This thought literally crossed my mind tonight: “If iron and lodestone can repel magic [in my Michael Lodestone pulp/urban fantasy world], then magic has a magnetic field. That means JT can develop sensors to track it!” [JT is one of my characters I haven’t talked about much.]
It’s the science of fantasy.
Yes, as authors, we can technically do whatever we want. If I want pink trees, I can add in pink trees. However, the buck always stops with the reader. If the reader buys into my pink trees idea, then it works. If the reader stops and say to himself, “Hold on,” then my pink trees don’t work. (This little concept of getting the readers to buy into your fantasy or sci-fi world is called the suspension of disbelief.) I’ve done a few blogs before on this in the past, so I won’t dwell too much in it here.)
The main thing: you can do anything you want as long as you prove it to your audience. Your audience determines the amount of proving you will need. (As in: it doesn’t Takeuchi work to convince a three year old to believe in Santa Claus.)
When it comes to writing fantasy, say, for instance this Michael Lodestone story, I am trying to follow my own rules. I’m approaching the idea of magic from a scientific standpoint. I started with “Iron and lodestone can stop magic.” (Michael needed a bit of help since he is not allowed to use magic.) now I’m thinking through what that might look like if it were true in real life.
I’m currently developing the rules of magic in this new world, and it’s not as easy as it sounds. (I have to think way back to remember that I really struggled with developing all of the rules for the Elysian Chronicles as well. I’m kind of working through it the way Michael would work through it. Start with what you know and work backwards. Whatever I do, I need to make sure of two things:
—It needs to sound plausible. Iron repels magic. Michael caries around a sack of iron dust that he can throw in the air for protection. It sounds plausible–if magic from Lodestone’s world actually existed.
—I need to work through all the logic loopholes and issues. Last night, I realized the the zombie critters I’m dealing with are under a spell, but the spell has already been cast. It’s inside of them, so iron can’t break it unless it gets inside of them. (Hence, stabbing.) I have to keep working through the ideas to make sure they sound compatible…
Since my evil queen will be using all her nasty magic in the last half of the book, I have my work cut out for me.
How about you? How do you make your fantasy world seem real?