Monday, September 05, 2011

Guest - Rayne Hall

Good morning all! Today's guest is Rayne Hall, writing instructor extraordinaire. Rayne will be discussing the how and why of writing Love Spells. Enjoy!


by Rayne Hall

Love spells make great fiction, full of secrets, conflict, drama and passion.

Your character can cast her own love spell, or she can seek professional help from a magician (from a witch, a ritual wizard, or other type of mage).


The most common ingredients used  in the ritual are roses (often red or pink),  something from each of the two people (usually a lock of hair, and in modern times, a photograph),  red candles, a fruit (for example, an apple), a crystal (rose quartz is a favourite), herbs (such as dittany or balm of gilead), spices (especially cinnamon), and red wine, and a ribbon (red or pink). 

However, the ingredients vary between different types of magic. For example, an Enochian may use different ingredients from a Wiccan.  Also, individual magicians have their own preferences.  The actual ritual also differs.

Typically, the magician may cut the fruit in halves, insert the locks of hair, and tie the fruit back together with  the pink ribbon.  Or she may brew a love potion which involves red wine simmering in a cauldron with rose petals, herbs and cinnamon.

If both people are present, the magician may link their hands and tie them with a ribbon or scarf.

If only one person is present, the spell won't be complete until the second person has become involved, for example, by drinking the love potion.


Most clients are besotted with someone who doesn't requite their feelings. They are convinced that this person is the one for them, that they're meant to be together, that they will not be fulfilled and happy until that person is theirs. They also believe that the love spell is in the best interest of that person, and that the relationship will be a happy one if only the person would return their love.  They are desperate, can't bear the pain of their unrequited passion any longer, and are willing to pay almost any price for a love spell.

Other clients are lonely and looking for love. They want a spell to help them find a mate. These include teenagers whose self-esteem is low because they don't have a boyfriend,  single women whose biological clock is ticking, and men who can't get a date.

On rare occasions, a couple may seek a magician's help to save their crumbling marriage.

In historical fiction, parents and politician may resort to love spells to bring about an advantageous match, or to bring affection to an arranged marriage.


Most modern magicians consider it unethical to interfere with a person's free will. Although they will happily help the couple who wish to strengthen their bond, and the lonely heart in search of a mate, they will refuse to force a specific person's feelings.

However, not all magicians have the same qualms, and in earlier periods, many made good money from love potions. Even today, many magicians advertise on the internet, promising to deliver one's heart's desire.

Some magicians compromise by creating spells which work only if there is already some affection between the couple.  For example, the desired person must drink wine from the same cup as the client, immediately after he has drunk from it - something she wouldn't do if she hated him. An ancient Egyptian love spell required the man to anoint his member with a potion before having intercourse with the woman of his desire - and for that to work, she already had to fancy him quite  bit.

Other magicians try to dissuade the client from focussing on a specific person. Instead, they recommend a general love spell, one which will help the client find a suitable mate.

For the strictly ethical magician, requests for love spells can lead to terrible dilemmas. Here are some ideas you may want to play with:

* What if the client is suffering terrible pain from unrequited love, and the magician wants to ease his suffering? What if the desperate client is her own sister, her best friend, her son? What if turning down the request for a love spell causes a rift between them?

* What if the client won't take no for an answer? What if the client is the king, the chief inquisitor, or other powerful person? What if the client threatens to punish the magician for her refusal?

* What if the client is rich and willing to pay a lot for a love spell? What if  the magician desperately needs money to save her lover or to feed her starving child?

* What if a ruthless magician agrees to waive his principles and grant the heroine the love spell she craves ... but only if she pays a terrible price for it?

* What if the magician herself suffers from unrequited love? What if her ethics forbid her to manipulate someone's will, but she is convinced that it is for that person's own good?  What if her need overrides her conscience?


Love spells interfering with someone's free will can lead to disaster.  Here are some plot ideas:

* What if the love spell works at first, but wears off after the wedding? What if the person finds out that their spouse had trapped them with a love spell?

* What if the two people love each other, but their relationship is desperately unhappy - and they can't out of it? What if they blame the magician for their misery?

* What if the client loses interest and wants to end the relationship - but the other person is still obsessively in love and won't let them go? What if that person stalks the client for the rest of his life?

* What if the client regrets his action, and wants to undo the love spell - and it can't be reversed?

* What if a pedophile uses love potions to seduce minors? What if a serial killer applies magic to lure victims to their doom? 

* What if a fortune hunter tries to trick an heiress into drinking the love potion? What if she's been alerted to his intentions, and has to be constantly vigilant to thwart him?

* What if the family hires a bodyguard or detective to protect their heiress daughter from love spell assaults?

* What if the victim's family find out that the girl has been the victim of a love spell, and try to save her? What if they make great sacrifices to enable the spell to be undone - but she doesn't want to be saved?

* What if the heroine discovers that her best friend's intended is a ruthless man who forced her feelings with a love potion - and the friend refuses to believe it? What if the victim of the love spell is a man whom the heroine has secretly loved all her life, and now another woman has ensnared him with magic?

The fiction potential of love spells is endless. I hope this article has inspired your creativity.

If you have questions about magic (love spells or otherwise), or want feedback for an idea, or if you need help with a love spell scenario in your WiP, please ask. I'll be around for a week and will answer questions.

 * * *

Rayne Hall teaches an online workshop 'Writing about Magic and Magicians'. Create believable magicians (good and evil), fictional spells which work, and plot complications when the magic goes wrong. Learn about high and low magic, witches and wizards, circle-casting and power-raising, initiation and training, tools and costumes, science and religion, conflicts and secrecy, love spells and sex magic, and apply them to your novel. This is a 4-week class with 12 lessons and practical assignments. If you wish, you may submit a scene for critique at the end of the workshop.

The next dates for this workshop are:
October 2011: Celtic Hearts RWA   
March 2012: Lowcountry RWA
April 2013: Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal:

Rayne's other workshops include 'Writing Fight Scenes', 'Writing Scary Scenes' and 'The Low Word Diet'. For an updated listed of her upcoming workshops, go to

-- Lynda Again
    Wow, what a fascinating post! I hope you've all enjoyed it and are ready to ask Rayne lots of questions! Have at it!


Julie Robinson said...

Hey Rayne! It's been a while, and I'm glad to see you here. II haven't been around much on the CC loop. Life, you know. So I am looking forward to escaping reality and taking your class in October. As you know, it's right up my alley.

Here are a couple of easy questions: Have you ever read Witch in the House? The author brings in some of the ethics of conducting spells. Of course, Betwitched played that aspect well with the constant disagreements between Endora and Samantha.

Also, will The Dresden Files be part of your class? Not that I've read all the books, but I was so disappointed when they canceled the show.

Julie Robinson said...

Rayne, I went ahead and signed up before I forget. I get really busy mid-September - mid-November.
See ya!

Rayne Hall said...

Hi Julie,

I haven't read 'Witch in the House'. Is the author a Wiccan witch? Wiccans are very strong on ethics.

The Dresden Files aren't part of the curriculum - but if you want to discuss them with the other students in the class, you're welcome to bring up the subject. It's always interesting to study how other writers have approached certain aspects, and discuss how it works.


Julie Robinson said...

Not as far as I know. But int eh Acknowledgements, she thanks the "witches who generously shared their beliefs, their way of life," as well as shop owners and 'wonderful authors who live their lives in tune with the energy around them. She blesses them saying, "May the Goddess and Spirits of your choice smile upon all of you."

It's by Jenna McKnight. The story is laced with light-heartedness and humor, while showing those who practice the Craft in a positive aspect. Publication date is 2007. I've wished she would write another similar story, but I haven't see one.

Julie Robinson said...

In fact, on her site under 2009 Update, here's what she says about it with regards to comments on this story:

Anonymous said...

REALLY enjoyed this fascinating post! Thanks for sharing!

hugs, Kari Thomas,

Denise said...

What a wonderful article, I look forward to your workshop!

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