The Practice of Alchemy

            Alchemists attempted to purify, mature and create certain substances that were believed to grant certain powers. Changing lessor metals into more valuable ones, such as the magical transformation of base metals into gold was one of the more popular experiments. They also worked to create elixirs to alleviate illnesses and maladies, find the secret to longevity.

            Because alchemists worked in secrecy and guarded their research, they were often thought to be working magic through the use of mythology and religious beliefs. They recorded findings in cryptic languages that needed a code to decipher. As researchers explore the roots and history of alchemy, they have begun to tie together those ancient beliefs with the foundation of modern day science and theology.

            Your task is to imagine a world in which alchemy plays an important role. Perhaps your protagonist is the alchemist, working hard in a secret location to be the first to discover the elixir for everlasting life. What does she do? Where is her secret place? Who does she share her ideas with and why with only those individuals.

            Maybe your protagonist is the adventurer who is searching for the lost histories of alchemists. Where does she go? Who does she rely on in her search? What happens to her along the way?

            Enrich your story with details that add depth to the world. Use dialogue to reveal interpersonal relationships and narration to move the plot along. Change pace. Slow things down when danger is arising and speed things up when your character is fleeing.

            Have fun with this one.

Leap of Faith

How much can a reader tolerate in terms of stretching what is logical? This is something that all writers must consider, but often the extreme boundaries of that leap of faith are determined by the genre.

For example, in fantasy we expect unimaginable things to happen. We yearn for magic, magical beings, unusual occurrences, strange environments. If these elements are missing, then the story might lack tension.

Contemporary fiction, and even historical fiction, needs to be grounded in reality of readers will not believe the story.

What happens when reality is so extreme that it seems impossible? Readers must take a leap of faith.

Your task is to write a story that pushes the bounds of reality, but that remains believable.

Have fun with this one.