When Magic Fails

When you have a 450,000-word epic waiting to be published, there are a lot of details to keep track of! For months now, a minor problem has been bugging me. My lead character, 17-year-old Kyura, has been taught a magic spell. It’s the only spell she knows. She can utter an incantation and wave her hand in a certain way, and thereby throw force at something. Like, knock it down without touching it. Useful spell.

She also has a potent magic amulet called the Leafstone Shield. One part of my brain said, “She can only throw force while wearing the Shield.” But when I skimmed through Book 4, there was a scene where she was clearly using the spell even though she wasn’t wearing the Shield. So my brain had short-circuited on that detail, right?

Wrong. There’s also a scene (in Book 3) where she’s locked in a cell in a dungeon and can’t get out until her friend slides the Shield to her under the door. I didn’t remember where the have-to-be-wearing-the-Shield scene was, so I shrugged it off. I mean, are you going to reread the whole story to find that one bit?

Last night, while writing an email to somebody describing the story, I remembered! Aha! So today I was able to tidy it up.

I like to get the details right. I’m kind of a maniac about it, actually. I don’t know if it’s any consolation, but Agatha Christie once remarked that after her mysteries were published she would usually get a letter from some reader or other pointing out a horrible logical flaw in her plot.

As Joe E. Lewis says at the end of Some Like It Hot, “Nobody’s perfect.”

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