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Showing posts from August, 2014

Story Combat Realism, part 1--Flight, Fight, or Surrender

Especially in epic fantasy stories, human beings or demihumans like elves or dwarves are often portrayed as fighting to the death with a disregard to danger. Creating larger-than-life struggles is part of the appeal of epic literature, but an author should be aware of the behind-the-scenes psychology of that is normal to be able to grippingly and realistically portray the abnormal. Because it happens to be the case that people don't usually fight until the death--they fight until the surrender. Many people are familiar with the so-called "Fight or Flight" response, a state of stimulation by danger that can alternatively cause a person to fight or to run away. But as documented in the book  On Killing , when fighting members of their own species, not only human beings, but all social animals in creation have a third response--to surrender. So wolves in a pack fighting to be the dominant member of the group--the "alpha"--don't usually fight until one is de

7 Ways to Deal with the Problem Magic Poses Christian Fantasy Writers

First off, what is the problem with magic for Christians? Or sorcery? Or witchcraft? (Are all of those things even the same?) An entire book could be written on this topic (perhaps I'll do that someday) but to keep this as brief as possible, the short reason this is a problem is the Bible has nothing good to say about the practice of magic (neither does extra-Biblical Christian tradition). No translation of Scripture will record the 12 Disciples watching Jesus walk on the water and say, "Wow, that was magical!" Nor is the mana falling from heaven in Israel's wilderness wanderings described as some kind of powerful spell that Moses used, nor even is his rod described as "magic," even though Moses had the power granted to him by God to turn it into a serpent at whatever time he chose. No, the Bible describes events like these as "miracles," or "signs," or "wonders." On the other hand, when the Bible talks about "mag