Thursday, October 09, 2008
Your Magic Or Mine? by Ann Macela
When I started my Magic Series, I had a simple idea-or so I thought. It went like this: What if, today, there was a group of people who could use magic in their everyday jobs? We’ve all known or heard about prodigies like violinists and “born” somethings like born engineers or born mechanics: people so overwhelmingly good at what they do that it seems like magic to the rest of us. Well, what if it was magic?
I called these people “practitioners,” because they have to practice their magic to become proficient. No high degree of expertise comes easy, even for those who can cast spells.
For good measure, I threw in a “soul-mate phenomenon,” an ancient force that brings practitioners mates together, whether they were ready or not. Especially when they’re not-the phenomenon has an enforcer, the soul-mate imperative, to encourage them. After all, there is something of an “arranged” or “coerced” marriage about this situation. Soul mate or not, how do you know you want to spend the rest of your life with this person you’ve just met? Even if the phenomenon guarantees love?
And, if you make love, you become bonded to each other, for life. So, no fooling around without commitment. Making love is serious, and bonding can be magically spectacular. WooHoo! Hot, magical love scenes! What could be better?
Okay, well and good. That gave me a basis for the world of my stories. So, I wrote the first, The Oldest Kind Of Magic, where Daria, a practitioner, meets Bent, a CEO and non-practitioner. To be honest and ethical, she must tell him about magic before they make love. He must come to terms with what practitioners can do and with the phenomenon.
In the second, Do You Believe In Magic?, Clay, Daria’s brother, finds his soul mate in non-practitioner Francie, but she doesn’t believe in even the possibility of magic-no way, no how. And she doesn’t trust good-looking, smooth-talking men like Clay, either. So, there’s some convincing to be done here.
In the third and latest, Your Magic Or Mine, both Gloriana, sister to the two above, and Marcus are practitioners, but they’re arguing over how to cast spells and the nature of magic. They are also wildly different from each other in tastes, attitudes, and magic-when soul mates are supposed to be so alike. And Marcus doesn’t want a soul mate under any circumstances. Ever.
Now, I’m one of those people who, when reading about magic, wants to know HOW the stuff works. I read a lot of fantasy long before I started reading romances, and I’m well grounded in that genre and the stories. And what really makes me mad is reading about someone using magic at no cost to themselves and with god-like powers when they’re not gods or don’t get their powers from a god to begin with. I’m picky that way.
So, my practitioners expend energy to cast their spells and make something happen-at a real personal cost. The energy comes from within their own bodies. It’s caloric. There are no overweight practitioners. (Oh, if I could only cast spells . . .) This also means there are limits to what they can do with their magic. To change someone into a toad, for example, would kill the practitioner because of the amount of energy it would take.
Magic skills, by the way, are always related to how an individual practitioner earns a living. Except for a special sub-set called Defenders and Swords. But they come later.
Anyway, my original construct raised a whole bunch of questions. What’s more, I found that I had to answer them in the course of the books, or the stories didn’t make sense. In Your Magic Or Mine?, I’m delving into the nature of making magic for these practitioners.
Well, then, how do practitioners cast spells? How do they manipulate energy? What happens when they run out of energy? How can/do they combine energy with each other? What happens if they can share energy? For those answers, you have to read the books!
By the time I reached the third book, another set of circumstances had arisen-what about evil magic? There was bound to be some. There have always been greedy people who want more power, more money, more of something and who do not stop from taking it from others. In Your Magic Or Mine?, we meet the Defenders and the Swords, whose task is to find practitioners using evil magic and stop them. The next three stories revolve around these Defenders and Swords and other permutations and combinations of the soul-mate possibilities.
As you can surmise, with all this going on, magic and the doing of it got very complicated, very quickly. To keep it all straight for myself, I had to write it down. Hence, “A Theory Of Magic” is on my website, www.annmacela.com, under Articles. This is very much a work in progress.
By the way, the magic in my stories is not based on any existing system I know of. No gods, goddesses, religious structures, or mythological creatures. My sister-in-law once asked me how I researched my magic. I told her that I make it up, out of whole cloth. But, it must be logical and plausible and adhere to my rules, once you suspend disbelief that the world could be as I make it.
The fourth in the series, Wild Magic, comes out in October 2009. Magic in practitioners is inherited, but every once in a while, someone pops up with the ability and without a link to any practitioner ancestor. These people are called “wild talents,” and the hero is going to be very surprised when he discovers what he is. The heroine also has to teach him to cast a spell.
Now, I’m interested in what you readers think of all this, what kind of magic you prefer. What makes you mad about the use of magic in books? What do you especially like?
I’m open to any questions, about magic, writing, how I came to writing, what I like to read, whatever. It’s a pleasure to be here. One lucky comment-maker will win a copy of the first two books in the series, THE OLDEST KIND OF MAGIC and DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC? Or, if the winner has those, a copy of YOUR MAGIC OR MINE? So, let's talk about magic!