Blog #12- The Magic

Happy February and Happy Black History Month!  I thought I’d start this special blog with a bit of a lesson on the history of Black History Month, in case you were unaware.  So, Black History Month got its start in 1926 by a man by the name of Carter G. Woodson.  Back then, it wasn’t a whole month, though.  It started off as Negro History Week.  He wanted to ensure that students learned the history of African-American achievement, which wasn’t taught as vigorously as it should have been in schools.  Truthfully, it’s still not taught as vigorously and widely as it should, amirite?  He chose a week in February because Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is in February and Frederick Douglas had an unknown birthdate but chose to celebrate it in February.  It had nothing to do with the fact that February was the shortest month.  Negro History Week was a hit and eventually expanded to Black History Month in 1976.  Black History Month is a time to feature the achievements of African-American works and The Black Diamond is proudly in that lineage.  It seems only appropriate to highlight the magic of black literature by explaining the magic of the Black Diamond!

So, as a connoisseur of literature that features magic, I’ve been exposed to many different conceptions and applications of magic in stories.  Some works use it better than others.  The ones that use it the best, in my opinion, are ones that create a clear set of rules for magic to work in their world.  This rules set makes it easier to understand for the reader/ viewer what magic can and can’t do.  This is important because this allows for stakes in the story.  If magic users can do anything the writer wants, it becomes a deus ex machina and where’s the fun in that?  It robs the story of stakes if the answer to any issue is… magic!

The rules of magic in The Black Diamond are plainly laid out in The Witch’s Curse, but I will try to briefly summarize.  You have two types of mystical creatures: wickons and monsters.  Wickons are witches and warlocks, beings that have the ability to cast spells.  There are four types of spells: charms, jinxes, hexes, and curses.  Monsters are all other supernatural creatures.  They can’t cast spells.  Wickons are grouped into five levels, each one successively more powerful until you reach the highest level of 5.  Level 5 wickons are very rare.  Magic is hereditary and expresses itself differently in different families.  Some wickons have a power that they have that doesn’t require a spell to use.  This is called an active power.  Some wickons don’t have an active power, while others have three or more.  The more active powers you have, the higher your level, which also determines what types of spells you can cast and how powerful they will be.  For example, Omar (pyrokinesis), Matt (electrokinesis), and Tre (temporal stasis) each have one active power, but Derek has two (teleportation and telepathy) making him of a higher level than the others.

I came up with this concept because I wanted there to be a clear hierarchy of magical power.  It also prevents people from being able to cast any spell they want.  It places limits of spellcasting, which not enough stories have.  Everybody shouldn’t the power to cast any spell they can find or come up with to solve any issue that arises.  Some issues come up that will outstrip a wickon’s ability to solve with a spell.  I also made magic hereditary so that not just anybody could become a witch or warlock.  I didn’t want magic to be a profession, a trade anybody could learn.  Similar to the way Jedi in Star Wars are born force-sensitive, witches are warlocks are born with the power to use magic.  That doesn’t mean that there isn’t an element of training and studying needed.  To be proficient in magic, you definitely need to practice.  You inherit the power to be a warlock, not a good one.

One last rule of magic in The Black Diamond, and it’s a big one, is that magic should be kept a secret when possible from supernatural folk.  Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of humans who have knowledge of the occult, whether it be because they have witches and warlocks in their family or as friends that have trusted them to keep their secret.  Magic is not to be practiced or shared openly, however.  It must not be revealed on a large scale.  There have been times in the past where the supernatural was well known and out in the open and each time, it eventually led to persecution and calamity.

I think that’s enough for now.  You don’t want to know too much too soon.  You want to know just enough to get the story and how things work at a basic level.  There are other rules and structures to magic in our universe, but I’ll leave that for the readers to discover in this, and subsequent, stories.

Next month: The Grimoire



Leave a Reply

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