The Visionary Benefit in Fiction: From C.S. Lewis to Me

I would like to honor one of my favorite writers, Mr. Clive Staples Lewis, briefly showing how his intuitive genius made him a famous exemplar through works closely related to the “visionary fiction” genre. C.S. Lewis is the author of the well-known Chronicles of Narnia series, as well as a less known but most inspiring to me, Screwtape Letters, among many other works.

In his Narnia novel, C.S. Lewis uses his main characters to parallel the central players within Christian theology. For example, the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe represents the non-fictional concepts (in Lewis’ mind) of Jesus Christ, Satan, and the Supernatural aspect of the real world, respectively—making the plot of his story “universal in its worldview and scope.” One need not be a Christian to find edification in this work of Lewis’ because Jesus Christ can be universally interpreted as the moral hero generally, Satan can be seen as forces of moral challenge, and in regards to the supernatural aspect of the universe, no additional translation is needed for a fan of the visionary fiction genre.

The work of Lewis which most inspires my own experiment with visionary fiction, however, is his Screwtape Letters. In this book he uses the instrument of letters to convey in dramatic, engaging and most entertaining form, elements of Christian spirituality. Set as letters written between Screwtape, the experienced devil, and Wormwood, his nephew apprentice, he manages to exquisitely draw out and paint a most colorful and at times hilarious picture of the spiritual person’s struggles, temptations, and moments. Communications between an experienced devil and his apprentice via letters was a most creative “metaphysical plot device” on his part.

Because I was so inspired … Continue reading

Soul Writing with Janet Conner

What makes writers happy, besides working on their craft, of course, is connecting with other writers to delve into the unknown and explore one another’s minds for fresh ideas.

Add to that a team of experts and inspirational speakers and you kick up the happiness factor a notch or two.

You can imagine my reaction when in 2011, I read about Plug in for Writers, a twenty-week, eleven class tele-series inspired and led by Janet Conner, author of Writing Down Your Soul.

Janet, a nonfiction writer I had “friended” on Facebook, posted a notice about her Plug-In series on my news feed. I followed the link to her website and saw that her course was due to start in February.

Wouldn’t it be awesome to participate? I thought and then moved on to other things. Little did I know that I would end up taking the course (thanks to a scholarship from Janet) and thereby step into the “Intersection, where new and powerful spiritual practices merge with craft.”

Janet Conner

After taking Janet’s course, I sensed a deep connection between what Janet called “soul writing” and visionary fiction, though pinpointing exactly how they connected wasn’t easy to clarify or put into words.

The best way to accomplish this, I decided, was to ask Janet to join me at the VFA, where I would ask her about ways for writers to activate their inner wisdom and recognize the miraculous power of words, as she so beautifully puts it in Writing Down Your Soul and in her Plug In for Writers Course.

I am … Continue reading

Setting the Stage: Visionary & Metaphysical Fiction – guest post by Karen Rider

Editor’s Note: Karen Rider’s insightful article was originally published in January, 2013 on our VFA blog site. We thought the discussion it catalyzed was worth having it reposted. We invite you to enjoy and comment!

 

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 … Continue reading

Once Upon a Time – A Visionary Fiction Perspective

I first started watching Once Upon a Time with my daughters this year.  The visionary fantasy story was created for television by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. It focuses on a young boy, Henry, who believes that his book of fairytales is based on real-life events.
The setting is Storybrooke, Maine where Henry’s foster mother, Regina, is the town’s mayor. In actuality, she is the Evil Queen.  She spends most of her time plotting revenge against Snow White, who inadvertently blurted out a secret that led to her lover’s death.  Unable to kill Snow White, Regina casts a spell that transports all the fairytale characters from the Enchanted Forest to Storybrooke, each without memories of their previous lives. The story takes off when Henry’s birth mother, Emma, arrives in Storybrooke.  Henry reveals to Emma that she is the long awaited Savior who must help the residents remember who they are and  liberate them from Regina’s control. He also discloses that Snow White and Prince Charming are her parents.

Villains and Heroes

What makes OUAT stand out as visionary fiction is the character arcs.  As there are many characters in this story, the focus of this article will be on the three leads that personify the symbolic archetypes of darkness and light.  The two main villains, Rumpelstiltskin and Regina are three-dimensional, which helps make them sympathetic to the viewer. Through their backstories, we are shown that evil isn’t born but rather created out of circumstances along with the choices that stem from those circumstances.  Regina turns to the dark side after the murder of her lover.  Rumpelstiltskin’s weakness and inability to care for his son leads him to enter the world … Continue reading

Our Visionary Responsibility – Gordon Keirle-Smith

We are living at a crucial moment in the advancement of humanity. Everything is in flux. Materialism and reliance upon ever more sophisticated technology has reached unprecedented extremes, while in parallel a new yearning for purpose and a path to attainment is swiftly gaining ground.

Visual and literary visionary creators have a key role to play at this time. For by our very nature, we instinctively see beyond the apparent veil that separates our “material” reality from the infinite realities in which we move and have our being.

As visionaries, we cannot – and must not – ignore the growing rapprochement between the latest developments in quantum physics and the enlightenment sought by mystics.

The implications of the common ground between these two disciplines allow us to put forward the following Visionary Writers’ credo:

  • QUANTUM META-PHYSICS tells us that REALITY is an ILLUSION.
  • EXISTENCE plays out on limitless numbers of parallel TIMELINES.
  • VISIONARY insight empowers us to alter the makeup of our single NOW.
  • In turn, WORLDVIEWS shift and we gain greater control over DESTINY.
  • Our PURPOSE is to SHARE these visions by forging PARALLEL REALITIES.
  • To trigger varying degrees of KNOWING among our AUDIENCES.
  • Thus contributing to RAISING AWARENESS and ushering in the NEW PARADIGM.

All of this means that we, as visionary writers, have a particular responsibility in these transitional times. We are writers with a mission and can make a very real contribution to heightening collective consciousness wherever our works may “happen” to be read or heard.

Shaping our own destiny

Since we all share this huge responsibility, we must also learn how to “jump” the timelines and steer ourselves into the parallel universe where our visions are able to fulfil … Continue reading

Build Your Own Author Website Header

I can’t begin to tell you how many frustrating hours, days, and months I worked to create the website header for my original author website. I went as far as to purchase a program called Photo Shop Elements 10 and then spent months learning how to use the program in order to come up with an image that worked for me.

For one thing, it’s hard to find images that are not protected by copyright. For another, size matters. Stretching images to fit the required header dimensions often distorts them. Cropping doesn’t always work either. And then comes the issue of fonts and font placement.

Don’t get me started.

Since then I discovered a website called Canva (Thanks, Jane Friedman) that saved the day when it came to creating the website banner for my Book-Snapper theme.

And that’s what I want to share with you today.

Assuming that you’ve purchased and installed Book-Snapper (or an equivalent) author theme for your website, let’s get started.

First, go to the Appearance menu on the vertical panel below the Dashboard to your Book-Snapper author website. On the pop-out that appears, click Theme Options. There you will see a screen that looks like this:

Book-Snapper Theme Options

From there click Banner. Under the Banner image, notice that it says “Enter your 960px x 400px banner image here. Yikes! That’s one big banner.

No problem. Let’s head to Canva.

Once there, create a free account and log in.

In the right upper corner under your account name and profile, you’ll see “Use Custom Dimensions” in small letters.

Click on it and two boxes will pop up for width and height. Enter … Continue reading

Story versus Message by Randy Davila

Shortly after the launch of the Visionary Fiction Alliance in 2012, Randy Davila, president of Hierophant Publishing and Hampton Roads Publishing Company, wrote a post for visionary fiction writers that remains relevant today. Therefore, I’m resubmitting it as our first post for 2017.

Randy Davila The Gnostic MysteryFirst purpose of fiction

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 … Continue reading

Build Your Own Author Website—Step 11: Theme Installation

In Build Your Own Author Website–Step 5Book-Snapper Author Theme Installation, I showed you how to check the WordPress Theme Directory for free author themes via your Administration Panel  Dashboard>Appearance>Themes.

In Build Your Own Author Website–Step 9 and Build Your Own Author Website–Step 10, I introduced you to the Book-Snapper author theme.

Now, it’s time to execute the theme installation of your choice.

Did the word “execute” get your attention? Good, because with this step, you start claiming your website as your own.

For demonstration purposes, I’ll assume that you purchased the Book-Snapper author theme (at half price for $18.95). If you purchased a different WordPress theme, the setup steps will differ from what I’ll be sharing with you here, so feel free to skip this post and head on to another or follow along to see what parts may apply to you.

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