Consider this your push. No one knew dragons were real.
Will magic, in your fiction, be like a tool? A shadowy force of nature? Or will you have several forms, as Tolkien did in The Lord of the Rings, where the dark forces use magic like a bulldozer to gain power, while the elves have a wonderful nature that is magic simply because everything they do is "more effortless, more quick, more complete" than the abilities of those around them?
In fantasy fiction, magic is the central nervous system. Done poorly, it makes readers roll their eyes and reviewers mouth the "genre" label derisively.
Sophisticated, interesting magic, on the other hand, can fuel an amazing, wondrous story. It can add that unparalleled spark that elevates fantasy above other types of writing that have to keep their feet on the ground of plausible reality.
Magic doesn't need to be plausible, but it has to work well. Here of some of the keys: Keep the rules of magic consistent. Magic needs to work according to firm rules.
Don't create surprises of magic out of the blue to save your characters -- the fictional equivalent of pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Everything should be set in place long in advance. Things set loose into the story must play out their full consequences.
Like Rumpelstiltskin, if you lay down a magical challenge, you have to accept the logical outcome. But once these laws are set down, the writer cannot, on a whim, set them aside. They must work in the fantasy world as surely as gravity works in ours.
Limit the powers of magic. For dramatic impact, as important as the powers of magic are its limitations. If magic is all-powerful, if a wand is waved and all problems are instantly solved, the plot is pointless.
Where is the narrative tension in that? In the Harry Potter books, Harry's nemesis, Lord Voldemort, has great powers, but even so, those powers are limited. Lord Voldemort must plan his moves carefully. He must recruit minions to help him carry out evil deeds.
He must retreat, wait, and choose to strike at just the right time. And he is constantly thwarted. What will the limitations on magic be? To be effective, magic might require some very specific set of actions, tools, or knowledge, or the participation of multiple characters, or any limitation that makes the story more interesting and draws out the tension and builds our fears that things won't work out for our beloved heroes.
Perhaps magic loses its potency with distance from a source. Or perhaps it can only be used in certain conditions, or only for certain purposes. It might require a zen-like approach: These creative limitations can be as interesting as the magic itself.
Make the magic fresh and interesting. As author Garth Nix has said, magic should be more interesting than using an electric stove or a rifle. Readers delight in inventiveness.
Curious variants of magic range from using origami for magical spells Paper Mage, by Leah Cutleror turning a man's head into the head of an ass Shakespeareor making a magical harp or fiddle from the bones of a dead woman that tells the tale of a murder an old folktale found in many cultures.
On the other hand, any common device -- a mirror, a wand -- can be interesting if used in a fresh way. In Ursula Le Guin's book Gifts, the magical talents of hill-folk families range from calling animals to the power known as "the unmaking," which is described with chilling effect in this passage: He moved his hand, his left hand, and said something or breathed sharply out.
The rat squirmed once, shuddered, and floated on the water. It was soft, without bones, like a little half-filled sack of meal inside its thin wet skin.June 23 – August 3, Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop at UC San Diego.
Established in , the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop is the oldest workshop of its kind and is widely recognized as a premier proving and training ground for aspiring writers of fantasy and science fiction.
“Invaluable! This workshop kicked my writing into high gear.” - Jessica Day George, New York Times Bestselling Author of Princess at the Midnight Ball, Dragon Slippers.
Fantasy is a huge niche and one with plenty of fanatical fans. It's a brilliant genre to write in and today, Ben Galley, fantasy author and self . How can you create an interesting form of magic for your fantasy story?
Will magic, in your fiction, be like a tool? A technique? A language? An art? A gift? A shadowy force of nature? Or will you have several forms, as Tolkien did in The Lord of the Rings, where the dark forces use magic like a. 20 Fantasy Story Ideas by Ruthanne Reid | 81 comments is a whole new year, and our goal is to create and maintain writing momentum—but you may need a tiny push to get moving.
Scholastic's Story Starters kids' writing activity generates creative writing prompts, from general fiction to adventure, fantasy, and science fiction.