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  • Writer's pictureFallon Clark

Are Fairies Real? How to Write Character Beliefs

Updated: Dec 28, 2023


Do you believe in fairies?


I've recently finished reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. In the book, he states, "I am agnostic only to the extent that I am agnostic about fairies at the bottom of the garden."


In context, he's (perhaps obviously) stating that the existence of fairies is so improbable as to be assumed impossible, though not yet proved so.


Being a mom, one of the questions I most dread is whether a mythical or magical thing is real.


Are monsters real, Mom?

Are goblins real?

And fairies?


I am atheist, but I believe all things are real, whether or not humans sense them.


That they exist on some plane that may be separate from us but which does not depend on the sensory experiences of cerebrally stunted humans who actively choose not to see that which they do not understand and thus cannot comprehend.


This belief I hold, however wild it may seem to you, is intuitively and wholly true for me.


On the vernal equinox, my daughter and I leave a spoonful of sugar in the garden ... just in case.


Should we chance upon a fairy ring in the forest, we always leave it undisturbed ... just in case.


So, when my daughter asks me whether a being like a fairy is a real, I tell her that the answer is likely somewhere between yes and no. That what may be real in this dimension may not be real in another, that science, particularly quantum mechanics, leaves room for such possibilities.


I tell her we don't need to see something with our eyes to know it is real; it is enough of a validation of realness to feel it in our hearts.


I don't want the knowledge she gains early in life to become a prison that traps her later, a prison that boxes her into a set of beliefs that don't feel intuitively authentic to her.


I want her to grow. To learn, to develop, to explore, to create, to test, to decide for herself when she's ready.


And I think about this in fiction, too, that the journey of a character-driven story is one about changing beliefs at its core.


That the author nurtures the characters so they can find the answers for themselves, much in the way a parent nurtures a curious child.


When you're writing fictional characters, ask yourself:


  • What beliefs do the characters hold true at the beginning of the story?

  • How do they practice their beliefs in the fictional world?

  • How do they justify or qualify those beliefs to others?

  • And how do their beliefs change over time?

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Happy writing and editing!


Fal


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