Monday, September 9, 2013

Magic With Rules

Everyone loves magic, the more the better. Fairy tales have never lost their popularity. But you can't do just anything, nor can you do everything, with magic. It must have rules. Without the rules you cannot wield it in your story. Take a look at this example:

"He crouched near the water's edge. All around him moonbeams were scattering and glancing off the low limbs of trees, gray in the evening aura. And to this enchanting moment he added one thing: a candle. He waved his hand and one appeared. It was lit, but it did not catch fire to his sleeve each time he dropped it, which was quite often. Even though he was a wizard, he was still the clumsiest young man alive."

This one's okay. There are a few rules or limitations to the magic. Give your magical hero quirks. To make him unassailable is to make him hopeless, boring, and unbelievable.

If every lion that bounded out of the bushes and every fire that threatened a house or barn were easily contained you would have no conflict, because each and every one could be easily resolved by the hero's unlimited magic.

Take a common example: Cinderella. What's the limitation to her magic? The stroke of midnight.

Let's take another one: The Little Mermaid. I'm not talking about the cartoon but the original classic fairy tale. Her magic limited her by not allowing her to speak, which proved the ruination of her goal, because the love of her life was never informed that it had been she who saved him from the perils of the waves.

Let's take another: Snow White. The evil magic of the wicked queen had a limitation: it could not overcome true love.

Challenge yourself. Dissect stories and find their limitations. Find out how they work and why they work. You may discover something you can really use to make your writing sparkle with veritable fairy dust!

And write on! No copyrights here....

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