February 20, 2019

Magic by Any Other Name

I, like most fantasy writers, think a lot about magic. I mean, a lot. I love thinking about different magical systems and how they work, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how they can be employed to make the coolest story possible. Dark magic, light magic, elemental magic, you name it. Magic cast with wands, or words, or motions. Magic that comes from special creatures or from the hearts or minds of humans. I love magic. What I don't love is when writers have weird hang-ups about magic.

The most notorious example of this is when a character says something along the lines of "It's not magic, it's bending/semblance/alchemy/etc." I assume this is an attempt by the writers to make their magic system seem more interesting and original, despite the fact that it's clearly magic with a different name. I wouldn't mind this, except that by coming out and stating "it's not magic", you're acknowledging that your setting has the concept of magic. So... what exactly is the distinction between "totally-not-magic" and, you know, regular old magic?

February 6, 2019

Thoughts on Slice of Life

A frequent lamentation of many writers is, “I have all these characters, but no plot!” or “I’ve come up with this awesome world, but have no story!” Though this may cause trouble if you really wanted to tell a gripping and exciting tale from the get-go, I don’t think it’s necessarily a problem in and of itself. This is because not all stories need a plot, or at least what many people might consider a plot. These stories focus on the small moments of life and relationships, and fall under the genre umbrella of slice-of-life.