There are times the secrets to magic should remain a secret. Then there are times when they should no longer be a secret. Here are some secrets I know about magic systems in stories.
Who comes up with this!?
A valid question. Where did all this magic come from!? I’d like to know, too.
In The Quest Logs, magic was discovered by accident, in the research labs of the Solace Sovereignty. It’s an acronym for Manipulation of Atomic, Geographic Isotopes and Compounds. M.A.G.I.C. To keep things simple, it’s just called magic.
The creator of the world, be it the Deities, or the author of a story, may want to reveal their magic system, but maybe they want to conceal it because…
- Knowing who created magic would spoil a big plot twist or conclusion.
- The creator is irrelevant, or the creation of magic is unknown.
- Revealing it would put a spell on the reader and cause them to throw the book in the fire.
- No author wants their books thrown into the fire.
Teach me how to use magic!
If I knew how to teach magic, much less use it, I’d open a school for it. Until then, it must serve for cleaning my house on Saturday afternoons.
How to use magic is a mystery even we authors haven’t quite penned down. Our characters certainly have, those wizards and witches seem to be naturals at it, eventually. They keep the secret from us, like a teenager keeping secrets from their parents. Yet, we have found some clues picking up after their messes:
- I suspect these are words the characters make up.
- Sometimes they dance and chant at the same time.
- Wands, Rods, Staffs, and Bubble Gum
- These are instruments imbued with the power to cast spells.
- Anyone who gets hold of them can use magic.
- Not everyone who gets hold of them should use them.
- Spells and rituals are recorded in books because wizards and witches are a forgetful bunch.
- Sometimes opening a book rips a hole into another dimension, sucking you in or releasing its worst evils.
- Telepathic Powers
- Those lucky few who can learn and use magic through psychic powers… we envy them all!
- Doesn’t necessarily require learning how to bend a spoon.
- Snap of a finger, clap of a hand, or a simple thought, usually gets the job done.
The greatest magic that can be taught is the magic of words. We can create entire worlds in our minds, and use them to shape the world we live in. Thankfully, only humans can use this power… and they wouldn’t do anything to harm others.
Show me the the strongest magic in the universe!
It would be a hug. A big, cozy, comforting hug. Oh, was that not the answer you hoped for? Did you expect a supernova, doomsday spell that could wipe out all existence? If that were a spell, how would we know it worked?
Strong magic tends to show up in the form of virtues or vices:
- Love and Courage are virtues.
- Hate and Greed are vices.
- Fire tends to be a destructive force, burning everything in its path.
- Water can drown entire civilizations, or the entire world.
There are other elements that are powerful, including natural and psychic elements.
Will I get into trouble if I use magic?
That depends on who knows about it. Don’t let your enemies know, and if you’re using magic to help others, let them believe it was a miracle.
However, if you use magic to hurt others, you’ll likely get caught. Even if you don’t get caught, you’ll have to live with the guilt that you hurt people. That’s not worth the price of living in the pain of guilt.
Some cultures don’t like magic, while others encourage it. Frankly, those who don’t like magic are just jealous because they can’t brew a potion in a cauldron.
So… magic is evil?
Magic can be evil. Like most things, including ideas, magic can be used for good or evil.
When used for good, it tends to be to help others with their problems. In stories, this is done with spells that heal wounds, defeat evil enemies, or free the innocent from a trap.
When used for evil, magic hurts others, by causing pain. In stories, the evil witch or wizard will set things on fire, kill and hurt the innocent, and trap them for torture or power.
What other secrets are there!?
They’re a secret! Let them stay that way!