Monday, 30 January 2012

About - Magic

You know when you finish reading a book, and you begin to compare things you admire in those stories before you begin to think concernedly about your own work? That's where I am now. And you know when some books you read are so good that they inspire you to write - while others you read are so good that you dejectedly think you can never be that good? After reading Rivers Of London and Moon Over Soho, I'm slowly drifting from the happy former to the angry latter.

When I thought about Ben Aaranovitch's books, I realised that a great deal of knowledge had been demostrated in them in various areas; jazz culture, the geography and history of London and Soho, and the policing system. Thinking about my own endless creations, I embarrassedly and guiltily admitted to myself that in almost all of them, whenever I didn't know something I simply made shit up instead of doing the relevant/necessary research. I understand that this is not the behaviour of a writer who wants their creation to be thorough but, in my defence, I'm quite lazy.

I always had in my head that I'd get the answers eventually, when I'm a bit older, maybe do a bit of travelling to find the answers to gaping holes in my stories, or just sit at the computer and do hardcore research. I said that when I was about fourteen; I'm nineteen now, and I've barely gotten anywhere. I don't want to turn around my find out that I'm twenty-nine with my notebooks gathering dust.

I suppose that's also why I love fantasy and science fiction so much - the endless possibilities, the mysticism, and the simple fact that almost anything can be decently explained if you're smart enough. Kinda like my close writer friend Annie, who could dynamically talk anything into making perfect sense. If any of my books get published and become audiobooks, she's hired to do the voiceover.

As always when I read a fantasy book, reading Rivers Of London and Moon Over Soho has refocussed my love for for the supernatural in books. Thinking about Ben Aaranovitch's use of magic, how the forma seals the idea and the scincere fixes it in place - or something. (might have to read it again.) It reminded me of how bleak my own magical experimentations are. In recents years I've drifted away from fantasy and written a lot of very easy, non-challenging and non-overly-thought-provoking teen fiction, including complicated romances and ridiculous gang fights. Now, just like when I read Magician by Raymond E Feist, and watched my sister play Second Sight on my brothers old xbox all the way to the end, and listened to my close writer friend Annie tell me about this freaking crazy story about four witches inspired by the song Crush On You by Nero, I'm desperate to get back to that place when I was so full of ideas that I had to always always have a pen, for fear of forgetting any little thing that popped into my head.

That said, lets brainstorm. Ideas?


Mental Exploration: Magic

For the record, none of the titles of these stories are permanent and are subject to change. But for now, I'm just calling them by whatever first gave me the idea.


The general idea was to explore the notion of having magic only connected to certain body parts, as an permanent but limited bodily enhancement, and not so much a Use Anywhere On Anything type thing. If that makes sense. Thus, magic linked to the eyes might allow the magician to see further through space, or to see forward or backwards in time. Magic linked to the ear might heighten the magician hearing, or allow them to understand animals, or allow them to understand various languages. Magic linked to the hands might allow what I'm currently calling Touch Magic; potions, herbal charms and jinxes, maybe. These were the powers I gave to the main characters in this story, but what I can't explain is where it all comes from.

I quite liked the idea of Gods and Goddess being a energy source by being an higher entity that never dies, and therefore always emitting some sort of heat, brainwaves, electrosomethingwave, some scientifical shit like that that can eventually be explained to make sense. Unfortuantely, I got a B in Science GCSE so Annie will have to do it - she's taking Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Maths at A Level. Yeah. I bet you're saying what I said: Holy fuckin' shat.


But for obvious reasons, I absolutely cannot call it that! Actually, lets call it;


Even though the intital concept has changed so much, I don't think that even relates to the story. Its more Sci Fi, actually. It's sees a msyterious substance being discovered on Earth and evolving human beings and incredible rates. The main character, towards the rear end of the story (none of it is written down yet, I'm too lazy and blue) had the substance accidentally squirted into her right eye. There is a moment a terrible agony as it acts as an acid and ruins her eye, and then micro-organisms grow at rapid rates to replace it with an organ that, although looking similar to an eye, has about ten thousand more functions including sight in the dark, infrared, being able to dilate and contract the pupil by choice (a zoom in and out function, basically), and much more, but I shan't list them here until I run them by Annie and make sure it is scientifically possible, even by vague standards. Also, I don't want people teefing my ideas. Heh.

The problem here is that aside from the whole evolution thing, I can't get more specific about the substance itself. Is it solid or liquid? What colour is it? Does it have an odour? In what way(s) is it harmful? And so on and so forth. At the moment, all I got is that "it's like bleach". But we already have an existing substance "like bleach", and its bleach. And it will make you blind, if you squirt it in your fuckin eye, like I almost did to myself a year or two ago, which was how I got this whole idea in the first place.

The Quest To Get Paid

This one, I adore. The magic here is simply drawn from the earth itself and the rule is simple - whatever you take, you give back. Every spell has a price. You take magic essence from a bush to use, you must nurse that bush make to luscious green health or risk your magic turning into a kind of black magic, "polluted magic" I liked to call it.

The main character is a warrioress and thus one of my favourites; she is of earth magic, and her enemies are of air. The problem here is that her task is to locate possessions of an ancient council, of which there were about twelve, including half-gloves of fire and ice, heavy metal boots that control pressure in the earth, a terrifying helmet that gives of an dark glamour and increases the speed, strength and stamina of the wearer, and the Black Sword that drinks the blood of its victims and allows it to act of its own accord. After that, I'm completely out of ideas. I wanted a pair of earrings but it seems to mundane - a whip or lasso was too Wonder Woman. Every item I thought of made me think of something I'd already read in another book or else didn't fit appropriately with a magical ability, and I couldn't move forward. A horn (Game Of Thrones), A belt (? Really? A BELT? What magical powers could a damn belt have, make you not need to wee?), One of those strappy things that go around your chest and you can put a quiver or sword back there (Again - question mark?), and bow and arrow. (Robin Hoooood!)

This is been on the back-burner for quite some time, because it just requires to much thought, and my brain hurts when I think too much. I blame Specsavers for making my glasses too strong.


As I said in my very very first blog post, this one is about vampires. Which fucking sucks, because I thought of the whole 'vampires with magic' thing first. Damn. I kind of don't want to touch this idea now, not until Twilight goes stale in about twenty years. Which, at this rate, is how long it will take me to write the damn thing. Damn. I need to stop starting sentences with 'which'. I bet I do that in my fiction as well; not a good writers trademark, by my standards.

So, to the point. In this idea, I thought of vampire being in clans, and each clan has a sort of 'speciality'. One clan are warriors with increased strength and speed, another clan are psychic outcasts, another clan have elemental abilities, my most unique clan are nocturnal and banshee-like; they use shrieking sound waves to communicate and get around; and the 'evil' clan feeds on all entities, including other vampires, kind of like vampire cannabalism but I haven't certified that yet. One character, who I'd like to call a Seeper until I find a better word, can travel large distances by travelling wherever there is a shadow or silhouette, which is a lot more interesting that it sounds, but I'm too lazy to doll it up right now. Another idea I had was for the traditional Bram Stoker 'Can't Go In Sunlight, Pale, Anti-Sparkle, Sleep In Coffin' type vampire, ie. Dracula, is another species of vampire completely, an ancient type. In which case, there would be 'old' and 'new' vampires, each with different traits. That's given me an idea, actually. I'd better write that down.


Ricochet follows the story of a teenage girl who, on realising she has magical abilities, sets out to find other 'witches', as she likes to call them; she doesn't know what she is, and her family show no magical talent. In the story, it occurred to me that magicians/ mages/ witches/ wizards are always trying to greater expand their abilities and powers, but what if it was simply the nature of magic to draw collectively together? My main character (lets call her Thistle) 
is drawn to three other girls with the ability to use magic during her high school years, but doesn't yet know that this is because it is a predictable habit of magic to grow and expand until it is released, and pulls magic practitioners together to become a stronger and more defined power.

However when Thistle finds these girls, she gets none of the answers she is looking before because they are just as lost as she is, and none of them are able to use magic in the same way; Thistle must draw runes in the air; another witch must use vocal incantations; another must use her hands; and another must fall into a meditative trance to access her powers, which she can't access while 100% conscious. I focussed on Thistle. But I immediately hit a brick wall when I realised that i don't know a damn thing about runes, and despite my research the runes I found would hardly be useful for a magical spell.

This is the rune for 'ride', or 'journey' :

This is the rune for 'need' :

This is the rune for 'giant':

And this one the rune for 'hail'.

Now; unless my character needs a ride to hail a giant, I don't see how any of this helps me. Which means this idea needs so much more thought put into it. If only I wasn't such a lazy girl.

I have over a hundred story ideas written down and over twenty have successfully made it to the development stage. But zero are even close to being fully explored to its full potential so I can sit down and write the shit. The moment I get stuck, I move to another story, and I keep doing this... so none of them are expanding. It's frustrating, because in a lot of cases, I know the plot and how its going to end. It's just filling it all out that's the greater task here. My characters and my plotlines are fairly solid in some, in others it'll be the characters and the setting. But in all, the realism struggles to take off. It's not that I can't do it... its just that I'm bloody lazy.

Miss Star. xx


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...