Anything can happen in a fantasy story. So how can writers prevent theirs from spiralling out of control?
Fantasy (along with the more fantastical strains of sci-fi) is hazardous terrain for storytellers. Fantasy deals in magic, which can manifest itself in countless forms, from the secondary worlds of Oz, Wonderland and Middle-Earth, to levitating nannies, goblin kings and gold-hoarding dragons. Magic is about miracles, mysterious forces or inexplicable events that cannot be ascribed to the laws of reason, nature or science.
Magic in fantasy isn’t always about escapism; it’s often about redefining the real world to better understand and overcome its challenges. Judy Garland’s Dorothy had to venture into Oz and defeat the Wicked Witch of the West so she could understand how to live happily in the real world of Kansas.
Like language, like story itself, magic is protean. It can articulate anything the writer has in mind. Magic is kind of a big deal. The problem is magic is anathema to drama...
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