Words Written The Last Couple of Days: About 3576 words Total Word Count Is About: 114,149 words
So close to the end. While writing, I realized I need more scifi literature in my life. I have some, but not enough. Because…aliens. Are aliens even really that alien? They’re just another species in a different part of the universe. Humans can be considered aliens. Well, whatever, I just want to write about a telepathic species from a higher dimension and for it to not sound…awkward? I think that’s the word I’m looking for.
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.
My first novel will be about loss and gain. Death and life. There’s a sweet spot in the middle of those concepts. Progress. Rebirth. It just hit me, at this moment, after shuffling some tarot cards contemplating whether I’m on the right path with my creative projects. It’s representing how I came to recognizing the middle path. I can’t just focus on what I’ve achieved and how I’ve grown. I have to dive deep into the moments of loss, suffering, suffocation, misery, grief, suicidal ideation, homicidal ideation, that deep, deep pain that found art and clung to it so I wouldn’t throw punches at others and myself. That sorrow, that darkness wants to speak. It’s words will overlap with the light because even the light side of my life isn’t the opposite of sorrow. It’s not happiness. It’s the defensive. The protection. The facade that blinds. The ego that smiles. The consciousness that flickered at the sight of certain truths and epiphanies, like realizing light doesn’t erase darkness. Life doesn’t erase death. What was gained doesn’t mean something was lost. My light is a shitty bandaid. My darkness is a soft, cool pool that can either drown me or make me. In my novel, I’ll explain how I found the middle of light and dark through a protagonist that hears the calling like I did. How I took the first step to realizing true power and true healing, the stability and creation of the self, is found in the almost indiscernible median of the conscious and the subconscious, the light and dark, the gains and losses.
My novel is about a life dying. My novel is about taking that first step towards transformation. This is the start of the Spirit Strings series.