I’ve always been fascinated by the fantastic-mythology, folklore, everything from Nathaniel Hawthorne and Poe to Tolkien and Marquez. Anything that makes me look at the world differently, any story about a human or animal who changes form, I love it all.
So of course, these themes bleed into my own writing. But as a writer, my writing is a giant splatter of what I’ve read and experienced, so it’s a mix of all these conflicting and complementing elements. And I struggle to define it, to pin a term to it. Is it fantasy, or magical realism? Literary or YA? What is the difference, and what does it matter if the story is told? Isn’t this a publisher’s job? But how will I get a publisher to read my manuscript if I can’t even explain what it is?
After chatting with friends and family and doing some googling, I’ve realized it’s never simple, and maybe that’s a good thing. Stories shouldn’t be confined by definition. But still, genre helps us think about a story and figure out if it’s something we want to read.
This is one of the clearest definitions I’ve found of the differences between Magical Realism and Fantasy: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2008/10/magicrealism