Friday, May 2, 2008

Naming Magic

As I revise The Red Thread, I put some serious thought into naming magic. This was also a topic of much debate in my critique group. Some felt that magic is magic is magic and should not be renamed to be anything else. Some felt that there is a fine distinction between, for example, magic and magyk. I believe magic can--and in some cases, should--be renamed.

There is, to me, a difference between fairy and faerie. I know faerie is just a twisted spelling on fairy, but it seems more grown up to me. I associate fairy with Tinkerbell and fairy tales; I associate faerie with darker stories like Wicked Lovely or Tithe.

Likewise, I see a difference between magic and magyk. Different spelling, but different connotation, too. Magic makes me think of men in capes sawing women. Magic seems fake to me. In fact, the only time I've ever liked "magic" was in Harry Potter...where spells with unique names take precedence over the word "magic."

In my story, I used alchemy because I was going for a similar idea as Full Metal Alchemist, where magic has a price--there has to be an exchange (for example, of elements) to make it work. This is crucial to the story, because what Chloe doesn't know is that there was an exchange involved with her. So I have a specific set of rules for my magic--you have to exchange something for something else. You can't just wave a wand a poof! it happens.

Technically, it is still magic. I'm going to argue that magic in Baloria is very similar to science. That's where the "scimancy" word came up for me. If I use the word magic, I'm going to have Bo explain how magic = science in their world.

But...the term does not appeal to me. When I hear "magic" I think of easy, wave your wand stuff, and I don't want that connotation. The lesson Chloe must learn is that everything has a price. There is no one simple, easy answer.

And there is no one simple, easy name for magic.
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