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Annwyn
01-12-2010, 05:38 PM
I was wondering when writing a ritual scene in a novel (ie, a spell casting where you call down the four corners and open a circle for the ritual) how much is too much detail?

Does the reader need to know the words of the spell of casting a circle, or does it suffice to say, "they cast a circle" (in slightly more poetic terms of course)?

I have one ritual, so far, in my novel where the Coven gather and need to cast a circle of protection, unlike real spell castings, this obviously has the magickal fanfare of TV Wicca...mellowed respectfully. But it does have ritual words that are from "real" spells out there...Is this a good thing or a bad thing? If spells are commonly available, there isn't really anything wrong in putting them into a book, is there?

Monkey
01-12-2010, 08:19 PM
Write the scene as a writer, not as a practitioner of a religion.

What will keep your readers more engaged? What's necessary to the plot? Those are the questions that matter, IMO.

Thump
01-12-2010, 08:35 PM
You could have them say out part of the incantation rather than the whole thing. You have to remember that your readers might not be aware of what casting a circle entails and if you don't describe at least enough to give them an idea, they're going to be annoyed.
Once you show them casting the circle once, you don't need to do it again.

Carole
01-13-2010, 08:17 PM
It seems to me that you are asking more from the perspective of "is this okay?" rather than "what is the best way to write the scene?"

If that's the case, I wouldn't worry about giving too much information. There are books upon books containing detailed ritual practices, so it's not like you would be giving away some deeply guarded secrets by using descriptions and specific words in a novel. Words and practices that were so very secret and hidden aren't so secret and hidden anymore. One book containing spells, rituals, chants and recipes that a former boss used to guard with his life, and that was out of print for years and years, is readily available at Amazon these days.

PeterL
01-13-2010, 08:28 PM
Detailed explanations of things like that are boring to read. The "they cast the circle", etc. method is usually better for reading. You might look at how others have put such things in fiction.

Medievalist
01-14-2010, 12:04 AM
Also; if you are writing a historic novel, rather than fantasy or contemporary, you need to be careful about using Wiccan and ceremonial magic.

Annwyn
01-14-2010, 05:07 PM
That was the gist of the question, Carole. It's a contempory or, I guess, urban fantasy? I wouldn't use the same rituals of today in a historic novel certainly!

Rufus Coppertop
01-15-2010, 12:06 PM
Also; if you are writing a historic novel, rather than fantasy or contemporary, you need to be careful about using Wiccan and ceremonial magic.

Absolutely correct. There is no way anyone in the medieval period or renaissance would use Golden Dawn, Crowleyan or Wiccan formulae. These date from the late nineteenth to early twentieth century at the very earliest.

Rufus Coppertop
01-15-2010, 12:08 PM
I was wondering when writing a ritual scene in a novel (ie, a spell casting where you call down the four corners and open a circle for the ritual) how much is too much detail?

Does the reader need to know the words of the spell of casting a circle, or does it suffice to say, "they cast a circle" (in slightly more poetic terms of course)?

I have one ritual, so far, in my novel where the Coven gather and need to cast a circle of protection, unlike real spell castings, this obviously has the magickal fanfare of TV Wicca...mellowed respectfully. But it does have ritual words that are from "real" spells out there...Is this a good thing or a bad thing? If spells are commonly available, there isn't really anything wrong in putting them into a book, is there?

Use little bits of spells and description to fill in. People want to read about other people doing magic, but not every little mechanical detail. Or write your own snippets of spells or incantations, based on principals you already know.

Carole
01-15-2010, 06:00 PM
That was the gist of the question, Carole. It's a contempory or, I guess, urban fantasy? I wouldn't use the same rituals of today in a historic novel certainly!

That's what I figured you meant. I wouldn't worry about divulging secrets. In fact, there are so many eclectic practitioners these days who design their own unique rituals, you could easily get away with creating your own based on other things you have read. Unless you place a specific, known label on their beliefs, no one should question any ritual you design. If you are going for authenticity, then you should research and make sure you get the details right or your story will lose its realism.

StephanieFox
01-16-2010, 04:16 AM
We don't use rituals out of books. We write our own. You can do the same unless your characters are specifically Guardnerian or A.exandrian or such. We're pretty ecllectic and do a lot of mixing and matching and include drums and chants if we're doing large community rituals.

You may want to explain some jargon such as 'cast a circle' or call a quqarter, but you can do this with dialogue.

"Are you casting a circle with a broom?" "That the bst way I've found to create a protective area. You know a time with out time, a place withou out a place."

"who is calling the quarters?" "Irene is doing North, Peggy, West. I'm waiting to see who shows up and then will ask for East and South. Rob has a lot of fire energy, so if he shows, I hope he'll do South."



Sorry for the typos. Cut a finger. Not typing well.

Annwyn
01-18-2010, 05:59 PM
Lol, poor you Stephanie! Ah, yeah, that's the gist of what I've got, short sharp explanations through action and dialogue, without going into too much detail of the actual spell etc because that would just take too much time.

Annayna
02-07-2010, 05:18 PM
I actually have a scene in my recent novel that tells the reader what each of the girls are doing. I think its about a 100 words or so.. its not alot, but its there :). Just dont over load on the information. Keep it simple :D