A couple years ago I was watching The Prestige:
As you’ll notice if you watch that trailer one of the ideas behind the movie is that every magic trick has three parts:
- The Pledge — “The magician shows you something ordinary. But, of course, it probably isn’t.”
- The Turn — “The magician makes this ordinary something do something extraordinary.”
- The Prestige — “This is the part with the twists and turns. Where lives hang in the balance and you see something shocking that you’ve never seen before.”
Not only did I really enjoy the movie, I loved this idea of the Pledge, the Turn and the Prestige. So much so that I really wanted to write a trilogy of books with those titles. Unfortunately there were two really big problems with that.
First, I Googled and asked around (I’m lucky enough to be acquainted with a talented amateur magician) and as it turns out the movie made those terms up. That meant I wouldn’t feel comfortable using them as titles in the same way I would if they were actual magician-y vernacular.
Second, turns out there are only twenty-four hours in a day so I really didn’t have time to write anything ‘magical’.
Luckily for me I have skills other than writing and I know a lot of talented writers.
So I approached some of them and asked each of them to write me three inter-connected romance novellas. The only rules were:
- They had to be connected to one another
- They had to be novella-length
- They had to be romance
- They had to involve magic in some way
In the end three awesome paranormal writers joined in — Sara Dobie Bauer, Em Shotwell and Wendy Sparrow.
It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride to get to this point but I can’t imagine better people to have taken this journey with and I’m super excited about our final product — the Enchanted series. Three books — Magic Spark, Magic Ember and Magic Flame.
But, funny thing…
You know that story about how the director of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” asked Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint to write an essay about their characters and the results showed amusing parallels between the actors and their characters?
Well, about that…
I’m not in any way suggesting parallels between the authors and their characters… but I do think that their approaches to this collection are funny and indicative of something 🙂
Wendy Sparrow sent me three paranormal romance stories that followed all the rules to the letter. They were connected (each includes a different pair of demigods who need to hook up in order to not die, and characters from one story frequently make appearances in the other stories). They were novella-length (in fact, I think they were each exactly the same number of chapters O_o). They were very obviously romance, and they all involved magic in the form of demigod characters with innate magical powers.
Sara Dobie Bauer bent the rule about sending me three novella-length stories by sending me three novella-length portions of a larger serialized story. But each novella-length portion had an arc and the overall story was amazeballs so how could I say no? Besides, she nailed the other rules — being three separate parts of one whole the stories couldn’t possibly be any more connected, the story was 100% a romance and there was loads of magic. We’re talking about magical destiny, artifacts, a war (complete with a spell battle in the streets!). I mean… So, yeah, I was totally good with bending that rule 😉
Em Shotwell… oh, Em. Em nailed three of the rules. Her stories were all connected — each one focused on a different one of the three Murphey sisters. They were all novella-length, and they all involved magic (in this case the sisters were cursed witches whose spell-casting skills aren’t awesome). But throughout the editing process Em and I had a couple conversations which began, “Um… you know this is a romance, right?” Some of her characters are downright unlikable, some of their choices made me grit my teeth and I may have even sent her an email or two that said, “Dude, you can’t do that in a romance.”
But actually she did. And it worked. So what do I know?