Magic is dangerous.
(No, this is not a caution against trying to cast spells at home, although you should be careful about that, too.)
I’m done reading A Storm of Swords, and I’m taking a brief break from that world by reading R.A.Salvatore’s The Dame. I’ll return to the land of Westros afterwards.
A writer must be careful incorporating magic into a story, or anything else that isn’t REAL, for that matter. Where a reader can accept many things for the sake of entertainment, those things need to make sense inside the world of the story. Pretend a story is set Tewksbury, Massachusetts in the seventies. Jimmy is riding his bike down the street, and some other kids on bikes – the local gang – start to chase him. They finally corner him, and are about to beat him up, when he pulls out his wand and starts hitting them with fireballs. Once he’s done with them, he goes home for supper, and that’s the only time we see anything out of the ordeinary happen in the story. That strains credibility a bit. Or in a movie (can you name it) where two wizards are in a duel to the death, throwing spells at each other, until one of them decides ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, pulls out a handgun and shoots the other, when there was never any evidence of guns in that story.
When things like this happen without explanation, we distrust the writer. We need the story to have some sort of internal logic that explains the differences between it and THE REAL WORLD.
Even MAGIC has rules.
In George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, there have always been hints about a magical underpinning in his world. It helps that the prologue of the first book (A Game of Thrones) we see the OTHERS, but then things become fairly normalized – taken over with a gritty realism. We think we understand how this world works, but as the books progress, more and more MAGIC makes its appearance. Still, it is rare that anything happens that hasn’t either been foreshadowed, or is explained succinctly immediately after – I have never felt like the author was cheating, and using MAGIC as a lazy way to either shock the reader, or make the story go in a direction that he didn’t do sufficient plotting to achieve.
The end of A Storm of Swords has a character who is supposed to be dead turn out not to be. Martin has killed off many major or meaningful characters throughout, and one of the strengths of his story is that you can’t be sure if any one character will survive, and it raises the stakes. But it becomes a different sort of challenge when your reader can’t be sure that DEAD is really DEAD. I wonder if it will backfire. It’s only the third book, so I don’t think so, or the series wouldn’t have been so popular. Also, even though the revelation occurs in the last scene with no explanation, I was able to think through enough possible explanations that it became more a surprise (and cliffhanger) rather than a cheat. I look forward to gtting back into it to see what happens (Poor R.A. Salvatore is suffering as a result – I’m having a really hard time getting into The Dame.)
Well, back to making sense of my own MAGIC in Swordsmaster. Just saying…
The release weekend is over for “Out of Place”:
So many things out of place. Wildlife. Tribesmen. Husbands…
Wildlife seems to be overrunning Sue’s neighborhood. At first Sue thinks that’s all it is, just local fauna run amuck, but her world is changing; an uncomfortable situation for someone who expects everything to stay where it belongs. Who knows where it will all end up?
“Out of Place” is currently available at many online sites, including, but not limited to:
William Mangieri’s writing – including his previous ePublication “Sleep with the Snowmen” – can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books): https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=william+mangieri&sitesearch_type=STORE
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• His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
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• His Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri