Andrew Girle's Blog

Crime and Speculative Fiction Blooking

Magic systems, built from scratch

Posted by Andrew Girle on April 6, 2012

I have hit a stumbling block: I don’t want to have a magic with wands instead of guns (there goes most peoples ideas of magic!); nor do I want to have an Earthsea magic so incomprehensible that readers need to be stoned to follow it.

I want magic that is possible enough to our understanding of the world; that stretches the imagination without dulling it.

One of my background notes for ‘Grimnoires and Gumshoes’ refers to natural magic – the patterns in a stripes of a tiger (or zebra!) create confusion in the beholder, so that bright yellow animals are effectively invisible in a dull green jungle. Where belief in the power of an object can be sufficient to imbue it with that effect – so a horse shoe over a door can ward evil, by virtue of hundreds if not thousands of years of belief.

But DAMN, fireballs are sexy.

Even just writing that has given me an idea for working ‘explosive magic’ into my world of natural magic; in the same way that rapid exothermic reactions are part of nature (explosions, for the unscientific reader). Maybe the magician merely needs enough sex appeal.

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