“Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.” Nora Roberts said it quite plainly, and truthfully, that magic does exist in our world.
You see it in the everyday things from a baby’s smile to the rainbow after a storm. Sure, science has it’s part in all this, but deep down inside, all you can think of is the magic of the moment.
For a writer, that magic is a part of our genre. Magic can be found in the works of every great novelist from William Shakespeare to J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis to J. K. Rowling. We look at all things magical, from wizards to creatures, myths and legends. The question is, where has the magic gone and why do we need it?
Magic is the focal point of many fantasy stories. It turns young boys into wizards and makes us believe in faeries. That’s the great thing about magic. It can be anything you want it to be. In the world of Forever Avalon, magic is the center of the world I created. All magic, that once existed in the outside world, now thrives on the island of Avalon. This magical realm is overflowing with magic, so much so, that everyone on the island can do some form of spell casting. Most can perform simple tasks like lighting a candle or cleaning up with the mention of a single word. More complicated spells takes time, training and a certain amount of patience to coax the magic out.
Magic is a powerful tool for the fantasy writer, but it must be handled with care. Magic, like anything else, can be used and abused. You must cultivate the magic in a way that makes sense to the readers. I can attest to that in my current novel, The Dark Tides, where I explored the combination of magic and technology. I wondered what would happen if technology found its way into a world entirely devoted to magic. The answer was a Gunstar.
Gunstars are magical weapons that resemble a flintlock pistol. The are breach-loaded weapons that uses a special shell casing called a spell shot. The spell shots are a combination of alchemy and magic compressed into a single cartridge, like a shotgun shell, covered in runes. The hammer on the Gunstar activates the runes so that, when the trigger is pulled, the spell fires out the end of the weapon. It could be anything from a fireball to an icy spray or even a “magic missile” if you will (D&D players will get that reference).
This is what I meant when I said magic was a tool for fantasy writers. You cannot replace true spirit, character development and storylines for the sake of magic. It cannot be the focal point of your story, but rather something for your characters to use to help tell the story.
I created the Gunstars as a way of bringing a modern weapon to a medieval world and bridge that gap between the old and new. Most of the older, traditional characters in my novel reject this new form of magic as an abomination whereas the Gil-Gamesh and others see it as just another tool, like a wand or a staff, to utilize magic.
The point of this blog is to say let the magic guide you in your stories but don’t make it the overreaching arch that fills your every word on every page. Don’t let it get away from you, or you may regret it. Remember, in these instances, you are the wizard, so cast your spell with care.
Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iUniverse.
2 thoughts on “Without magic, what would fantasy writers talk about?”
You know what I found really interesting, one day my sister and I were sitting down watching the Fellowship of the Ring. Now my sister isn’t a writer and is the furtherest thing from a ‘nerd’ or ‘geek’ as you can imagine, but she loves LoTR.
So anyway, a scene came up that viewed Rivendell from above and my sister immediately said ‘I wish so much that place was real. I wish so much we could live somewhere like that. Why can’t places on Earth be like that? Why are we stuck in this insanely dull world? Why do people create such cool places that we can’t even go to? I want to be there, in Rivendell with magic and elves and stuff’. She had the most wistful look on her face, and she had no idea, but I felt exactly the same as her in that exact moment!! Even though I’d watched this movie millions of times before, that was the first time I’d wished Rivendell was real too (my sister and I have this habit of thinking the same things at the same time).
It made me realise there’s a little bit of a dreamer in all of us 🙂
That is so true. Sometimes, it takes someone who isn’t into these kind of “fantasy” stories and places to make us really see the beauty and inspiration behind it.