Posts Tagged ‘Magic’

Welcome to this week’s Weekly Writing Wrap-up. I got nothing. Yep, nothing. So instead of not posting anything, I am going to post a Craft Post instead. That’s right, this is the next post in our Magic and Technology sub-series in the Approaching a Year-Long Series on Worldbuilding. You can find all the Worldbuilding posts and sub-series in under the Worldbuilding link in the toolbar. For all the posts in our current sub-series, you can find those here.

So, what do you mean how your world affects magic? Good question. I got nothing…

Okay, just kidding on that one. To answer that question, we need to look at everything we have talked about thus far. No, I am not about to recap a year’s worth of posts. I will say, take a look at your world and how you developed it. What areas did you really develop and those areas you glossed over? You are probably asking why I am asking you that and it is simple. I am going to take an approach to that may seem odd or different. As I see it, if you are just starting to work on your magic systems now after everything else we have gone over, then your magic should be like nothing else in your world. Make it Alien to your world.


That’s right, make the magic stick out like a sore thumb. It should be so blatantly different that it seems like it isn’t of this world. Why? Because it will make it unique for the first part. I am talking about like your readers are into your story and they are just getting a grip on your world and then you introduce the magic, and they are like what!? I want them to question why you put such something that clearly is out of place into this world. Once they are wondering this, you’re going to show them why. Well, a small part.

Still doesn’t feel like I answered the question why do this, right? That’s because I haven’t fully. It will give your magic a wonder feeling, even if it is a very scientific style system. Second, it will tie into the story going on. Whether that is a huge point or a small one is up to you. The other reason it will get the reader to question why such a different form of magic developed in this world than what should have. This is where you could do something like magic is broken or it turns out to be actually alien (like advanced technology from another world.) Or it is what it is. It really is whatever the reason you want it to be.

This is where I confuse the hell out of you. If you are just developing your magic now, and have everything we have completed so far, make your magic blend into the world. It should feel like it is natural. What!? Yep. Stick with me, I have a reason for this. You could develop this earlier in world

You could develop this earlier in world creation because you came up with a great idea. That’s fine. However, this based having most of your world (or the areas you have selected to really flesh out) completed. With that, you know how your world works. You want magic, in this world. If you know your world as well as you do, that means how your magic works will be able to flow deep and natural. Just like it is a natural resource of your world (not that it has to be or is one). Think of it this way, your world is created from everything that has come from a black hole. In the sky is a white hole and over billions of years, this world has taken form. How life forms, to vegetation, to religions of what the white hole really is.

Knowing all this, you can link the magic from the same creation. Maybe the magic is what is left over from another world that had it and now is different because it has been twisted and deformed from coming through the white hole.

This allows you to layer it into everything else and how it will affect everything in your world even the development of life. A good example of this is Pandora from Avatar. There’s not magic, but life on that world is so connected. Everything works and flows together. This is how magic can work.

All right Tim, what’s going on. You just gave us a paradox for an answer. What one should we use if we are just developing out the magic system?

That’s easy. Whatever one works best to meet your rules, and most importantly serve your story. If you want something cool and unique and feel different. I would go with a magic system that feels alien. However, if you like cohesion and synergy, go with blended magic. Here’s a trick, pick one of the options and develop your magic system. Then go through and see how it affects your story. (No that doesn’t mean write out an complete magic system. But it does mean make it about 4/10ths complete. That much should give you an idea of how it works and how it will change your story or not.

Before I close, I want to give a little note to those who create their magic systems early in their worldbuilding. Whenever you do this, before moving forward and start developing a new area. Go back through what you already have done and see how it affects that. Once you have done that, everything you do from there on you should be able to answer how magic plays into it. (If it does at all.)

Well, that’s all I got for today and on Magic. WHAT! NO POSTS ON HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR RULES OR HOW RULES ARE A MUST IN MAGIC?

No. It was a little over a year I did a series on magic, so I really don’t need to go through all that again. Next week we will switch over to Technology. That post will be on Friday. Hopefully, everything will go as plan, this week so I can post my normal Weekly Writing Wrap-up next week.

Welcome to this week’s Craft Post. Since last may we have been going through a long series on Worldbuilding. I am happy to say it will be coming to an end soon. When? Right now! Bye!

Okay, not now, but soon. I have three more sub-series I want to cover and when they are done this series will be over and we will move onto something else. What’s that you ask? What are the remaining three topics? Our next to topics, Daily Life and Other. The third topic is what our new sub-series we will be starting today. Magic and Technology. Like before, let me list off the working titles of all the posts in this series:

  • What’s your Rule?
  • Magic: Mystical or Knowledgable
  • How your World Affects Magic
  • Technology: Known or Unknown
  • How Technology Affects your World
  • Technology in Fantasy

Six posts in all, and I am splitting it up like I did with Military and Law Enforcement so each topic gets its due. Today’s post is simple, What’s your Rule? Those who know me know that I love my rules when it comes to magic. However, this is something completely different and applies no just to magic and technology. It can apply to everything we have done so far. Why am I just writing about it now? I should make this the last post, but it applies to this sub-series well so I will place it here instead.

Every heard of the writing trope called: The Rule of Cool?

The Rule of Cool

“The limit of the Willing Suspension of Disbelief for a given element is directly proportional to its awesomeness.Stated another way, all but the most pedantic of viewers will forgive liberties with reality as long as the result is wicked sweet or awesome. This applies to the audience in general; there will naturally be a different threshold for each individual. Also known in some circles as a “rad herring”, in which something doesn’t make sense within the guidelines of the story’s reality, but it’s too cool not to include it.” Rule of Cool – TV Tropes

The rule of cool is what a lot of authors use when creating a world, story, magic system or basically anything. Sure they will do their best to make it seem possible in within the world it takes place. Some do it better than others. I dare to say some don’t care if it truly fits in well, as the rule quote above says, it just too cool not to include it.

I use this rule when I develop my worlds. If I didn’t think it was cool, it wouldn’t be in the story. I also use project rules, meaning I have a rule for how I design my world. What my intention for the story and the world to be like. To put it another way, I have a mission statement. While that works in business, it just doesn’t sound as good for writing. So rule it is. My question and the topic of this rule is what’s your rule? Do you have a rule or a guideline of what you want to accomplish with your world or story?

To bring it to a small scale instead of a whole project, let’s talk about magic and technology. What is kind of rules could you have to guide you in developing your magic/technology? One of mine for magic is, How amazing it would look on in a movie? What a movie? This is a book, why are you talking about a movie?

Good question, it’s because I am the very visual person. I see a lot of this in my head and wonder if it would look just as good in a visual format, like a movie or tv. If my magic won’t look good on the big screen I am not interested in it. This is just me. I also how big can I go with it? Now, does it mean I need to go big with it? No. Will I, most likely because my stories are pretty big. I just like to know that if I want to I have lots of room to go with the magic.

What are some other rules that you could us:

  • My magic will be completely mystical
  • Magic can be understood, but not completely
  • It must good for fighting
  • Magic be able to do cool in huge battles
  • I want the magic to feel completely alien to everything else in the world.

Those are just a few ideas. What these rules do, is help guide you along with coming up with ideas to achieve what you want. An example: I have four ideas for magic, my rules or goals for my world are the last four ideas above. Magic can be learned, but not completely. Magic must be good in fighting, Magic must be able to do cool things in huge battles. Lastly, I want it to be alien to the rest of the world.

My ideas:

  1. Every time you use magic, the user is by affected. It can be good or bad.
  2. Spells requires very elaborate dances to do.
  3. Attacking one person directly, while magic will attack the enemies in the immediate surroundings.
  4. Magic can be used to keep a warrior going, if skilled enough take on a small army on one’s own.

Okay, not the best ideas, but it will work. Using my rules, which ideas would you not use in this world? It would be number 2. As cool a dance magic seems interesting to me, elaborate dances would take to long and not work well in huge battles, or even a one on one fight. It may fit feel alien, but that’s only one rule it meets.

When you have more ideas and they seem different or can’t work together, having rules or should I say guidelines to help you filter out ideas that may be good for a different story, but not the one you’re working on. So I ask again. What are your Rules?

That’s all for this week, check back next week. We will start on Magic, talk about if Magic should be mystical or knowledgable. Be sure to check back on Monday for my Weekly Writing Wrap-up.


Welcome to this weeks Craft Post, as we continue with our series on Magic Systems. Today’s marks the third entry in the series, if you haven’t read the previous two, you can find the first one Magic: Mysterious or Scientific here.  The second Sanderson Other Two Laws of Magic here. While you don’t need to read those posts, it will probably be in your best interest as I will more than likely refer to them as I will be going over how I go about developing my Magic Systems, and as the title says, it is all about power.

For the past two months, I have been retooling the magic systems in my longest developing series, Forbidden Realm. There are currently seven systems, two are more race abilities that I still need develop more. The remaining five, one is not going to have much to do with the series so I only developed it enough for the role it will play. The other four got completely revamped and while I will say a few a similar there are deistic differences. Working on these systems is the biggest reason why I decided to do this series. Since this is a retooling of what I already had, it is not completely how I will develop a magic system from scratch. I will add that part when I do that for another series.

The first thing I do was read through what I have written and think through what I want to achieve from this system. I am a visusal person so, I have to know what it is going to look like when the magic is used. That is important. For Forbidden Realm, I had that already and took that and made changes based on what I was changing. The next thing I thought about was limits, you know Sanderson’s Second Law. (Read the second post to know what I am talking about). When I say limits, I mean what prevents the user from being to do whatever they want.

Yes, all of my magic systems you can technically do anything with them. The limits are character driven. To give you an example, two of the systems that were basically the same, the limits in place were physical. The users can only draw so much energy to cast their spells, and if they went beyond their bodies would be damaged. Depending on how much over their limit determined how much damage. Too much could lead to physical problems that never go away or death. With time and use, their body becomes stronger and able to draw more, but there is always a limit.

The other limits are how much energy is used to cast the spell. This all ties into how spells work, and can you cast any spell regardless of how much energy you can draw upon or making the spell as strong as the energy put into it. Or do spells require a specific amount of energy? If the user doesn’t have it, then the spell is unable to be used by them until they can meet the energy requirements.

From there I follow Sanderson Third Law of expanding on what I have. What I mean by expand is make what I have go deeper and able to do the most you can before adding some new power. I do sometimes add new powers or abilities and with each new addition. To give you and idea of what this, is I will add levels to the system so when the user reaches that level they gain something new but it isn’t really new. It is something that can be done, but the user needs the experience to reach it. The skill or ability usually removes some of the limits of the system. Only when I feel I have reached the end point where you can’t go any further will I add something else.

When a new power or ability that is added, must expand what can already be done but is different enough that it is its own thing. The new additions can make thing easier as it is something new and how it works has to work with what I already have. If that is the case, more limits are brought into as well. I do this until I reach the end point where if a character were to ever reach the end of the system they would be able to do whatever they wanted. Note, this is within the system. What I mean this, if the system is a combat magic system, at the top of the system and most powerful will be able to do any kind of combat they want, they won’t be using it to alter reality.

To sum up what I do is, know what the kind of magic I want, combat, tools, powers (think superheroes), etc. Then I take it to its absolute max power I want. Not all magic has to make a true master a god. From there it goes to the visual of what it looks like when used to the costs to cast and limits and expanding until I hit the max level of power I desire for that system.

Yes, I do. What, you are wondering why I am saying yes? The yes is to I develop the magic far beyond what could be seen in the story. I do this, so if I ever decide to tell other stories in the worlds they exist I have growth already in play and don’t have to come up with something new. Though most likely my characters will get very close to the top of the magic systems. Not always.

That is all I got this week, next week will be the last post in the series before the wrap-up. That is if I don’t find something I forgot to cover in the next two weeks. The Penultimate post will be ways to help you develop your own magic systems. From questions to ask yourself, or how other writers methods. Check back on Monday for my Weekly Writing Wrap-up post for this week.