Saturday, October 27, 2007
Drawing down the moon...
Down through history magic users have been revered or reviled. Worshiped or feared. And sometimes both at the same time. There are as many different magic users as there are cultures. Although modern western culture doesn't really believe in witches anymore, at one time admitting to witchcraft could get you burnt at the stake. So when creating your characters keep the history of persecution in mind. It will play a part in creating a believable witch.
Magic wielders are interesting characters no matter what you choose to do with them. Whether they are bumbling like Aunt Clara or wise counselors like Gandalf the White, they can be fun, commanding, and always interesting. Another cool thing is magical characters don't have to serve only as sidekicks or mentors. They can be the hero or heroine too.
Samantha anyone? Was she the coolest witch ever? I grew up loving Bewitched, though I could never understand how suck a neat lady ever ended up married to Darrin the dork. He was a fun foil for the magic of the week, but not appealing to me as a romance reader or writer.
The one thing Bewitched did very poorly was naming male witches. No I don't mean Maurice or Uncle Arthur. Those were fine. But they used the term warlocks to mean male witches. Let me give you a friendly word of warning. Be careful about calling a male witch a warlock. The term warlock is associated with oath breaking. Some pagans have suggested a reevaluation of the word but most find the term highly insulting and offensive. Keep this in mind when creating your characters and your world.
Magic should have rules and consequences. If your magic user, witch, sorcerer, wizard, or shaman can do anything, you may have a heck of a time making your reader care about them. This is one reason I love the Harry Potter series. JD Rowling created a learning process where a beginner can cast the most basic of spells and must learn how to behave responsibly. I have a number of other series I've loved including wonderful fantasy novels where the magical aspects are as carefully crafted and as much a character as the hero. David Eddings' Belgariad series and Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series handled this task well. I loved Misty's Vows and Honor series with Tarma and Kethry. Romance authors have taken on this task well too. Robin D. Owens did her homework when it came to creating her world and rules for magic. I love her Celta series and her wonderful alpha heroes.
As the other ladies all mentioned, start with research. Most libraries have a nice section on the paranormal in the 133s or the 299s (Dewey Decimal Classification). 133 is paranormal and 299 is other religions. This is a good jumping off spot. You can also haunt (sorry, couldn't resist) the new age/paranormal section of your local bookstore. Llewellyn publishing has tons of books on the topic. One cool thing you read might spark your imagination into creating an entire world!
I have to admit, I love the idea of a magic wielding hero. No, I don't mean an old grey beard like Gandalf or Dumbledore. But a really hot male witch. There's just something exciting about starting with a powerful alpha hero and ratcheting him up a notch by adding the ability to wreck havoc with the wave of his hand. And let's not forget all the potential of sex magic. Oh my... Sounds like a plot. I think I'll start writing. Right now!