Magic is pretty cool stuff if you’re a writer because you can pretty much do anything with it. Its almost a requirement in some respects, I can’t imagine writing a story in a fantasy setting without having a magician, wizard, or some kind of creature that uses magic.
Of course, just because you can do everything with magic doesn’t mean you should.
I am currently writing a series of furry short stories that take place in “The Enchanted Forest.” The first one, titled “The Hunter,” may or may not have been printed in the Anthrocon 2012 conbook but that’s neither here nor there. The Enchanted Forest is a magical place where, among other things, one can find a village called Aetherwood, where faeries live and grant wishes to those that can find it. I am admittedly borrowing the idea from “Fantasy Island” TV show, but with more fantasy and more fur! :3
So this is a place where magic exists and the faeries throw lots of magic around to bring the wishes of their guests to life. While the temptation is there to have everything happen with just the wave of a wand, I find that it is much more interesting to put limits on what can be done with magic in these stories.
I’m hoping that it helps prevent me from pulling the old ‘deus ex machina,’ too. If magic has infinite capabilities, then it can be the solution to just about any problem that comes up. This would make for some boring stories if at the end of each story, a character waved their hand and everything went back to normal, like in a TV show where everything seemingly ‘resets’ at the start of each episode. It also means actions can ultimately have no consequences, and as The Enchanted Forest stories are essentially morality tales, there need to be consequences or else the protagonists won’t learn their lesson.
The question then becomes: what limits should be placed on magic? I’ve got the following so far:
- Magic can be used to manipulate the land, create plants and even animals, but not people.
- While the faeries of Aetherwood can use potions and spells to change their appearance, the color of their eyes does not change.
Granted, that’s a pretty short list, but hopefully more ‘rules’ come to me as time goes on so I don’t pull too many things out of my posterior.
Or I could get off my rear and write a proper ‘bible’ for this world. That’s a topic for another time, though.