The Creative Person’s Guide To An Integrated Energy Field



One thing that my friend Bryan found out when he started working seriously on acting was that his personal life, and his internal emotional mechanisms, kept interfering massively with his creative choices.

How Did His Personal Life Interfere?

The first time I worked with Bryan, he was developing a monologue for a class assignment. I think the monologue (if I remember correctly) was from the perspective of a man confronting his wife about an affair.

Beginning Acting

We, Bryan and I, were sitting under a set of university stairs. He was a teenager on the verge of adulthood, and I was a bristling-with-eagerness new TA. As we alternated between working the monologue and discussing his acting process, the following observations occurred to me:

  1. Bryan’s mental life had long ago outstripped his emotional life.
  2. Bryan’s father had shaped his views of women in a manner that distorted his potential creative process
  3. Though I could create a bridge between my knowledge and Bryan’s abilities, thereby increasing his present skill, his own internal mechanisms were currently incapable of retaining the improvement.

What Happened To Bryan?

I taught Bryan for about a year and a half, and directed him in several small productions. He, being tall, dark, and the possessor of effective and brooding eyes, was then seized upon by a corrupt professor, and put into a more prestigious production, where he promptly lost his head and fell completely out of touch with genuine creativity.

Ah, Politics, and the Seduction of Flattery

If I could go back in time right now, and sit again with Bryan under the university stairs, I would not make any kind of bridge between my abilities and his talent. I could transform him, for any number of minutes, into a seemingly-advanced actor. I have the ability and the know-how to crutch up any receptive body into apparent genius for a moment or two, long enough for the delivery of a monologue.

But experience, and the wisdom of failure, has shown me the ultimate futility of such assistance. If I could go back in time, to the beginning of Bryan’s acting journey, this is what I would do:

  1. I would unearth his emotional life, and guide him into articulating his primal state of being.
  2. I would guide Bryan into an understanding of distorted child development, and isolate the moment when he deviated from healthy growth and integration.
  3. I would abandon Bryan to his own skill, and allow him to act from the place of the last cohesion of his integrated self.

What Does That Mean?

It is possible, and exceedingly common, for a person to halt in some area of their development and integration as a human being. For example, many grown adults secretly carry the emotional sophistication of a child, and they compensate for stalled development by an overdeveloped intellectualism. Big words cover young feelings, as it were.

Where’s My Guide To An Integrated Energy Field?

Try this brief experiment. Your subconscious is much more aware than you might give it credit for being; if you pose pertinent questions, and keep an open spirit to the answers that your mind will immediately supply, you can learn much about your total integrative qualities.

Answer these questions in your own mind, and keep fear and self-hatred to a minimum in the process:

  1. At what age did you last feel complete peace and wholeness through your body?
  2. What moment ended that sensation of wholeness?
  3. Imagine your intellectual self (words, thinking, reflective ability, and self-awareness), your emotional self (surges of feeling in your center, images and colors that flow through you), and your intuitive self (your ability to picture the future, or predict outcomes from actions or possible scenarios) as being three separate beings within you. Look at each of these three selves, and ask yourself, how old is my intellectual self? My emotional self? And how old is my intuitive self?

When you have answered these questions, you may have found that there is a disturbing disparity between the ages of your internal parts of self.

A wide gap, or stalled development in one or more of the areas of internal selfhood, or firmly-established boundaries between elements of the self, will create enormous and unavoidable disruption in the creative process.

What Do I Do With This Information?

When you gain perspective on the current status of your inherent parts of self, you also gain power over your future. The ideal, in the human performative instrument, is holistic integration of the energy field; this integration is achieved through matching the development of each area, and through the removal of permanent barriers between the parts of self.

If your emotive self is stuck around the age of four, and your intellectual self is thirty-six, your creative work will be dry, like an empty husk. It may be painstakingly beautiful and technically accomplished, but it will not bring genuine joy or a sense of unity and sharing to your audience.

If you are emotionally sophisticated, having developed normally in that part to the age of forty-two, but your intuitive capacity was stalled at the age of two, your creative work will appear dead to your audience. There will be no magic or danger in the execution of your powers.

A melding of the parts of self, and a unity, a harmony between the stages of development, will lead to creative performance that intoxicates and enlivens the reader.

You’re reading Victor Poole. I wrote a series of books that will integrate your disparate parts of self as you read. Wednesday is really fun to say like this: Wed-NEZ-day.


The Clever Way To Write Scenes That Hooks Attention (From Page One)

Everyone and their mother wants to know how to get people reading right away. The myth is that you have to hook people from the blurb, and then get them so pumped up from the opening paragraph that they are basically impelled against their own self-interest to purchase your book because you’ve turned them into a reader-zombie who has to eat your story or die.

That’s the idea often promulgated in “HOW TO SELL A GAZILLION BOOKS!” articles and courses, anyway.

But That Doesn’t Work

Because readers, unless they are seriously abusing mind-altering substances, are not zombies, and most of them have some volition when it comes to spending their own money. Treating readers like cattle or sheep which you must prod with tantalizing carrots or other such-like treats at the trough of literature is a short-term solution, and usually blows up in your face (because humans are pretty good judges of when they’re being treated like animals).

How To Build Effective Hooks

A good hook presents the reader with a scenario that they already want to buy. Many, many readers want to experience what we may call the Goldilocks experience; just enough, and no more. Readers, in general, don’t want the most literary piece of literature ever composed by the hand of man; they don’t usually care if the writing is the cleanest prose that was ever scrubbed by the brush of judicious editing, and most of them don’t care if your writing is the most original idea every to originate in the brain of writer-kind.

Well, What Does The Reader Want?

To be seen, to be heard, and to have friends. To feel the same, and to feel a little bit different. To fit in, and to be apart, just a little. To have a home, and a family. To believe in something greater than themselves, and to experience a reality that is purer, stronger, better than their own.

How Does All That Translate Into A Hook?

When you go to purchase a car, what are you really looking for? Unless you are a collector with very deep pockets, you are looking for a vehicle that can adequately and reliably perform a task. The task is some species of transport. Some people are looking for a truck that can haul things, and some people are looking for a vehicle that can transport fifteen bodies. Some people are looking for a commuter vehicle that is steady and fuel-efficient. These different types of needs can, for our purposes, be translated into different genres.

Genre Hooks

Each genre has a specific set of promises, or deliverables that are expected by consumers of that genre. Romance writers, for example, will talk about the reader’s expectation for a happy ever after ending, and mystery readers, in general, expect a well-plotted and gradually-built murder. When you know your genre, familiarize yourself with the experience promised, in general, by that type of story.



A Science-Fiction Hook:

Vince twisted the cap from his transformative juice bottle, and guzzled down his morning’s allotment of gravity. The sizzle of the molecules, as they gradually passed into his system, made his muscles seem to pull separately down against his bones. He breathed hard through his nose, and rotated his jaw. Today was the day he’d get through the breezeway of the ship; he’d been planning for months, and today was it. If he failed, he’d be pushed out with the other convicts to the moon base, where the miners had an expected lifespan of twenty years.

He wasn’t going to die in a moon base; he’d promised himself that. He was going to find a way into the crew of the J. Havenclad, and then he was going to steal a personal craft.

What Are The Promises In This Scene?

We see a space setting, a renegade ne’er-do-well facing stacked odds, and strange but slightly-plausible technology. Plus, there is the threat of death, and a clearly pass-fail adventure looming on the near horizon.

If you’re working in genre fiction, examine the promises inherent in your area, and incorporate them into your opening scenes.

You’ve been reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. My books are here. Monday is not the day on which Caleb rips a star out of the sky.

The Superannuated Guide To Originality For Writers Who Recycle


There is a lot to be said for stealing; Shakespeare did it, and artists and singers make most of their material from scraps they take and alter beyond recognition. Cue the outcry on how all the really good people live in a cave and only make things that are totally un-influenced by any other human ever!

Oh Sweet Summer Child, Welcome To The Hive-Mind

Once you really begin to work in a consistent capacity, ideas become, well, more obviously delineated. You become aware of the way characters, plot turns, and emotional discoveries are generally similar, and your choices become more informed.

I Have No Idea What You’re Blithering About, Victor Poole

When you have the time, sit down with about twenty Wodehouse novels. Read them all. Then come back and tell me all about the young man who begins a new job, the elderly man henpecked by his wife/sister/aunt, and the obnoxious child who smokes on the sly.

P.G. Wodehouse Wrote Original Stories About Boys’ Schools

If you go backwards, past the comic novels and the adventures of Blandings Castle (and, of course, Wooster and Jeeves), you will encounter a wonderful world of boarding school novels that are both original and easily neglected.

But Original Is Better, You Fool!

I could walk you through a list of Shakespeare thefts, but for the sake of brevity, I will get to the point, which is this:

Originality often lies in exposing previously-obscured folds in common experiences.


Meh Writing:

Nana had no cheese in the fridge, but she had a five-gallon bucket of mint ice cream in the freezer, and she hoarded it carefully for her grandchildren. She did not eat much herself, Nana, and Pops preferred things that way. He was gradually starving her down, and when she lost her mind, he helped her up and down the steps with a cozy smile on his face.

Nana’s insanity made life very easy for Pops; the family was sympathetic to the helpless old couple, and he could set Nana up in front of the television for hours while he tinkered over his crossword.

He made her sit with him, while he worked, because she had started to dream dangerous dreams, and sometimes she thought she was in someone else’s home. He never had anything to say to her anymore, now that she was not sure of who he was, or of her surroundings.

Sparkly Writing:

Nana’s blue-white hair bobbed, and her yellowed teeth glistened as she stared out the living-room window. She was not supposed to be in this room; it was the company room, and had sat empty for years now, ever since Garret, the last one, had moved in with his wife. Garret had hidden his pills under that edge of that carpet, right before he had been taken in for evaluation. Nana could not remember if that was before or after he had moved out, though she knew that Garret’s wife had been shouting and red-faced for a long time after that.

Nana padded cautiously over the thick carpet, and laid her hand over the rim of the couch, where she had sat with her first baby daughter, or her second. She couldn’t remember. Maybe she had sat here with both.

A door slammed far away in the house, and Nana padded swiftly, with the cunning of a spider, into the hall, and to her room. She would be in her bed like an obedient doll when Pops came in.

Where’s My Superannuated Guide, Victor?!

Realize that execution and grounded perspective bring originality. Peel back the curtain on genuine pain, and realize that people are generally aware of what they are doing (even if they say they aren’t). Ignore all advice, guides (superannuated or otherwise), rules, and embrace failure, because that’s where most of the good writing happens. And lastly, realize that your unique inner world is the most original and sustainable source you can draw from.

You’ve been reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. My books are here. If it wasn’t a Friday, it would be some other day, but every day is a good day to pick up My Name Is Caleb; I Am Dead.

Should You Work Really Hard Or Coast When You Write?

A lot of people (okay, almost all of them) believe that writing is really, really difficult. When you go looking for inspiration, or encouragement, the ranks of writers, amateurs, and in-between professionals shout out a pretty unanimous chorus of “It’s SOOOO hard, you have no idea!” Then they add in, snidely, I am sorry to say, that you will probably not succeed, and that you better be writing because you love it, and not because you want to get anywhere as an author.


I shall now mount up on my soapbox (which is made out of wood, and painted with block red letters: Freshie’s Wholesome Soap: Gets Anything Clean!) and speak in a motivating manner to you, kindly internet stranger.

Isn’t Writing Really Hard?

Writing is easy. Performance is hard. Building a competent, grounded world-view, and a functional set of internalized morals, is time-consuming and usually painful. But writing, the actual act of sitting down and telling a story, or outlining and then following your plan, is remarkably easy. This, I think, is why there is so much angst and confusion among writers who try and fail to succeed.

Yeah, Well What Do You Know, Victor?

I actually know a lot. I’m probably the most competent energy analyzer you’ll ever encounter (I know, that sounds like a made-up title to make me sound interesting, doesn’t it?). But for the sake of (brief) argument, I’ll list out some of my qualifications. Eh, on second thought, I’ll just tell you what I was going to tell you. (If you care, trawl back through my blog history; you’ll get an accurate picture that way.)

You’re A Weasel, Victor Poole!

Squeak, squeak (or whatever noises weasels make). Oh, I went and saw the new King Arthur movie; it was really good. If you like epic fantasy, get thy backside to a theatre and see it on the big screen; the elephants are magnificent.

Tell Me About How Writing Is Easy

I know, I just love to hear myself talk. Back to writing! Most people don’t understand the transaction between a writer and a reader, and consequently, when the writer takes up the pen, metaphorically speaking, and composes a piece for sale, he or she often fails entirely to hit the mark. It is generally a failed effort precisely because of a larger issue, like a lack of consistent moral framing, or a blocked personal energy carriage (such as a capped pelvic cradle, or an infected energy mask behind the face). These problems are not acknowledged as real in mainstream society, and so the would-be author applies him or herself diligently, and repeatedly comes up against failure.

Actually, I’ve Seen That Happen, Too

It is a fairly ubiquitous experience, the seeing of the would-be artist flailing forever in apparent mediocrity. Talent cannot compensate for dysfunctional performance, and passion and hard work will never replace the value of a coherent value system. All the writers, save a very few, are looking in the wrong direction, and they feed within each other the belief in “the death of art,” or the “decline of the modern reader,” or even of “the way e-books have jaded all readers forever because there are too many books!”

But All Of Those Things Are Happening

No, they aren’t, but it would take me months of delving through your particular energy-carriage to convince you of this fact, or to change your flow.

Now I’m Offended! I’ll Leave Your Blog!

Cool beans, fellow internet-being, cool beans. But remember that soon, soon I will be validated, because my own flow structure will be completed, and I will conquer, as it were, the English-speaking world. (You know, until I start working with translators.)

You’re So Cocky! I Can’t Stand It!

Go to a writing advice forum, or a critique site. Or go to any internet space, or any physical book on publishing or writing from a library, and read for a bit. If you look very carefully, you will find one percent of successful writers (as in, writers who make a living from making words) who openly admit that they work very little on their writing. You will find these same one percent writers openly admitting to lying about working harder, and you will hear a seemingly-endless barrage of advice from successful writers all saying the same types of things:

  • It’s really hard
  • Almost no one “makes it”
  • You’ll never make money
  • Do it for love
  • Etc., etc., etc.

Are They All Lying?

It’s okay, they have to lie. Actors do this, too. When they’re young and naive, successful actors tell the truth, but they swiftly learn that to be honest in a performing career is very foolish. Telling the truth generally gets you yelled at, harassed, and shunned by other workers in the art world.

Aren’t You Telling The Truth, Victor?

When you approach your writing, think carefully. Are you focusing on the areas of your work that are weak, or are you running in circles around low-impact craft-improving zones? Because if it’s the latter, you’re not going to see as much progress as you’re hoping for.

You’ve been reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. 

One Skill That Will Hike Your Stakes Through The Stratosphere

Do you know how to break things? Like, really, devastate and obliterate a thing until whatever the thing is wishes that it had never existed in the first place? Learn that skill, and your dramatic scenes will take on a pitch and intensity that will awe your readers and make you seem deep, like them ol’ timey Russians. (You know, Tolstoy and Dostoyevski, and the depressing folk from that era.)

Why Would I Want To Write Like A Russian?

Not a contemporary Russian, friend. We’re talking classic-tome territory here. The first thing on your journey to literary depth is death and pragmatism.

Wait, You Haven’t Told Me Why I Want To Write Like A Russian Yet

Well, you don’t want to write like a Russian, per say. You want to write like yourself, but with more intensity. See what I mean? And there is nothing in the world like a touch of nihilistic Russian philosophy to add pathos and meaning to your fiction.

Okay Victor, Sure. Whatever You Say

Yep, yep. So, death first (or last, as we might say). It is important to realize that the old Russian greats meant things. If they were petty, they had well-thought-out reasons for being petty. If they were depressed, they were REALLY depressed. And if they had deep thoughts about death, they stuck to those meditations like champs.

You’re Losing Me, Victor

I know, I know, Russian melancholia is an acquired taste. But it impresses other people, so we’re going to talk about it. Let’s look at an example here.

Bad Writing (American shallow):

Balerie drew long pink eyebrows on her face, and pulled a powder of blue fish scales out of her bag. She patted the scales down over her cheeks, and checked her reflection carefully. It was not as good as she could have done with a full set and two hours, but she thought it would do.

A knock sounded on her chamber door, and she stuffed away the things, and straightened her flimsy gown.

Good Writing (old-fashioned Russian depth):

Balerie’s hand shook as she gripped the worn pink eyebrow pencil, which she had stolen from her aunt’s things. A mixture of terror and excitement wrangled through her insides, and she tried to steady her breath. She smoothed the pink lines over her eyes, and dug in her bag for the remnants of crushed blue scales.

She patted the last of the sparkling powder on her cheeks as a heavy knock sounded at the door. Ye gods, I hope I look better than last time, she thought, as she tucked away her things, and smoothed her paper-thin gown.

What Is This Skill You Promised Me?

One skill that will raise your stakes through the stratosphere: Everything must be deliberate. Intellectually lazy people find this approach exhausting, but a dead Russian author would not pick up a plot line without thinking twelve directions through it first; how can anything go wrong, and should the character give up and live in a corner until they die of starvation? This sounds facetious, but is actually a fairly accurate description of the way this style of fiction is written.

Nothing is casual; nothing is light-hearted. Every item, every sound, every word becomes a possible portent of death, chaos, and bitter misery.

When your character(s) are hovering on the edge of unmanageable despair, everything becomes high-stakes.

Well, That Was Depressing

I know, right? Makes for good fiction, though.

You’ve been reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. My books, which are awesome, are here. Ajalia is a spunky lass; check her out.

On Saturated Prose, Pretentious Verbiage, And Clean Execution

Tell us what’s going to happen right away, so we can watch your execution. Revealing your purpose in the story can feel counterintuitive; you might feel afraid that you’ll give too much away, or that you’ll destroy the reader’s interest in the plot. But readers are often more perceptive than you think, and they are usually reading a book for reasons that are murky to you.

Why Do They Read?

People read books for tons of different reasons, but I can practically guarantee that their reasons do not in any way align with your reasons for writing.

Oh, Yeah? How Do You Know That?

I went to a performing arts school, and I spent a big chunk of my life watching amateur performers attempt to connect with an audience. I started teaching performance, and I was able to create a stable, consistent emotional bond between the performers and the audience. I see writing as a form of emotional performance, and I believe that the principles of sharing the self hold true in this written medium, as well as in the live performance model.

Great, So Acting Again

Yes, acting is a public sharing of the self with strangers. This is what writing stories is, and in writing, as in theatre, you are concealed, as the actor is, behind a world and characters that are not reflective of your true self.

Why Would I Give Everything Away Right At The Start?

Let’s look at an example to prove my point. I will write the opening of a story where the plot is hidden, and then I will write an alternative opening, and give away what is going to happen. You can see for yourself which is more impactful as a piece of writing.

Bad Writing:

Eueen thundered over the open plain, her bow gripped in her hand, and her tail whipping behind her in the speed of her flight. Her hooves cut sharp divots in the earth, and showers of thick soil cascaded like brown clouds in her wake.

The distant mountains were shrouded in a grey mist, and the sun broke through the thick layers of vapor like an overarching eye of bloody red ire. She stared at the foothills as she ran, and her jaw was set in a hard line.

Good Writing:

The young centaur who set out to murder the king of the seven lands carried nothing with her but a bow and a pair of homemade arrows. She left in the dawn, before her family had come out from the hovels they built of straw each spring.

The sound of her galloping flight over the open plains was heard only by the little birds that flung up, like blown leaves, out of the grass as she ran towards the enchanted palace in the grey mountains.

There We Are

If you create an expectation in the beginning, the reader is able to engage in your storytelling. The reader will watch the plot unfold, to see how you execute the promise of adventure.

This isn’t always the most effective way to begin your story, but it is a strong hook, and can create a heavy pull and investment in the reader’s mind.

You’ve been reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. My books are over here. Seven witches come to attack Ajalia in The Magic War, which has very little to do with the fact that today is Thursday.

Are Time Limits Raising Your Stakes?

I directed Hamlet once. I’d like to do it again, because I’d change just about everything. It’s a pity that you have to direct a show in order to figure out how to best direct that show. Anyway, what I was going to say is that my girl who played Ophelia wanted to work out a bit of business in the opening court scene. She wanted to do an elaborate pass-the-note scene with Hamlet, which, if memory serves, I nixed, because of Authenticity.

Ophelia Is Pregnant

Today we’re talking about time limits and high stakes. Hamlet, our dearly departed heir apparent to the throne of Denmark, is, in the opening of the play, about to become a father. Proof, you say? What’s this? You want proof? All right, but first, let’s talk about high stakes.

Use Time Limits

Nine months is a bit of time; most women start showing somewhere around the five-month mark of pregnancy. When your story operates within a fixed time-limit, the stakes lift themselves. Look at these two scenarios:

1) My uncle might have killed my father, and I have to figure out if I should murder him in revenge.

2) I got my fiancé pregnant because we were about to get married, seeing as I was weeks away from becoming the king of Denmark. Well, I didn’t try to get her pregnant, but my father died unexpectedly, and she was making me feel better, and one thing led to another, and we’re getting married soon, so she was, you know, comforting me. Anyhow, she’s pregnant now, and it turns out that my mother and my uncle got married before the coronation, and now—well, now I’m not going to be the king of Denmark unless I do something pretty bloody. But my fiancé is pregnant. And now I’m seeing visions of my dead father, who says he was murdered by my uncle. So . . .

Time-Limits Raise The Stakes

Give yourself these two pretend scenarios:

1) Claudius poisoned my dad, and I need to take revenge.

2) Ophelia’s going to start showing, and her father will go nuts and/or kill her if he finds out, plus, Claudius probably murdered my father and I need to take revenge, but it would be best if I took care of this before Ophelia really starts showing, so I can take the throne and marry her, or hide her in the country.

Number two is more stressful, right? There’s a natural climax in that scenario, isn’t there? Take your novel, whatever it is, and give yourself a time limit.

An Example

Don’t worry, I’ll give you some proof in a bit (not all of the proof, because that would take hours).

For our example, let us take a young lad from the science academy in the Faedel galaxy. In the bad example, I shall show the boy operating under no time limit. Then, in the good example, I will give our hero a ticking clock, and we will see which example has higher and more effective stakes.

Bad Writing (No Limit):

Geezer scrubbed the microfibre cloth over the outsized monitor, and he ground his teeth as he did so. Lousy professors, he thought, and he pushed the nozzle of the gen-dispenser. A cloud of nanobot foam splattered over the screen, and he mashed the cloth against the glass.

The science academy was low on funds; if the board could afford it, they would have replaced all these old Earth screens with the new plasma models. Those, Geezer reflected morosely, required exactly zero scrubbing.

He sighed as he looked down the long row of monitors that he had yet to clean. Lousy work-study program, he thought, and he bent his elbow into the work. The nanobots emitted the very faintest of hums as he ground them against the screen.

Good Writing (Time Limit):

“And if you aren’t finished by the end of zero-hour, I’ll be putting you on the first transport home!”

Jezebel’s voice echoed through the classroom as she departed, slamming the door behind her. Geezer looked despairingly down the long line of filthy monitors. Zero-hour was close; he would never finish in time, which, he supposed, was the point. Professor Jezebel had been trying to oust him from the moment she’d learned his father was from her home city.

Had to go and open my big mouth, Geezer thought, as he scooped up the bottle of nanobot foam. “Guaranteed to clean while you’re away!” the bottle read. Geezer had been using the foam regularly in his duties as part of the work-study janitorial team, and he was drenched in despair as he reflected in his inevitable failure.

As you can see, adding the pressure of a time limit helps those stakes get hopping, and your reader-brain begins to work in overdrive to predict the outcome. Use time constraints to heighten your stakes, and bask in the dramatic tension that results.

And Now, A Smidgen Of Proof

I said I would give you a bit of proof; here is a ditty Ophelia sings at the end of the play:

Yong men wil doo’t, if they come too’t,
By Cocke they are too blame.
Quoth she before you tumbled me,
You promis’d me to Wed:
So would I ha done by yonder Sunne,
And thou hadst not come to my bed.

And in a later scene:

. . . ther’s Rew for you, and heere’s some for me. Wee may call it Herbe-Grace a Sundaies: Oh you must weare your Rew with a difference.

Rue is a flower rich with symbolism (the queen has to wear her rue differently, because she [the queen] is an adulteress, but rue, at the time, was also a flower that, if eaten, could cause an abortion. Pregnancy creates a time-limit, and hiding pregnancy heightens the stakes, and shortens the window of efficacious action. Do like Shakespeare, and make use of time limits to raise your stakes.

You’ve been reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. My books are here. Wednesday is probably the most perfect day for picking up and reading Delmar’s Magic.