Beginning with Origins…

Starting today we’re going to walk through each question in greater depth. Our first question is one of origin. However, before we dive in there is an important concept that you need to understand about this process.

Each question feeds into the other creating a cyclical system. You might think of it as an avalanche. It starts small, but as it moves forward it gathers speed and content. As you answer one question, new ideas will spawn for other questions. In creating one of my systems, I eventually discovered that world’s beginning and end, not to mention several competing theories on said end from its denizens. I did not know when I first set down that very broad stroke, natural energy, that I would come to discover those details.  Please keep that in mind as we create together. Our start will be extremely simple. Give it time to grow into its own and bloom.

And that statement makes a fairly decent segueway, so let’s begin. When we establish an origin, the first defining point is whether the magic is natural or supernatural. Natural magic is something that naturally exists in the world – mana, the force, the two sided energies of the Wheel of Time series. Supernatural is something that comes from outside of the natural world, often the gifts of demons or deities. So make that first decision, this is your starting point!

Origins is rather simple in this way. All else will stem from this first decision. That said, let’s begin. Please answer with a comment here.

Would you prefer a natural or supernatural origin for this system of magic?


About Kirk

I enjoy life and have been blessed with many different experiences. An eye for the underlying truths that surround me accompanies a growing faith in Christ and God that informs my world and reveals small miracles and beauty surrounding me every day. This is the major reason I felt led to start Dance of 2 Companies - a dance studio where I can share all the little amazing things God's taught me through life as a dancer - about myself, about others, about marriage... and most importantly, about Him.
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17 Responses to Beginning with Origins…

  1. mandimlynch says:

    I think you have a bigger question to answer to get to this one… Because while you’re asking for a natural/supernatural origin of magic, we don’t know the purpose of this magic. For instance, pagans would believe that magic is natural and part of how we can see our spirituality. (Our gods are all around us, we can see this in trees, flowers, animals, people, etc…) If you’re looking at this as a sudden ability more along the lines of math or being able to read, then some outside supernatural force could have caused it. Perhaps your answer is a combination of the two, but whatever you result in, knowing the purpose or how they use it is going to be as important as where it came from, and will help dictate that.

    • Kirk says:

      You are right to note that these things are often interrelated. However, this method begins with a very, almost overly, simple question. The details your looking for take shape through the process.

      It is important to also note that we are not dealing with character’s perception of magic, but rather the reality of magic in the world. Character perceptions is story fodder that will follow once the system is complete. For example, magic which has no origin in a deity may be attributed to a people’s god. This is their perception. Though important to the story, it has no bearing on the actual functioning of the magical system.

      I hope you’ll get a chance to see the process unfold as we walk through it here in these posts. Where would you like to cast your vote – natural or supernatural?

  2. mandimlynch says:

    I would have to say that unless we have a specific, memorable point of origin, it should be considered natural.

  3. Ah worlds are so much more fun when you can just say YES! i.e. have both kinds of magic which causes diversity. However, idk, lets go for supernatural this time since I usually go toward the natural kind myself. (yes, I am playing the “devil’s advocate” PUN INTENDED)

    • Kirk says:

      hehe, awesome Anne and thanks. Funny you mention both, I was thinking about that when I wrote this. It is absolutely possible and definitely fun to have both. When you intend to, I would generally recommend doing one and then following the same process again for the second. They will no doubt have some similarities, but you will also discover their marked differences.

  4. I’m ready to play along! I will start with supernatural first. Yay for playing with the muses!

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  6. Jenny says:

    Kinda torn because my inclination is to vote natural but I like Anne’s idea of going against the natural inclination. So I vote supernatural.

  7. The question (restated so that I don’t get bent out of shape about magic not being supernatural) is should magic come from the world or outside the world. I think this depends on the story of course, but what stories should go to which forms of magic? I would say stories that involve the environment or territory in some way should probably have world-based (natural) magic, while stories that center around politics or culture should involve non-world-based (supernatural) magic. Lord of the Rings, for example, dealt with people’s homes and how they felt about them, and so much of the magic involves the land. The Elves travel to a magical land, the trees walk, the ring has to be thrown into a volcano etc. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, by contrast, deals primarily with different viewpoints of characters and how they clash, and much of the magic involves possession by some sort of demon or the use of artifacts that are blessed or cursed by magical beings from another reality.

    To put the difference another way, in Lord of the rings, many characters sacrificed their lives so that their homes wouldn’t be destroyed, while in the last episode of the Buffy series, Sunnydale was sacrificed so that many characters’ lives wouldn’t be destroyed.

    I think many stories actually have a combination of the two ideas, but in the purest forms, I think there is a correlation there. Game of Thrones is a story with world-based magic and that is absolutely about gaining control of territory. The magic system in the show Once Upon a Time is non-world-based and that show deals primarily with relationships and power struggles within a group of people.

    So I think in fleshing out a fantasy world, asking which kind of story you want to write would be good. Which is more important in your story, ideas or people? Ideas might sound weaker at first, but morality is an example of an idea. Equality is another. If you want to write about the protection of a way of life, world-based magic is probably the way to go. While if you want to write about people struggling to deal with one another, non-world-based magic is probably best. Though of course it might be fun to go against the grain, and see what happens.

    • Kirk says:

      Good thoughts, however, as is the tendency I’ve observed in everyone, you’re getting ahead of the process. This process, especially at the beginning, is one of baby steps. It will seem overly simple at its start. Let me quickly try to clarify definitions. Natural – You would consider this source of magic or magical energy to be a part of nature. Light is a form of energy with various manifestations, as is heat, You might think of magic of this kind as yet another form of natural energy with its own laws and effects. Life energy might be another representation of this. Note that the example I am giving is beyond the scope of this initial question. A life energy found only in blood would fall into this category. The blood then is the avenue to use of the magic. This is natural.

      Supernatural, on the other hand, as you stated comes from a source outside of the world. More specifically, it is drawn from deities, demons, ghosts. In this way, the source is somewhat true to the definition of the word for supernatural. A paladin who casts his spells through prayers that access the powers of his god would fall into this category. A person who harnesses the power of demons to cast spells would also fall into this category.

      As I mentioned in reply to an earlier comment, it is true that all these things are often interrelated. Those connections will unfold as the process itself unfolds. This is merely the beginning of a cycle that will add greater and greater detail. That first baby step is a multiple choice question with only two options – natural or supernatural?

      … so which do you vote for?

      • Kirk says:

        err…. regarding the example… example I am ABOUT to give in paragraph one. confusing the way I stated it… sorry

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  9. southerndreamer says:

    Hmm, I often do “natural” so let’s go with supernatural 🙂

    • Kirk says:

      Stunning, thank you! We all seem to opt for natural and want to try something different. It’s looking good for supernatural!

  10. SUPERNATURAL!!! SUPERNATURAL!!! ::the crowd goes wild::

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