Guest Blogger: Rayne Hall

Today author Rayne Hall is my guest blogger and she’s talking about love spells and how to write about them.  For all of you that write paranormal, fantasy, or looking to add a magical element into your contemporary works, this is for you!

Writing About MagicWRITING ABOUT LOVE SPELLS

by Rayne Hall

Love spells make great fiction, full of secrets, conflict, drama and passion.  Your character can cast her own love spell, or she can seek professional help from a magician (from a witch, a ritual wizard, or other type of mage).

The most common ingredients used  in the ritual are roses (often red or pink),  something from each of the two people (usually a lock of hair, and in modern times, a photograph),  red candles, a fruit (for example, an apple), a crystal (rose quartz is a favourite), herbs (such as dittany or balm of gilead), spices (especially cinnamon), and red wine, and a ribbon (red or pink).

However, the ingredients vary between different types of magic. For example, an Enochian may use different ingredients from a Wiccan.  Also, individual magicians have their own preferences.  The actual ritual also differs.

Typically, the magician may cut the fruit in halves, insert the locks of hair, and tie the fruit back together with  the pink ribbon.  Or she may brew a love potion which involves red wine simmering in a cauldron with rose petals, herbs and cinnamon.

If both people are present, the magician may link their hands and tie them with a ribbon or scarf.

If only one person is present, the spell won’t be complete until the second person has become involved, for example, by drinking the love potion.

CLIENTS
Most clients are besotted with someone who doesn’t requite their feelings. They are convinced that this person is the one for them, that they’re meant to be together, that they will not be fulfilled and happy until that person is theirs. They also believe that the love spell is in the best interest of that person, and that the relationship will be a happy one if only the person would return their love.  They are desperate, can’t bear the pain of their unrequited passion any longer, and are willing to pay almost any price for a love spell.

Other clients are lonely and looking for love. They want a spell to help them find a mate. These include teenagers whose self-esteem is low because they don’t have a boyfriend,  single women whose biological clock is ticking, and men who can’t get a date.

On rare occasions, a couple may seek a magician’s help to save their crumbling marriage.

In historical fiction, parents and politician may resort to love spells to bring about an advantageous match, or to bring affection to an arranged marriage.

CONFLICTS
Most modern magicians consider it unethical to interfere with a person’s free will. Although they will happily help the couple who wish to strengthen their bond, and the lonely heart in search of a mate, they will refuse to force a specific person’s feelings.

However, not all magicians have the same qualms, and in earlier period, many made good money from love potions. Even today, many magicians advertise on the internet, promising to deliver one’s heart’s desire.

Some magicians compromise by creating spells which work only if there is already some affection between the couple.  For example, the desired person must drink wine from the same cup as the client, immediately after he has drunk from it – something she wouldn’t do if she hated him. An ancient Egyptian love spell required the man to anoint his member with a potion before having intercourse with the woman of his desire – and for that to work, she already had to fancy him quite  bit.

Other magicians try to dissuade the client from focussing on a specific person. Instead, they recommend a general love spell, one which will help the client find a suitable mate.

For the strictly ethical magician, requests for love spells can lead to terrible dilemmas. Here are some ideas you may want to play with:

● What if the client is suffering terrible pain from unrequited love, and the magician wants to ease his suffering? What if the desperate client is her own sister, her best friend, her son? What if turning down the request for a love spell causes a rift between them?
● What if if the client won’t take no for an answer? What if the client is the king, the chief inquisitor, or other powerful person? What if the client threatens to punish the magician for her refusal?
● What if the client is rich and willing to pay a lot for a love spell? What if  the magician desperately needs money to save her lover or to feed her starving child?
● What if a ruthless magician agrees to waive his principles and grant the heroine the love spell she craves … but only if she pays a terrible price for it?
● What if the magician herself suffers from unrequited love? What if her ethics forbid her to manipulate someone’s will, but she is convinced that it is for that person’s own good?  What if her need overrides her conscience?

CONSEQUENCES
Love spells interfering with someone’s free will can lead to disaster.  Here are some plot ideas:

● What if the love spell works at first, but wears off after the wedding? What if the person finds out that their spouse had trapped them with a love spell?
● What if the two people love each other, but their relationship is desperately unhappy – and they can’t out of it? What if they blame the magician for their misery?
● What if the client loses interest and wants to end the relationship – but the other person is still obsessively in love and won’t let them go? What if that person stalks the client for the rest of his life?
● What if the client regrets his action, and wants to undo the love spell – and it can’t be reversed?
● What if a pedophile uses love potions to seduce minors? What if a serial killer applies magic to lure victims to their doom?
● What if a fortune hunter tries to trick an heiress into drinking the love potion? What if she’s been alerted to his intentions, and has to be constantly vigilant to thwart him?
● What if the family hires a bodyguard or detective to protect their heiress daughter from love spell assaults?
● What if the victim’s family find out that the girl has been the victim of a love spell, and try to save her? What if they make great sacrifices to enable the spell to be undone – but she doesn’t want to be saved?
● What if the heroine discovers that her best friend’s intended is a ruthless man who forced her feelings with a love potion – and the friend refuses to believe it? What if the victim of the love spell is a man whom the heroine has secretly loved all her life, and now another woman has ensnared him with magic?

The fiction potential of love spells is endless. I hope this article has inspired your creativity.

ABOUT RAYNE HALL
Rayne Hall has published more than forty books under different pen names with different publishers in different genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), 13 British Horror Stories, Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2, 3, 4 (creepy horror stories), Six Historical Tales (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories), Writing Fight Scenes, The World-Loss Diet, Writing About Villains, Writing About Magic and Writing Scary Scenes (instructions for authors).

She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing. Currently, she edits the Ten Tales series of multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, Spells: Ten Tales of Magic, Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies and more.

Rayne has lived in Germany, China, Mongolia and Nepal and  has now settled in a small dilapidated town of former Victorian grandeur on the south coast of England. She can be found on Twitter at: @RayneHall

SPELLS V3BELTANE witch fantasy Rayne Hall  cover Oct2011

Savvy Boot Camp Wrap Up

WritingIt’s now July, which means my month of boot camping it with Savvy Authors is over.  I am pleased to announce that I ended up with a total of 33,504 new words on my yet untitled Urban Fantasy.

WOOHOO!!!

Ok, now for the things I didn’t do:

1) I did not finish my manuscript- I originally set  to complete a 90,000 word UF story.  Ummm, I failed to meet that goal.

Now, for the things I did right 🙂
(and yes, I only did 1 thing wrong-lol)

1) I developed a daily writing habit
2) I learned when my golden times are and how to properly take advantage of all of my writing opportunities, both the peak and off-peak times

—and drum roll please—

The most important thing I discovered during June is:

3) I had a real break through on my story. When I first started this progress, I’d given up on doing a 3 book UF series.  Why?  Because I found the prospect of creating 3 stories right now very daunting.  So I chucked the idea and set about the task of outlining all my ideas into a traditional 3 Act format.  Then, I just wrote, and wrote, and wrote.  And over 30k words later, I was still working on Act 1, and had several ideas coming to me that I wanted to include before the first major turning point. 

Then it dawned on me, I have my 3 books outlined now– each Act is a loose outline for a book.  So now I have modified my plans for my 3 book UF series, my first task is to draft  3- 60k word drafts.  This way, I’m allowed the freedom to just get the main ideas of my story out, and uncover plot threads I didn’t know were hiding away in the inner most caves of my creativity. 🙂

And I get the freedom (yes, as anal as I am, I do have a fair amount of panster in me apparently-lol) to have a fair amount of room–to the tune of 30k words per book– to smooth the story out, drop in subplots, and weave the stories together.

So, my verdict for Savvy Authors June Bootcamp– PASS with a B+


NTS: Just what do you really want to do?

Writing“All writing is difficult. The most you can hope for is a day when it goes reasonably easily. Plumbers don’t get plumber’s block, and doctors don’t get doctor’s block; why should writers be the only profession that gives a special name to the difficulty of working, and then expects sympathy for it?”  

–Philip Pullman

I came across this quote this morning while I was searching for a motivational quote to post to my Savvy boot camp team W.O.W. (stands for Wordsmithing Other Worlds). While this was not the zippy, quick witted one-liner I was going for to spark us into action, this one struck a resonant chord with the writer in me. Today is Day 7 of the June Savvy Boot Camp, and after 6 days of writing, I am staring square at being 11,726 words short of the weekly goal I’d set for myself during this process. To say I’m disappointed is an understatment–I am quite unhappy with myself.  So I felt the need to craft a little Note to Self:

There are no excuses, I am 100% to blame for my own productivity.  My daily goals are very doable–I’ve learned to temper my excitement and set attainable goals over the last 2 years.  As long as I am DEDICATED and exert some SELF-CONTROL, I can make my daily word count goals.  Yes, it is a bit high at over 3k a day, but the purpose of the boot camp is to push yourself hard for a short amount of time to see what you can accomplish.  At least, this is the goal of the boot camp for me.  So unless I get my butt in gear, I’ll be doing me a big disservice. 

See, I’m not really all that concerned with finishing an entire draft in this month (although trust me, I want to), I’m more concerned with showing me–specifically the part of me that doubts and second guesses every step I take, every word I write and my dream of having a  spot in the literary world as a published author– what I could accomplish with concentrated effort, dedication and prioritization. Like I said, my daily goal is a bit of stretch, and I know that some days will be better than others in that other priorities will sometimes trump my writing for the day.  Looking back on the past 6 days, I can honestly say this is not the case, I’ve just not put in the effort I’ve been needing to.  I’ve had one really stellar day–hit over 6k that day–but I’ve also have 1 day in which I didn’t write one thing, and several days where I hovered around mediocrity with a average of about 1,200 words.

So today, I’m getting serious about my efforts this month because I owe it to myself to see what I can really do.  I owe it to myself, and no one else, to see (1) what I can really do if I push myself a little and treat my efforts with the respect it demands and (2) see if I can meet the goal I set forth for myself for the month of June.  I’m tired of setting goals, then giving myself the okay to not reach them because the kids were a distraction or I was busy at work or I was  tired or I just didn’t feel like it…

It’s early and I have a full day ahead me (I’m in a very busy season with my day job and my kids will be back home today after spending a week with the grandparents).  While it is not likely I will hit the 11,726 mark needed to go into week 2 flush on my word count goal, I will surely give my writing the effort and respect it deserves today as I try to break through this mark. 

I will update this post, and my word meter with today’s progress before I head to bed tonight.

**Update: Word Count from 6.7.10–2,129**


New Challenge: Savvy June Boot Camp

I’ve been needing a kick in the pants, as far as my writing goes; as well as a much needed break from my contemporary romance (that I’ve been working on for 2 yrs).  Savvy Authors is hosting a June Boot Camp this month.  The goal being to take the 30 days of June and either complete a draft, or complete the revision/edits on your wip.

Blue MoonBecause I need some a bit of mental space from Worth Fighting For (the contemporary romance) and work on my Urban Fantasy.  I’ve not given up on WFF, I am actually very pleased with the progress I’ve made on it.  But since I’ve changed the story up so much from my original outline, I need a little time to work on they second half of the story.  So Savvy’s June Boot Camp seemed just the thing to both give me a bit of a breather, but allow me to pursue a fresh idea that is burning a hole in my imagination, trying to escape my mind and get down on paper. Lovely bit of imagery that is, don’t you think-LOL  😉

So, I’ve I got my new word count meter set, and I am officially on the clock.  My mission is to draft a 90,000 word draft of, what is initially termed, an Urban Fantasy.  Outside of some brainstorming & idea tossing I’ve been doing within my own mind (and out loud at times), and constantly dragging my patient CP into the depths of my crazy ideas and rationale, I really don’t know where this is headed.

Crazy?

Yes.  But you know, I want to shake things up and get the creative juices flowing.  Hopefully after a month off from WFF, I will have a finished UF draft and a golden plan for the last 50 % of WFF.

Ok, off to write now. 

(My posting consistency is already spotting 🙂 , so don’t expect too much from me this month.  Although, I do have 2 posts that will be coming up soon.  One a review on a very good ebook  and another a craft related post about a concept call Fast Drafting.