Magic in Fantasy

November 16, 2009 at 4:58 am (drafting, Work In Progress) (, , , , )

I love magic.

I love it when reading.  Barbara Hambly’s ‘Sorcerer’s Ward’ completely captivated me and pretty much any book that involves witches, wizards, mages, sorcerers, etc will be read eagerly.

When I play an RPG I almost always choose a magic user rather than a warrior.  I usually regret this about halfway through the first area as the magic users usually start out as extremely weak characters and you tend to die a lot until you develop some strong magic, but I still do it.  As much fun as having my video character hit things with an axe might be, I’d rather set fire to things with my mind.  Or cause them to disintegrate.  And once your character has levelled up some, the warrior doesn’t stand a chance against the magic user.

As a teenager I followed all the appropriate television shows (Buffy, Angel, Charmed, etc).  Magic works for me.

That said, my first MS doesn’t really use magic.  There are gods and a few powers floating around, but not really magic.  I had to rectify this situation.

Cue the draft from hell that has been sitting in printed form on my desk for the better part of the year and is still mostly terrible.  I have mentioned it on my previous blog but as I get through editing my first MS and getting it ready for publishing, this second one is really starting to annoy me.

There is an abundance of magic.  It is set in a world run by Mages and they are as arrogant and horrible as you would expect a group of people who can kill all non-magic users with a look to be.  Hence we have a setting and conflict already exists and it doesn’t take much imagination to build a central problem from this.

I have an ensemble of characters ranging in strength and position within the society.  Each has backstory (some of it scribbled in notebooks as it never made the draft) and a goal and they are all provided with motivation and the relationships are established between them, etc, etc.

The setting works.  The characters work.  The plot works.  The draft stinks.  While magic is present within my draft, there is very little that is magical about it.

Obviously I’ve worked on other projects but I keep coming back to this one because I want it to work.  I love the ideas and I spent a lot of time on it.  However I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to just break it all down into its basic components and start over.  The thought makes me appreciate editing again.


  1. Elizabeth Spann Craig said,

    The nice thing is that when you come back to it after a long time, you’re approaching it with a fresh set of eyes, ideas, and experiences! It helped me with one of mine, definitely. Good luck with it!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. Carol Kilgore said,

    I echo what Elizabeth said because I have a draft like this, too. It’s one I really want to work. I know some of the problems with it, but I don’t yet know how to fix them. I think what I need to do is take the four main characters – all good guys – and come up with a new antagonist and put them all in a new story. Maybe I’ll think about this some more. Good luck with yours.

  3. osmosisofaffliction said,

    I decided to visit your blog today, while I had a bit of spare time – and what word pops out, but editing!

    I’m glad I dropped in, as I see many topics on ‘writing’ – which I look forward to reading.

    **As much fun as having my video character hit things with an axe might be, I’d rather set fire to things with my mind. Or cause them to disintegrate. ~smile~

    Hope you make this work. Happy writing and editing!

  4. Melonie said,

    Good luck sorting it all out. There’s nothing like having good everything but a draft that doesn’t stack up. Time to cast a fixing spell!

  5. Cassandra Jade said,

    Thanks for the encouragement. I hope everyone else’s writing is going well.

  6. Rissa Watkins said,

    I have a first book draft like that- it isn’t compete though. It just doesn’t work. I am hoping someday to be able to finish it and revise it enough to make it magic.

    Good luck with yours!

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      Thank you and it is good to know that I’m not alone in spending a huge amount of time on something that just isn’t right.

  7. troywiggins said,

    One series that you might like is Trudi Canavan’s Novice series. Its set in a world run by magicians, and you see all the problems that the characters’ arrogance causes, and how they rectify it. Its a pretty good series.

    btw, i love magic too 🙂

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