A long time ago (so long that I have no idea on where to even begin to look for the link) I read something about how to name things in a fantasy world. The thrust of the article was to not go and rename mundane things. If your world has a rabbit-type creature, call it a rabbit. The idea was that it would be too complicated to describe your rabbit and associate it with the new term.
I agree with this idea most of the time. But I broke this rule in one really big way in my first novel. I replaced the word “magic”.
In my defense, I did this before learning the rule. And I had a very good reason for doing so.
When I hear the word “magic”, I think of Harry Potter, Disney movies, and the like. In my story, what we’d call magic is an ability that just about everybody has. It’s ordinary. It’s mundane. And rather than give the abilities that feel that comes with the word “magic”, I changed the word.
In my story, magic is more akin to intelligence. Or athletic ability. One can study and train to get better at it. It’s not the province of magicians or sorcerers.
But now I wonder. If I’m going to go back to my novel and rework it, should I go and change the word back to magic?
I’d like to know what you think. Would it be too distracting to use a different word? Would you put down a story in which magic was called something else? Or do you see my point? Should I keep it as is?