Saturday, November 16, 2013

Link: Katharine Kerr's blog series on creating magical systems

Over on the Book View Cafe blog, Katharine Kerr talks about systems of magic and how shedeveloped the one in her Deverry series. This is the first of a series well worth following, whether you write fantasy or love to read it.

 She says,

I personally am of the opinion that fantasy magic systems are stronger and more emotionally moving when they have one foot in reality, as it were.  Historical magics, whether the disconnected spells and charms of folk magic or the elaborate systems of the elite, address deep human longings and concerns. Wanting to have someone love you, the fear of being harmed, the desire for revenge on an enemy, fear of what the future might bring, desire for riches, and above all, the fear of death — most folk magic revolves around emotions like these. The elaborate systems of Natural Philosophy, the late medieval/early Renaissance magic of the learned, center around the desire to understand the entire universe, to converse with beings other than ourselves, and to use this knowledge for . . . drum roll . . . most of the same reasons as ordinary folk had. Well, the natural philosophers did worry less about love charms.

Strong emotions, strong motivations. In ordinary life, we use the word "magic" to describe many of these experiences, even when we don't ascribe a supernatural element to them. Magic based in strong emotions is more accessible, more understandable, to the reader who has also shared some version of those longings and fears. They also make for great storytelling!

No comments:

Post a Comment