Monday, July 13, 2009

Magical Monday - Magic in the Story

A lot of popular children’s books are filled with fantasy and magic – Alice as she disappears down the rabbit hole and into a whole Wonderland, Dorothy who gets carried away by a cyclone to land to meet a wonderful wizard in the Land of Oz. And, of course, we leave the *muggle world behind to discover the wizarding world of Harry Potter.

The fantasy plot will involve some sort of magic. Magic is one of the most interesting elements of fantasy as it ties directly into our imagination. When described clearly, you can see the story unfold and reveal wonderful imaginings that challenge even the most talented CGI director as they try to translate written word to the special magic of the big screen.

There are many ways to build a magic system to use in your book – you can rely on magic systems that are already established or make your own – but either way, what makes the magic work are the rules established in the magical realm. It needs to follow rules and have consequences for breaking these rules to give the magic system credibility. The essence of magic shows both yin and yang – a balance and delicate harmony with the world and its beings.

To keep the mystery in the magic, draw your readers in by letting them witness the display of magic – the rituals of words and motions that complete the spell. Allow the reader to smell the brewing potions or burning incense, hear the ritualistic chants, and feel the temperature changes as the physical world interacts with the metaphysical. Feel the magic; let your imagination soar as you weave the story tapestry intertwining the magic into the story threads.

Next Monday…fantasy characters.
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*muggle – non-magical human


Karen Walker said...

I so love the world of Magic. I'm enjoying the new show on TV, "Merlin." Have you seen it?

N A Sharpe said...

Hi Karen!

yes - I watch the Merlin series. It took a little getting used to since it doesn't follow Arthurian legend, but I DO like the series. Another really good fantasy series is The Legend of the Seeker based on Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth books.

Nancy, from Realms of Thought…

Marvin D Wilson said...

Totally agree. I'm writing a book right now - not children's, but an adult novel (not X-rated, STOP right there! lol) - and I have aq scene where the main character watches a magic act. It was so much fun to write because I could whip up ANYTHING, completely outrageous and impossible and still it reads believable because it's - Magic!

The Old Silly

N A Sharpe said...

Hi Marvin!

THAT is why fantasy is so much fun to read and write - you are only limited by your imagination...and mine can travel pretty far!

Nancy, from Realms of Thought…

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I loved reading about magic when I was a child. It was my favorite thing! You offer great tips for the writer to help bring the scenes alive for their readers.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Danyelle said...

Very true. I think it's the rules and consistency of the magic system that makes it feel real.

N A Sharpe said...

Hi Elizabeth and Danyelle!

Most of us are raised on fantasy when you think about it - everything from fairy tales to the tooth fairy - and we couldn't get enough of it. I agree, Danyelle, you have to have rules with consistency and consequences for breaking the rules that make it feel real.

Thanks for stopping by!

Nancy, from Realms of Thought…

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Nancy wrote, "Allow the reader to smell the brewing potions or burning incense, hear the ritualistic chants, and feel the temperature changes as the physical world interacts with the metaphysical." This is great advice, Nancy. And, What's really cool is allowing the reader to feel part of the scene is true for any genre.

Great points.
Best Regards, Galen.

N A Sharpe said...

Hi Galen,
Yes, I agree, if the reader feels connected, like they are right there in the have definitely been successful as a writer.

Nancy, from Realms of Thought…

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