Here’s my novel summary that I’m probably going to have on my book cover soon.
Initiation – The Spirit Strings Series Genre: Dark Science Fantasy
Magic is regulated under a strict, theocratic movement with global rule on the planet Terrana. The Terrans, paralleling humans in appearance, were created to observe Earth and learn from human civilization to fulfill a 3000-year-old prophecy that will restore Earth from its dystopian, magic-deprived state. Most Terrans are obedient to their theistic government, but Violet LaCroix has arcane power refusing to be oppressed. She’s hidden her multifaceted magic since she was a child. The day she decides to let her power flow changes her life completely, starting with a criminal charge for performing necromancy. To save herself from merciless persecution from the government’s elite organization that hunts disobedient mages, she’s forced to join a resourceful cult that promises her refuge in exchange for her joining their coup de t’at. Violet goes from model graduating student ready for college to joining a cult of rogue mages eager to liberate Terrana from magical oppression and hoping she’ll bring the power needed to end a war between mages, deities, and unknown forces lasting for millennia.
…because that’s what I know. That’s what I and I’m sure many other American kids grew up in. We had authoritarian Christian parents and it’s basically a mini-theocracy. I recently wrote an article about the bad habits someone can develop when living in a household like this, but I wrote as respectfully as possible. My novel and the way my protagonist responds to being raised will definitely be more raw because I’m channeling a lot through her. Isn’t that what all of us writers do? Isn’t that what makes worldbuilding in scifi and fantasy so thrilling?
It’s good to reflect upon our past with the raw/probably biased view and then take a step back and see the big picture. You have to be real with yourself when it comes to facing your past because deeming it a delusion is just so damning to your psyche. I value all the growth I’ve attained too much to turn a blind eye to what I’ve been through, what my family’s been through, what my friend’s have been through and more. When we review what had happened to us, the fortune, the misfortune, and the awkward moments that challenge our moral compass, we gain so much power from the truth threaded in those memories. I just value the truth so much and even though I’m a fiction writer who wants to make sure their story is interesting to my audience, I’ll still be diving into the truth with every chapter, with every description of the setting, and especially with every figure of authority in my world.
Theocracy…it’s just a flat out oppressive amongst the many we’ve created.
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So, I just shared an article I posted today! It was a very enthusiastic review/recommendation of S. Kelley Harrell’s Runic Book of Days, which I strongly recommend to baby witches or pagans on the rise in norse shamanism, but ultimately, this is a blog about my progress as novelist and I’d like to discuss my thought process and construction of magic in my fantasy/scifi story. Rune magick has helped me with my confidence as a person, but definitely gave me inspiration as a writer.
Primarily there are two magic systems in this genre: hard and soft. My novel, Spirit Strings: Initiation, actually fixates on these systems because one is praised while the other is considered dangerous and I have my protagonist decide the truth of these magical systems for herself. The use of rune magick in my story, although they aren’t the Elder Futhark (yet? lol), would be considered part of the hard system, I think. Two videos immediately came to mind and I think if you’re reading this as a fantasy writer, you’ll definitely benefit from watching them. A YouTuber known as Hello Future Me made a concise video on the soft and hard magic systems. If you’re trying to figure out what direction you want to take with your magic system, I recommend giving them a listen. He’s quite silly, but I think he explained the systems wonderfully.
Anyway, conflict, cooperation, and consequence are essential in a story’s plot; if your story has magic, following the Sanderson laws is a good place to start. For my story, I really wanted the use of magic to be a controversial and stressful topic because the ability to wield it lives in everyone and facing the responsibility of using magic can be twisted into either oppression or empowerment. That is commonly seen in fantasy, of course, but I’m striving to go beyond character development. I want a psychological shift in my characters and I want my audience to wonder who’s going to snap, this way, as I reference Sanderson’s first law, my audience’s understanding of magic won’t bring a detrimental effect to the plot whether they want or expect hard magic or soft magic. As an Edgar Allan Poe fan, my knowledge of the supernatural, paranormal, and psychology wasn’t expansive when I was introduced to his work, but I was still allured by his writing because I connected to his commonly used first-person narrative voice. He wanted me to be right beside him while he experienced what terrified him. Audiences understand fear, stress, and other very common human instances. So when it comes to the magic system, yes, it’s important to have those foundational laws and thorough world building, which I’m definitely aiming for, but as I write, I want the magic system to be fueled by strained perceptions. I want the “cost” in hard magic to feel like suffocation. I want the “sense of wonder” in soft magic to reflect falling helplessly into the dark unconscious, the abyss of the psyche.
I want this because maybe you and others have ventured there before. I certainly did while working with rune magick guided by The Runic Book of Days. In my article, I spoke about the springtime, but in my novel series, you’ll get a glimpse of my bittersweet winter. I’m not trying to be edgy; just being honest. I relish in the fact that I trudged through my cold unconscious and survived. I still visit from time to time enthusiastically.