Writer's Blog (megancrewe) wrote,
Writer's Blog

Magic systems

I'm in the middle of doing some additional research for THE HALFWAY HERO (my Mesopotamian historical atlas is very purty ;) ). One of the books I intend to give a thorough reading, not just for this novel but for others as well, is a guide to magic systems from around the world.

Almost every time I see magic practiced in fiction, it's either the typical Western sort with spoken spells and hand or wand waving, or it's a power inherent in a magic being that doesn't seem to require any effort or have any major limitations (other than, possibly, how much can be done at once). Which is fine, but just as I didn't want THH to be yet-another-medieval-European-fantasy-world, I don't want my magic, in this novel or any other, to be "standard". Or at least, if it's going to go by some of the standards, I want to know all the details and history of it, because otherwise I'll just end up falling back on the ways I've seen other books and movies and the like do it.

Unfortunately, it seems to be really hard to find books on comparative magic. Surely there are other people interested in this sort of thing? I managed to get the one, after much Amazon searching, but most of the books on magic are either more of a scientific study (examining why people believe in it and that sort of thing rather than the details of what they believe in), or New Age books on practicing magic (which generally don't have a lot of historical detail), or mythology books (which do have some magic in them, but again, generally not much detail). I'd even be happy to get a few books, say, one on Asian magic systems and one on African magic systems and so on. Even a really good book on a religion or spiritual practice, if it had a chapter or two on the magical components (if the culture's magic ideas are tied to its religious ideas) would be great.

Maybe I am being too picky? Or approaching it the wrong way? Anyone know any books that cover this sort of thing? Even a good, detailed book on Western-style magic would be cool.
Tags: halfway hero, help!, novels, research, world building

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