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Duality of Magic/Force/Mana/Power

 
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Shard



Joined: 31 Oct 2007
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Location: Sailing the Cosmos on the Last Spelljammer

PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 11:08 am
Post subject: Duality of Magic/Force/Mana/Power
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Is the general use of Duality of magic in Fantasy stories becoming cliche? Is having a Dark side to the Light, so 1970's?

I ask this because in my own story I have been developing I have a Life magic that has a Anti-Life counter part to it. I have characters who show different stages of the corrupting negative powers of Anti-Life and I wondered if this was too much a cliche use.

Is it better to have Magic being nuetral and could be used for either means?
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Kheltan
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Joined: 24 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:17 am
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I would worry less about cliche and more about what best serves your vision and story. If the nature of magic is not the focus of the story or at least an major driving force of plot, I'd say go with a more open and dynamic system and permits increased variety. However, if the duality of Magic provides tension for the characters or propels the plot, then stick with it. Don't worry about what others have done before...start doing that and you'll discover you can't write anything.

Kheltan

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Caleyna
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Joined: 04 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:21 pm
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I do agree with Kheltan for the most part. You've got to make it work for you and make it your own vision.

However, I also do see the duality as fairly cliched. Fantasy is becoming increasingly complex as authors turn up the gritty and make the characters more compelling. I find myself asking "Why is the Dark One evil? What is his purpose? What does it mean to shape the world in his image? WHY?" The whole time I was watching LOTR (never read the book, so maybe this is addressed here) I kept thinking "Ok, this guy is evil, but WHY? What is the motivation? People don't just wake up and decide they want to be evil. They always have a reason. The Banewreaker series is a great illustration of this.
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Kheltan
Silky Smooth Since Seventeen


Joined: 24 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 5:41 pm
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Oh yes, I agree that much in fantasy (including the duality of magic) is quite cliche. But at the same point, if you have a vision that happens to be partially cliche, that's ok. In pure genre fiction cliche can be exactly what sells the book.

On to Caly's other point...Fantasy isn't so much finding new ground as stepping back to where it was in the pulp days of the 60's and 70's before the DAW release of LotR and the subsequent Epic High Fantasy craze that followed. There is a long tradition of Fantasy and Science Fiction being much darker, gritter, and--in many ways--more human than we've become used to in the last 30-or-so years.

The biggest thing going on in the entire Speculative Fiction (SF) world right now is the further advancement of the dynamism of those oft-forgotten underground pulp writers of the mid-20th. I think the readership is maturing in many ways and have grown tired of the cliches and the LotR re-writes disguised as original ideas. The best of all of this is the idea that we approaching a post-genre era of fiction where authors are no longer constraining their world to the predefined notions of what this or that story should be.

It is a slow process, though; and I feel that there will remain a market the Tolkein-ites and Inklings for some time. In other words, the cliches of genre will continue to sell and make movies and ridiculous volumes of money, while the vanguard of SF will advance the art we love in new and exciting ways and pray they can make a living at it.

Sorry, bit of a tangent. :-)

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Shard



Joined: 31 Oct 2007
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Location: Sailing the Cosmos on the Last Spelljammer

PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:46 pm
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My magic system that I have been working on is complex. It has various branches of study and such. However it's the base core way that the magic is channled that can be corrupted so it seems like a duality to me in that effect.

The cost of using magic in my world is that it burns off of a person's stamina and is based on their biology. They can twist this power to keep the body from aging, this has a further cost of burning the person's blood off. The more you use it this way the more deterioated the body and person becomes.

I do agree with the point that the Dark Lord should have depth, reasons why they are evil, much like with Voldemort for instance.
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TamAlthor
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 6:45 pm
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the duality of force may seem cliche, however at the same time it is reality. IE every action has an equal and opppsite reaction. attempts of maintaining or regaining homeostatis is seen in living and not living systems alike. To have paraelle sides of a force also leads to drama in the same way that mentors and allies and betrayers and all those 'cliched' character archetypes do. One is not cliched or 'piegon holed' in using these elements. They are generally needed to create conflict, tension, attachment, atraction, etc, and to generate circumstances for a story to be interesting.

You see these cliches and archetypes in every day life if you look at things at the right angle.

We may not have the force or mana but we do have power at our whim that we control ie work quality, parenting, social groups, whatever each of these have their light and dark side that is based solely on out perspective, and we choose what 'side' to give follow, . Though it is quite often better if we take a more eastern approch to these 'powers' and our alightment to them. That is to say it not so much good vs evil as it is a choice between right and left or east and south.

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Justamos3



Joined: 09 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 9:12 pm
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I'm kinda using this in my story as well with the main charcter and the antagonist. The main character is generally an evil man that end up doing good thing so to speak and i describe the antagonist as being well liked and polite with "not-so-good" intentions. Haven't really figured out how to put it in words.
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LunaRaven



Joined: 30 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:50 am
Post subject: Re: Duality of Magic/Force/Mana/Power
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Shard wrote:
Is the general use of Duality of magic in Fantasy stories becoming cliche? Is having a Dark side to the Light, so 1970's?

I ask this because in my own story I have been developing I have a Life magic that has a Anti-Life counter part to it. I have characters who show different stages of the corrupting negative powers of Anti-Life and I wondered if this was too much a cliche use.

Is it better to have Magic being nuetral and could be used for either means?


Is duality cliche? Absopositutely! However, cliche in fantasy isn't always a bad thing. I don't think it generally matters if you choose a concept that's been used before(i.e. the classic save the world story). I think what matters is how you write and present it. Having said that, I'm not terribly fond of duality myself. I prefer the idea of neutral magic.
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