Oct. 5th, 2014:
Another week another blog, bringing me to 3 for 3, that's pretty good by my notoriously undisciplined standards. Let me get one thing out of the way: don't ask me about Hong Kong. It's a very sensitive topic and living over here puts me in too precarious a position to offer opinions about it.
I've already mentioned how games of all sorts influenced my world, especially evidenced from the classifications of mages and their skills, but there were a couple other important factors:
In 2005 I started martial arts, Five Animal Kung Fu to be exact (a version of Hung Gar Shao Lin). One of their central philosophies was that each of the five animals was linked to an organ of the body and each had a particular hand motion associated with it. For example, snake is based on the stomach and uses rolling torso movements to drive the hands, striking with the fingertips like spears. Crane uses the kidneys, activated by twisting the hips, while the hands utilize subtle flicking motions where strength is unnecessary. My magic system uses these ideas almost verbatim.
The realms came about from watching too much sci-fi. I wanted to have different worlds, different places with new people and creatures, but without rewriting the laws of physics. I thought about using different planets, but not only would that make societal interactions impossible, but the characters would have untold difficulties with things like atmosphere, gravity, and biology. It was just too much. So I devised the realms. Each realm is a different version of Earth. Evolution is hugely reliant on chance and circumstance, the slightest change could have monumental repercussions. It only takes one strand of faulty RNA replication to affect an entire branch on the tree of life.
In my investigations into "real magic," I was struck by, of all things, Wiccanism. They use spells and hexes that most dismiss as mere superstition. Websites list spells for love, jobs, beauty, healing, cursing, etc, involving incense, herbs, and slightly-precious stones. Then I ran across a particular comment: "they only work if you believe they will." That made me stop and think. I don't subscribe to any of their religious practices, but that singular idea became the whole belief system in Apprentice: magic doesn't work if you don't believe in it.
I think I should add this stuff to my bio page, even though it probably doesn't make sense without the book...you will all just have to buy it! Shouldn't be more than a few weeks, I swear!