Just How Much Magic Belongs in #Fantasy? CAROL MARRS PHIPPS of #RaveReviewsBookClub gives her views 

Just How Much Magic Belongs in #Fantasy? CAROL MARRS PHIPPS of #RaveReviewsBookClub gives her views 

         We’ve been hearing about this. It seems to pop up as though magic content in a piece of writing is something wholly arbitrary, as though it were just a matter of setting a thermostat. This shouldn’t be too surprising in this digital age of stimulus starvation, this diminished world of the future, where very few of us go into the woods with an axe in order to survive, where conversation is being replaced in cinema with swooping dives off skyscrapers and tumbling infernos of colliding cars. If our fantasy writing needs punch, we just scroll to the far end and click, right? We just add magic.

            We disagree. After a certain point, plunges off tall buildings get boring. Magic does  add interest, depth and excitement. It can even turn loose an inventive writer’s imagination, but too much ruins everything.

            We use magic with a great deal of respect and restraint. What magic we use is assigned properties, just as though it were a natural phenomenon, grand and limited in the same sorts of ways as the forces of nature. Our malevolent heroine may be able use magic to travel instantly by spell, but she can’t just do it because she wants to or she’ll get into serious trouble. She must first use a scrying ball to see where she wants to go, or she may end up drowned in a cellar which was not supposed to be flooded. The great Crystal Heart may give her fearful powers, but she can neither call them forth nor control them without a great deal of study.

            Literary tension is what we build and develop throughout a story to add excitement. Interesting characters must struggle in the same sorts of ways that everyone must in order to get where they need to go. Since we can identify with their struggles, they keep our attention. And if they are able to wield magic, there must be some sort of predictable struggle involved, or we have no reason to pay attention. If having the Crystal Heart is like running around with a smoldering stick of dynamite, we understand. It has our attention.

            So how much magic in a story excites you? And just what kinds of magic intrigue and fascinate you? Tell us, if you don’t mind. We’d like to know.

Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps


Carol Marrs Phipps


Tom Phipps

Buy Links for The Heart of the Staff

US Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Staff-Carol-Marrs-Phipps-ebook/dp/B00VKQE9F0/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1428515898&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Heart+of+the+Staff%2C+Phipps

UK Amazon:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Heart-Staff-Carol-Marrs-Phipps-ebook/dp/B00VKQE9F0/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1428516014&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Heart+of+the+Staff%2C+Phipps


Our Websites



Other Contact Info

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Car01am

Page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carol.phipps3

Follow on Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Carol-Marrs-Phipps/e/B005HB8MC0

Follow on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/car01am/

Amazon Buy Page for all our books: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Carol+Marrs+Phipps+%26+Tom+Phipps


This tour is sponsored by 4Wills Publishing  


Helen Treharne

I’m Helen Treharne, fiction author an creator of The Sophie Morgan Vampire Series. I live in South Wales with my husband, young son and rescue cat.
My books are available at all major digital retailers with soft back copies also available from Amazon, Createspace and other stores.
When I’m not writing fiction, I blog at www.WelshMumWriting.com, sharing my experiences of being a busy parent jugging working, writing, and more. Follow me there for my personal insights.


  1. April 20, 2015 / 10:16 am

    Carol and Tom, what a great subject to kick off your tour with! I hope you have a lovely tour, and wish you the very best of luck with everything 🙂
    Helen, thanks for being such a great host, as usual 🙂

  2. April 20, 2015 / 12:38 pm

    Carol and Tom, great post to begin your tour. Helen, thanks for hosting.

  3. April 20, 2015 / 1:02 pm

    Helen- Always great to come by your blog!
    Carol and Tom- Congrats on tour, great post!

  4. April 20, 2015 / 2:22 pm

    Carol & Tom – I enjoyed this discussion about the use of magic in fantasy. Thank you for your insights! Thanks for hosting, Helen!

  5. April 20, 2015 / 3:25 pm

    Many thanks for hosting Tom and me on the first day of our Heart of the Staff Blog Tour. Great blog, by the way!
    Carol & Tom

  6. April 20, 2015 / 5:35 pm

    Great points, I’ll reblog this tomorrow and keep it going. I think magic is great to twist and pull the plot and its characters in directions that leave them stressed in a variety of ways.

  7. April 21, 2015 / 12:42 pm

    Helen, thanks for hosting this stop!!
    Wish you both a great blog tour, Carol & Tom. I’m looking forward to it!

  8. April 21, 2015 / 1:51 pm

    Reblogged this on Archer's Aim and commented:
    Rebloggiing on Archer’s Aim: great thoughts about one of the main elements of fantasy fiction and how much of it is actually necessary.

  9. April 21, 2015 / 4:14 pm

    Congratulations on your tour Carol. I like the talk about magic. That is what a story should be made of. Thank you Helen for hosting.

  10. April 23, 2015 / 8:44 am

    One of my favorite parts of world-building is setting the constraints. Magic is an integral part of that. Interestingly enough, if you think about it, the one thing conspicuously absent from Tolkien’s work is battle magic. We get control of the elements and talking to animals, plus the odd staff/torch, but that’s it, really.

    • April 25, 2015 / 1:57 pm

      Thanks so much for your insightful comments and stopping by to share your thoughts on the subject with us.
      Carol & Tom

  11. April 24, 2015 / 5:01 am

    Quite an interesting subject, Tom and Carol. Excellent post.
    Thanks for hosting, Helen.

    • April 25, 2015 / 1:59 pm

      Thank you Beem! We are happy you stopped by to lend your support and glad you enjoyed the post.
      Carol & Tom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Checkbox GDPR is required


I agree