Reality V. Paranormal

In fiction, I’ve often danced along the fuzzy line between REALITY & Paranormal phenomena. The Candy’s Monsters series plays with the lines—both sharp and fuzzy—between reality and magical/paranormal versions of real life. Is the cute neighbor who only goes out at night, doesn’t seem to have a reflection, and hasn’t aged in decades, really a vampire? Does his peculiar presence in an East Village walk-up apartment mean that the supernatural creatures of myth and fantasy exist? That’s one of my favorite games to play in fiction.

In my life, I tend toward pragmatism. If the paranormal, supernatural or otherwise magical explanation furthers the agenda of a story it works. If it bogs the character down in unnecessary nonsense or irrational plot twists, than it’s better to chuck the magic in favor of real life.

This brings me to a story I’ve been playing with about an unlikely and, largely, unwilling psychic alternately doubting and relying on her unique talents. Does she really have the ability to communicate with the dead? Can she really read minds? Are her dreams prophetic?

And if none of her psychic talents are real, what set of unlikely coincidences could create the appearance of reality? As a reader, do you like magical intrusions or do you want characters to reflect the struggles of real life?