That Old Black Magic

Wow, I’ve been lazy and uninspired, blog-wise.

I have been writing some flash fiction, and doing some eternal pondering on a subject that many say makes or breaks a fantasy novel.  Magic.  Attempting to find its place in my little world is proving quite a challenge.  I’m not completely sold on the idea that fantasy novels must have magical themes and ideals.   But I suppose it wouldn’t kill me to have a few characters here and there with mysterious inclinations.   But what kind?

Here’s the other thing that kinda bugs me.  I really don’t think magic is the end all, be all solution to every fantasy problem.  Writing it into your novel as a cure to all ills seems a bit lazy and contrived.  It is a big turn off for me and I don’t enjoy fantasy novels that are written in that voice.   I would prefer to have my world’s magic be a bit dangerous and unpredictable.  Perhaps a force that is never fully under the wielder’s control?  But what would be it’s source?  I suppose I could just put it out there, just have it merely exist.  But what of Caela? She’s new around here and will be inquisitive.  I want someone  to explain it to her.  So many questions, so few intelligent answers.

I didn’t blog yesterday because I got a bit obsessed with a news story.  You know the one… that fellow in Ohio that offed himself after releasing all his wild, dangerous animals into the community.  All his neighbors hated him.  He was apparently a rather unpleasant fellow, well deserving of such vilification, even in death.  I am truly fascinated by the entire dynamic.  (How cute is Jack Hanna in his fancy hat?)  There’s a story there.  I mean, you really can’t make that shit up can you?

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~ by caelascreator on October 20, 2011.

6 Responses to “That Old Black Magic”

  1. Sometimes I think there’s two variants of magical universes, one where its a closely held secret between the practitioners away from everyone else, and one where everyone has it as if it was the most natural thing, with different variants. What I haven’t seen is where magic isn’t used as the measure of power in a conflict [Aha! You cannot overcome my power!] but instead used as an incidental part of the universe while a story, unrelated to magic in the universe, plays out. [Oh, you did that? I like my tea hot like that, I was too lazy to walk to the stove, thanks.] Everyone has the power, but they perhaps don’t bother to practice it from abject laziness.

  2. I’ve seen two interesting (and not standard explanations) for magic. One was similar to the force in star wars and only certain people could use it. The other was that magic was a living entity/spirit and chose who could use it to feed itself.

  3. I completely understand the magic issue. I struggle with this myself, asking if the magic really compliments or furthers the story or if it’s just some fantasy fluff we feel has to be there. Trying to figure out what the magical elements are and why they are there is often, as you say, a challenge. I do love magic, and I like that it allows more imaginative freedom, I just have to come to terms with it on a more practical level.

  4. Personally I think of magic in several ways depending on the story. I see it either as a gift bestowed by a diety, the nature of said diety (malevolent or benevolent) shapes the uses for said gift. How the user gains access to it (prayer, sacrifice, ritual) is a consideration too. Not very practical if you need a combat spell but require a chicken, hula-hoop, and red clown nose to perform the ritual.

    The other kind I tend to use is a naturally occuring magic. Think of the lay lines that are focal points here on Earth for psychics, mystics etc.. Though I tend to look more to the ‘Myth’ series by Robert Asprin. If the power is all about, then who can and how to use it are questions which must be answered.

    Anyway, I think the key elements for a magic system are to define the main source, then decide what the constraints will be.

  5. You guys are rock stars! Now I actually have some real ideas fluttering about in my head. Thank you so much!

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