Saturday, March 26, 2011

Nature of Magic Blogfest

Today is the Nature of Magic Blogfest.  In 250-1000 words, you are to describe what magic means to you or your characters.  When I found out about this blogfest, it was as though fate smiled down on me.  I was just getting to a point in my WIP where I needed to expound on the magic of the world.

In my WIP (YA Fantasy), The Ruby Dagger,  my main character Moira has lost her voice as a side effect of her magic being stolen.  Moira has gone to Cytherea, an island of sorceresses and it is winter.  When she arrived on this island a spell was cast allowing Queen Latrice and another woman to be able to "hear" her speech.   In this excerpt,Moira and the Queen are enjoying a walk in a garden inside the palace.

Moira walked down the path, pausing every few feet as Queen Latrice pointed out hidden blooms and plants in the underbrush. The variety of plants and flowers amazed Moira. She had never seen so many in one place, not even in the large fields of Ravenvale.

They stopped before the largest flower Moira had ever seen. The bloom so large, it seemed the stem shouldn't be able to hold it upright. It was as though strong magic was at work.

“No magic is used in this room,” Queen Latrice said, when Moira asked. “The glass walls capture the warmth of the sun, and everyone has the chore of watering and weeding.”

Why don't you use magic in here?

“If we used magic to grow the plants, it would contaminate them, taint them with parts of ourselves. By letting them grow naturally, the magic they are used for will be pure.” Latrice gestured to a small group of white flowers growing in the shadow of the giant red bloom, disdain coating her words. “These blooms here will be sold to wizards in Ravenvale for use in their potions."

You don't seem to care much for the wizards, Moira said.

“Why should I?” Latrice asked as she continued down the pathway. “Other than the money they pay for our plants, they are worthless to us. We are forever correcting the messes made by their elemental magic.”

Moira frowned. She had never heard of elemental magic before, and the wizards she knew of were all quite competent in their magic. Although, she did question their habit of selling potions and charms to non-magic users. Perhaps these were the source of the problems Queen Latrice mentioned.

What do you mean 'elemental' magic'? I've never heard of such a thing.

Queen Latrice's eyes lifted in surprise. “You have never heard of this before?”

Moira shook her head, and Latrice threw her hands in the air, stalking away around a bend in the path. Moira trotted to keep up, surprised at the monarch's reaction.

Latrice led her to a marble bench beneath a flowering fruit tree. “Come, sit beside me as I correct the sad neglect of your education.” She huffed out a breath, then looked at Moira. “There are two kinds of magic in the world, elemental and spiritual. Wizards, may the goddess bless them, use elemental. Sorcerers and sorceresses use spiritual.”

Moira stared, waiting for Queen Latrice to continue, but the woman just sat there looking at her as though waiting for her to say something. Did she really think that explained the difference and why she disliked wizards so much?

What is the difference between elemental and spiritual magic?

“Ah. . . the difference. Elemental magic uses the elements—earth, air, fire, water. Wizards manipulate these elements to create their own magic in potions, charms, and spells. Sorcerers and sorceresses, like us, are touched by the gods and goddesses themselves, bestowed with a portion of their power, their magic. The magic flows in our blood, and we learn to manipulate it to create with it.”

Moira frowned. I use the elements when I cast a spell, but I am a sorceress.

Latrice smiled. “There is always overlap in magic for sorceresses. We use the magic that flows through us, manipulating the elements with its power. We create talismans and amulets, rings and potions, as do wizards. The difference is we can create the magic out of nothing, should we choose to. They must take what is there and use it to create new magic.”

Moira had never realized there was that much difference between sorcerers and wizards. She knew magic came easy to her, even easier than many of those who had taught her. They had often seemed to wonder at the power and control she had with so little training. 

Let me know what you thought, then click above to see more magical posts!  Have a great weekend!  I'm off to explore the world of magic on the Blogfest!


  1. In depth explanation of the differences in magic for your characters. I wonder how Queen Latrice's lesson will affect Moira. Will she too grow to dislike wizards?

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Natasha- Glad you enjoyed it. I'll tell you, she doesn't learn to hate wizards, but in something that soon follows, she understands from first hand experience why Latrice does.

  3. Well, I just got an education in elemental and spiritual magic! Interesting from a storyline perspective, especially since I've been reading the Mists of Avalon.

  4. Wonderful setting! I love how you started this out with the flowers and turned it into an explanation about the different sorts of magic. It's also very intriguing that Moira has lost her voice as a result of her magic being stolen. Want to know more!

  5. ps - I'm a new follower now. Love discovering other writers who dabble in fantasy!

  6. I really enjoyed reading this, thank you. You created a wonderful picture of the plants and I also feel as though I learned something about magic...those naughty wizards :)
    New follower :)


  7. How interesting, the idea of magic tainting things its touched. That was a great detail.
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  8. Good explanation of the two types of magic and you did so without making us feel that it was an information dump. You involved the characters and their experience. Nicely done.
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

  9. I like the name Moira. How interesting the way the plants are grown. Keeping them pure without magic. Nice glimpse into the world you created.

  10. Thanks you all for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the snippet. It's nice to know it wasn't information dump (that can sneak up on you so easily!)

    On a side note-- Moira should have died when her magic was stolen, so there is much more going on here than meets the eye!

  11. I like the potential that a natural sorceress offers - specially one with little formal knowledge of the topic. And there's opportunity in the differences between wizardry and sorcery. It's a good base to work on.

  12. Nice job, it's seamless conversation... Definitely a great way to teach the ins and outs of your magical theme! And the setting has beautiful detail ;)

  13. Yay Mary! I enjoyed this piece and I think it has a great YA voice! Bests of luck!

  14. Loved the explanation. Some of my favorite (adult) fantasy novels actually has the great wizard/sorcerer/magician type explain to a younger apprentice how the magic of their world/culture works, and I appreciate the lesson.

    This lesson did not seem out of place. It was intriguing and helps build both world and character.

    Well done Mary.


  15. I like how you map out the split between the types of magic but keep open the option of it not being as deep as it first appears.

  16. Thanks everyone!

    I actually based the difference between sorcerers and wizards on the D&D world, with my own twist to it. In fact, my hubby thought it was a twist on the difference between wizards and clerics.

  17. great use of dialogue to explain without it turning into telling.

    nice to meet another fantasy writer.

  18. Hi Mary,

    Like Michelle said, great to meet another fantasy writer. The scene was fine, but I have a suggestion about your elemental magic. Elemental magic is almost as cliche as anything else. It's not a bad cliche though. You just need to make it work for you. It can't just be Earth, Water, Wind and Fire. It has to be unique to your world. Is there a true science behind Elemental versus Spiritual. Granted this is an excerpt that highlighted it, it's something to think about.

    Thanks for sharing.


  19. Fascinating! I love the way you worked the explanation into the story. That's always a difficult thing to do (at least I always think so) and you pull it off really well here.

    Thank you for sharing!


    ps. pop in on mine or Laura's blog on March 30th for the finalists - you can then vote for your favourite!

  20. Like Tessa said, I like how you weave the info into the scene so it unfolds naturally--thanks for participating!

  21. I like how you define the distinction between the two types of magic. I have a similar distinction in mine--er, sort of. I think you made the explanation quite clear.

    Thanks for sharing.

  22. I like that you've set up two distinct magic systems here, and given them a solid foundation for the reader!


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