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The sliding scale of Fantasy: Realism or Magic?
Harper Wade
Posted: Saturday, March 3, 2012 2:53 PM
Joined: 2/25/2012
Posts: 20


I'm just wondering how much magic you other fantasy writers inject into your stories. I've been struggling with some of my stories because I tend to make the actions and abilities of most of my characters a little too realistic, to the point that if I wasn't writing about "another world" I would almost hesitate to label my stories fantasy. 

I really want to write one of those beautiful, magical, borderline non sequitur dreamworld fantasies like Mirrormask or such, but I just don't know if I've got it in me to let go of the urge to have everything happen logically.

So magic vs. realism. What is your preference as a writer, and what is your preference as a reader (if they differ)? And how do you like to portray your preferences? 
LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Saturday, March 3, 2012 3:36 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


How much magic you want to put in depends on how your world functions. You can have worlds that would die if the magic does, or those in which no one knows it exists. You can have magic as another tool of daily life, or it can be limited.

In my own made up little world, magic is something that anyone can practice (more like years of study) if they want, but like any skill, it helps to have some talent. The little hitch is that people have adapted to a magic system that broke thousands of years ago. It isn't what it used to be, and it is slowly being replaced by technology. I wanted a little realism to how magic might function and what might become of it in a world that is crossing the line from stagnancy (how everything has been), to progress. I don't want to bore you with my extensive notes on magic use in my world and in what way it broke, but there is the basics to answer your question.

In other words, magic for me functions in a more logical vein. My mages/wizards/sages or what have you, also have a tendency to function as scientists and engineers. They don't just go into arcane history or spell crafting. Magic also has a tendency to be stronger in certain people depending on their family history, you know, like the real world works.

If  you want me to be more specific just let me know.
Harper Wade
Posted: Saturday, March 3, 2012 8:08 PM
Joined: 2/25/2012
Posts: 20


Thanks for the reply! I'm mostly just wanting to gain perspective on how other authors write their fantasy or what they look for as they're reading someone else's. 

My main story right now (Unfit) is a world where magic is possible (they more or less have to tap into one of the four deities for it and then it's mostly used by the upper class), but it doesn't factor into the story until at least halfway through. If anything, I've got Unfit's religious/magic system almost too planned out, but I still feel like it's lacking that really imaginative, whimsical edge that you'd find in a Neil Gaiman book or such. For Unfit, that kind of thing may not even be appropriate since magic is only used by very accomplished academics, but as I think of my other stories, I'd like to take a new approach. 

I guess you could say I'm looking for inspiration by proxy.
Alexandria Brim
Posted: Saturday, March 3, 2012 9:07 PM
Joined: 10/20/2011
Posts: 353


Magic exists in my fantasy world, but it doesn't dominate it. People have prophetic dreams and one character is known for being able to interpret them. I plan to also introduce a "witch" character, who uses a more nature based form of magic.
Brian Lowe
Posted: Saturday, March 3, 2012 10:18 PM
Joined: 1/31/2012
Posts: 16


First, you can never "let go of the urge to have everything happen logically." If you invent an illogical magic system, no one will read it.

I think you'll find that fantasy authors vary widely in how they use magic, how much magic exists in their stories, and who uses it. How you use magic defines your genre, not the other way around.

Even your questions, though, can inform your story. If it's a question of who uses magic, why are there such limitations? Are they genetic, societal? Are non-magic users jealous?

Is magic seen as a good or bad thing?

Is magic only used by some because magic itself is in limited supply? Is the supply self-sustaining, or is it finite?

And practically speaking, what does magic do for your story? It doesn't have to be the most important element (that should always be your characters). How much do you really need to tell the story of these people you have created?

It's your story. Tell it the way seems right to you.

Kate Dochart
Posted: Sunday, March 4, 2012 11:19 AM
Joined: 1/31/2012
Posts: 2


With my work of contemporary fantasy I have a little bit of magic thrown in there however, I have disguised it well enough that only the family at the heart of the story know of it. My main character's best friend, although quite involved with the family, does not even suspect of the magic that is connected to her friend or even at work in the world around her. I cannot give away too much but the magic at the heart of the story goes back as far as 480 A.D. and has been kept a very guarded secret by this family and their kin for centuries.

As for my other work of fantasy, I have chosen to keep it out of the plot completely. The "magic" I use throughout that story is built more on foreign superstition and legend rather than magic itself. Everything has a natural explanation while seeming to be "magical" to characters in the story.
PureMagic
Posted: Friday, March 9, 2012 1:53 PM
Joined: 12/1/2011
Posts: 35


I tend to view magic in fantasy in one of two ways - it is either a central, driving force for the narrative, or it is a known fact but is there to give a familiarity for the readers and to give one (or more) characters abilities which will help or hinder the protagonist.  For the story I am working on right now, magic is uncommon but accepted for the most part, though some jealousy exists.  However, there is a more powerful and more dangerous form of magic which is despised by those who know of it, and it is that which drives the story forward.

So as far as magic goes - both as a reader and as a writer, if magic or a magic-like power exists in the world, I want it to feel organic and true to the rest of the story.  Don't have it for the sake of having it.  Make it mean something.  But above all else, do not use it as a deus ex machina to write characters out of a sticky situation because there is nothing else to do.  As much as I am loathe to take a shot at LotR, that was always the thing which bothered me towards the end.  Too many convienient uses of magic, ghosts, etc to save the day.  Still one of my faves though, so please don't hurt me!

Where I tend to stray from common fantasy is the proliferation of hordes of monsters and dragons and things which seem to exist in the world, and then only in places where the heroes need to go.  I avoid goblins and demons and stuff of that type.  Where there are things other than my human characters (at this point, only 1 that the readers know of) they tie directly into the story and their existence is crucial to the plot.
LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Friday, March 9, 2012 11:36 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


I just thought of something that must be said. Harper, you want a dream-like quality, almost a whimsical feel to a work you want to write. To achieve this you don't need a non-logical magic system. Think of a beautiful sunset with someone you love. It has this overwhelming power to it that enraptures you and draws you in. It might even capture a prominent memory spot. There is something about its beauty that almost makes you weep, but you always wear that goofy smile of content even if for a few moments. That there is "real" magic.

I thought of this when I remembered a question someone had asked me when I was about 11 or 12. They asked me, "Do you think magic exists?" As geeky as I was, I said no. He said, "You're wrong. Have you ever seen a beautiful sunset with a person you love? That is magic." I know I talked something that you should consider when creating a magic system, but this should remain in the forefront of your mind. It does with me, even when I'm writing about how my MC threw very cold water in an enemy's face because she failed to generate an icicle.
stephmcgee
Posted: Monday, March 12, 2012 11:19 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 245


Magic can be so far-ranging.  The current WiP has three different kinds, one which manipulates the weather, one which has a finite set of incantations with pretty limitless possibilities, and one is just there as an adaptation for a culture but doesn't do anything active.  The first is that way because it felt right for that culture.  The second is that way because of genetics/creation stuff.  It's limitless in possibilities in that one spell depending on your mindset and thoughts when saying it it will have different effects on different things.
Nevena Georgieva
Posted: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 9:32 AM
Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 438


Bumping up for new members to see!
Herb Mallette
Posted: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 11:16 PM
Joined: 6/28/2011
Posts: 188


Well, let me put this out there and see if someone wants to disagree.

Nobody wants realism in Fantasy. Medieval conditions were appalling by modern standards, and reading about people in those conditions is just not going to be any fun. Try imagining "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" or Terry Gilliam's "Jabberwocky" without any jokes, and you've got a start on realistic Fantasy. Disease, pestilence, raw sewage, abominable social conditions, subjugation of women -- and let's not forget, absolutely everyone going about unwashed, undeodorized, and completely lacking in dental hygiene. That dashing, swashbuckling hero? He smells like someone sprayed a keg of beer over the carpet of a run-down gymnasium's weight room. The lovely, graceful princess? Mossy, carious teeth when she smiles, hairy legs and armpits when you get her in the royal boudoir.

Fantasy is only tolerable when we sweep these sordid bits of its reality under the rug -- or solve them with magic.

So the spectrum we're really talking about is materialism versus magic, not realism versus magic.

Along that spectrum, I prefer to write in worlds tilted strongly toward magic, in part because they allow me to clean up some of the untidiness of medieval life instead of just pretending it's not there. In a world where magic is moderately common, it takes only a few well-positioned sorceresses in history to break the political dominion of men, and the presence of wards and charms against pregnancy permits a significantly more egalitarian society than actually prevailed in our own medieval era.

I also enjoy exploring ramifications and repercussions, so every brand of magic that I dream up gives me the opportunity to ask, "What would the world be like if this capability existed?"

Put all that together, and I get something that looks like the world I've set my main series in, where dozens of different varieties of magic exist, and the rarest sort of wizard is the true generalist who can actually do many different things.
LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2013 11:50 AM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


I solved the problem by moving up my time to something resembling pre-Civil War America, watered down Victorian England, with some of the tech bans during Meiji Era Japan. Throw in a healthy dose of magic, and yes, it does solve a lot of those appalling problems we would rather not think about while writing escapist works of fiction. It also gives me the right environment to splay with the effect of rapidly developing technology in a magical world.

Downside, my fantasy will end up resembling steam-punk in a couple of books.
Herb Mallette
Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2013 1:17 PM
Joined: 6/28/2011
Posts: 188


I think too few writers play with magic as technology. Don't get me wrong -- there's certainly a sizable place in the genre for realms where magic is mysterious, rare, and so difficult to fathom that it can never become common. But once you move to a model where central characters are wizards and the costs and causes of magic are relatively well defined, I think you have to answer the question, "If this is how this works, then why doesn't everyone do it?"

The more that a magic system is based on something learnable rather than innate, the more you're obligated to treat it as technology and have a clear vision of why the technology hasn't spread far and wide. And if it has spread widely, then the more you need to account for its transformational effects on the society you present.


LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Friday, April 12, 2013 1:44 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


I'll get into treating magic as technology, but at this moment in my story it isn't really although it's been restricted. I tried to set up this system where I have those with innate ability (think of people with superpowers) and those who have a talent for it and must learn how to use it.

Those who have a talent for it are called Unnaturals (it's not negative). They use rune work and incantations to channel the energy. It's more mental than those with innate abilities (Naturals) who use more physical means. (I can thank copious amounts Avatar:TLA for that one.) Of course, like all talents, there are those who just can't do it no matter how hard they try. Of course, a formal education in magic is time consuming and can be expensive. It also helps to be intelligent since runes are strung together like math equations to get the desired effects. The example I scribbled down in my notebook was something like:

fireball = (runes for) contain + fire + combustion (Usual inscribed on a glove or tattooed in the skin. All you have to do is activate! Well, still have to learn how to use it first.)

You know, I was actually writing out my system for magic the other day, and found out it was quite complicated. But not in the I-can't-follow-this way. There is just a lot of information.

And I want to know how this response turned into a half assed attempt at trying to explain my magic system without transcribing my notes?
Pattimari Sheets
Posted: Friday, April 12, 2013 8:13 PM
Joined: 2/22/2013
Posts: 4


Harper, I recently joined your discussion and although there are many who already wrote after your statement, I am going to respond to your beginning statement. You asked how real or unreal should a fantasy be, or somewhere around there. I write different genres but fantasy is the one I enjoy the most and while I'm writing fantasy stories I go with the magic of it and wherever it leads me. I don't have any limits while while writing, nor do I try to stay within the realm of reality. First of all, I believe writing is magical in itself therefore I go with the flow and creativity. My characters come to me in dreams and led the way so I am totally into fantasy when I write.
MariAdkins
Posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 2:59 PM
Nobody wants realism in Fantasy.

I happen to enjoy it when it's used properly in urban and paranormal fantasy.

But once you move to a model where central characters are wizards
and the costs and causes of magic are relatively well defined, I think
you have to answer the question, "If this is how this works, then why
doesn't everyone do it?"


How do you feel about fairy tale creatures masquerading as humans using "every day" magic? Such as, f'ex, using twigs and leaves for coins on the bus in lieu of money or a bus pass, "see me not" spells, secrets as the keys to approach / gain entrance into knowes ... But then everyone else who aren't some sort of fairy tale being is boringly, plainly mundane, even those who can see into the fairy realms ... The fairy tale creatures, especially the narrator, remind the reader at opportunity that magic, any magic, can and does have consequences, good and bad.

Or am I completely missing the point?

LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 9:26 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


Mari, I know what you're referencing. I think Herb is referring to worlds where spell casters are "special." In other words, the reader knows the rules and what it takes to use magic, but there is no definition why everyone doesn't use it. Especially when all your main characters are magic users. They aren't a representative sample of the world unless magic is an everyday thing.

In the Toby Daye books, we know that these characters can use magic because they're fae or have fae blood. In the Harry Potter books, magic is often genetic (not always) but you have to be born with the ability to use it. A lot of fantasy doesn't define this. In fact, most writers prefer to keep magic on the fringes. You can thank "gritty realism" fantasy for that. When Herb, or really anyone else, is referring to realism, they are referring to that fantasy sub-genre.

Realism is trying to take the fantastic out of fantasy. It's usually lots of mud, blood, and swearing with very little magic. The A Song of Fire and Ice books are the perfect example.

We're mostly trying to discuss which we prefer as a writer. We already know I'm trying to explore the impact of gears and steel tech on magic, so obviously magic in my world is common enough that people don't flinch, but there is still a slight elitism factor. Right now I'm contemplating what the effect dirigibles would have on my dragon-rider postal service. I've got some time to figure it out since that issue is probably 2 or 3 books from now.
Herb Mallette
Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 1:29 PM
Joined: 6/28/2011
Posts: 188


Mari, my statement about "nobody" wanting realism in fantasy was partly a tongue-in-cheek excuse to make some jokes about hygiene. I apologize for my inner sixth-grader. Also, I should have exempted urban and paranormal fantasy, since they obviously don't assume the same medieval conditions of traditional fantasy.

LeeAnna did a good job explaining my position for me. Most abilities involve some degree of skill and some degree of natural talent. In my world, there are sprites who have an innate knack for creating illusions and are able to fly not because they have aerodynamically "realistic" wings, but because their wings focus an inner magical ability. A sprite could teach a human the spellcraft needed to create figments, and if the human had a natural talent, they might end up being similar in ability to the sprite. But the sprite couldn't teach a human to fly at all, not even a little, because the human lacks the focusing mechanism of the wings.

My hope as a writer is that knowing these things helps me write the magic with a consistency that feels "real," even if I don't end up overtly explaining all of the details. My hope as a reader is that a writer will have similar ideas in his or her head so that I get a feeling of verisimilitude when I read.

A big challenge for me in the plotting of my books has been the need to keep communicative magic and transportation magic carefully limited. I have several different kinds of teleporting mages, for instance, and the ability to teleport would so radically change any society that I have to put pretty severe penalties and restrictions on them in order to maintain anything that resembles a feudal/medieval civilization.

LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 1:44 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


Glad I could help, Herb.

I admit that one of the reasons why I tacked on the pile of chapters I did was to explain my magic system. I'm trying to thread some more of it into the first chapter's. (Luke's assistant Corporal Magus is now magic user. Feel free to giggle at the pun.) Even then, the state of magic is so central to the plot that I have to limit information.

I'm glad that I spent the time to add those chapters, my world is richer for it. And I worked most of the kinks out of my magic system.

I admit, I love not using a medieval-like setting. I do run into a problem where people see "elf" and think I am. Then they tell me that clocks and carriages are anachronistic. There is plumbing. With pipes. Fighting tropes is hard.
MariAdkins
Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 9:38 PM
Okay I understand now. I'm going to come back to this when I'm more awake, though.

Maya Starling
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 12:51 PM
Joined: 4/24/2013
Posts: 45


Well

When reading, I personally prefer low magic worlds, where it isn't dominant. Strong magic can be abused and characters can be too powerful and it's harder to emphatize with them.

I have magic in my world. The first book is almost completely without besides the fact that the male MC is a cursed character.

In the sequel, I've implemented a bit more magic and put a distinction between arcane and primal magic.

Arcane is taught and mostly used by witches.

Primal is natural and spontaneous, used by shamans.

But also, strong users of magic are very few and magic is unpredictable.

The stronger the spell, the greater the possibility of it going wrong, of unpredictable consequences.

And my MC's don't wield magic.


C M Rosens
Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013 3:16 PM
Joined: 5/8/2013
Posts: 25


I lean towards magic - but I'm also very into magical realism. Which is a whole other thing...

Herb, I like your points about the medieval setting! Though I make a point of mentioning that one of the most beautiful women in the known world doesn't shave her legs, and this is described positively, as in being completely normal. What the reader takes from that is, um... probably unfortunate. But it's a Viking-esque/Medieval society so, you know. Why would she?

I think the odd dash of realism helps as long as there's some humour in it. Pratchett put it really well - Discworld is a place full of ordinary people trying to get on with their lives in a world which happens to have magic in it. And, fantastically, Ankh-Morpork does stink. So much so that the smell is practically a character in its own right. So I guess it depends on how you use your elements, and what your voice is, and how dark/light your story is?




Ben Nemec
Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013 10:22 PM
Joined: 1/21/2013
Posts: 47


I worry about this for my own book.  Magic is pervasive in it, and it concerns me that it may be too much for me to handle.  Fortunately, I did realize early on that there needed to be some very defined limits or the solution to every problem the characters came across would be "make it go away with magic."  There's still a lot of magical problem-solving, but I hope it's done in an interesting way so that it won't be a turn-off to readers.  I guess I'll find out when I post chapters with more magic in them.

LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Saturday, May 18, 2013 2:32 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


For people using magic heavy worlds, I'm going to suggest an anime called Broken Blade. It's a six part miniseries where people are born with the ability to control quartz. All their technology is centered around this ability. The main character was born without it, so he can't use any of the tech. They view him as disabled, and kind of pity him. It turns out this is what makes him special. (Enter old, giant mech.)

I also suggest Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire series where magic is an after effect of scientists screwing with the fabric of reality. You know, the structures that make up matter and give physics rules. It's also what I would imagine a one night stand between Game of Thrones and Fallout 3 would look like if they invited A Clockwork Orange along. It's just good.

Seriously, there isn't anything wrong with magic. You just need rules for it. If  every one does it, make not using magic uncommon. (Harry Potter is actually a good example too.) If it's commonplace but still limited, say 50% of the population, then explain why. There isn't anything wrong with magic users since magic in the fantasy sense is just another tool akin to a sword.

Although, magic users have a tendency to be what my husband calls "a glass cannon." They can dish out damage, but can't take it.

Just remember the rule, power - any power - comes with a price.
Alantis
Posted: Friday, June 7, 2013 11:18 AM
Joined: 5/27/2013
Posts: 108


Another good post I am coming to late. This is a large topic for discussion, and I doubt there will ever come a true conlusion.

I have read books with tons of powerful magic, and then I have read books that have a small amount. Both were good, and you know what they had in common? Balance.

If the story has these powerful mages, demons and dragons, etc on the side of evil, then the side of good better have a way to balance the scales so the struggle is believable. Like a magic sword that kills these creatures with just a touch. Now the scale is balanced and I believe whatever you, as the storyteller, tell me.
 
There is no limit to a magic user. They can be damage dealers, healers, or not friendly without being evil. You could have them hiding in the forest using their magic to grow special mushrooms that they eat to escape their reality. The sky is the limit since their really isn't one in the "real world" to compare them to.

There is no such thing as too much magic, in fantasy, it just has to have a scale that a reader can accept. I bet no one can say they have read a book where the magic was too much? (Bet it is because it wasn't balanced)

And remember this, magic isn't about believable, magic is the key to unlock the imagination. It is the portal to all those mystical things that we cannot see in the real world. No limit should be put on wether we can believe it or not. I don't care that someone changing into a bird so they can fly defies the very laws of physics. I care about soaring through the sky, feeling the warm updrafts taking me higher and higher. The tinest hint of dew on my face as I break through the clouds. The wind howling in my ears as I stare down at the billowy white puffs of clouds that all but block out the ground. Of rolling over and feeling like I am swimming in a sea of sky. That is magic.
Magic is that portal to whatever our imagination can show us. Use it not for belief, but as a means to give your reader something they cannot get in the real world. If you take them on the soaring flight of the bird, or through the ocean as a dolphin, or destroy the castle of the evil mage with elemental magic. None of that will matter, as far as reality goes, if you engross your reader in the experience. Make them feel like they are right there as it is happening and sharing in that experience, and there is no limit to what you can and cannot do with magic.
Toni Smalley
Posted: Saturday, June 8, 2013 4:58 AM
There are a zillion sub-genres of fantasy...okay maybe like 20. Writer's Digest lists a bunch of them here http://www.writersdigest.com/qp7-migration-all-articles/qp7-migration-fiction/genredefinitions 

I'm sure, no matter what you write, there's a classification for it. I also think there are certain tropes that need to be present to appeal to the genre you are writing for. It might be a good idea to read through those genre descriptions and google the story tropes of your fantasy sub-genre. Don't write the tropes into your story, revolutionize them and make them your own.
David Pearce
Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 3:11 PM
Joined: 4/7/2013
Posts: 26


In my fantasy world, I went with a magical system with limits to give it a dose of reality.  Like someone else said, magic comes with a price.  The greater the improbability of the magic working, then the greater the risk of doing physical and mental damage to the practitioner.  So a magic user that tests their limits is going to end up with headaches, nosebleeds, torn ligaments, or even loss of sanity.  From there, it just becomes a situation of trying to avoid deus ex machina.  Magic can be part of the solution for getting out of a problem, but there better be something else that goes with it.
Mac Bizzo
Posted: Monday, January 20, 2014 2:41 PM
Joined: 1/19/2014
Posts: 12


Here is a slightly different perception...

 

Magic really has more forms then you may realize, but lets start with the basics.  There are two basic forms of magic, wondrous and  problem solving. 

 

They function on a sliding scale, the more wondrous the magic the less you have to explain it, the more problem solving the magic, the less wondrous it is. One could also describe these as soft of hard magic, soft being wondrous.  This kind is inconsistent and requires no explanation, hard magic however is consistent with explanation.  This sliding scale can be represented with "wizard magic" versus "hyper technology"  or; Lord of the Rings versus Stargate. As you can begin to tell this sliding scale tends to represent the borders between fantasy and science fiction. 

One of the realms that I see authors struggle with while writing on either side of the scale is lack of knowledge in the gaming arena. For the authors that are very experienced in rpg's its very easy to use any rpg platform for story crafting and it holds all the details one may need for the story, including randomly generated story options that the author can not control. So for any authors who write fantasy, please dive deeper into the rpg side of the process for your story because they can take the authors bias out of the process.  If you need examples just look at the hundreds of books that were published on the basis of many different dungeon and dragons worlds. One world alone has almost 100 different books, that of dragonlance. 

Three types of Magic: Wizard Magic, Psionics, and Hyper Technology.  

With wizard magic you have to consider that there are schools of magic, each with classification if effects and requirements. These are traditionally written formula, somatic gestures, material components, and verbal statements. Also note that many wizards will specialize in a type of magic and few are the jack of all trades. (Example Lord of the Rings )

Psionics are mental magic, results just like wizard magic, but from the power of thought, focus, and meditations. These again are classified into schools and require physical energy to perform.  Like wizard magic they can perform many similar tasks, but the road to achievement is different. ( Example Xmen ) 

In the case of hyper technology, there is a type of machine which produces the magical effect ( Examples Star Wars & Star Trek )

While this seems basic to me, I hope it helps others find which one they prefer.  In my case, I use all three together in my story.

Cheers!


LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Monday, January 20, 2014 4:16 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


Mac, I suggest being more specific when referring to gaming, especially rpgs. You are referring to table top gaming structures, but there are also video games of the singular and MMO type. It took me a while to figure it out. I just thought I should say something for people who come across this thread later.
Mac Bizzo
Posted: Monday, January 20, 2014 5:08 PM
Joined: 1/19/2014
Posts: 12


sorry I meant before video games...  tongueout when creativity ruled over graphics, and true thought was required, rather then mass produced games that just take advantage of the global population for its members rather then quality content. 

 


Mac Bizzo
Posted: Monday, January 20, 2014 8:56 PM
Joined: 1/19/2014
Posts: 12


David Pearce wrote:
In my fantasy world, I went with a magical system with limits to give it a dose of reality.  Like someone else said, magic comes with a price.  The greater the improbability of the magic working, then the greater the risk of doing physical and mental damage to the practitioner.  So a magic user that tests their limits is going to end up with headaches, nosebleeds, torn ligaments, or even loss of sanity.  From there, it just becomes a situation of trying to avoid deus ex machina.  Magic can be part of the solution for getting out of a problem, but there better be something else that goes with it.
This is a very important factor to consider! I like this for its potential for the main character to fail before they have success! Well stated!~

LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 11:36 AM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


Mac Bizzo wrote:

sorry I meant before video games...  tongueout when creativity ruled over graphics, and true thought was required, rather then mass produced games that just take advantage of the global population for its members rather then quality content. 

 

 

There are some pretty good games out there. I've found just as many crap books as there are video games. And gamers (of the video kind) do like good stories. I play GW2 (an MMO) and people in my guild complain about how crappy the story is getting all the time. And the indy game industry creates some very beautiful and lovely little games that tell good stories. Video games are their own story telling medium now, so I think you should consider that before writing it off. 

Mac Bizzo
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 7:35 PM
Joined: 1/19/2014
Posts: 12


I was a consultant for the Mobster's App both the original on myspace and the facebook versions M2... I had the largest sub group in the games for years, and its true, the gamers do complain about the story line... thanks for reminding me!
LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 3:16 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


Yup. Gamers want good stories just as much as everyone else. A lot of published writers I follow wrote blog posts on Bioshock Infinite after it came out because the first game had so much renown for it's story telling, and the fact that it was criticism on Ayn Rand's objectivism. (I probably spelled that wrong.) And my husband was thrilled after playing the remake of Devil May Cry because the story telling was just so much better.

  

Unfortunately, I don't think many major game developers know that story telling is important.


 

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