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Friday, December 13, 2013

A Practical Use of Magic

A Practical Use of Magic

The seven men and the wizard had battled Goblins all day. After stealing the gold right out from under the Goblin’s noses they tried to sneak away only to be spotted and then chased. That had been several hours ago by this time and the men had been running and fighting ever since. The sharp clanks of steel on steel echoed in the tunnels and caverns of the Gremlin’s home as the men tried to make their escape.
It seemed to the wizard that they were only going deeper and deeper into the mountainside. When the men turned that last corner and shone his torch down to the end of the passageway they had just entered he saw that it was a dead end.
“Back, we need to go back!” the Wizard yelled, but it was too late, the other end of the passageway was quickly filling up with angry Gremlins. The Gremlins had their swords at the ready and were smelling victory.
The Evil laugh of the Gremlin King echoed down the narrow tunnel. “Now you will die for your insolence. Thieves and murders.”
The Wizard just turned to the men and said, “Enough of this.” He snapped his fingers and he and the men were instantly transported to Daytona Beach where they bought a condo on the water with their ill gotten goods and lived happily ever after.

One of the premises I like to follow when using magic in my stories is always state what the magic can do but also what it can’t do. Like the example above a reader feels cheated when you create a suspenseful situation in a story and then *poof* everything is all better because of the use of magic.
As a reader I like to know if the hero of the story is actually in trouble or not. What are his chances of surviving, what is he going to do.
I once read a story where a man single handedly attacked a castle and through the use of magic, killed all of the guards and captured the King. There was never anything in doubt. It was just a matter of waiting until he finished killing the guards. There was nothing exciting, to me, about that story.
So as an author and a reader, I like to see magic used within practical limits.

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