What Magic Should Be
Magic should make people happy. A trick should cause wonder and be truly enjoyable to watch as well as to perform. Magic brings undescribable feelings to the hearts of audiences and to magicians. As many of you already know, there is no feeling like glancing up in the middle of a trick to see smiles from everyone in the audience, whether the audience is one close friend or thousands of people filling up an entire theater and watching your every move.
Usually it takes a little bit of tension and the proper set up at the start of a trick to increase the pleasure at the end.
An ideal magic trick is one that will be remembered - when your audience reconstructs the trick in their mind as they tell their friend about the magicial feat that you performed, it should be even more wonderous than the actual trick -- remember that everything you say and do during the course of a trick will go into the spectator's minds to be remembered later. There are subtle things you can say and do that will make the trick stand out even more.
When someone sees you years later after performing a trick, and they happily describe a miracle that still amazes them, that is magic. Seeing a little child's eyes light up as they watch you bring magic into their world is a wonderful feeling. Watching the smiles on the parents' faces of an enchanted child is almost equally as charming.
As you study to learn the best magic tricks you can get your hands on, just remember that the latest sleight-of-hand move that you've mastered isn't cool just because you can do it, but by mastering the mechanics of this slieght -- which if done right will never be seen or remembered by the audience -- you're creating memories to last a lifetime. The better you get, the more you practice your magic tricks, the better memories you are going to instill in people's lives.
The explanation should only be: It must be magic.
Some magicians believe that it's bad to show any card stunt or sleight of hand to the audience as a demonstration. For example, springing the cards from hand to hand, because then, later, they will explain the trick away to sleight of hand, and not magic. Some magicians actually fumble with the deck on purpose a little, just so the audience wouldn't get it in their minds that there is sleight of hand occuring.
The result of every magic trick doesn't have to be laughter. There are some tricks that I do that I don't want them to laugh, or even smile much. I want them to be deeply confused and flabberghasted about what just happened.... so much so that it'll invoke slightly different emotions throughout the show so that they will actually remember the different parts of it better, because of the variety.
One way to make your magic better is to make sure that your friends are honest with you if they think there's a better way for you to perform the trick... better lines (patter) to be said, etc. But don't just use patter. Patter is like babbling. Each trick should be scripted. Take some time and actually write or type out the words you say as you do a trick for yourself. Then practice these exact lines, and make note of the speed, inflection, and pauses in the script. You'll be able to perfect it much more quickly.
Now that you know what magic should be, go out there and perform it!