1. DBTate
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    DBTate Senior Member

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    Believable magic

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by DBTate, Aug 14, 2011.

    Hey guys,

    Forgive me if this has been covered extensively or if it's in the wrong section.

    My problem with my current novel (in planning stages) is the implementation of magic. The basic background of the necessity of my magic is that there are a race who are substantially powerful (enough so to have ultimate control over all others) but who do not wish to rule. They simply want to keep to themselves. The rest of the world however, has been at war for some time in a power struggle. This 'all powerful' race has decided that one leader of all races will be appointed, and will be backed by them (as no one is capable of opposing them). There will essentially be a vote, and whoever is elected via majority will have the full support of the powerful race.

    One thing I have seen quite frequently however, is that use of magic that 'regular people' can't overcome makes a story boring. There is of course an antagonist who plans to rig the election to gain power. But if he were to take the throne illegitimately, you would think that logically the powerful race would be like, "Ah, no you don't!" and *poof* he is defeated.

    How can I make them powerful enough to control the fate of the world, yet weak enough to be deceived and essentially defeated?

    Is magic at all necessary here? I get the feeling that I might be able to exclude magic, and simply have a vote organised by the races themselves and have a story focused around their lying and cheating etc and a protagonist who fights to have a legitimate and fair ruler instated.

    Help?

    Thanks in advance,

    David.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It has been discussed a lot. You could search the Plot Creation and General Writing forums for the keyword Magic.
     
  3. DBTate
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    DBTate Senior Member

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    Thanks, have just found a few helpful previous threads.

    Sorry for an unnecessary thread, still getting the hang of things ;)
     
  4. DBock
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    DBock Member

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    Being powerful doesn't make you all knowing. Even Sauromon (sp? --- I'm tired.. sue me, lol) was deceived by a little hobbit that snuck into his mountain and spiked his ring in some hot cocktail.
     
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  5. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    Believeable magic, that's a nice oxymoron. Fair ruler? You're quite good at this.

    If it is irrelevant to the story you want to tell then drop it. They could also be very studied in politics or such, or in control. Magic coukd be used as a hyperbole, if you simply must get your point across.
     
  6. DBock
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    DBock Member

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    That's a good point there... good quote often said by Baron Acton --- "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

    Something to keep in mind there.
     
  7. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    The issue of magic being believable doesn't rely on how outlandish it is, but rather on whether or not it's being used as a too-convenient plot device. You have to have clearly established rules of magic that are just as rigid as laws of science, and stick to them. If you find that your MC is constantly getting freebie loopholes, there's a problem.

    Think about characters being able to apparate in Harry Potter. It would be a huge problem if JK Rowling had allowed the characters to just apparate over to Voldemort and kill him, but there's plenty of restrictions preventing that- i.e. you have to be of age, you have to know how to do it without splicing yourself, etc.

    And avoid giving your characters powers that would allow them to just complete the mission without any real effort. Give them other powers, instead. ;)
     
  8. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    I never wrote fantasy, although I've been tempted to, if I had to do a novel I'll threat magick as we threat technology in our world. That would be my approach, I don't know if it could work for you as well.
     
  9. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    Use of magic that can't be overcome by "regular people'?

    That question brings to mind the plot of the movie "Wizards" by Ralph Bakshi.

    In the climatic conclusion, the wizard brothers Blackwolf and Avatar face off.

    The evil Blackwolf has been refining and developing his dark arts for centuries and is poised to conquer the world, while his good brother Avatar has been growing fat and lazy, and hasn't brushed up on his mystical arts much at all.

    When the two wizards square off for a battle to the death, the good Avatar simply admits that his magic has no chance of defeating the awesome power of his dark brother...and then he says "...but let me show you a trick that mother taught me when you weren't around".

    ...and pulls a Luger 9mm pistol from his sleeve and shoots his brother...twice.

    Duel over.



    "Fight if you must, win if you can...BUT ALWAYS CHEAT" - Old Yankee Proverb
     

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