What I’m Writing Now – 2 – (Jan.12, 2017)
What I’m Writing Now but More of a Note on Magical World-Building.
Still writing Retail Witches and have been for some time. It is an amazing time of blending and delivering the research I have done into the story I have imagined and it is all flowing smoothly. The tone, style, or level of magic is one aspect that differentiates Urban Fantasy into the multitude of “types” of Urban Fantasy. I have worked for two years to develop a world where magic is not a birthright or a gene. JKR did an amazing job building a magical world, while skipping entirely over the how of magic. She did a brilliant thing in that she divided the who (those born with it or not) into a dizzying array of levels. Muggels (can’t do it), Witches/Wizards (can), Fullbloods (have 2 magical parents), Halfbloods (have one), Muggle Borns (have none), and Squibs (have a magical parent or two, but can’t do magic).
Now this has made for some of the best, most fun to read, and watch, fiction ever in my opinion. But it occurred to me that she created this entire magical universe without ever once even pretending to glance in the direction of explaining how magic works, other than your birthright.
In my books, magic is like a science or an art, in that it can be learned and studied and practiced. Some are better than others at it, and many of those who are have had parents or grandparents that were witches. But they are only better because of the supportive environment they may have received and the benefit of knowledge passed on within their family (a head start if you will) and not because they can do it simply by being born. They can’t. But just as in science, business, or art, some stand out as better, talented, gifted, or inclined.
Therefore, in a world where magic can be studied, learned, and practiced, you end up with a wide range of applications of the discipline. Some only study it. Some teach others how to practice it, having never practiced it themselves. Some are full blown practitioners and their application of it is as wide and varied as any subject that has a practical arena. And some (most) people know nothing of it beyond the casual knowledge they have of any other college major, or sports team, or industry that is not their own.
In this series, the magical world is not exactly hidden actively. There is no “Ministry of Magic”. In Retail Witches, as in reality, the general public has all heard of witches and magic and they know the fiction tropes. In the books, if anyone learns about what’s going on among the witches in town, they quickly divide along one of three responses. Once the subject of real witchcraft or magic comes up, they either (1) don’t know about it at all, (2) are against it, or (3) simply don’t believe it or care.
Not one of the people who don’t believe it or care (3), will ever pay any attention to the ones who are against it (2). The only group that leaves is the ones who don’t know about it at all (1). The minute someone goes from that group (not knowing), to hearing or learning about alleged real magic and witchcraft spells and such, they immediately split into groups 2 and 3 (being against it, or dismissal of it). Only the few who are pagan at heart are drawn to it. So there is no reason to actively hide a magical society from the rest of society. It hides itself.
The Retail Witches world is grounded in real pagan lore, but the book is fiction and so the magic is also fiction and that is the fun part. But the magic in this book is only fiction in the same way that the relationships, the characters, or the story is fiction. Writing it to feel real is natural.
So the book is cranking along nicely and the characters are alive and running the show. I just type. I have outlined the story into 17 chunks and each chunk is turning out to be 2 or 3 chapters. I have researched witchcraft and magic and paganism for over four years and over the last two, I have developed the fiction world of Retail Witches. This is the first book but I have so much in store that to fit it into one book would be too crazy, so I am letting the depth rise slowly, like the tide in Saint Augustine bay. I have packets with headings of World Building, Story, Characters/Theme, and Locations. I thought about making a file for each, but they still fit in one file folder and I have already compiled enough for several books. So no. One manila file folder per book has been my rule and it has worked. However, this is the first book in the series so the series is actually in this file at this point, so yeah, it’s full. Ranting now.
Since this is my first Urban Fantasy book, I have also compiled a list of about 50 other Urban Fantasy authors. I have read the top 3, 5 star reviews and the bottom 3, 1 star reviews (or their lowest) for each of about 30 of them so far and I will probably read a few more but I have a pretty good idea now about the things Urban Fantasy readers like, love, and hate. I also know what I like to read. My goal has been to write a fiction series of books about witchcraft and magick that real witches and civilians alike will love to read. My books are for people who love the mystery and mysticism of a magical world that feels utterly real because it is subject to the same variety as the mundane world. Beyond that the characters are the story and hanging out with these characters is something I look forward to every day. Brit, Nicks, Tanner, Carol, Datura, I can’t wait for you to meet them!
Back to writing.