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Sci-Fi and Wizardry. How Can I Make It Work (2 Viewers)

Hi. I am trying to mix Sci-Fi with Harry Potter style of magical world. I have a shaky storyline, but as I am a new writer I am just having issues with how to make the characters of novel work and come to life. Any ideas or suggestions would be great.
 

epimetheus

Friends of WF
So the problem is not so much do to with combining magic and sci-fi, but the characters?

A common trap to make is to focus loads on world building and/or magic systems then tack on some characters as an afterthought.

If that's what you've done then try to think of the world from the protagonists' perspectives. What makes the world come alive for them? How do they balance their understanding of magic and science. What does society have to say about all of this, and how does that impact the characters? Also consider that to avoid info dumps you will want to explain the magic and science through the characters, so we get to see the magic/science from the character's perspective and their reaction to it. Using more intimate character perspectives can help with this - first person, or third person limited.
 
Thank you. It has given me food for thought. I been trying to write it was out the focus on one character but in fact a crew. Maybe I need to rethink this
 

John C. Denton

Senior Member
Hi Thomas
Are you BabesJJ's cat?

Arthur C. Clarke once said "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
If you want to bridge wizards and science, make the magic scientific. That is, make it work within the laws of physics and explain how. Or explain how the laws of physics can
be altered to allow "magic."
You don't need to go on Google Scholar to do any research. It's as easy as saying something like, research into "extra dimensions" or "quantum-something" went wrong and accidentally blew up reality, creating magic. That's extremely cartoonish and over-simplified, but I think you get the gist.
 

John C. Denton

Senior Member
Or, if the whole universe is really a hologram, and this isn't "base reality" as Elon Musk puts it, then bc we're in a simulated virtual world, there must be some way to access it's coding. If you can figure out how to "hack" the universe then you can break or bend its rules.
Like Neo in the Matrix.
 

robertn51

Senior Member
... just having issues with how to make the characters of novel work and come to life. Any ideas or suggestions would be great.

I have an idea. But first and best of all, epimetheus' suggestions, up above, are simply golden. I'd take them to heart. (in fact, I wish some generous soul had laid them at my feet decades ago.)

To repeat them here, with slight editing.

1 What makes the world come alive for them?
2 How do they balance their understanding of magic and science?
3 What does society have to say about all of this and how does that impact the characters?

[I've saved epimetheus' fourth, just below, because I'm going to do something with it. I'm pretty sure they won't mind.]

These are great questions! For any character, in any place, any story

Ok. Lets do something with them.

Since you are newly infected, I'd recommend stepping back from the Himalaya of writing a novel and do a little sidework. Do not despair, this will not be throwaway. This will become the most fertile compost. You'll see. You'll feel it, done right.

Here's epimetheus' fourth, with some edits.

[For all of these, that list of three, above, show us] the magic/science from the character's perspective [emphasis mine] and their reaction to it. [do not skip this last bit.]

In other words: Write some short stories with your character(s) dramatizing answers/explanations to each of those three questions. Write as many pieces as you like, with single characters and cohorts. Whatever interests you.

Important: As epimetheus said, use first person, or third person limited, here. This is crucial. You want to be right on the characters' collars. You don't want to stand back directing, you want to be the character, as close as possible to the grunt of it all. That way the things you write are real and have to work. You can't squint. You can't merely suggest.

And don't worry about world-building here. Assume the world. Just snatch out of thin air whatever bits of it you need, without explanation, as if everybody already knows. All we care about are the characters identities, perspectives, and interactions within this magic/science concoction. And we especially care about all the lovely messy business they inadvertently cause, too. Just like real life. (You know you're doing it right when messes and surprises begin to happen.)

When you write these vignettes, just do the short story trick of dropping us/yourself into something already happening. Something dramatizing answers/explanations to each of @epimetheus' three questions. (You needn't attempt all three at once in the same piece. But eventually write something handling each of them.)

As for that "us/yourself" I have in there? Just think about us when you are writing. You don't have to actually show us the work. But you have to trick yourself to include the expectation of us reading as you write. There's the true highwire. And it will change everything. It will take away all of the sloppy slick shortcuts rising to tempt you.

Good luck. I'm excited for you.
 
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autumnst

Senior Member
I believe there's a subgenre of speculative fiction called "future fantasy" that you might like to look into. It melds sci-fi and fantasy, hence the name. The book "Minimum-Wage Magic" by Rachel Aaron (which I loved!) is a great example of this.
 

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