all.”

Each year, GATE holds a public event for networking between media professionals with transformational values. GATE 2 was held on February 4, 2012 with a standing room only crowd of 2,400 at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills. One of the featured speakers was sociologist and author of Cultural Creatives, Dr. Paul Ray.

In the video below, Dr. Ray presents a convincing argument that transformational entertainment has a billion dollar market just waiting to be tapped.

You are what you read, what you see, and what you hear. Where you put your attention determines … Continue reading

The Puzzle of Visionary Fiction

By Margaret Duarte

Harold_Bennett_9222_Nathanael_BennettThe genre of visionary fiction leaves many people puzzled, even the experts.

Take Hal Zina Bennett, author of more than thirty books, including: Write from the Heart, Writing Spiritual Books, Follow Your Bliss, and Spirit Circle, his own contribution to visionary fiction.

When I asked Hal to define visionary fiction, he said, “I think I have some understanding of spiritual non-fiction, and have written one moderately successful ‘visionary fiction’ novel, but sometimes I’m not sure I really ‘get’ visionary fiction at all. I find powerful spiritual work in books that don’t at all announce themselves that way, for example, in mysteries such as Louise Penny’s The Beautiful Mystery, about the murder of a priest in a remote Canadian monastery. Most mainstream publishers I know are prejudiced against reading anything that calls itself visionary fiction, just certain it’s going to be ‘religious’ and that the author is going to sermonize. Most editors won’t even get to the first page. Whenever I present a new project to an agent or an author, I avoid such labels. My advice to writers of spiritual fiction is just call it fiction. Ten years ago, it looked like the category “spiritual fiction” was gaining traction and was going to be adopted by the publishing industry, thanks mainly to the efforts of Hampton Roads Publishing, but I would not claim that today.”

Okay, I understand that Hal Zina Bennett is primarily an author of spiritual non-fiction, but I won’t let him off the hook that easily. In 2002, he wrote an excellent article about visionary fiction, titled … Continue reading

Guest Post: Setting the Stage: Visionary & Metaphysical Fiction

Karen M. Rider

Genres

Setting the Literary Stage for Visionary & Metaphysical Fiction

Rapid-fire change is ongoing in the publishing industry—and it’s not just in the way books are produced, marketed and distributed. Perhaps like no other period in literary history, writers are experimenting with voice, style and format. Such literary exploration arises from both a writer’s creative urge and in response to market trends. This has led to the emergence of new genres and a shift in the way books are marketed and categorized. On physical and digital bookstore shelves,  we find books grouped as  “alternate historical fiction”, “slipstream” and “paranormal romance.” These categories may arise from official sources (e.g., the Library of Congress), publishers and sometimes from authors and readers. Rarely is there agreement and many books can be placed in more than one category. For example, novelist Alice Hoffman’s book The Story Sisters has Library of Congress designations as Fiction/Psychological fiction/Loss/Mothers & Daughters. The same book has been described as a literary magical realism (for which Hoffman is most widely known) and mystical fiction. (It even popped up under fantasy on my Goodreads profile—and this book is definitely not Fantasy.) M.J. Rose’s series of novels dealing with the quest for tools that can reveal past life memories (The Reincarnationist, The Book of Lost Fragrances) are categorized as suspense right on the cover. On Amazon, these books were once listed under both suspense and occult; now you can find them under metaphysical.

Within a major genre, the waters in which we swim get even murkier. The sub-genres of the speculative fiction market have always … Continue reading

Story vs Message: Striking the Balance

Guest post by Randy Davila

Visionary fiction authors have one of the hardest jobs as writers—to both entertain their readers and to introduce them to new metaphysical topics, which the readers may have never been exposed to before. The most successful authors, of any type of fiction, understand that the first purpose of their book must always be to entertain.

Unfortunately, many times we see visionary fiction authors who feel so powerfully about their message that they let it become the central focus of the story, and drown the reader in metaphors, exercises, theories and unnatural dialogue all in the name of conveying their message. They have forgotten that their readers came to the fiction section of the bookstore to be entertained first and foremost. This is where the fiction author can run into the most difficulty in trying to reconcile their love of the story for the love of the message.

We, as fiction authors, have been told time and time again to “show, don’t tell”—and your metaphysical or spiritual message is no exception to this rule. To keep the reader engaged, you must show them how your character’s negative thinking is drawing negative circumstances into his life; or leave room for the reader to intuit how the character’s dreams about the Divine Feminine correlate to her real life experiences. Showing the reader how these theories work instead of simply telling them that will help them to learn your message gracefully through the story that you are conveying. Remember, the art of great fiction is in what the author doesn’t say rather than what … Continue reading