With all of the stories I write, I try my best to always keep a level of grounding in the real world, as far as I can. Granted, having a story like The Circle of Fire, with Dragons and magic as major themes can make it somewhat challenging but it’s vitally important none the less.
The real world, that which we all live in (even those who don’t believe it’s real) works within a set framework. There are clear lines drawn around our reality, laws of understanding we all comprehend of what happens to us and there are all manner of things which fall on the other side of those lines which can’t happen i.e. magic.
I’ll admit that at the edges of the real, the lines do get blurred, with people claiming all kinds of things (psychic powers, alien abductions, monsters) but for the most part, there’s a shared understanding of what’s going on. When you then start talking about those things taking place beyond the boundaries you start risking a loss of control.
I’ve spoken before on here about the importance of always keeping the reader engaged but this is where we get to the issue. You have to always maintain a set of rules for whatever you’re talking about but when you’re making things up in their entirety, you have to work even harder.
When I was writing the first draft of The Circle of Fire, it was pointed out to me by a friend that over the timespan of about three days, my main character hadn’t eaten anything. This isn’t the most earth shattering detail but within the context of what the story was, our main character does enjoy a drink or two so why no food, it was an important oversight.
The more I write in the world of The Circle series, the bigger the tower gets and it has to built upon a solid, stable base of consistency. I need to always refer back to my notes for the characters and the rules of the magic to always keep things in line. I hope all of this work keeps the rules where they need to be, the internal consistency is one of the key stones of engagement.
To highlight the importance of detail, I’ve added the following clip from YouTube from the UK version of Being Human. Vampires, Ghosts and Werewolves abound in the real world and it really is a great program. The vital point here, though, is given surrounding the detail of the Werewolf transformation. We’re all familiar with the transformation and I’m sure that the one from An American Werewolf in London is clear in everyone’s mind to show the pain of becoming a beast, but this clip goes that step further. This is a tremendous example of the rules of reality being brutally applied to something make believe.
I’ve had this in mind for my own characters transformations but you’ll have to see how this appears in the future.