Magic and Originality

I’m about fifteen thousand words into Book 2 of Dioscuri, Prodigal and I’m getting excited about the deepening mystery and the characters’ development. This morning I got struck with a great plot twist that had me making a wicked smile. I’m proud of this one. It clears up an obvious hole/trap for the reader in Neophyte and adds a layer of depth to Prodigal that should cause our heroes quite a bit of trouble. Part of my pride is the originality of the twist.
Its one of the things I strive for and if I’m going to use a tried convention I try to make it work with a bold new angle. It’s on my mind today.
I’ve been reading Kristin Nelson’s blog and thinking about originality a lot. I know it’s there in Neophyte but how good of a job do I do of selling it? I’ve read a lot of fantasy in my years and I always see trends that either disturb or bore me. Many fantasy novels seem to use the Lord of the Rings as their template but they pick up on tropes that I’ve seen again and again: magic and elves leaving the world forever, a great city is besieged but manages to survive and good versus evil on a cosmic scale that changes the world forever.
When I conceived the world of Aegea I decided that conflict and change would be constant. My world is always in a state of political struggle but I don’t frame it in cosmological terms. I want Aegea to always be a world where magic and intrigue walk hand in hand. The balance of power will shift with war and conflict, but the magic will always be a part of it.
As for that plot twist, I guess you’ll just have to read for it.

2 thoughts on “Magic and Originality

  1. Anonymous says:

    Plots, twisting in the wind

    I like what you have to say about originality in fantasy. I agree that there is a common theme of the death of magic in fantasy writing. I wonder, though, if that theme is rooted in the very core of fantasy. Fantasy adventures take place in an age of knights and honor. It is a genre in which reactionary ideals make up the very fabric of the worlds upon which these adventures are woven. As a reader I long to live and experience the trials and labors of the Middle Ages with the characters. I am forced to temper that longing with the reality that computer blogs and cell phones have replaced troubadours and messengers. The later are part of an age long past, as is the promise of magic.
    I look forward to reading your books to mix up the themes, the old classics, however, will always hold a special place in my heart.

  2. You have a great point. I snatch up every copy of Wizard of Earthsea I find and pass them out all the time.
    We can bend the canon of the classics a bit but those books earned their place.
    I take a lot of pleasure in working with smaller details, character stories that range smaller in scope. That comes from a similar longing in me: I hate watching the elves take ship and the last dragon die. I want a world where the magic is preserved. Maybe that’s part of the draw for a classic book as well. It preserves.

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