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Monday, September 12, 2011

Dragon*Con Highlights: Spotlight on Witches

Over Labor Day weekend, I attended Dragon*Con in Atlanta—certainly an overwhelming event, with focus on everything fantasy—steampunk, sci fi, and all subgenres of fantasy.

Word is 60,000 were present at the con, and I came homes exhausted from dealing with the crowds and noise. But, I had fun and enjoyed many panels and sessions. I usually stayed in the relative sanity of the writers’ tracks, but once in a while ventured into the chaos of fan tracks. I wanted to share one interesting panel discussion on witches in genre fiction.

This was my favorite panel topic, since I love to write about witches, mages, and sorcerers. I’ll summarize the highlights of their discussion which interested me.

Panel members: Faith Hunter; Kalayna Price; Linda Robertson; Nancy Holder; Debbie Viguie
Moderator: Carole Malcolm

How is witchcraft in your novel world?

Faith—Mages can use elemental powers, such as stone magery. Magical powers are inherited and have no religious connection.
Kalayna—Magic is part of everyday life with no religious context.
Linda—Magical power is rooted in pagan or wiccan religions.
Nancy—In both her Crusades series and Wicked series, the magic has a Wicca basis. Witches begin as white or good and eventually cross into gray, dark practitioners.
Debbie—Her witches tap into internal and external energies for their powers. Externally, magnetism is a key source. Religion is not a factor.

Explain how your characters use magical powers.

Faith—The witches can store power in stones from deep within the Earth and recharge from them. The elements of nature provide their power.
Kalayna—The witch, who is her main character, faces a cost each time she uses witchcraft, slowly losing her eyesight.
Debbie—Her witch character must sacrifice her soul bit-by-bit to save others. In the process, she becomes dark and tainted.

What is the cost to your characters when they use witchcraft?

Faith—In her Rogue Mage series, the cost is life or death, since use of magic allows antagonists to determine her location. Once found, they will punish or kill those who use witchcraft illegally.
Kalayna—There are counterbalances, since her witch loses the sense used in the magical acts, losing eyesight and eventually going insane.
Linda—No cost. Using her magic strengthens her religion—a positive effect.
Nancy—There is a moral cost, as well as physical exhaustion which can lead to the witch being overpowered in a standoff.
Debbie—moral decay

What do you think is the special appeal of witches?

Faith—They have the ability to touch higher powers within, seeking to find something inside that brings peace to themselves and others.
Kalayna—Witchcraft is cool!
Linda—It’s compelling to witness the control they have over their lives and destinies, using powers of the universe.
Nancy—A strong, mysterious, exotic woman is sexy.
Debbie—We each can relate, since anyone could be a witch. Everyone has had a supernatural experience; therefore, witches are more accessible than vampires or werewolves. We each have experienced odd connections to nature we wish to better understand.

I came away inspired by their magical systems and totally agree with their ideas on the appeal of witches. I’m fascinated by the concept of being able to connect deeper within yourself, utilize your own untapped strengths to harness powers of the universe to make life better. This key idea keeps me writing about those types of characters. 

What fascinates you about witches and mages?

Be sure to check out my posts about other interesting Dragon*Con sessions at two of my group blogs:
Me in one of my woodland faerie costumes
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Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. She is the author of the novel, TEARS ON A TRANQUIL LAKE, the first in a trilogy. Part two, TORTUGA TREASURE is contracted for release in January, 2012. Look for her first of an epic fantasy romance series, SEEKING A SCRIBE: ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS ONE, to be available late autumn.


Alyssa Ast said...

It sounds like it would have been a very fun event to attend! It would be nice if those events were held in my neck of the woods. I have yet to write about witches. They seem like very complex characters and would take a great deal of thought to accurately portray. Thanks for sharing your experience!

Alyssa Ast

Marsha A. Moore said...

It was a lot of fun! Some cons move each year, but DragonCon is always in Atlanta. I'm waiting for World Fantasy Con to come nearby. Witches are complex, but there are no hard and fast rules, unless you base their magic on wiccan tradition, which is exacting.

Diane said...

Sweet! Thanks for sharing with this us - and DragonCon sounds like it would be so amazing!

Marsha A. Moore said...

Thanks for visiting, Diane! DragonCon was a tremendous experience.