So… Where’s the Magic?
Welcome back readers. In the last time I introduced myself and the blog in the launch post. Today I wanted to give you some more background on who I am and why I’m doing this. I know, I know, I promised that this would be a blog focusing on how the world works, ideally by tying in fiction and magic systems. Sure I could write about something else, but I want you to understand a little more about me before things really get underway. Besides, we all know that I am the center of the universe and everything in it.
Fair warning: this is going to be a longer post so grab some popcorn and settle in.
As many authors do, I grew up with lots of books in the house. In fact, my parents were reading aloud to my brother and me before we could finish books on our own. This is the point where many writers expound on their deep and indestructible love of reading saying thinks like “I read the same book until it fell apart,” or “I even read the labels on the ketchup bottle.” My relationship with reading was significantly less… consistent, but that’s a boring story you don’t need to hear right now.
Something Slightly Less Boring?
What really matters was the discovery of other worlds and the imagination that reading awoke. These tales of heroes, monsters, and magic shaped my life in ways I am just now coming to understand. I try to be kind and respectful to everyone, just like a true knight. Nearly a decade of my life has been spent training in, and even more obsessing over, martial arts. Sure, self-defense is a great reason, but how else am I supposed to protect my loved ones from the forces of evil?
Heroes come in many forms. Some swing swords, some change the world with their kindness, and others use their minds to understand the magic that surrounds them. Once again, the desire to be like the characters I loved drove me onward. I studied, learned, and grew. Perhaps it was inevitable that I found myself drawn to the field of chemistry, the closest thing to arcane arts I have ever witnessed. Even now I refuse to stop learning.
Looking back it is clear to me that I have spent my entire life trying to emulate the warriors, smiths, scholars, and peasants that changed my world. Who knew that stories would drive me to earn dual degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, or that they would guide me to a wonderful woman and the love of my life? Maybe one day I will stand shoulder to shoulder with these giants I follow.
Does that make me arrogant? Honestly, I don’t know. I think most of us shape ourselves after people we admire. My heroes just happen to be fictional.
Finding the Magic
In all honesty, the characters are only a small part of what draws me to fiction. What really pulls me in, the one thing that brings me to books again and again, is the magic.
I LOVE MAGIC!
I can’t begin to count how many days I spent running through streets, parks, and yards casting spells at invisible assailants or how many nights I dreamed of morphing into animals. Even now, when I play video games I can’t just take the mundane fighting class. No, I need to have flame at my fingertips and lightning in my grasp. For a time I refused to read or play anything without it.
As you can imagine, that lead to a bit of a lull in my reading for several years. Just like everyone else, I kept busy with this little thing called life. One day a good friend of mine introduced me to a new author, insisting that I read his series immediatly. And so I found myself with a copy of Mistborn: The Final Empire written by Brandon Sanderson.
I’m not going to pretend that I read this book in a single sitting, or even in a week. But for the first time in years I was reading again. More importantly, I was introduced to a new type of magic: the written word.
Kidding… Totally kidding!
It wasn’t anything so melodramatic. The book is fantastic, bringing me amazing characters, a horrible and intriguing setting, and an awesome plot to top it all off. What really tied this together for me was Sanderson’s unique and well thought out magic systems. In just a few books he explores not one, but three intricately structured forms of metal-magic.
If you haven’t read the Mistborn series, you should. Like, right now. Links to his website found here, here, and here. If you don’t like picking up a series cold, don’t worry. In the future I will be posting reviews of each book before delving into a deeper analysis of the magic within.
All of Sanderson’s work is amazing, but that isn’t the point. With the aid of a friend I had rediscovered the one thing that got me reading again and would launch me on my own tremendous and terrifying journey as a writer.
A Craft of My Own
The full story onto and along the path of a writer is a rather meaty one. Or it might be better to say that I can make it a rather meaty one, but we don’t have time for that. Instead I am going to cut straight to the bone.
What drew me in about Sanderson’s magic was the nearly scientific. Having sunk years of time, money, and brain cells into becoming a scientist and engineer, that was an aspect that appealed to me a great deal. In fact, that is what– Right, cutting to the bone. This is when I began researching different types of magic and super powers. In fact, that is when I began turning into a true Power Junkie. Years of effort went into crafting my own power systems but, surprisingly, nobody wanted to hear me rant for hours on end explaining all the intricate little quirks.
Eventually I came to the realization that most people read books for the story and the characters. So I decided to write the best book of all time and then everyone would be begging me to explain my powers. I would rise to fame as the new king of fiction and all would tremble before my might… And then I tried to write something. For any of you that don’t already know, writing is hard. Like, really hard. We’re talking assembling a robot blindfolded kind of hard.
What did I do about it?
What I always do in these situations: I kidnapped a writer of my very own, fed them old dictionaries, and forced them to do my bidding. Then again, that would have been a lot of work, so I found a book on writing instead. I managed to get my hands on Writing Fiction For Dummies by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy. Until reading their book I had only heard people talk of writing in a nebulous fashion. These two authors showed me that writing can be approached as analytically as chemistry or physics. Suddenly I found myself believing that I could in fact write fiction.
And here we are, several years and a great many frustrations later. I am now a writer and have decided to begun writing this blog. I have learned a lot over the past couple of years, but there is one truth that rose above all the rest.
Do you want to hear it?
It’s All About YOU!!!
I’m serious. Whether it is novels, short fiction, or a blog, it’s the readers that make it all happen. If I was content reading my own word-vomit, secure in the knowledge that I am simply a misunderstood genius, then I would go to all this effort to connect with you. But I’m not, so I am. In fact, you are going to be the topic of my next post where I explore in greater detail some of the things I plan to do on this blog and how I hope to serve you.
Is there a topic you want to learn? A book you want reviewed? A magic system analyzed? Leave a comment below, shoot me an email, or subscribe to my newsletter.
I’ll be back in two weeks. Until then, read and live on.