Is this what we’re doing now?

You don’t have to say a thing. I already know.

I’ve skipped out on continuing one story in favour of hitting the eight-novella series again. The characters crept back into my head with some astounding clarity today. There were things that I hadn’t gotten right during draft one which I am confident I can fix and keep fixed through the series now.

I also got to have a very complicated discussion with the husband about magic theory. Scientific-based magic is a sneaky business. When the magic in my universe is just that much closer to known physics, I have to be even more aware of all the places I am intentionally stretching reality to fit in my brand of fiction. As I work through the theories, I bounce confirmations off the husband and get his input on the likelihood of one thing affecting another, or the limitations that must be in place.

One of the things that came up during this was the X-Men character, Magneto. The X-Men series is one of those things that has so much intense depth, I can’t even begin to do it justice by a few lines of explanation, but suffice to say, someone with the powers Magneto is given shouldn’t have any actual restrictions. He should pretty much be able to do anything, with no contest from the other mutants in that universe (besides the ones intentionally made even more undefeatable).

All magic requires limits, but certain powers need author-imposed restrictions that keep the character from being able to just do their thing and overcome the challenges with no effort, growth or progression. These are the most difficult scenarios for me, because they still need to live in that realm of believability that I am already applying to my magic theory. They also have to be hidden restrictions, things that don’t jump out at the reader as something I have used as a character-roadblock.

So with all this fresh and burning in my mind, I’ll be getting back to the first major edit of TDM. Then, should everything go well, I’ll charge straight on into finishing the first draft of SL. Yeah!



13 thoughts on “Is this what we’re doing now?

  1. It’s really awesome to see you so inspired, Ash! I love moments where your characters just get all up in your face and yell “HELLO THERE! REMEMBER ME!?” I’m glad you’re feeling so positive and confident in the direction you’re now heading! Best of luck! I cannot wait to read some of your published works in the near future! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Katy-Rose! It really is the best when your characters demand acknowledgement. Some of them are exceptionally forceful, where others are just a quiet nagging until you give them the attention they deserve. 😀


  2. Wow, sounds exciting! I totally get what you’re talking about with powers and roadblocks. It sounds like you’re headed in the right direction. Onward!

    1. Oh, good. I sometimes wonder if I go off on really strange tangents that others won’t follow. XD Then again, anyone who’s been writing long enough will have stumbled across the problem of making conflicts as natural as possible.


  3. I know exactly what you mean. One of my protagonists has a wholly sciencey power set, & I spent a ridiculous amount of time making sure he’s capable of losing, making sure each of his abilities has reasonable limits or drawbacks or counters.

    If I remember right, the problem with Magneto was that at the time of his creation, it was not yet understood exactly HOW significant the force of magnetism is, or at least Lee & Kirby hadn’t studied to that extent.

    At least the Juggernaut’s powers actually ARE magical, rather than scientific. Except for that outfit. Yelling’s the only way he can breathe.

    1. And people think worldbuilding is complicated. XD

      Yeah, that plays a big part into Magneto’s issues, so it’s kind of forgivable. That’s another important thing to consider, though: when making a power science-based, will that “date” the character in the future, once our collective understanding of the universe expands? I guess there’s not a lot we can do about that, though.


      1. I feel like I kinda dodged that issue both by only explaining the science that I already know and by having some of it reliant on sci-fi tech that I know will never actually exist.

  4. Did someone say X-Men? 😀

    I haven’t thought of equating magic and powers. Huh, I see what you mean there. I figured I’d show this from Amy Rose Davis. She recently blogged about magic, and I thought it was an interesting perspective.

    One of the things I will say about the powers thing though is that I think it depends on the character. Magneto shouldn’t have limits with his power, but he does have a limit as to what his body can withstand. It also matters what occurs to a character as well. Like Iceman. He’s omega class I hear now, and it makes sense. I mean he freezes water– his power is technically limitless!

    One of my favorite stories with Iceman was the one where Emma Frost took over his body (I think they’ve sort of let that storyline disappear from the history now that she’s with Scott.) She did things with his power that had never occurred to him to try, and because of it he suffered a total lack of confidence in his abilities.

    That really made me think that powers and character personality should be tied, and that’s what has helped me develop the system I have in place now.

    1. Magic and powers are basically the same thing as far as writing goes, just with different explanations. I can appreciate the idea that magic should be mysterious in a sense; certainly, the magic should be mysterious to the reader, but the author should have valid boundaries for their abilities. Not only because it makes sense to be aware of what your own world is capable of, but doubly because if it’s just explained away with “magic”, and the author themselves doesn’t have a solid understanding of it, then EVERYTHING opens to being solved with magic. I don’t necessarily respect magic that is unlimited, boundless, and fully unexplainable.

      A good example of fantastic, really amazingly thought-out magic use is from Patrick Rothfuss, in The Kingkiller Chronicle. The magic in that works from such a believable, awesome (as in truly awe-inspiring) theory, that I completely love the known, and it has enough elements of unknown from the reader’s perspective to keep it very “magical”.

      I do like the idea that a power can exceed a person’s physical ability. The concept of being consumed by a magic would be similar to a person being unable to withstand the physical effects on their body. Having psychological reasons for a character to be able, or unable to achieve various acts is also a fantastic story point (as are morals, upbringings, and personal truths which drive a character to behave the way they do with their magic/powers).

      Yay, X-Men. 😀


      1. I don’t think she meant that magic shouldn’t have an explanation at all, just that it’s a good idea to keep it somewhat mysterious.

        I compare magic and nature. We know there are rules in nature, we don’t need to know the hows and whys, though there are some pretty detailed explanations out there for it. Ultimately, if you keep asking why, someone will go, “We just don’t know.”

        1. Maybe not, but the post gave me a vibe of what an author is writing about their magic is the extent of their understanding for it, or that there shouldn’t be any particular rules, even. The first comment from Cliff Burns, and her response, drove that home a bit – “building the set” doesn’t just have merit, it’s essential to having a believable world. The author must know far, far more than they will ever write into their books, including their own magic lore, lest they just decide on a whim that everything is *bam*, magick’d. They need to know all the behind-the-scenes and what will and won’t work (even if they have to learn that through their draftwork, rather than laying it out in the beginning). There’s nothing wrong with not having exact, constricting rules for magic (that would be counter-productive as well), but in fantasy, reality itself ceases to be a set of exact, constricting rules anyway. It’s all interesting input, either way.

          There’s definitely a point that all “why?” ends with, “because, magic”. But to me, there needs to be some kind of explanation for the author why their character can perform telekinesis, but cannot make themselves fly, or if someone’s creation of elements comes from re-purposing loose particles, dematerialising other matter, drawing existing elements from around them, or from another dimension, or what. “Magic” is a fine explanation to give the reader, but where does the writer draw their line, and what makes the difference between doable and impossible in their own magical world? 😀


  5. This is a fascinating conversation. I think at some point you sort of have to let it go. Can I explain why telekinesis works? No. How would I even go about explaining that? Scientific explanation of molecules? Some explanations involving positrons and other made-up words?

    I just have to suspend disbelief and believe it does work, but that there are rules and limits to its use.

    I sort of like not knowing myself, though I can understand why an author wouldn’t like that, lol. You’re right, the authors probably should know. But at the same time, I think that in my case, leaving it a little open invites discussion which is what I ultimately want. I’ve had readers come up with their own theories and they sound a lot better than my theories. If I leave it a little open on my end, then I won’t get frustrated with readers. I can honestly say, “You know, that’s a great theory! I didn’t think of that.”

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