An attempt to define 'magic'

Magic is notoriously difficult to define. Dictionaries tend to define it as "whatever is supernatural", but that won't work because the rules of nature are already subject to change in fiction, such as in sci-fi, and we don't call sci-fi technology magic.

I think the primary defining mark of magic is intimacy. Magic is forces that are some combination of:

This shows why many of us, including me, are so attracted to the idea. Magical forces feel more personal than technological forces.

In particular I like how it's perfect for natural progression. It's a common theme (especially in game stories) that the hero gets stronger or more powerful as the story progresses, and when magic is magic instead of technology, this is easy. In stories like Star Wars it just happens at the story's whim because it was never defined exactly what makes you become stronger with the Force. Some of my old (scrapped) stories with more explained magic systems had rules like "when you kill someone, you absorb their magic". You can just define whatever pattern of growth suits your story.


subscribe via RSS

Proxied content from gemini://yujiri.xyz/storytelling/magic.gmi

Gemini request details:

Original URL
Status code
text/gemini; lang=en
Proxied by

Be advised that no attempt was made to verify the remote SSL certificate.

What is Gemini?