Okay, so a week turned into a month. My apologies for not writing back sooner. That’s what happens when a typically focused person makes the mistake of trying to multitask :D
So getting back to my point in my previous post: Magic in writing. In light of what I put down last time about the inconsistencies and interior logic problems that arise when magic is not thoughtfully and carefully incorporated in novels, I wanted to do in this second part is give some advice to those of you who are brave enough to tackle the topic in your books. So, if you’re interested in this, read on!
1.) Establish rules and boundaries for your magic. Understand that if you decide to make magic limitless in its potential, you’re opening doors for inconsistencies in logic. As I alluded to in the previous post, if you have a character who can cast a spell and reduce a castle wall to rubble, then you’d better be prepared to explain why that same character cannot use that magic should (s)he be locked up in a dungeon and be unable to escape.
2.) Along those same lines, beware the temptation to make magic the answer for everything. If a character can simply resolve a situation with a wave of the wand, the story loses its tension. Part of the appeal of storytelling is placing the characters in a position which requires some sort of risk or fear that must be confronted when dealing with the problem at hand: be it an impersonal or personal one. The idea of a magical resolution can seem cool in the mind of the author, but in the mind of the reader it can end up being a letdown because it turned out to be nothing more than an “abracadabra” solution that is utilized instead of a real nail-biting scene.
3.) As with every other cool concept in fantasy, magic is no substitute for good character development and good story. Remember that the special effects we authors contrive in our heads, as awesome as we think they may be, are at best enhancements to the story. If we fall into the trap of “George Lucas syndrome” (where the special effects overshadow the story or become an attempt to mask weak character or plot development) then we’ve not only wasted our concept, but we’ve also wasted our story as well.
Take these suggestions for what they’re worth. Trial and error, both in my own personal writing and in reading the works of others, has taught me a great deal about such things. May they be as valuable to you in your craft.
Okay, back to my own stories now. Keep up the good writing, my friends!
See you in the Vein!