I got my first 2-star review ever the other day, but though it was low, I won't call it a bad review. He went to the trouble of enumerating what he thought my book lacked and that's great. Mostly, he saw cliches everywhere he looked. One of the first things I heard was that every story possible has already been told, all you can do is mix it up a bit and tell it anyway. Something I hope I've done. But that's not what this post is about. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and all I can do is hope to learn something from every bit of feedback. What I want to address is his comment about the magic.
"Magic is uninspiring and not explained well or described in any
meaningful way. The main pretty much just does stuff with no take on
how he does them or even what it looks like. Things are never really
shown you are just kind of told he does such and such."
The way I see magic is that it is a skill of the mind. My character does not live in Harry Potter's world where magic requires certain moves with a wand accompanied by a properly pronounced word. Though I've never seen it, Uri Geller could move objects and bend spoons. He didn't need to do anything but concentrate on his desired task and it happened. This is how I see magic as it is portrayed in Prince in Hiding.
Early on, Sean was advised to learn how to work his magic without the use of his hands. I can see a beginner wanting to reach out and pick up a stone with his hand while intending that the actual task be accomplished with only his mind. And yet I can also anticipate his need to keep his actions secret, or maybe it's just a matter that his hands are preoccupied in some other way.
And finally, what does magic look like? You don't even 'see' magic in Harry Potter's world. There's no sparkly zing of lights that stream off the tip of the wand and lights up whatever it hits. In The Sorcerer's Stone, when Hermione was being attacked by the troll, Ron lifted it's club up out of it's hand. There was nothing to see but his word, the wave of his wand, and the club levitated. Take away the wand and the word, and you have the same thing in my book.
So tell me, if you were to be able to do magic, how would you do it? Really, I'm curious. How do you see the skill of being able to work magic? Everyone's idea or view of the subject is different. What's yours?