A calling card of the fantasy genre is the use of magic by it’s characters, and the fact that it is a part of the universe created for the story. Magic users and magical creatures are it’s inhabitants so the use of magic is going to be prevalent. Knowing how to use the magic in your fantasy is very important, otherwise it wont bring anything to the story. Here is some things to consider when using magic in fantasy.
Know Your Stuff
If you are using mythical creatures that are already known for specific traits, like the Gorgon or the Centaur, trying to change them into something else is a bad idea. Your readers wont be able to identify them, or even worse put the book down because you are misrepresenting a well known creature. With some creatures, like Werewolves and Vampires, you can have a little room since the tales of the Werewolf and Vampire are different in each culture. Even with that being the case, if you are using a specific culture’s version of either make sure it is consistent with their mythology. For example, the world I created for my fantasy short story Wolf-Thief the Werewolves are based upon the Celtic tales of the Faoladh I’m not going to use the German myths of the Werewolf with my story being set in Ireland.
Starting From Scratch
If you are creating creatures yourself, you have to be thorough. Details have to be consistent, and balanced. No creature is invincible, so creating a list of strengths and weaknesses is helpful. How the creature came to be, the myths behind them, their abilities, appearance, and how they can be killed are need to know. If you are creating a fact-book for your fantastical universe, these details need to be included.
The Magic Itself
Do you have magic users in your universe? What type of magics are they using? Spells? Psychic abilities? Rune magic? Elemental magic? There is practically a million types of magic to choose from when creating your magic users. This is especially the case when you have witches and wizards/warlocks in your universe. Each type of magic is unique and complex to create. For popular examples, take a look at Vampire Academy (Elemental Magic); The Mortal Instruments (Rune Magic); Charmed (Spell Magic of various types mixed with Psychic Abilities); even Avatar: The Last Airbender and it’s sequel series Avatar: Legend of Korra has elemental magic. The reason they each show one type of magic is because these magics are specific and create the type of universe they are in. It is a good idea to stick with one type of magic through your universe, unless you are Supernatural and have various types of magic, Gods, Demons, Angels, and monsters exist in the world. If you chose a type of magic, learn how that magic works and show it in your world. The New Age section of your local bookstore or library usually has many books explaining the use of certain types of magic. Also like when you create your mythical creatures, include this information in your fact-book for later.
For me, my magic users vary but my main character is an herb magic user. I’ve been researching herbalism and herb magic for a few years and I still have so much to learn about it.
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