Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/newsletters/action/archives/id/11591-Magic-Real-or-Fake.html
Fantasy: October 05, 2022 Issue [#11591]

 This week: Magic: Real or Fake
  Edited by: Dawn Embers
                             More Newsletters By This Editor  

Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

Fantasy Newsletter by Dawn

Magic is a common element in the fantasy world that helps bring a story into the realm of speculative fiction. Whether real or not, there are different ways one can incorporate this element into a story.

“No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith.” ― R.A. Salvatore

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Letter from the editor

When it comes to fantasy and science fiction, there are many elements that relate or are considered elements specific to the genre. Magic is one of those topics or elements that is prominent in speculative fiction to the point that any story with this involved in some way might be labeled under the spec fic umbrella. How you use magic will be influenced by a number of different factors that include the world and the characters. It will also vary with how much of an influence the existence of magic has on the story as a whole. For some, the magic may be something that is very normal and an every day occurrence so that it exists but it doesn't really stand out for the characters. In others, it might be more forbidden or unusual, causing a difference and different forms of conflict. Today's newsletter is going to look some elements of magic in fiction, but there is much more in relation to the topic. If you have some time, I suggest checking out past fantasy newsletters to read up on topics like laws of magic and world creation.

For today, we're going to consider the use of stage magic, "real" magic and give a nod to science for the sci-fi readers and writers.

Fake Magic

“Scientists have calculated that the chances of something so patently absurd actually existing are millions to one. But magicians have calculated that million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten.” – Terry Pratchett

Another term for this would be stage magic or illusions. For anyone who decided to write a story for the What a Character contest, they got to try this type out first hand because the prompt required using a character who used tricks like that of a stage magician or pretend psychic. This method of illusions and play can be fun. Certain acts have made it all the way to Las Vegas because they are able to entertain audiences with the use of stage magic to give impressions of something unworldly for the audiences to enjoy. While the method or approach to the trick would seem important with this type, it's actually the character who really stands out. How they interact, what brought them into the world of illusion and how they create the entertainment for others, even if using fake means, is what will really stand out and draw the readers into the story. Even if the magic isn't real, there is a place in the fantasy world for these type and it could be interesting to have some secondary characters in different fantasy worlds who use illusion instead of spells in order to get things done.

Real Magic

“Easy magic is pretty. Great magic asks that you trouble the waters. It requires a disruption, something new.” – Leigh Bardugo

Magic is rather common in fantasy stories since it helps to create the genre. There are many different stories and methods of magic from Harry Potter wizards to evil witches, stories where the land has its own magic with talking trees to even talking to real spirits and ghosts (maybe even some ghost busting depending on the tale). Such a variety exists that we have plenty of room to play with magic in our stories. Here the character is also important. It will depend on the world, the story and if the character is connected to magic or is a bystander to the feats beyond scientific explanations. Sources of magic also vary.

In my own stories I've tried a few different types of magic ranging from music and spells to a Snow White type who doesn't know he can do magic. Some magic take years of studying in order to be successful and have controls while others are born into the abilities with some ease of understanding what the skills involve. The story and the character are big factors, which then help dictate the world since I tend to write first then world build later. For someone who creates the world first, they may have a different approach coming up with the different forms of magic, rules and methods long before putting into story form.


“Magic is just science that we don’t understand yet” – Arthur C. Clarke

Then there is the science world. While we think of magic as something that goes against science, within science fiction and even in some fantasy stories, there can be a way to use science or technology to have a similar result to that of magic. What looks like magic for one character can actually be explained or be scientific for another. Take photography for example. The concept of using a boxed shape item, pressing a button and with process of darkness along with chemical baths out comes the image from the moment... while it might have plenty fo explanations about how it works, it all sounds like magic to me. There is potential with the secondary characters or audience thinking something is magic when the main character knows that there is a reason behind how things work. Or it could go the other way around where the point of view character thinks something is magic that is based on science. Whether writing fantasy or science fiction there are options for you to consider when it comes to write a magic/science story.

And a big part of any aspect of magic will be perspective. Whether it's from the main character, interactions with someone else or somehow deeply developed into the world, the magic will be however you make it in the story. Have fun with it, try something new or different and write a story, one with magic and science.

Editor's Picks

Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  (ASR)
Use the photo to inspire your creativity. Write a short story and win big prizes!
#1221635 by Writing.Com Support

The Science Fiction Short Story Contest  (18+)
A contest inspired by the serious need for more good sci-fi
#2140378 by BlackAdder

Awwwww - Romantic - CLOSED  (18+)
Seasonal Romantic Short Story Contest
#1877341 by Annette

The LGBT Writing Contest - Closed  (18+)
Short story contest (with great prizes) for LGBT characters.
#1980539 by Osirantinous

Unstable(d) Writer's Challenge   (E)
A 12-month, intense writing Challenge
#2281662 by Shadow Prowler

BlackAdder's Cantina Space Opera Contest  (13+)
A place for spacers, washouts, and dreamers of dreams. Open for May 2023!
#2275750 by BlackAdder

The Conscript  (18+)
A warrior has an experience that affects his training
#2281506 by BrokenPen

 The Leader of Javin  (18+)
With some individuals, it’s hard to make them tell the truth. I’m not one of them.
#2281689 by PureSciFi

Ashes to ashes  (18+)
Trouble erupts in NW Wyoming, and things will never be the same.
#2279712 by Soldier_🎶_Mike

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Ask & Answer

What kind of magic do you use in your story? Or do you prefer to use science?

Last month for the fantasy newsletter, I discussed beginnings and the starting point for stories. Here are a few comments sent in for that topic:

Comment by Elfin Dragon-finally published
I think a common starting point in a lot of my stories has been at home. it has often been a jumping point for both joy and terror.

Comment by Annette
Just start the story and worry later in editing is good advice. At first. I am now at the point where I have the first chapter rewritten dozens of times and I still don't know with which beginning I should go with. I even omitted the original first chapter in some drafts and started later in the story. However, now there is a new first chapter. If the original first chapter gets deleted, the readers only see the first chapter that makes it into a novel. I am at a total loss on where to start the one story that I really want to tell.

Comment by Angelica- 90s and 100s weather
I try to start with the most common scene ever. I think most of my novels are like that. Another scene I also use is where it begins with A dark and stormy night (variation). It might be because I like setting detailing in the beginning so much.


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