Creating The Magic

I attended a writing class discussing magical symptoms in SF, fantasy, and paranormal. So here are some things to bring your writing up to par dealing with magic elements. Ask yourself, how do you plan a rational symptom? These are some guidelines:

  • where does the source of the magic come from?
  • if it’s from an energy source, are there constraints using more or less energy?
  • how can it go wrong?
  • can anyone access the energy source?
  • if the person is tired or drunk, are there consequences to the magic?
  • how did the person get the magic?
  • who else can cast the magic?
  • what are the set of rules using magic?
  • how could the power get abused?
  • how important is the magic to the plot?
  • what are the trials & tribulation to do the magic?
  • what are the physical & mental costs using magic?
  • what kind of magic are you using? There are 4 different choices: arcane, divine, elemental, and demonic

Arcane is the inner ability to do spells & incantations. Divine is god-like beings. Elemental is the use of fire, earth, wind, and water. Demonic is obvious powerful being.

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Reflection

Capturing that vision in mind, the story unfolds from the tips of the writer’s fingers into printed word. It dances in front of the reader and dazzles him until the story ends. This thought came to mind after listening to various speakers at a writers conference.

For those of you that like to write mysteries or are thinking of writing one, you might like this information. A panel of agents and editors broached the subject, what is the difference between a mystery, thriller, and a horror novel.

Mystery has a puzzle and clues to follow. It’s usually not terrifying, has a broad crime or a murder.

A thriller or suspense: existence of hope, heightening of suspense, the unknowing, doesn’t need to be a murder to justify action, revelations through the story. specific pacing involved. Serial killers in a story are expected to be a thriller.

Horror: something awful happened, worst feeling, exploits fear, darkness within.

Thrillers are plot driven. They kick start with conflict and the stakes are raised frequently. In a horror, something about the story sticks with you.

Editor, Jenny Chen recommends mysteries should be written in third person, instead of first person, so the story doesn’t drag. It gives a window for the reader to understand the mystery.

I hope this helped some of you. Happy writing.

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Plot Elements

I attended the PNWA conference and one of the speakers was Cherry Adair. She talked about plot. For a good plot it must have these elements: story goal, scene goal, and black moment. A story also needs these 7 things:

  • a succession of significant events with consequences
  • things characters do, feel, think, and say
  • a way of looking and doing things
  • deciding what’s important and showing it to be important
  • showing what matters to your main character
  • one or more characters have something vital at stake
  • something happens

Cherry also suggested not to bog down the opening with details and descriptions, but open with a bang. In other words, start novel with first crisis. There must be some kind of struggle for your main character for the reader to care. The first quarter of the book is the buildup. The middle is the emotional journey and always in trouble. The last act ties up everything. Give characters choices. The main character must grow in some way by the end of the novel. Each scene must have a motivation, goal, and conflict. The higher the stakes the longer the scene.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the point of the scene?
  • What does the reader need to know?
  • What does your main character have to find out?
  • What backstory do you want inserted?
  • What is the time and place?

Emotion, thought, decision, action moves the plot. Define the character’s needs and create obstacles.

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TABLE of PLENTY

Their heads bobbing up and down,

Doves peck the ground,

Resembling sewing machine needles,

Eager for fallen seeds.

Squirrels climb the pole

And hang upside down,

Stretching to reach the sunflower seeds.

Little birds flutter round,

Red-headed finches, wrens, and dark-headed chick-a-dees,

Inching their way to feed,

on the variety of seeds.

But woe to the keeper

That plucks the empty shells from the ground

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of the scattered seeds.

Filtered

Are you trying to make your writing stronger, but don’t know how? Here are some tips. Get rid of all those filtered words and make your character’s POV come alive for the reader. These words include:

  • decided
  • entered
  • noticed
  • looked
  • felt
  • heard
  • saw
  • started to
  • smelled

I know I’ve used these words myself. Every writer knows the rule, don’t tell but show, but for novice writers it may be hard to figure out. Use your five senses and the reader can visualize your story. Drop all the adverbs and use stronger verbs. For example instead of Mary looked up at the stars, try The blue glow of the stars illuminated the moon. Instead of impatiently waited, try I shifted my weight from foot to foot. Get the picture?

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Coming of Age

Here is my recent poem that was published by Art Ascent Magazine. The theme was youth.

Bloom of youth had receded,

Leaving the purpose of her face.

Eyes once spontaneous, observing at random,

Now narrowed and lined.

Lips once plump, sensuous, and inviting,

Are now firm and pinched.

Cheeks once soft and full of life,

Are hollowed and sagging.

Hair once vibrant and shiny,

Now thinned and a dull gray.

If a child is the bud,

And the teen a blossomed flower,

What then is the senior?

A has-been, spent,

Decayed, and forgotten?

Oh, youth,

I know you are there somewhere,

Hidden in the folds of her past,

Brought out in the light,

At the simplicity of life.

Let not the senior be consumed in the fire and forgotten,

But give her treasures of wisdom and experience to the fawns,

So that they may learn from it, yet enjoy their youth while it is still here,

And not fear the coming of age.

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Leaving The Nest

A solid mass shoulders the world,

Broad and endearing,

A wide expanse of open arms, yet a blanket of comfort

That enfolds the toughest of mongrels under her charm.

Her children, stacked from shortest to tallest,

Pillars of glistening treasures,

Claw the sky and push away her skirts,

In their eagerness to stand on their own.

Remember your roots she pleads,

Releasing them an inch at a time,

Drawing them back for one last hug,

Before they’ve gone into the world and muddied their path.

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