M is for Magic

I have to admit, I’ve kind of looked forward to this subject.  I have all sorts of opinions and thoughts, even though I broke the biggest rule when I wrote Priestess.

Magic.  The life blood of most fantasy stories.  Not all.  There are some that don’t “do” magic.  But most.

So how do you do magic well?  How do you do it right?  What does that even mean?  It’s magic, right?  It can do anything!

And…..  no.  That’s the problem.  Magic, like everything else, needs rules.  It needs laws.  Inviolable laws much like the laws of physics.  These laws can be whatever you want, but they have to be consistent.  You can’t break the laws.

Magic can not be unlimited.  If it is, then nothing is impossible, and suddenly every conflict is easily solved with magic.  I really liked the way magic worked in the story Eregon.  (I’m pretty sure that’s where it was.  It’s been several years, so correct me if I’m wrong.)  Magic draws on the caster’s soul.  Once a spell is cast, it cannot be stopped.  If you cast a spell that requires too much energy, it can kill you.  For example:  You cast a spell to find your keys and zap them into your hand.  Simple, right?  Shouldn’t take too much power.  Except it turns out you left them in the rental car before you flew home, and now they’re 1200 miles away.  Suddenly, the amount of energy required to move the mass represented by the keys over the distance of 1200 miles is more than you have.  But it was already started, and cannot be stopped.  As those keys fly through the air toward you, you get colder and colder.  Your knees buckle, you fall to the floor.  The world goes gray, then black.  Somewhere over the countryside, a ring of keys suddenly falls to the ground as the energy source causing them to move is suddenly cut short.

Good times!

Make your rules.  Follow your rules.  Have fun with it, though.  As long as you character still has challenges that cannot simply be magicked away, it’s good.  If spell casting creates an opportunity for even greater danger, then all the better!

Thanks for reading!

–j–

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