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Off Topic & Games
For when your thoughts are drifting to things not so movie, or if you're feeling trivially inclined.

writing help
Topic by: Cosplayer
Posted: September 21, 2005 - 5:06 PM PDT
Last Reply: September 22, 2005 - 6:54 PM PDT

author topic: writing help
post #1  on September 21, 2005 - 5:06 PM PDT  
All right...I've been busy writing. I need a character to learn magic, but I want her to do it by mortal means. Aka, internet, books,ect. Stuff anyone could do. I've already had voodoo suggested to me. Any advice?
post #2  on September 21, 2005 - 6:00 PM PDT  
Voodoo is good, but as I understand it's usually learned in person rather than researched. Still a good option.
Books are the popular standard, though. Books on magic are usually found in the back rooms of really old libraries, or in houses that belong to strange people.
I'd be suspicious of any "magic" you might (or your character might) find on the internet. I'm suspicious of most things I find on the internet.
But if there's one place where you're likely to find a real resource of magical knowledge, it's e-bay. People sell some crazy stuff. I haven't been looking, but it's probable that some people really are selling "magic books" or something like that....
Chat rooms and BBS forums have quite a variety of people in them, as well - but if your character actually manages to find someone who really knows magic without being stalked or baited into a real life trap, it might be too incredible. ;-)

But there's surely plenty you can do with a little creativity. I don't wanna write it for you :-P
I like the idea of learning magic over the internet, though. I've been watching "Ultra Maniac" where modern witches use little pocket PCs to perform spells; it's a bit amusing, but it's only natural that magic users could use and adapt technology as it advances. I wonder if there's a hidden "magical internet" hidden behind the normal internet. ha ha
post #3  on September 21, 2005 - 7:20 PM PDT  
a lot of time alone in the cold? an outdoors trip goes wrong, she ends up upside down in an avalanche for two days and comes out seeing all kinds of different energy in the world, which she learns to manipulate.

she's a young dancer with a photographic memory. on a trip to an archaeological site she sees paintings on the wall that she memorizes. at home they strike her as a dance so she tries the steps and turns her cat into a lobster.

she breaks her leg bicycling. while she's home she's bored and decides to do a classwork marathon, no sleeping, no eating, just hitting the books. after two days she can't see straight but she can manipulate reality with math.
post #4  on September 22, 2005 - 10:14 AM PDT  
While coming home from school she finds a large moving truck parked in her neighbors' garage. There are huge men moving furniture and personal belongings into the house. The week prior her best friend had moved a couple of states away to be closer to relatives. In one of the many boxes, she spots a raggedy doll with missing eyes and tattered clothes. Surely, a girl will be living here, her hopes rose as the thought of gaining a "new" best friend filled her head. As she turned to head home, wap! She bumps into a tall slender girl with long jet black hair dressed in a school girl outfit. Picking herself up, she glanced at the strangers frail hands and noticed all of her fingernails had been colored dark red, almost blood like. "What an odd thing to do", she muttered silently. Shaking off the dirt from her uniform, she slowly picked up the few pieces of paper that had scattered from the folder she was holding, and managed to get to a vertical base. Clutching her folder and bag, she turned to the girl and apologized. Extending her right arm, she introduced herself and said, "Hi, I'm ....., I live right next door from you" with glee and a a bright smile she awaited a response. None would be forthcoming. A blank stare and dead silence was all that was offered. ------filler------ peered through her window, she noticed no lights were on, but the soft glow of several lit candles had permeated the girls' room. "What is she doing?", it's nine in the evening and all the rooms to the house are dark, all but one. sees a shadow coming into focus, it was the girl. She seems to be walking as if in a state of daze. Her hands holding a rather large book and her lips mumbling slowly. She's chanting, can't make out what she's saying, but she seems intent on reciting it over and over again. Her sunken eyes rolling up into her head, her body trembling from an unknown force. Suddenly, she drops the book and stretches her arms outward to her side and all the while repeating the same verse she had beginning chanting earlier. She stops. Her body is frozen in the position of a crucifix. Her eyes closed, her face motionless. held her breath and waited in anticipation. It almost seemed eternal, but it was but a brief second. The girl opened her eyes, her steely gaze directed at . "Oh ...
post #5  on September 22, 2005 - 10:41 AM PDT  
books. and personal learning from others.

with hints about theory and a natural aptitude of the character to the theory and a desire to experiment.

Food for thought: Rhetorical question; what's the difference between science/technology and magic/witchcraft? Well, the actual answer is one is true, works, and exists while the other is misguided, doesn't work, and never existed. But the whole point of magical fiction is that they both exists so what *would* be the difference if magic did exit. Well, it'd do cooler more impossible stuff ... but what does that mean? I'd say science deals with physical composition of things (photography works because light triggers chemical reactions) whereas magic deals with the concept of things (a magic mirror shows you what you wish to see).

So you learn science by reading, so with magic. So if you read (via that wierd book in Donnie Darko) the water and metal are conduits of temporal disturbance, and (via the writings of Pythagoras) that the sould of the dead travel through beans stalks (because they have hollow stems) and that memories and impressions can be captured within objects of close physical contact (okay, I don't have a reference for that but its a pretty common idea in fantasy/sci-fi), the bright magician may experiment with burying her grandmothers locket, planting a hybrid fava bean and fertilizing it with a silver nitrate, creates a powerful and easily accessable repository of her grandmothers knowledge. For example.
post #6  on September 22, 2005 - 5:35 PM PDT  
Well to woozy, natural is what can be proved with science. Supernatural is what cannot. These things are bound to change. And I think I know what I'll do!

It's like buffy (only not nearly so campy) she'll declare online that if someone can teach her a spell online, she'll meet them. So someone does and it'a a rapist. So she kicks his ass and is all, "You said you knew magic," and he's all "Who says I don't?" So then...all sorts of crazy shit will happen.
post #7  on September 22, 2005 - 6:54 PM PDT  
> On September 22, 2005 - 5:35 PM PDT Cosplayer wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Well to woozy, natural is what can be proved with science. Supernatural is what cannot.

Fair enough. I was just thinking a person, a normal person, could learn magic in pretty much any way the plot would work in the same way she could learn anything else (music, art, science, math, gardening, etc...)

> And I think I know what I'll do!

Good. Good Luck!

By the way, this is the exact *opposite* of what you want, but I kind of like the way magic was learned and explained in the Promethea Comic Books by Alan Moore. (Well, except for the sex part... that was kind of creepy...)

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