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satyesu
10-04-2010, 06:43 AM
my wip is set in a time comparable to the scientific revolution, and the plot involves curing a disease. Thus, obviously, there will be close examination of healing magic, and i want to go beyond "cool blue light covers the wound as flesh stitches together" and that kind of thing. how can i make healing magic...interesting?

Smiling Ted
10-04-2010, 07:13 AM
You need to develop a theory of disease in the same way that you would develop a theory of magic.

Fortunately for you, there are dozens of discredited disease theories out there that were used before Lister, Pasteur, van Leeuwenhoek and the rest discovered cells and germs. The Theory of Humours and the Theory of Chi are only the most widely known.

geardrops
10-04-2010, 07:17 AM
You're the writer.

Figure it out.

CACTUSWENDY
10-04-2010, 07:48 AM
:Shrug:.....Find sicker folks?

Apsu
10-04-2010, 12:41 PM
...there will be close examination of healing magic...


I'd suggest you examine healing magic closely.

But, if you're writing a fantasy for children, and only want something interesting to look at while the magic takes place, then I think familiar is good. So a little bit of wand waving, some creativity with the senses, and maybe something funny and accidental could be a good thing. I think children like to recognize something familiar in the midst of something fantastic. Maybe they visualize it better? It's probably the same for adults, only we have a wider range of potentially familiar elements.

Canotila
10-04-2010, 01:16 PM
Is there a price that has to be paid for healing something? Like, maybe it shortens the user's lifespan (by using up their life force or something)? Or shortens the lifespan of the person being healed?

Our cells can only duplicate themselves so many times before the telomeres break down. That's what causes aging. If you were to accelerate cell division too rapidly, by say, making a pretty blue light that heals a wound shut in under a minute, and did that too often, maybe that could have a negative long term effect.

Or you could go for a totally different (non scientific approach). In northwestern native tribes, the job of the shaman was to heal people. They believed sickness was caused whena person's spirit left their body and failed to return. The shaman had to come visit, do his ritual thing, which involved making his own spirit leave so he could go fetch them and bring them back. He even had a special tool to capture the stray soul in. I bet you can find tons of real life inspiration by doing a little research. It's pretty interesting stuff.

MattW
10-04-2010, 11:21 PM
my wip is set in a time comparable to the scientific revolution, and the plot involves curing a disease. Thus, obviously, there will be close examination of healing magic, and i want to go beyond "cool blue light covers the wound as flesh stitches together" and that kind of thing. how can i make healing magic...interesting?
Have the magic surrounded by centuries of accumulated ritual that are mostly useless superstition. The scientific revolution comes into play when people start being skeptical of if all that is necessary, and get down to the true needs of magic healing. Once the pure mechanics are known better by the characters, they can be manipulated, experimented upon, etc.

lmcguire
10-05-2010, 03:41 AM
I would also recommend you look both at how real healing works and at how other authors have addressed it. In Richard Jordan's Wheel of Time series, the Aes Sedai heal - you don't even have to go beyond book 1 to see how he handles it. In Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker series, Alvin learns how to heal - this is particularly interesting, IMO, and worth a read - again, you don't have to go beyond the first book, though one of the later books might add to what you get in the first book (the one where his brother visits Napoleon and the one where Arthur is learning about healing). Those two jump to mind immediately, but I'm sure there are several others you could study to see how different authors have handled it.

I think it's key to understand how your magic works - does it use natural laws and speed them up, does it bypass natural laws, or overpower said natural laws, make use of natural laws that don't normally come into play, or...?

FWIW,

Liz

The Grump
10-05-2010, 08:41 PM
Another way might be to combine healing with herbs.

You mentioned stitches. For an external wound?. Did the magic use a cutting ritual? I agree, that you need to set up a system of beliefs about disease/curing to have a magic system seem reasonable. Since you're the writer, you get to set the rules.

Ruv Draba
10-06-2010, 06:25 AM
Healing in fantasy is frequently a symbol of sacrifice, redemption or forgiveness and intimately tied to the themes of the story. Don't use magical healing unless it's significant -- let ordinary characters heal ordinary wounds in ordinary ways. Save magical healing for wounds of dramatic significance. Let it be risky, let it cost something and let the nature of the healing follow the conlicts between the major characters.

Examples available on request.

Nivarion
10-06-2010, 08:23 AM
My initial thought would be to study the human body to figure out how it works.

A med student might know how to stop you from getting sepsis, but it takes a doctor to do surgery and all of that.