Magic can’t simply be something you throw into your fantasy world. It needs to be taken as seriously as a main character. Time needs to be spent detailing the way magic works in your world. My fellow 7 Evil Dwarves and I were recently discussing how to create a good magic system, and the conversation proved to be very enlightening. Aeon Igni in particular had some excellent points, based on a class she’d recently taken. I don’t remember exactly what was discussed, but this is what I took away from it:
- Your magic system requires limitations.
- Example: I recently read the first few books in a series. The first book I absolutely couldn’t put down. But the third book, I stopped halfway through. Magic did EVERYTHING in the world. I mean, before the characters “got romantic,” they used their magic to undress each other. Wow… way to turn up the heat…
- You should know where your magic comes from, even if your readers never know.
- If you want a good author for this, my friend Tom Hansen turned me onto Brandon Sanderson. I read the first novel in his Mistborn series and absolutely couldn’t put it down. But the best part, the magic system is so clearly defined. “Burning” certain minerals gives the user certain magic abilities based upon the type of mineral being used. Bam! We get it.
- Magic should have a cost
- If a magic-user can simply use magic as much and as often as they want, things are going to get pretty boring in your world, pretty fast. So make sure whatever the cost of using magic, it is very clear.
I hope this helps!
And on a different note, tomorrow is the last day of my Goodreads book giveaway, and tomorrow ONLY I’m giving away the Kindle version of my novel “To Kill a Wizard,” so check it out. Here are the links: