“So it’s more like super-hero powers than wands and spells then?”
“Super-hero. I like that,” said Hartley. “It’s actually a little of each.”
Haven Wakes, and the other books in the Haven Chronicles series, are filled with magic.
I knew from the outset that I didn’t want to copy what magic is assumed to be in the real world or use the magic system of any other fictional works (although I’m sure there may be a little overlap). What I did instead is create a magic system from sources that I love and which serve my story.
So here are 5 facts about that magic system.
Magic has a consequence
“Using magic has a cost. It weighs on us in the same way that physical exertion does.”Hartley Keg in Haven Wakes
The idea of magic use without consequence has always been problematic for me. if there are no consequences, then what’s to stop a magic user doing whatever they want to do? They could become so powerful that nobody could stop them, which is no fun at all when you’re writing a novel. Either the heroes or the villains can’t be defeated: that kind of set up can only run your story into a literary cul-de-sac. The End.
So in the Haven Chronicles, magic is so tightly sewn to the magic user’s physical form, that using magic is like using any muscle. It takes effort and is limited by the individual’s health and strength.
Cast too much magic and you’re likely to pass out, or at the very worst, die.
Each magic user is born with an innate talent for a particular kind of magic. This is their birth magic.
Earth-smiths have a talent for dealing with plants and the earth. That’s what makes them the best gardeners.
Enchanters have a way of influencing people, but not just persuading them to do things. An enchanter can also affect the way you see them, making them look younger or more beautiful than they really are.
Birth magic is generally inherited from a parent, but sometimes it skips generations and a magic user inherits the birth magic of their grandparent.
Charms and Spells
Beyond birth magic, charms and spells can also be learnt by magic users.
In my books, both charms and spells can have a physical effect on something or someone, but are created in very different ways.
Charms are a collection of items, for instance:
- straw, string or ribbon
that are bundled together, and then imbued with the intent of the magic user. A charm might be used to contain something, reveal the truth, or find a missing person.
Spells are altogether different. Some are spoken, while others are written down. Some of the most basic but powerful spells, such as casting a light orb, are simply down to gesture and force of will.
No Magic School
In my books, magic is taught at home in a family setting. This works especially well for birth magic because there is likely to be at least one living relative who has the same magical skills and can pass their knowledge on.
The basic charms and spells are also taught at home:
- casting a light orb
- short-range finding spell
- protection of an area
but these will vary from family to family.
Sources of the magic system in my books
The magic system in my books is based on all kind of sources. You’ll find nods to folklore and mythology, crystal craft, herbology and various forms of witchcraft too.
If you’re interested, the books I regularly go back to include:
- The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall
- The Charmed Garden by Diane Morgan
- Encyclopaedia of Things That Never Were by Michael Page and Robert Ingpen
- The older books on magic by Titania Hardie
- The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Myths & Legends by Arthur Cotterell
along with many more and so much online research too.
What kind of magic do you like to read about?