Magic systems are more than just world building in fantasy fiction. As a writer, you make the rules and can use your magic system as part of the plot.
Here are things to consider for your magic system when planning your story…
Create a challenge for your characters like newly discovered magic, opening a magical room, translating a magic book.
Represent something emotional for your MC. Maybe trauma locked away their powers. Maybe an estranged parent has answers.
Establish a social hierarchy. More power could mean more respected or feared. Certain abilities might be good or bad in society.
Tools to complete a bigger task. Maybe a specific power will achieve the final goal. Maybe a certain combination of abilities is the only way to solve a problem.
Secret magic. Perhaps magic is banned, so any magic users have to hide it. Someone could dabble in dark magic and they have to keep it a secret.
A race. There could be something special that multiple people are trying to find.
Base your magic system on something real. Manipulating natural energy or elements can make it easy to set limits and exceptions.
Magical conduits like devices, runes, spells, etc. can have specific magical effects on things or people around them.
There are probably more, but these are some of the main things that I have in various WIPS.
My favourite is connecting emotion to magic. I have a character who fears her magic because her mother couldn’t maintain control, and my MC is worried she’ll end up the same. Another WIP has merging magic that is only possible with a strong emotional connection like family, friends and extra fun when it’s between lovers.
In one WIP, I imagine the magic as a way to combine magic, science, and religion in that one all powerful being (a sort of star) released a massive amount of energy that created the universe. This being then created worlds and more masses of energy that are like stars from a science perspective but are also similar to angels. Each ability has a scientific explanation or theory behind it, such as creating wormholes like portals, breaking down and reforming physical matter for shifting, bending light, etc. Sure, much of it is pushing it in relation to exact science, but it helps me as the writer decide what is and isn’t possible.
One WIP has stones that hold the power of the elements, and only specific people can use them through special devices. The stones are also used for everyday things like light, heat, showers, helping plants grow, and powering airships.
Oops. I meant to give this one last check yesterday before posting it, since I post my writing ranting on Wednesdays. This week has been a bit weird with final prep for summer camp at work and family health stuff getting to me. Actually, this is perfect way to introduce todays post because it’s something I work on when I don’t have much.
The Fourth Wall is a new mini series I’ve started based on a TikTok video I made about my MC accidentally hearing me as the writer. I thought it would make a few short and fun pieces to have for various characters where they overhear me or tumble into my world if it suits the story’s magic system, which in some cases, it does.
It’s also a way to get an interest in my novels as prequel chapters since they’re set not long before the mains story and don’t spoil anything. I have some other short stories planned for various WIPs as non-spoiler backstories, and some bonus chapters from other POVs. But they’re something to share after I’ve published to keep people interested in between each book in the series.
Mostly, these started when I got into writing slumps or in the middle of planning. They helped with world-building and fleshing out my characters or detailing past events that don’t need whole scenes or chapters in the main book.
I have my debut novel about to go through the publication process once I’ve chosen my editor and made some decisions on art, etc. My Fourth Wall story with Clair will be available before publication as a glimpse into her life. Also, it’s something fun to write during a busy few days where I need to write but can’t focus on the main novel.
I missed sending my gratitude over this amazing milestone because I was preoccupied with family stuff at the time. But I noticed. Don’t think for one second that I didn’t see my followers hit 100.
Some people may think that’s a miniscule number compared to what is considered a “real blogger” but this site is far more than a blog to me. It’s a place to share my creativity. Not just my writing, which is why I started this site, but my music, my love for visual arts, and even cooking.
So I’d like to thank every follower, even if you skim my writing ranting.
I started this site to share some secret links with my writing buddies. Then it evolved into sharing teasers about my novels and posting some of my snippets and flash fiction. Not long after, it became a blog of my writing progress, It still does those things. But as I’ve grown as a writer and am working on the final stages of a novel I hope to send out for publication, I’d like to think this site is a great jumping off point for some marketing and branding when the time comes. That isn’t at the forefront of my mind, but it’s something that I ponder on occasion. Why not use those occasions to help me in future endeavours when I need said marketing and branding. I’d only procrastinate anyway.
One never knows where their creative endeavours may take them, so let the creativity guide you to where it needs to be. It’s part of you and your desires even if you can’t see it yet. I didn’t see where my writing would lead me the day I opened a Word document and started writing a crazy dream that turned into a pentalogy, albeit a WIP for now.
Like all stories and its characters, things grow and evolve and adapt, just like me and this site.