14 Aug

Fireball or Ice Blast? 

Entangling Vines or Tendrils of Darkness? 

Healing Touch or Death Grip?

double axe

The way in which our characters use magic is more interesting than the magic itself. Fantasy has become so intertwined with magical influences that there is really no way to separate the two without stealing some of the wonder.

A hero is expected to have a magical weapon, and wear armor that makes him nigh invincible. How else could he destroy the evil *insert villain here*.

I have no problem with any of these things, and in fact Delphia is full of such items. Penn, my favorite gnome, would not have made it through the attempted massacre in Shadowmire without the aid of an enchanted axe. Does this make him less interesting? Perhaps if him wielding that axe were the only manner in which I used him. If I handcuffed him to his weapon, then I could see the problem.

What do you think about magic in a fantasy setting?   


Posted by on August 14, 2014 in From the Desk of the Author


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

6 responses to “Magic

  1. debyfredericks

    August 14, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Writers so often deal with magic as just a surface issue, a “thing” the character can do. But if magic was real, it would be an enormous part of the world we live in. A great example of this is the Earthsea series, where the society is infused with magic and there are multiple structures to organize and contain it.

    What can you do with magic? What can’t you do? (Like the Genie said, bringing back the dead never works out well.) Writers can discover such deep subject matter if they consider these questions before they start constructing their plots!

    • Len

      August 15, 2014 at 6:19 am

      My brother loves the Earthsea books.

  2. jdtcreates

    August 15, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    To me, magic shows how much a writer is willing to let themselves be able to do anything but also find everything they want to do. There’s the magic that is treated as part of the natural forces and the mysterious esoteric magic that shows there is something beyond ourselves. Personally, my favorite types are the magics flexible enough to be a destructive force but can also be scaled down to personal uses, all of which depends on whose behind it.

    I’ve been giving this some though since I’m almost finishing the post on my world’s magic.

  3. Christine Haggerty

    August 22, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    When I read the list at the top it sounded like you were bartending, Len. But magic–all magic needs its own balance and should be hard and require training and have limits. Magic physics, if you will. I like it, but characters always matter more.

  4. Emilio J. D'Alise (@disperser)

    August 26, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    What turns me off from much of the fantasy I try to read is the inconsistent use of magic.

    An example that comes to mind is Gandalf . . . I found his magic to be situational based on the action in the plot.

    At least his inconsistencies are minor. Many characters wielding magic (both as heroes and as villains) show wide and annoying ranges in abilities.

    OR . . .

    When magic is consistent, it’s usually the character itself that has doubts, lapses in determination, etc. The end result is invariably frustration for this reader/viewer.

    I prefer magic that poses a severe toll on the user, at least then partially explaining some of the inconsistencies.


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