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Posts Tagged ‘The Garden Shop’

The third eye, the eye that sees into the mind of another or into the future or past, is often needed when writing a speculative fiction story.

In Science Fiction, it’s common for diverse cultures and alien beings to cross paths. But how do they communicate? A version of the Star Trek universal translator can be employed. I used a translation device in my SF short story, “Pawprints of the Margay.” But that technology isn’t always available in the storyline.

Another SF communication option is to have one or more of the characters able to read minds or sense feelings. An empath (think Star Trek Next Generation’s Troi), a mind-reader, even Spock’s Vulcan mind-meld will all do. The ability to see into another’s thoughts can be a trait of one of the races included in the tale, or a special talent of a select character or group. The singing opossum in my story, “Assassins,” seems to know what is going on in the mind of the central character, Flynn. In this case, the reader is never certain whether an animal third eye is being used, since the point-of-view of the tale doesn’t include the opossum.

In Fantasy, the universal translator is replaced by a wisewoman or wizard character who understands multiple languages (and quite often has special third eye abilities, too). JRR Tolkien’s wizard, Gandalf, and The Lord of the Rings’ elf queen, Galadriel, are examples.  In my story published in UK’s Ethereal Tales, “The Garden Shop,” the main character has the ability to speak and understand the language of plants — certainly an uncommon linguistic talent, but one necessary for this tale.

Sometimes in Fantasy (and SF) there is a Rosetta Stone that serves as a translation device. At other times, a “common” language (or tongue) that all races understand is present. But most often, one or more of the characters has third eye abilities.

In the new anthology from Dark Quest Books, Dragon’s Lure, the dragon in my story, “Weathermaker,” can both send and receive communication by thought. The young woman at the center of the short, May, speaks out-loud. She soon realizes the dragon must be talking to her in mind-speak as well as in an audible voice.

The Residential Aliens anthology, When the Morning Stars Sing, includes my fantasy short, “Blood of the Swan.” Liv, the swan-maiden at the center of this tale has foreknowledge of the arrival of Jorund, the man who comes to ask for her help as a healer. Liv not only has foresight, but also the ability to read some of what is in a person’s mind or heart. And that special ability is intrical to the plot.

Whether called an empath, psychic, mind-melder, thought-reader, swan-maiden, wizard, or dragon — it’s common to find a character with a third eye in speculative fiction. Just take a look at your favorite SF/F tales, and you’ll see what I mean.

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 Ethereal Tales, a print magazine from the UK, has one of my fantasy short-stories in their newest issue. The version you can now read (if you order a copy of Ethereal Tales Issue Seven) feels finished — but that wasn’t always the case.

The story, “The Garden Shop,” has gone through numerous revisions. It began as a 600-word tale, which I expanded to nearly 3,000 words. Later, I edited the story down to the core 1,000 words. Though the protagonist was always “Katie,” her character, physical appearance, and “otherness” has changed several times.

The plants in the shop have had the same names since the first draft (they’re their real botanical or common names), but their personalities and actions have varied. The intruder who disrupts this Eden was always male, but his motivation and behavior have also undergone numerous changes.

Four, five, six… I’ve lost count how many drafts of “The Garden Shop” have been saved on my computer. But I never gave up on the tale. I knew the central idea had merit, and my knowledge of plants would add authenticity to the story. And I knew if I kept going back to “The Garden Shop” every so often, I’d produce a publishable piece of fiction.

My message to writers: Revise till you get it right. Your persistance will eventually pay off.

My message to readers: The finished story you read in a magazine is often the result of many hours of writing and rewriting. But authors are willing to put the time into their fiction to deliver you an enjoyable tale!

 Want to know more about Ethereal Taleshttp://www.etherealtales.co.uk/  If you look at the Sneeky Peeks for Issue Seven, you can read the beginning of “The Garden Shop.” But be warned, as cheerfully as this tale begins, it has a rather dark magical ending!

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