Why Witches

So there was a thread on FFF this week asking the authors there why they picked the things they’ve picked, as far as the supernatural races in their stories.  Since I’m not a member there (yet! he says with confidence), I decided it was an interesting topic and decided to blog about it on my own journal.

So….why witches?

I think the easiest answer is because the idea of magic has always fascinated me.  I remember when I was just eight or nine, this certainty that if I could find the right book at the library, I’d be able to cast spells just like in the stories.  I can’t remember where the fascination started, but once I’d read my first story about magic and witches, I was hooked.

I’ve been interested in them ever since.  In high school, I devoured books about Wicca, shamanism, ceremonial magic, and anything else New Age or occult that I could get my hands on.  Which, when you go to a Catholic high school and prefer reading in class to learning?  Causes a bit of friction.

At the end of my freshman year, I found L.J.Smith’s Secret Circle trilogy during a particularly horrid weekend.  I’d been hiding at the mall as a refuge from home (yeah, shut up).  I bought the first two books, and then planted myself in the food court and devoured them.  As soon as I finished them, I rushed myself back to the bookstore to pick up the last volume.  It wasn’t until after I’d finished that I finally felt comfortable going home.

I started the first draft of Shadows of Evil in high school, sometime between my freshman and sophomore years.  My senior year, I tried picking it up again (and got as far as Chapter Seven, I think, along with 3 or 4 chapters of ending too).  Then it was a lot of drifting.  But Shadows of Evil was always, ideally, about a group of kids who find out that they’re really witches.  The original drafts were pretty terrible, and pretty much ripoffs of other books I’d seen. 

But when I started writing again last spring, and broke down the basic elements that I wanted to tell in the story, I realized that the idea of a magical system fascinated me.  With SoE, the magic was meant to be very flashy – channeling itself into a variety of effects and abilities that acted as extensions of what the character was going through, or what they wanted to happen.  The idea that even as teenagers, we can affect our environment.

With Witch Eyes, I scrapped the whole idea, and started from something fresh.  The magic in this was more a ‘system’ that had rules, limits, and the like.  It also delved into some basic structures like physics.  Magic in Witch Eyes isn’t as flashy, in fact most people wouldn’t see anything at all, but it’s also a lot more corrupt and dangerous. 

But for me, witches have always contained that mystique of control.  They can control their environment, however they actually manage to do so, and that kind of power comes with checks and balances. 

I knew when I started writing that I didn’t want to cover the “traditional” races primarily.  It’s always started with witches for me.  I do have plans to do stories that involve vampires, Fair Folk, and shapeshifters, but each of those in my own particular way.  And never as the main focus of the story. 

Witches are just cool, man.  They can make you do things.  Like write novels about how awesome they are.

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