The Truth Is Out There

June 23, 2009 at 8:00 am (Marcia Colette) (, )

A few weeks back, my friend Magaly Guerrero wrote a great blog about Paganism in fiction and asked the question whether or not this was a good idea and why.  Personally, I think it’s a great idea because it opens up her world to those who may not know about her beliefs and/or encourage people to research what Paganism is truly about while dispelling many rumors. 

During an Heart of Carolina meeting where I was a co-panelist with the very cool Jenna Black, I had read my original pitch as an example of what to do when you’re sitting in front of an editor or agent.  She wanted (like any interested agent or editor) more about my werecheetah world.  I told her I had done a lot of research about cheetahs and tried to incorporate as much as I could into my world building.

What all this boils down to is how much reality do you like in your fiction?  A lot or a little? 

For me, I like it when an author gets as close to reality as possible.  While I may not know much about dragons, if the story is good enough, it’ll make me curious about their history and any other legends that might be associated with them.  Had it not been for a dragon book that I really liked, I might not have cared. 

In STRIPPED, I had incorporated a few Pagan beliefs to fulfill part of the plot.  However, I was careful to take only tiny liberties here and there without going overboard.  In the end, I want readers to think that my witchy world is real and not something from a horror movie.  After all, we know how believable everything is on the big screen right?  *eye roll*  That’s probably why, as Magaly said in her blog, many “believe that Paganism is something otherworldly, unnatural and often scary.”  I’d feel really bad if readers got that type of impression from reading my book.  The last thing I want to do is slander some else’s beliefs for the sake of making a buck.  In fact, I’m hoping it’ll make readers seek out the truth for themselves and make up their own minds based on fact.  Not fiction.

So how much reality do you like in your fiction?  A little or a lot and why?


  1. Edie said,

    I think when it comes to paranormal, anything goes. You make up the rules. If you stick to the rules, I’ll buy your shifters and vamps and merpeople. And religions, including Paganism, are all over the place, so I’ll buy that, too. But once you put a real animal in it, a cheetah, you do have to be true to the cheetah — unless you give a good reason why not. (Hey, I’m easy. lol)

    I buy a book planning to suspend disbelief and immerse myself in the book’s fictional world. I want to be swept away from my reality. If you tell it well, I’ll believe you.

  2. Beth C. said,

    a Happy balance? I don’t know that I can answer because I think it depends on the style and genre you write. Say for a comedy or satirical piece….making a lot of stuff up might be fun. But then in a science fiction piece…readers really expect you to know your science.

    I think I like paranormal because it’s a balancing act of both. You can do the research and select the things that work for your story and still make stuff up. (Okay I really like the make stuff up aspect but know some sort of reality has to intrude)

  3. Estella said,

    You write it, I’ll believe it. Why? Because it’s fiction. I can immerse myself in the world you build and suspend belief until the book is finished.

  4. Magaly said,

    I love reading “real” fiction. I think that when a writing takes a concept or a thing that really exists and is means something to certain readers–like a belief system–the writer loses those readers. I’m saying that from experience and from watching the behavior of reader friends.

    I really like what Beth C. said, things work so much better when a writer “do the research and select the thing that work” for their story. You can dress things up and make something that already exist super fantastic, which gets people excited–okay me–because you are reading about something you ‘king of’ know, but you have no idea how much or what new thing you’ll find out in the next page.

    I can’t wait to get my hands on STRIPPED! I like my paranormal fiction, and just thinking about reading a bit of well researched Paganism in it fills me with a new kind of expectations. And trust me, I won’t be the only one.

  5. Andycea said,

    I think anything is believable in a paranormal world as long as you use extensive research of your subject matter, truth and add fantasy or paranormal elements to make your world believable. As long as you do not go overboard and offend the belief of others, such as in Paganism.

  6. Crazy About ACCURATE Paganism In Fiction! « The Pagan and the Pen said,

    […] start by sharing my reaction to paranormal author Marcia Colette’s “The Truth Is Out There”, a post where she suggested that Paganism in fiction might “encourage people to research what […]

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