• The Writer


    Hello! My name is Laura, welcome to my blog! I write weird stories, collect dragon plushies and stay up too late with my nose in a book. I am a wife, mom and child saved by grace. My hope is that you find encouragement here or at least a smile or too.
    God bless!

  • “Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book that it may be for the time to come forever and ever.”
    ~Isaiah 30:8.

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  • Quotes

    We have come from God, and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming 'sub-creator' and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic 'progress' leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    "The only just literary critic," he concluded, "is Christ, who admires more than does any man the gifts He Himself has bestowed."
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    “Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    "Writers who see by the light of their Christian faith will have, in these times, the sharpest eye for the grotesque, for the perverse, and for the unacceptable. To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures."
    ~Flannery O'Connor

    You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.
    ~Arthur Polotnik

    Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.
    ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

    "There are forms of insanity that condemn people to hear voices against their will, but as writers we invite ourselves to hear voices without relinquishing our hold on reality or our right to control."
    ~Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway

    Christians have sometimes been suspicious of stories, because they really can influence you. If you read the Twilight novels once a month for a year, I think you'd be a different human afterward—and not a sparkly one.
    ~Nate Wilson

Magic & Fantasy: Part 2 – Good vs. Evil

art by Alan Lee

art by Alan Lee

One thing I love about fantasy is the ability to show the battle between Good and Evil in a more vivid and clear way.  In fantasy there are shinning heroes vs. great monsters, hobbits vs. dark lords, light vs. darkness, etc.  Fantasy allows you to show Good and Evil in a form everyone can easily recognize.  As a Christian, I want to tell stories that show the stark contrast between light and dark, freedom and slavery, death and salvation, fantasy allows me to do this as no other genre does.

A Light in the Dark

One problem I’ve seen in a lot of modern Christian fiction is their stories are “light on light”.  The writer’s are trying to show the light of Christ in an already light environment.  When you light a candle in an already bright room it makes no difference.  (This is true for more than just Christian fiction.)  In order to show the beautiful light of God’s grace and love, you have to show the ugly blackness of men’s hearts and the consequence of sin.  (Tolkien did this beautifully in The Lord of the Rings.  He understood the corruption of men’s hearts and show’s it with their desire to possess the One Ring, the very symbol of evil.)  Christ died a very ugly, brutal death for us on the cross, without such a sacrifice salvation for the world would be impossible.  In fiction, if there isn’t darkness, the light will have no impact.  Without the destruction caused by the Dark Lord, the beauty of the Shire and Rivendelle wouldn’t seem as peaceful and bright or worth protecting.

We Can’t Ignore Evil

There is evil in this world, and we are fighting a war with it.  Fantasy is perfect for showing us that war.  It shows us our enemies and, The One who is the ultimate victor.  I believe it’s important, especially in Christian fiction, to show people the darkness so they can better understand and appreciate the light.  You can’t tell someone they need salvation, without telling them why.  You have to reveal the sin, evil and lies in order for grace, good and truth to become relevant and important.  You can’t ignore evil in fiction, just like you can’t ignore it in real life.  It’s there, it “stalks around like a lion seeking whom it may devour.”  As Christians we have spiritual armor for a reason.  We’re in a war with evil, and fantasy is the genre that can depict that war in every detail.

Exaggerated Illusions

Fiction is the illusion of reality and with illusions you can exaggerate.  We can better understand reality through these illusions because they are meant to teach us.  I love this quote by Flannery O’Conner;

“Writers who see by the light of their Christian faith will have, in these times, the sharpest eye for the grotesque, for the perverse, and for the unacceptable. To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures.”

Those “large and startling figures” get people’s attention, and once you have their attention and have shown them the darkness, you can slowly turn on the lights and chase the shadows away.  In fantasy, not only can you show the exaggerated illusion of reality to better understand reality, you can show the illusion of the spiritual, to better understand the spiritual.  That’s another reason why I like fantasy, because of the higher level of spiritual.  That’s why you have magic and unearthly creatures.  Fantasy is a spiritual genre (more on that to come), hence, the battle between good and evil is so clear and vivid.

In a nut shell… a light in a bright room makes no difference.  A light in a dark room changes everything.

Missed part 1?  Just click the title! Magic and Fantasy: Part 1 – Overview 

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Magic & Fantasy: Part 1 – Overview

art by John Howe

art by John Howe

As fantasy grows in popularity and people become enthralled with stories such as Harry Potter and Twilight, Christians become more and more suspicious of the fantasy genre as a whole.  Stories with wizards, witches, dragons and magic have been labeled as secular and evil.  I understand why a lot of Christians are cautious about fantasy and letting their kids read/watch it, but I don’t agree with the modern stereotype that’s been applied to it.

Fantasy is not evil no more than rap or pop music is evil, the problem is how it is used.  Most Christians dismiss fantasy because it has magic, but (and here’s a bomb shell for you) magic is not the issue.  Now don’t freak out, just stay with me.

NOTE:  Every section will be expanded on in it’s own post.

Spirit-ism and Fantasy/Blurred Lines

Fantasy is not real life, the rules are different, the way the world works is different.   One big difference is the boundaries of the spiritual realm.  In fantasy the lines between the physical and spiritual are blurred or none existent (hence, there is magic or “miraculous” powers in said world).  Because of this you can show the battle between good and evil more clearly, through a bigger picture.

Writers who see by the light of their Christian faith will have, in these times, the sharpest eye for the grotesque, for the perverse, and for the unacceptable. To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures. ~Flannery O’Connor

I’ve noticed a lot of Christians are uncomfortable talking about or getting into the spiritual.  Sure we talk about being spiritual and the good spiritual creatures (angels), but when it comes down to the spiritual, that’s a different topic all together.  There is a good and bad side to the spirit realm and most of the time we only remember the bad.

The Rules are Different

Fantasy doesn’t really work without magic. Magic is to fantasy what science is to science fiction. The magic is what makes it a fantasy, just like futuristic science is what makes a science fiction. I tried writing my first fantasy without magic because it bothered me, but it didn’t work. It was incomplete and nothing fit together properly. Now, eight years later I’m rewriting it with magic. Finally the puzzle of the story is fitting together because I have the missing pieces.
Magic in a fantasy world IS NOT the magic in the real world. It may be modeled after it, (another reason why we are so leery of it) but it is not the same. The point of a fantasy is that it is not real. It’s in a different world with different rules. Usually this other world magic is a power that flows through every living thing. Magic is that worlds science. In science when you mix baking soda and vinegar together it creates a chemical reaction, in other world magic, when you combine words with elements, you get a “magical chemical reaction”. (A cheesy example, but you get the idea.)
When you put magic in the real world, that’s when the rules change. It is no longer other worlds magic that doesn’t actually exist, it’s real world magic. There is an evil power in this world, there are real witches and wizards and they are not good. Real world magic is a force, as Christians we should avoid. (There are exceptions when it is stated that the “magical abilities” of the character comes from God.)

Context is Important

Context is what makes all that difference when dealing with magic in fantasy. Real world or other world, good guy or bad guy. Context matters. Even the context of where the magic comes from. For example, in The Lord of the Rings wizards are beings known as Istari or Maia spirits in human form, sent from Valinor (the Undying Lands) to protect the children of Middle-Earth (or the Children of Eru aka God) from the Dark Lord Melkor. Symbolically, they are angels in mortal form there to protect God’s creation from great evil. For those of you who are familiar with The Lord of the Rings, Sauron is an Istari, but one that chose to follow the fallen Melkor, what does that sound like?

Magic and Spiritual Power

God’s power is “magic”. At least magic as we might interpret. His power described often as “supernatural” or “miraculous”, could be properly labeled as magic.
Magic in fantasy is in basic terms the ability to harness spiritual energy to complete a task. Magic is a spiritual power and because there is both good and evil in the spiritual there is good and evil magic users.

NOTE: I just want to say that I am not supporting or advocating for the practice of magic. I AM NOT. This blog series is about magic in Christian Fantasy (literature), a Other World setting, NOT about magic in the real world or it’s use.

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Click here for part 2 —>  Good vs. Evil

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