Visionary Fiction discussion

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the genre of visionary fiction

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message 1: by Jodine (new)

Jodine Turner (goodreadscomjodineturner) | 91 comments I have just posted a four part blog on the genre of visionary fiction which I originally published in 'Writer's Journal' http://www.visionaryfiction.blogspot.com

I'd love to hear what you think!
thanks!


Carry on the Flame: Destiny's Call


message 2: by D.E. (last edited Feb 07, 2012 06:54PM) (new)

D.E. (delamont) | 17 comments The Way of the Eagle: An Early California Journey of Awakening Hi - I am brand new to this group. I am the author of a historical novella which recently placed as a Finalist in Visionary Fiction in the USA Best Books 2011. I know the genre of visionary fiction is broad, and I look forward to finding new novels in this category. My own book is about the spiritual awakening of a Tongva Native American brave; the Tongva are the little-known original peoples of the Los Angeles area who were nearly obliterated during the 18th and 19th centuries. I look forward to getting to know the members of this group better through your posts! I also invite you to check out my blog at http://blog.thewayoftheeagle.com


message 3: by Marlene (new)

Marlene | 2 comments Hi Jodine
I read your posts about visionary fiction and liked it very much. It is so hard to determine what exactly visionary fiction is, but I think the one sentence you wrote sums it up best: visionary fiction speaks the language of the soul!
I really like that sentence, because I think it is not only about the story and using metaphysical or spiritual events in it. Actually it is possible that they are not there in the first place, but what you feel when you read it, this vibration that comes through the writing that tell you, here is something you have to look deeper. Something that wants to be discovered. Soul language is not a 'loud' language. It is subtle and often hidden. It requires us to look behind the actual words.


message 4: by Jodine (new)

Jodine Turner (goodreadscomjodineturner) | 91 comments Hi Marlene,
Good to meet you!
I liked your comment about soul language not being a loud language. I agree. When I write visionary fiction, one of my goals is to embed the story with soul 'gems' - practices, insights, meditations, expanded awareness - and not have it come across as if I'm sitting on a soap box or proseletyzing. The deeper meanings are, as you so aptly pointed out, subtle. In this way, a reader can go on their own journey of initiation via what the characters undergo.


message 5: by Marlene (new)

Marlene | 2 comments "In this way, a reader can go on their own journey of initiation via what the characters undergo." - so true Jodine. This is storytelling in its essence. In the old times the storytellers have always been the keeper of wisdom.


message 6: by Jodine (new)

Jodine Turner (goodreadscomjodineturner) | 91 comments Yes! Like the Celtic Bards.


message 7: by Saleena (new)

Saleena Karim | 86 comments Hi Jodine (and all),

I've been looking at various sub-genres of speculative fiction but never actually thought I'd find a visionary fiction group! Jodine, I read your posts and it's interesting really that you mention the meshing of visionary with fantasy. In my case, my visionary fiction is meshed in sci-fi, but I've had to classify the book as pure sci-fi on the market. I've found that books with metaphysics-type themes are very tricky to define in genre.


message 8: by Jodine (new)

Jodine Turner (goodreadscomjodineturner) | 91 comments Hello Saleena!
Yes, visionary fiction is difficult to categorize with the traditional genres offered on bookshelves, isn't it? I love that you blend it with sci-fi. Thinking about it, I don't think it would matter what other genre it is blended with. If it has a metaphysical/spiritual/expanded awareness component, then it can be classified as visionary fiction. If it offers readers an opportunity to read a well crafted story embedded with wisdom/spiritual gems in an engrossing manner, then it is visionary fiction.

And readers do love this (thinking of Dan Millman's 'Way of the Peaceful Warrior' novel made into a movie as one example). I think the publishing industry is catching on. Readers certainly are!


message 9: by Saleena (new)

Saleena Karim | 86 comments Oh yes, readers are certainly more open than are publishers. I don't know if publishers are catching on or not. A lot of people I know are rather skeptical about the state of traditional publishing at the moment! :)

I agree completely that it doesn't matter what genre visionary fiction is blended with. At the end of the day, 'visionary' is less about genre than it is about the spirit or idealism of a story. I just wish there was an easier way - from a marketing perspective - to help readers identify that a novel contains the visionary component. I recall finding a site some ago that was trying to bring all visionary fiction into one place. Can't recall the url now, but if I find it again, I'll post it here.


message 10: by Jodine (new)

Jodine Turner (goodreadscomjodineturner) | 91 comments I know what you mean! It has sometimes been disheartening trying to place my visionary fiction novels in a recognizable category for readers - and also for marketing. That was one of the reasons I published an article in a writer's magazine, wrote blog posts about the genre, and named my blog site 'visionary fiction'. My small way of expanding awareness.

I have seen some websites about visionary fiction, but none that I found looked active. I'd be interested in taking a look at the one you found, Saleena, if you remember the URL.

In the meantime, I'd love to brainstorm ways to get visionary fiction more recognized!

p.s. just purchased your book on Kindle, Saleena, and look forward to reading it!


message 11: by Saleena (new)

Saleena Karim | 86 comments I'm honoured you bought it, Jodine! Hope you like it. Actually, I've got your book Carry on the Flame on my to-read list. I don't get a chance to read nearly enough as I would like lately, but yours is next on my list.

I looked for that website again and found it at the top of the Google result for 'visionary fiction'. :)

http://www.visionaryfiction.org/

I don't think the site is still active, but it's still worth a look. I'm guessing you must have already seen it.

Funny thing is, there are novels out there under the 'metaphysical', 'philosophical' and 'spiritual' labels, but no umbrella term - at least, not formally. 'Visionary' would do nicely. :)


message 12: by Jodine (new)

Jodine Turner (goodreadscomjodineturner) | 91 comments Saleena,

thanks so much for posting the URL - yes, I have seen the site. Michael Gurian has some really good descriptions of visionary fiction. I quoted him in my article http://bit.ly/y95eVR

I agree that the categories of metaphysical or spiritual could fall under an umbrella category like visionary fiction. Those terms are more limiting, and don't really describe what I believe visionary fiction does - telling stories to catalyze and inform our archetypal yearnings. This is an ancient art of storytelling and is why the images evoked by novels and subsequent films like 'Lord of the Rings' speak to that deep universal knowing within all of us.

It would be wonderful to gather visionary fiction writers, and with our collective energy, form our own website, or article, or....whatever we can do to increase awareness!


message 13: by Saleena (last edited Mar 07, 2012 01:03PM) (new)

Saleena Karim | 86 comments Hi again Jodine,

I agree that we need some sort of 'hub' for this kind of fiction. One obvious way would be for visionary fiction authors to form web-rings. I still feel that books of this nature are scattered - which of course is largely down to the fact that we have to place them under broader genres of sci-fi and fantasy. I'm going to give this some serious thought.


message 14: by Shannan (new)

Shannan Sinclair (shannansinclair) | 3 comments I agree with you Saleena!

Books of Visionary nature are very scattered. The categorizing system for book publishing makes it difficult. In order to be "discoverable" by readers I had to label my book, Dream Walker, in a way that they could find it. It doesn't fit in traditional or paranormal science fiction, although that is where I ended up putting it.

Visionary fiction is just not an idea that the masses recognize yet. Even speculative fiction is put into the sci fi genre. When I talk about my book I describe it as Quantum Fiction, and then explain what that means.

Like Jodine said, increasing awareness would be very helpful to me as a writer.

Interesting idea, the web-ring. Or if there are book blog that specializes in Visionary Fiction, that would be wonderful. If we wanted to create a 'collective', and have a blog or website to increase awareness, I would absolutely be willing to contribute!


message 15: by Jodine (new)

Jodine Turner (goodreadscomjodineturner) | 91 comments Hi Shannan, (and Marlene and Saleena)
I am loving seeing visionary fiction authors participate in the enthusiasm to increase awareness of our genre. Seems we all had difficulty placing our books in a traditional category. Mine ended up in YA urban fantasy...although I don't think there's anything 'fantasy' about some of the more metaphysical themes I incorporated into my novel, but, aaahh, well.

Yes, a central blog would be fantastic. My blog is called http://www.visionaryfiction.blogspot.com But I think we would need one for all of us; devoted to this genre and the authors who love to write it. Any ideas or practical suggestions? (I'm not sure what a web-ring is???!)


message 16: by Saleena (last edited Mar 10, 2012 09:07AM) (new)

Saleena Karim | 86 comments Hi Shannan (nice to meet you!) & Jodine,

First, to answer your question Jodine, a web-ring is a word for a page or menu of links to similar websites. Each site on the list has a reciprocal link to the others. It's good for SEO. Actually, the term was used more in the early 2000s than it is now. Blog rolls fall into the same category.

So to get the ball rolling, we could link up to each other's blogs. I'm happy to link to both of you, if you're game. I would suggest creating a side menu especially for visionary fiction authors - a 'visionary ring', if you will. We could also guest post at each other's blogs to raise awareness. What do you think? A blog created especially for this fiction could be created as well.

Shannon: I love your coined phrase 'Quantum fiction' (do tell us how you came up with it). Funny you should mention the paranormal sub-genre. That was one sub-genre I didn't think to use as a tag for my novel, and yet just yesterday that's exactly the word one of my readers used to describe it. Clearly, I'm never going to get it right! :)


message 17: by Shannan (new)

Shannan Sinclair (shannansinclair) | 3 comments I would be happy to add a sidebar item regarding Visionary Fiction with links to other authors. Post your website address and I will add you. I think I will have a sublink for good visionary fiction books and one for authors.

My website is http://www.shannansinclair.com
I think I'll do a blog post about it too, and I will mention the 2 of you in it with links.

Oh! And I came up with Quantum Fiction because the story uses quantum mecanic/string theory as backbdrop for my characters abilities. Rather than using 'metaphysical', whish people equate with new age religion or spirituality a la Carlos Casteneda.


message 18: by Saleena (last edited Mar 10, 2012 01:49PM) (new)

Saleena Karim | 86 comments Thanks Shannan! I'll do a blog post too in the next couple of days and mention you and Jodine. I'll go an add a sidebar at my blog now.

My url (to my visionary novel) is http://www.libredux.com

Yes, I agree 'metaphysics' implies either new age or mysticism. Your novel sounds very interesting indeed - slipping into sci-fi. I briefly visited your site earlier today, and will definitely check out your novel properly after I read Jodine's. :)

EDIT: Done! (But still a work in progress). I've added your websites under your author names. Jodine, I've linked to your site http://www.jodineturner.com/ but if you'd rather I linked to your blog, let me know.


message 19: by Jodine (last edited Mar 10, 2012 02:08PM) (new)

Jodine Turner (goodreadscomjodineturner) | 91 comments Saleena and Shannan,

I will also add your sites to my blog. (are you interested, too, Marlene?) My blog URL is http://www.visionaryfiction.blogspot.com and my website is http://www.jodineturner.com

Shall we talk about more guest blog posts? One possible idea - we all write a short post on the 'relevance of Visionary fiction today', or some such related topic, and have all our contributions on each of our blogs?

Saleena, I'm just getting into your novel and enjoying! I'm loving how you so gracefully integrate the paranormal into the story. You mentioned you will be reading mine...to let you know that (in tribute to International Women's day), my Book One Carry on the Flame: Destiny's Call is free on Kindle for the next five days. On March 15, Carry on the Flame:Ultimate Magic Book Two will download for free for 5 days - this way you can get both free for a short while. Hope that helps!

I'm off to happily peruse your websites!


message 20: by Saleena (last edited Mar 10, 2012 02:34PM) (new)

Saleena Karim | 86 comments Oh, thanks so much for the heads-up, Jodine! So kind of you to let me know. I've just picked up Book One from the Kindle store. I'm looking forward to reading it - and Book Two!

(And, thanks for the early feedback on my novel. :) )

Now, blog posts. I like the topic suggestion and will get to work on my contribution as soon as I can. We'll have to figure out a date though. I'm writing an article for a newspaper to a deadline at the mo', and have other distractions in the way as well. So after 15 March (shall we say end of next week?) would be best for me.


message 21: by Jodine (new)

Jodine Turner (goodreadscomjodineturner) | 91 comments How about making it easy on ourselves time-wise and aim for March 20th - it's the Spring Equinox, the time for new beginnings. Perfect as our start to increasing awareness for Visionary fiction!

Shannan, I just downloaded your novel, 'Dream Walker', and it is next on my list!


message 22: by Saleena (new)

Saleena Karim | 86 comments 20 March sounds great for me, thanks Jodine - if it's okay with Shannan too.


message 23: by Shannan (last edited Mar 10, 2012 02:39PM) (new)

Shannan Sinclair (shannansinclair) | 3 comments I am very excited about this discussion and the cross promotion of visionary fiction on our respective sites. My email address is shannansinclair@att.net. If and when you do posts on the topic I will be glad to repost them on my site as well. Just send me the text in an email! My widget is up at my site, linking back to yours Jodine and Seleena. If there are other visionary fiction writers who join this thread and want a link feel free to drop me a line.

Off to check out your books now!


message 24: by Saleena (new)

Saleena Karim | 86 comments Thanks Shannan - will do. I should be writing an intro tomorrow at my blog. It would have been today, but I'm choc-a-bloc with work right now!


message 25: by Saleena (last edited Mar 12, 2012 02:13PM) (new)

Saleena Karim | 86 comments Done!

http://www.libredux.com/blog/2012/03/...

I've also mentioned our intent to write about the relevance of Visionary fiction today.


message 26: by Jodine (new)

Jodine Turner (goodreadscomjodineturner) | 91 comments loved your blog post, Saleena. I've shared it on Twitter and my Facebook author page as a start on my end for our 'project'!

I ditto Saleena and Shannon's invitation for other visionary fiction authors to participate in our first joint mega blog post project about the relevance of visionary fiction today.

Shall we email each other our blog articles when they're ready? Here's my email jodine@jodineturner.com


message 27: by Saleena (last edited Mar 13, 2012 04:55AM) (new)

Saleena Karim | 86 comments Thanks Jodine! :) Shannan, I've seen your reproduction of my post at your blog just a few minutes ago - thanks! - and went back to mine to add 'quantum and string theory'. ;)

My email, so you both have it, is: hydro[at]cyberblurb[dot]co[dot]uk

I'll ensure my thoughts on the 'relevance of visionary fiction today' reaches you both by email before I post at my blog. Looking forward to the post exchange!

It'll be good if we can also manage guest posts say once a month to include tips on writing, research, and promoting - all with visionary fiction in mind, of course.


message 28: by Sandy (new)

Sandy (sandynathan) | 5 comments Hi, everyone! Boy, do I feel like I arrived late at the party. I just searched for "best blogs for visionary fiction." This group was right at the top. I love it that you are forming a community for writers of visionary fiction. I have been searching for one.

The writers of chic lit and romance and all the other genres support each other like crazy on-line. I've found it harder to find a community in visionary fiction. Maybe that's because there aren't thousands of us. Maybe we're more solitary because the material we're dealing with requires introspection and spiritual awareness. We're dealing with the the deep stuff: the psyche and archetypes, Jungian material, as well as material of other traditions.

As several of you have said, visionary fiction is hard to put on a shelf. My editor told me that technically my writing is fantasy. Any time there's a monster or paranormal powers, the writing becomes fantasy. But it doesn't go with fairies and dragons. And it's sort of sci-fi, but not rigidly tied to science. And all of it has a transcendent quality. Arghhhh!

I'm very interested in being part of a web ring. I'm going to have to come back to that, as I'm exhausted, just having gotten my entry for the 2012 IPPYs (Independent Press Awards) ready to go out Monday. It was touch and go, getting the book in print and here.

Lady Grace is the second book of my Tales from Earth's End Series, http://talesfromearthsend.com Lots videos, pictures, and stuff about the 3 books in the series on that site. Lady Grace isn't on Amazon yet.

The first book of the series, The Angel & the Brown-Eyed Boy won the Gold Medal in Visionary Fiction at the IPPYs in 2011. The Angel also won the Visionary Fiction category in the 2011 Indie Excellence Awards, and was a Winner in the New Age Fiction Category of the Best Books of 2011 (USA Book News) contest, as well as being a finalist in Fantasy/SciFi. The Angel had a very good year.

I'll check back in when I'm not bleary-eyed and get everyone's blog addresses and emails.

I also need to figure out where to put links to your sites. That takes a little thought. I've also got a blog for writers http://yourshelflife dot com. It's about all writing, not just visionary fiction. (I can take a look at your article on visionary fiction and post them there.) Here's my website, which is in the process of being overhauled: http://sandynathan dot com

I recently found this terrific blog, http://fictionforanewage.com/author/p... P.J. Swanwick is doing what we've been talking about. She's on FB, Twitter and all the rest. She's trying to create a community, too.

Glad to have found you!


message 29: by Jodine (new)

Jodine Turner (goodreadscomjodineturner) | 91 comments Sandy!
Welcome, it is really wonderful to meet you and have you on board for an eventual participation in our web-ring! Terrific. It is amazing to meet other visionary fiction authors - we really get each other in a way other genre authors don't - I think it's because we start at ground zero to define what we write.

Let us know when you're rested and you're ready to hop on board with participating in blogs. We're still defining what and how, but we have things moving and are in the middle of exchanging guest blogs about the place of visionary fiction in today's world.

I understand about being bleary eyes with sending novels off to contests. Good for you on your many wins, warm congratulations! I, too, sent off a lot this year and had success with USA Books, San Francisco Writer's, Pacific Northwest Writers contests...and my small press publisher, TAG, was obtained through their writing contest award. It truly is a great way to put your book out there.

many blessings and hope to keep in touch,
Jodine


message 30: by Michael (new)

Michael Sussman | 30 comments Hello All,

I'm very excited to discover this group and am eager to join the ring.

My YA novel, Crashing Eden, will be released any week now as a paperback and e-book by Solstice Publishing.

The novel is categorized as urban fantasy, and I didn't realize I'd written visionary fiction until I came across you folks!

In the story, I imagine what it would be like if teenagers were able to tune into Edenic consciousness, allowing them to feel at one with the universe. (I also imagine how the God of the Old Testament might react to their crashing the Gates of Eden.)


message 31: by Jodine (new)

Jodine Turner (goodreadscomjodineturner) | 91 comments (I also imagine how the God of the Old Testament might react to their crashing the Gates of Eden.) Love that! :)

Welcome, Michael! My novels got classified as YA/Adult urban fantasy by my publisher, also. As you know, on Amazon, you can find the genre of your books down toward the end of the book page. There are two categories you can list it under. You can keep urban fantasy as one category, then go to author central for your author page and send a message to Amazon to also list it under visionary fiction. You can email me if you want me to go into more detail on exactly how to do that jodine at jodine turner dot com

I'm so happy you want to join our visionary Fiction Web Ring! You can check out Saleena Karim's and Shannan Sinclair's website and blog URL's noted in the above posts. They're really, really good. Mine is http://www.jodineturner.com and http://www.visionaryfiction.blogspot.com

So there are two ways to participate in the Web Ring presently. If you have a blog, you can add Visionary Fiction Author or Web Ring on a side bar and list our names and a link to our websites and we will do the same by adding yours. Then if you would like, I invite you to write a blog post about the Place of Visionary Fiction in today's World. I have an magazine article on Visionary Fiction that I also posted to my blog if you'd like to read it http://visionaryfiction.blogspot.com/...

Lots of info...if you have questions or ideas on how we can further our Web Ring, I'd love to hear what you have to say!

warmly,
Jodine


message 32: by Jodine (new)

Jodine Turner (goodreadscomjodineturner) | 91 comments So, we have now manifested the first fruits of the Visionary Fiction Web Ring! You can read Saleena Karim's guest post on "The Place of Visionary Fiction in Today's World" on my blog at:
http://visionaryfiction.blogspot.com/...

and you can see my blog guest post on the same topic at Shannan Sinclair's blog: http://www.shannansinclair.com/blog/t...

Shannan's guest blog will be posted on Saleena's blog soon.

Any visionary fiction author who would like to contribute, simply let us know!

May our Visionary Fiction Web Ring increase awareness and appreciation of the genre!

~Jodine


message 33: by Michael (new)

Michael Sussman | 30 comments Thanks, Jodine.

I'll work on a blog post regarding visionary fiction.

I'm also trying to add everyone's name to my home page, but am new to WordPress and don't know how to add a new heading to my sidebar.

Can anyone help?


message 34: by Saleena (last edited Mar 25, 2012 02:03PM) (new)

Saleena Karim | 86 comments lol! Michael, I was just writing an email to you and in that message I was going to suggest you pop over here, and then discovered you've beaten me to it. So, scrap my email!

To help you with the Wordpress, in the dashboard, go to "appearance", then "widgets". From the list of little widgets, find the one that says "text (arbitary text of HTML)" and drag it over to the right-hand side of the screen (i.e. the sidebar). Once that "text" widget appears there, you can add the links using simple HTML coding - but if you don't know HTML, let me know and I'll set out the code here. Meanwhile, I'm off to add you at my blog and will post a link to your upcoming blog post as/when you post it.

And welcome, Sandy! You're not late at all. Thanks for the link to that blog. Spiritual fiction certainly falls under visionary. Looking forward to adding you as well whenever you're ready.


message 35: by Michael (new)

Michael Sussman | 30 comments Thanks, Saleena!
Yes, could you please post the code.


message 36: by Saleena (last edited Mar 26, 2012 06:26AM) (new)

Saleena Karim | 86 comments Okay, this is the code taken straight of my own blog as an example, for your own site. Because Goodreads post system keeps changing my code into links I've had to add a period (.) before each parts of the code i.e. <.p> and <.a href>. So when you create your links, remove the period. So ...

<.p><.a href="http://www.michaelsussmanbooks.com/" target="_blank"> Michael Sussman

To explain:

Text between <.p> and (without the period!) will put your link on its own line
After is where you need to put the full address of the link you want to add
... and then, before the
you put the author's name.

Your list, as it grows would look something like this:

<.p><.a href="http://www.shannansinclair.com" target="_blank"> Shannon Sinclair
<.p><.a href="http://www.jodineturner.com/" target="_blank"> Jodine Turner
<.p><.a href="http://www.michaelsussmanbooks.com/" target="_blank"> Michael Sussman

... minus the periods in <.p> and <.a href>.

And finally: If you don't want links to open in a new window, remove the code that says: target="blank"

Hope that all makes sense. It'd be clearer without those periods. Can't be helped. Sorry.


message 37: by Michael (new)

Michael Sussman | 30 comments Thanks for the tutorial, Saleena. It worked!


message 38: by Michael (new)

Michael Sussman | 30 comments Okay, I've added Shannon, Jodine, Saleena, and Sandy. Has anyone else expressed interest?


message 39: by Jodine (new)

Jodine Turner (goodreadscomjodineturner) | 91 comments Michael and Sandy,

I have happily added you to my Visionary Fiction Web Ring on my blog!


message 40: by Saleena (new)

Saleena Karim | 86 comments You're welcome Michael.

Ah, I'd missed Sandy's url (thanks for the reminder, Jodine!). I'm adding it now too.


message 41: by Michael (new)

Michael Sussman | 30 comments Okay, I just posted an update on my blog about VF.
Take a look:
http://www.michaelsussmanbooks.com/


message 42: by Michael (new)

Michael Sussman | 30 comments Do any of you use the Absolute Write Water Cooler?

I posted there this morning regarding VF:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/s...


message 43: by PJ (new)

PJ Swanwick (pjswanwick) | 24 comments Michael wrote: "Okay, I just posted an update on my blog about VF.
Take a look:
http://www.michaelsussmanbooks.com/"


This a great post, Michael. I am constantly struggling to identify and review good novels at http://FictionForANewAge.com. Visionary? Spiritual (but not religious)? Metaphysical? New Age? Inspirational? This is my opinion only, but I can't settle on the "right" category.

I have purchased a number of “visionary” novels, only to find out that they are more science fiction and fantasy. “spiritual” has religious overtones. “Metaphysical” seems to esoteric and confusing. “New age”? Too hippy-dippy.

I don’t prefer the label “new age,” and each week my opinion changes on what we should actually call our work. I hoped that the name of my site, “Fiction For A New Age,” would better express the kind of spiritually agonostic/visionary/metaphysical work we’re trying to promote, but that doesn’t translate very well into a tag. I wish the publishing industry would better define the plethora of categories and tags that are currently being used! It would immediately boost sales if readers could trust that they were purchasing the novel that they truly want to read.

Question for all authors and readers: What genre do you look for online and in stores? What category has been most useful in helping you find the novels you’re looking for?


message 44: by PJ (new)

PJ Swanwick (pjswanwick) | 24 comments Michael, your distinction makes sense to me. Perhaps it comes down to theme. What is the essential idea you want readers to take away from your book? Another question to ask may be, Does your plot support the theme, or does the theme support the plot? For something that falls more into the sci-fi/paranormal category, perhaps evolution will (or already has) develop the capacity of our brains such that we can do extraordinary things. If these new abilities support the hero in reaching their goal, then the theme supports the plot. If the reader puts down the book with a sense that they have learned something they can apply to their own lives, then plot supports theme. So theme supporting plot would be visionary, and plot supporting theme would be what--new age? spiritual? metaphysical? Does that make sense?


message 45: by Saleena (new)

Saleena Karim | 86 comments Hi, PJ. I just answered your question (in your prior post) over at Michael's blog.

Your idea of plot supporting theme (and vice versa) to set visionary fiction apart is intriguing! :) Personally I like to think that if the reader takes something from the book that they can actually apply in reality, then that truly is in line with the word 'visionary' - in the technical sense of passing on and realising an ideal. So for me at least, it doesn't necessarily matter which way round it works.


message 46: by Jodine (new)

Jodine Turner (goodreadscomjodineturner) | 91 comments I find your idea of plot and theme interesting, too, PJ. And I must agree with Saleena. Visionary infers gems of wisdom, spiritual usually (not religious), embedded in a good story in a way that readers can experience the initiation and integration of that wisdom within themselves. In other words, gleaned from their reading. As the fabulous manuscript consultant Dara Marks explains(author of "Inside Story", about the character transformation arc), the theme is the foundation of any good story telling. Without it everything falters and wobbles, including plot. Characters are more real, their journey more compelling when the author has a theme in mind from the beginning. Of course, developing theme is an organic process that continuously refines itself as one writes. But this bit of writing wisdom has helped me keep my writing clear and my plot from faltering. So, in my experience, a solid theme underpins good writing whether it's visionary fiction or not.


message 47: by PJ (new)

PJ Swanwick (pjswanwick) | 24 comments Saleena and Jodine: How can you tell what is visionary fiction, spiritual fiction, new age/metaphysical/whatever? One of the most difficult aspects of marketing fiction is knowing how to position it within a genre. If you can't explain that, then it's really, really hard to find an agent.

I agree with you in theory. In practice, however, what do you do? Can you submit a novel that you think is spiritual to an agent that represents visionary fiction and get beyond a form rejection?

I'm trying to identify the most pragmatic approach to marketing this kind of fiction, which pretty much defies categorization. I'd like to develop and publish an article to help others navigate that rocky shore, but I don't even know where to start at this point. Any ideas you have would be appreciated.


message 48: by Jodine (new)

Jodine Turner (goodreadscomjodineturner) | 91 comments PJ,
This is such a good question and one that deserves our attention and discussion. I will ponder this some more but here is my initial response. My publisher listed my latest two novels in Amazon.com as YA, literary fiction, and the other (second in a series)as Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Magic & Wizards. I moved things around a bit to put it in the Visionary Fiction, urban fantasy category (and just doing that changed it to be on the Kindle best seller list because it got to its proper reader niche) - but I found that visionary fiction is sub-categorized under spiritual and religious, just like Saleena indicated. So, in other words, I went into author central and changed my own categories to reflect my true genre.

But your questions remains... Getting to an agent that represents VF takes a lot of research because many of them don't outright indicate that. When querying, I tend to call it VF, but also another category that would fit and one they represent. It's a game right now, and hopefully those of us involved in these discussions can affect some change in that regard.

Oh - as far as your other comment - one of the things that I think distinguishes VF is that it doesn't proselytize or preach.


message 49: by Saleena (last edited Apr 04, 2012 09:10AM) (new)

Saleena Karim | 86 comments Jodine - what you said at the end there - that VF doesn't preach - is something that has been on my mind for a couple of days, since I saw Stan Kapuscinski mention his desire to avoid preaching at his blog here:

http://stankapuscinski.blogspot.co.uk...

PJ, to add to Jodine's reply, I would also say that VF looks to the future. Most often it directly addresses the question of human potential. Even if it is also 'spiritual', it brings the spiritual ideas from ancient texts and updates them to reflect the modern outlook of life. This is very much what I saw in Jodine's 'Carry on the Flame' novels, and it is something I also brought up in my introductory post to VF recently. See:

http://visionaryfiction.blogspot.co.u...

So in my case, it is the 'looking forward' and 'human potential' part that I would push to an agent seeking VF, and have been doing to reviewers! ;)

EDIT: I forgot to add that VF also questions our understanding of reality, again in light of modern knowledge, whether it borrows from ancient philosophy/religion or not.


message 50: by Jodine (new)

Jodine Turner (goodreadscomjodineturner) | 91 comments Based upon the comments of those of us participating in this discussion so far, I've compiled a few of our ideas for a very beginning definition we seem to be putting forth for Visionary Fiction. All of your voices and perspectives are so clear - forgive me if I've missed something you deem important. This initial list is just a beginning draft:

Visionary Fiction:

It brings spiritual (emphasis on not religious) esoteric wisdom, often from ancient sources, and makes it relevant for our modern life.

These gems of wisdom are brought forth in good story form in a way that readers can experience that wisdom within themselves.

It emphasizes the future, envisioning a human race struggling toward evolved consciousness, and the experience of limitless human potential.

While there is a strong theme, it in no way proselytizes or preaches.

There is more to say, and more to pull from what we have recently said.... Let's grow this definition; our experience of what VF is as authors and readers.

Please edit as needed and add more components.

As I have said, and truly believe:
"Visionary Fiction speaks the language of the soul."

And Shannan - I can hear you saying, "We live in the fiction!"


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