Monday, April 4, 2011

Word Choice Fun: Scrying or Seeing?

The main part of writing is getting the words right. As I am working on the Wildmage book I'm constantly coming across decision points where I have to decide on just the right word for something.

The wildmage Hana has as her primary talent the ability to see/sense things at a great distance. I tend to be inclined to use the word 'scrying' for what she does when she exercises this ability.

There are some problems with that word, though. When you read occult or 'New-age' books you are often given directions on how to 'scry' using a crystal ball or magic mirror or even black-tinted water in a bowl.

Pagan and Pagan-friendly fantasy writers don't have any problems with using magic-methods lifted direct from occult books. But as a Christian I don't want to be following such sources.

When Hana scrys, she doesn't use any method remotely like occult scrying. She holds a jade ball in her hand, but does not look in to it as one does with a crystal ball or the like. And the ball is strictly speaking not necessary--- Hana is using a natural gift of hers, though it's not one folks have in our world.

I might use the terms 'seeing' or 'Seeing' rather than 'scrying'. Certainly the secular fantasy writers use such terms--- I believe Mercedes Lackey uses 'FarSeer' for a person with this gift. But at this point I kind of like the term 'scry', in spite of the connections to occulty silliness.

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