Posted by Esther Mitchell on March 26, 2017
The Perilous Pike: Arcane Artifacts and More in Paranormal Fiction
It goes without saying that when you're making up a Fantasy world, you get to make your own set of magical rules, creatures, and artifacts. What apparently needs saying (perhaps repeating) is that when you're crafting paranormal fiction set in this world, you're playing by a set of rules already established in history and ancient mythology. This isn't to say you can't craft completely fictitious artifacts, but you must remember that every artifact you create has to have some basis in fact and physics. If amulet A gifts a person with flight, you better be able to explain exactly how it works, or you're likely to lose your readers.
If you've done your research, you can usually come up with a historical or mythological equivalent to work off of. This can a model from which you build your own artifact, or you can make use of the actual artifact itself, and even the story that goes with it. I’ve seen literally hundreds of adaptations of Excalibur (some good, some bad). But that’s far from the only sword out there. A good place to start searching for mythological artifacts is one of the following sites:
This is a great place to start, as they have a reasonably extensive list, but I would caution to not make this your sole source of information. Use it as a starting place, to get an idea what you’re looking for, though.
Another good site for starting research, if you’re looking for specifically Irish/Celtic mythological weapons.
Once you’ve figured out which artifact(s) you want to use for your basis, then it becomes a matter of researching each specific item. Some have lots of published information on them. Others are difficult to find information on, and you may be forced to combine the attributes of more than one item (say, the abilities of two mythological swords to make a single sword with a fictitious name). There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you’re keeping the laws of physics in mind.
As with every category here, you’ll notice that this one, too, makes use of research. The single biggest asset to an author of paranormal fiction is research. Through that, you can craft stories that grab hold of the readers and give them something completely unexpected to think about.