Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Magic Of A Clouded Skye

From reading and listening to other writers on the subject of magic, a few common rules should be considered for the magic in any story.

1) Magic should never be free. There should always be a cost to magic.
2) All aspects of the world should take into consideration the magic of that world, economic, technological, or social.
3) Magic should have an underlying structure or philosophy. You don't have to tell the reader the rules of how it works but you have to have thought it up.
4) Avoid using magic as 'deus ex machina' within the story. Don't cheapen the protagonists' struggles and triumphs with it.

The magic of "A Clouded Skye" is not free. There are physical limitations and social ramifications. Skye gains the ability to hear the "heartsongs" of living things which are the harmonies and rhythms of all life. She also gained the ability to tap into the "Mist" which is the uncreated potential of the world. She soon learns two things about the magic of her world. One is that channeling and focusing the Mist to create something is very exhausting. Two is that she is rather tone deaf and has a hard time learning music, as her former music instructor Jacek would attest to. Socially, many humans fear magic and things of the mist. This is especially true in the old country, which has had more time and distance between it and the parts of the world still covered and shaped by the mist.

The magic of "A Clouded Skye" is related to the magic of the preceding Paradise Season stories. The Paradise Season stories take place in the same world but much later than Skye's story. In those stories, the heartsong was the major focal point. The mist had receded to the point where the magic was weaker but more sophisticated and everywhere. In "A Clouded Skye", the Mist is not yet exhausted from the world so the magic is more powerful but less understood. Fewer people understand or use it. Its close proximity but lack of understanding to the people of the world make the magic more greatly feared whereas in the Paradise Season stories it is a more commonly accepted part of life.

The mist and heartsongs are part of a universal underlying structure to the world. Some of it gets explained in the story but some of it may not. The faerie queen Ellana mentions that she was escaping a great calamity from another world. Although she doesn't elaborate more, the Mist ties into how multiple worlds exist in the setting. Picture it as the sea between many islands. Somehow the faerie queen took herself and many of her children from one world to Skye's. Just for fun, I think of wacky multi-world things from time to time. One of these days I should write a Sliders-esque world jumping story sometime.

Although magic helps Skye in the story, the magic she or her faerie friends wield does not just happen to solve all their problems for her. In fact it probably creates just as many problems as it solves. Remember, Skye is tone deaf and her ability to manipulate the heartsongs of plants is inconsistent at best.

I hope you enjoyed these revelations on the Magic of a Clouded Skye. And if you haven't guessed it yet, there is link between the Mist and the title of the book.


Blogger Eliza said...

I agree with you on the rules thing!

7:20 AM  

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