It's Not Magic
I recently read a book where one character "used their magic to cast a spell." It occurred to me that this term was incorrect. For example, when one of my characters needs to tighten a bolt, I would write, "He tightened the bolt." Logically, readers would understand what had occurred and fill in the technical aspects. However, my readers would dislike these sentences: "He used mechanics to tighten the bolt." "He used baking to add the cinnamon." "She used driving to turn the steering wheel." "She used art to paint the picture." Wow, these are terrible sentences.
In magical stores, wizards cast spells, and witches brew up potions. They can break the laws of nature because the story is fictional. Yet, in real life, magic also "exists." For example, a magician can use sleight-of-hand to make a card "magically" disappear. However, this human's skill follows all the laws of physics, chemistry, and mathematics. But we still call this action "magic."
In a book where magic is possible, the term "magic" is invalid because past characters had such abilities, and new characters followed in their footsteps. She did not "cast a magical spell"; instead, "she cast a spell." He does not have "magical levitating abilities," he has "levitating abilities." Using "magic" cheapens the action and puts the reader at a distance. "Bob, the wizard, can cast a spell, but I (the reader) cannot." The goal of a talented author is to bring the reader into the story. Yes, you, the reader of this blog, can cast a spell. You just have to believe!
Why do authors use "magic?" Such words help bridge the gap between fantasy and reality. Yet, I think these words are literary crutches, and therefore I am not magically ending this blog.
You’re the best -Bill
September 01, 2021
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