Writing about magic is, well, magical – but it’s not always easy. As a child, I lived in an enchanted world full of fairies and elves (see my previous video on Magical Memories). In my books, I’m trying to capture the mysterious thrill and excitement that magic can bring to the table.
Here are a couple of the struggles I’ve faced when writing magic.
How do you balance reality and magic?
People want you to prove that magic exists (at least within your book), but how much proof is enough? How do you draw people in and help them put their own realities aside?
As a kid, I was always looking for confirmation of magical things. I wrote letters to Santa asking him for proof he existed so I could quiet the questions in my mind (and silence my non-believing friends). He responded by leaving me a reindeer hoof print on the back of a piece of paper. Later I learned this magical piece of evidence was created by using the heel of one of my dad’s dirty shoes, but it satisfied my curiosity for a bit.
For me, I’m always seeking a balance between reality and just enough sparkle and magic that they think to themselves “Maybe, just maybe…”
How do you keep magic from being the remedy to EVERY problem?
As I was writing A Slice of Magic, I would create a problem and build a whole scene around it before realizing the characters could easily solve it with magic. When your characters can magic away every single problem, there’s no conflict. I struggled with the question – what are the limitations? There has to be someone or something that gets in the way of these magical solutions.
There are many different ways you can limit magic.
You can make it a skill that has to be learned. Is your charactertrying to fill up their cup of coffee from their armchair or trying to keep bad guys from breaking down the back door? Maybe they haven’t learned the spell yet. Maybe the spell they try goes wrong which could lead to disastrous (or possibly hilarious) results.
Maybe they need a specific item to perform magic – A wand? A ring? A book? What if they lose that item? How will they find it? Does it get destroyed? Can they do any magic at all without it? Can they find a new magical item before it’s too late?
How about you? Do you write about magic? Have you faced problems that can’t be fixed with a pinch of fairy dust? Please share in the comments!