Today, I'm pleased to bring my readers a wonderful guest post by fantasy author Sharon Bayliss. She's talking about how she created the magical system for her new book, Destruction. I love creating magical systems, so this is a real treat! Be sure to check out her new book, as well as the awesome giveaway at the end of this post.
One of the really fun things about writing a story about wizards is creating your own magical concepts and spells. The magic in The December People Series is intended to feel as real as possible, so I based my magic on "real" magic. By "real" magic, I mean I adapted ideas from pagan and religious practices and was inspired by what I consider to be real magical concepts--things like love, faith, prayer, self-confidence, and visualizing and realizing your own destiny.
An important thing about magic in The December People Series is it's simplicity. Wizards do participate in rituals, but the most powerful spells are incredibly simple. Basically a wizard wants something--like money, love, revenge, etc.--and it comes to be. There is no wand waving or incantations...although speaking the goal out loud can help with the spell's power and precision. Although casting spells in The December People is simple, it doesn't mean it's easy. Wizards must work within the natural realm. If they want someone dead, they can't simply shout avadakedavra and the victim drops dead. A wizard wishes someone dead, and then they wait for the spell to take it's course through natural means. Common wizard induced deaths are sudden health problems like stroke and heart attack or accidents.
However, if magic was as simple as it sounds, all wizards would be extremely happy millionaires. On the contrary, wizards are prone to short lives and all sorts of misfortunes. Although their magic is powerful, most wizards don't understand how to use it. It's like trying to design a bomb with only a few lines of instructions. With a wizard spell, you can determine the ends, but you can't determine the means. So, if you cast a spell to get money, chances are, the means won't be worth the ends, especially if you're a dark wizard who wields destructive magic. You'll probably get your money because your husband dies and you get his life insurance. Or, you or someone you love will be paralyzed in an accident and you'll win settlement money. Since magic is extremely dangerous in this way, smart wizards don't use it to get frivolous things like money.
Here are some examples of magic you'll see in book one of The December People Series:
Catalyst spells - Perhaps the simplest and most dangerous type of spell, catalyst spells involve adjusting fate to get something you want. Most wizards can control the ends, but not the means.
Perception - When wizards are paying attention, they can be extremely perceptive, to the point that they can almost read minds and see the future. They can also perceive the world around them without the use of their Mundane senses.
Force of body or mind - Used defensively or offensively, and sometimes unintentionally, wizards can send their magic outside of themselves to impact the body or mind of another. With winter wizards, this is almost always done to cause pain or distress, however other types of wizards can create a calming or otherwise positive effect.
Prophecy - Outside of simple perception, some talented wizards can see events in the future. These are generally events that are significant enough that they leave a mark on time that wizards are able to see.
Shielding - To protect themselves, some wizards can actually slide out of consciousness, or make themselves unaware of certain facts.
Expungement - Whereas shielding is done to oneself, expungement is removing memories or thoughts from another person. A similar skill is saving or manipulating memories, although the latter is extremely difficult.
Show or Frivolous Magic - This type of magic has no real purpose and is mostly used in rituals. Generally it means manifesting your magic into something that can be seen, like light.
Talismans - This protective magic is ritualized by keeping actual objects to symbolize protection, but the real power comes from genuine talismans, which are always people. A wizard's talisman is a person who's love or loyalty protects their soul from harm. This is especially important for winter wizards whose magic can easily corrupt the soul.
Types of Wizards - Wizards' magic is classified by the solar year, and wizards are generally defined by the season in which they fall. Their season determines the quality of their magic, and impacts both the means and the ends of spells. Winter magic is destructive, which means that no matter their goal, their magic will always have a destructive quality.
Now that you've completed your Cliff Notes style magical education, you probably already know more about magic than most of the characters in The December People. :)
As the series progresses, you can look forward to learning about new types of magic, especially magic wielded by the other seasons.
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David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn't a choice.
Eleven years ago, David's secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without.
Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David's wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.
Giveaway: 5 paperback copies of Destruction (open to US, UK, and Canada)