Friday, July 4, 2008

do you believe in magic?

well, sometimes.

i've been pondering the questions one gentle reader posed a few days ago, which is essentially this, at least as i understand someone who not only believes in Magic, but has been known to use it on occasion, how do i respond to books that include the use of magic and people who use it?

for me as a reader, i am willing to believe anything the writer can make me believe. in other words, i don't read stories in which magic is used to learn how to use Magic. i read stories for the Story. magic, when it appears in a story, in its simplest terms, is really about the manipulation of either power or energy and sometimes both. however it works, it has to make logical sense within its own universe. as long as it does that, i dont care how far off the mark the writer is from the way i experience and manipulate Magic.

on the other hand, to read a story in which the characters experience magic in a similiar way as i do, is a delight. there is a new author, sarah addison allen, whose debut novel Garden Spells, is an absolutely charming story that reminded me of practical magic - only better.

as far as the more stereotypical presentations of charmed and such, i don't pay much attention. the good thing about them is that they introduce the ideas of magic and spells and witchcraft in a way that is a bit different from previous ideas about witches - at least the girls on charmed are young and cute rather than old and warty. anything that asks the public to think about anything in a new way can only be a good thing in the long run.

i think the way to create believable characters who use believable magic is to focus on them as characters first, who have needs and desires and flaws. magic in a story is not exactly the same as Magic in the Real World, just as characters in a story aren't really people, no matter how closely from Real Life they may have been drawn. your job is not to make the reader believe in your magic, but to make the reader believe in your Story.

i find that's when i need all the Magic i can muster. :)

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.


Karen said...

Thank you for posting this very vivid encounter with your "anti-muse." I appreciate the kind thoughts you shared about me...
and thanks, too for pointing out that we need a viper to find our way through the vast wasteland known as publishing!

Hope this gal slithers back to the snake pit for a good long while!

Karen said...

Do you believe in magic....

I loved this post Annie!

Also, I just put Garden Spells on my list of reads for the summer, so I was thrilled about your mentining it without giving away the story.

thanks for sharing your wisdom.

Linda Robertson said...

Thanks Annie. We are not so different, then. (sigh) I am always eager to hear other pracitioners thoughts on things I can really relate too. Thank you for pondering my question amid your personal-environment upheaval! :-) I wish you the best, I promise to come back and visit/read often, and not to pester you. Reading your prose is very comfortable, very smooth.

You'd asked about my book...due Feb 2009 from Juno, its urban fantasy set in the areas outside of Cleveland. A solitary witch (from a long, anciet line of greek witches) has just had her nana move in with her. A werewolf friend of hers is murdered and she endeavors to get to the bottom of it but every action she takes trying to do the right thing makes others react in a way that causes more harm and brings her closer to the truth. She learns a lot about herself, and along the way she grows closer to a certain werewolf suitor--who's convinced she is the prophesied witch heroine.

As for the magic, there's tarot, meditation and totem animals, and two detailed rituals in the text, as well as a very old codex.

And I agree with Karen,the excerpt with your 'anti-muse' as she called it, was very entertaining. There's a story right there!

May you have a lovely weekend! Put your feet up and share a beverage with your muse. I'm sure she has much to whisper in your ear. :-)

Linda )o(