apocathary's Workshop: Magic Realism

9 min read

Deviation Actions

Writers-Workshop's avatar


apocathary's Workshop: Magic Realism, Murakami-style

This workshop is now CLOSED. All entries are at the end of this journals. As always, we encourage you to critique each other, and those of you who did not participate should try offering critique as well, to be involved if not anything else. :)

This time we received only 8 entries, and we think we know why: this workshop was quite challenging. But don't be fazed! Part of writing is just digging in, finding comfort in your own style in a strange, new world.

apocathary will be responding to the entries on February 17. He says that he does not mind receiving more entries. You can route these through us and we'll make sure he gets them. That way you can get some personal attention from a very talented writer.

Cheers, all! :)


February 2, 2008

apocathary bites his fingers 'til they bleed, worries occasionally over his simian line, and has too many veins to be healthy on the backs of his hands.

apocathary was a guest prose editor for Soundzine's latest issue; Soundzine is an online journal for the spoken word. His two prose DDs, Toilet Paper and Hermes the Pig, are worth a read or two, we guarantee.

He has a prose challenge for us:


Haruki Murakami is a contemporary Japanese literary fiction writer (see wiki en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haruki_M…) who has been praised for his quirky, often amusing, and sometimes deeply insightful, social commentary. One way in which he infuses his books with modern themes while retaining the magic realism bent is to include iconic commercial characters within the normal, everyday environment world. In this way, we see, for example, Colonel Sanders and Johnnie Walker engaging the protagonist in Kafka On The Shore.

The Workshop:
The aim of this workshop is for participants to write a story containing such a modern iconic character. However, doing so successfully isn't something I'd call trivial. It's a complex kind of thing to pull off. To put you in the right frame of mind for trying to accomplish such a task, here's a couple of guidelines to chew over:

There must be a point to including the character:
By this I mean that you can't just have the icon coming in, saying a few words and exiting stage left. Their presence has to have some central importance to the plot line.

It doesn't have to make sense:
By this I mean that the icon doesn't have to operate within the normal bounds of reality. Let your mind wander free as to what their mode of presence in the story is going to be. In Kafka on the Shore, Colonel Sanders is a virtual construct who pimps out a prostitute to one of the main characters. The icon's entrance doesn't have to be through the front door, so to speak.

The characters can be your creation:
Using Kafka as an example once again, Johnnie Walker wasn't a bourbon-swilling tycoon, and Colonel Sanders wasn't all about the spices. In fact, Johnnie murdered cats, and Sanders was a pimp. Their behaviour is not limited to what they are portrayed as in our world. However, that doesn't mean you can just write a story with any old characters and then swap the name for an icon. Their being an icon needs to bring out something in their poersonality. It needs to make a statement that compliments their actions.

That's the best kind of advice I can come up with. Ultimately it's up to you how you include the icon in your story, but if you try and keep those points in mind, I think it will turn out a lot more successfully.

How to Submit

After submitting your entry as a new deviation or scrap, send us a note with a link to your poem. Include the subject line "MAGIC REALISM" in your note. The deadline is midnight February 13, 2008. All times are set for GMT. apocathary will respond to the entries on February 17, 2008.

A note from Writers-Workshop: Please note that this is a prose workshop, meaning that we will only submit prose entries. Proofread your work before you send it in so that grammatical and spelling errors are minimal. Research as much as possible; if you're already read magic realist fiction, work that to your advantage. And most of all, have fun with it! :)

:postit: On Accepting Critique

:bulletblue: Always thank the critic. This gratitude must be as sincere as possible, even if you did not like the critique given, because the critic has taken time to offer his/her opinion of the piece.
:bulletblue: If you do not like the critique, it is not necessary to mention so. Simply thank the critic and move on. You can always ignore their suggestions, while not making a scene of it.
:bulletblue: If you are unsure of what the critique means, feel free to ask the critic what s/he meant. Building rapport with your critic is one of the best ways to survive in a workshop and to learn. If you want examples, ask. Similarly, if you like the suggestions given, mention it. Critic's have feelings too. :)
:bulletblue: In the unlikely case that a critic offers rude/sexist/racist/etc comments, feel free to contact Writers-Workshop in a note and we will try to help you. A decision regarding the rudeness of the critique will be taken, and if we're not sure ourselves, we will consult with one of the GDs or anyone else high up on deviantART.

:postit: Want to make us a stamp?

We're looking for a stamp, folks! We might even have a prize for the one we like the best. Your support, in whatever form, will be appreciated. :)

:+fav: our news article.


February 13, 2008

Entries (in reverse alphabetical order of deviant's username)

Lovestory by neurotype-on-discord
The magic of Mario and the chess park at 5pm by livingtoxic
Broadcase From Neptune 1 by kittyfantastic24
Alarm Clock by inspiredimperfection
The Borgory Nine by fense
Chuck by EvenAfterTwelve
Peep and Marry by Bunnygirle26
Call Me Ted by batousaijin

CSS by Freesong
© 2008 - 2024 Writers-Workshop
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
fense's avatar
Good luck everyone!