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Practical Magic

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Today’s topic comes from QSFer R.l. Merrill: “Part of the reason I’ve only written one paranormal is because I don’t think I’d have anything original to say on the topic of shapeshifters, vamps, etc. I do like to include elements of magic in my contemporary romances, but it’s more a part of the characters than part of the story line… I’d love to read more/discuss more on practical uses of magic i.e. Wicca, Voodoo, etc.”

Oooh, I like this one. I could see this fitting into a number of categories, including High Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, or Magical Realism. In fact, I use a bit of day-to-day magic in some of my own Magical Realism stories.

In most Fantasy, magic is a special thing, used for special purposes. We don’t often see it used for scrubbing pots and cleaning floors.

So my questions for you today – how can we use magic in our stories in a non-traditional way? What conventions can we overturn, and can they be done in a way that shines a light on LGBT issues? How can we use various magics in a practical way in our stories?

Image via Comic Vine

2 thoughts on “Practical Magic”

  1. I love that photo because it looks like it could have come from my upcoming m/m romance novel, Sweet Fire. Our stories take place in the here and now with a twist. In Sweet Fire, Aaron is a pyro-kinetic, a member of a large family who’s members have a variety of paranormal gifts.

    In Aaron’s world, being Gifted is even more a source of discrimination and bigotry than being gay. Our Gifted stories, both m/m and m/f, highlight the kind of irrational fear of Other, the “us vs. them” mentality, that is at the root of all of that.

    I’m not sure if this is what your question is asking but my guy uses his unique abilities in a lot of interesting ways. Some are dramatic – in his first appearance as a secondary character in our het novel, Healer, he exploded the magazines in the bad guys’ assault rifles, saving the day for his team, and when he gets excited, things around him have a way of bursting into flame.

    Aaron also uses his gifts in more routine things. He’s a pastry chef so being able to control heat and flame is very handy in his bakery. He can also heat parts of his body above normal body temperature. Handy for warming hold hands on a freezing night. You can be sure his lover appreciates his ability to heat up certain body parts in bed too.

    Is that what is meant by Magical Realism? I’ve never heard a definition of that term but it sounds to me like it means using bits of magic in a world that is otherwise true to life.

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