Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How to Establish a Great Magic System, Part Four

Okay, onto Part Four today! We're flying through these! I hope that you've found them somewhat useful as you consider writing a fantasy or science fiction novel. (See Part One, Part Two, and/or Part Three.)

Onward and upward to Question 4: How Is Magic Viewed?

  • By society
  • By other magic users
  • By the MC
  • Not only magic, but how are magic users viewed? By the public? Each other?

This is where you establish how the magic is viewed in society. Is it generally accepted? Unaccepted? Laws against using magic, or being a magician? How does the MC view magic and magic users? If s/he is a magic user, how do they feel about their society’s limitations or opinions on magic? How is the magic viewed among magic users? Is that different from society?

How are magic users viewed? Feared? Respected? Abhorred? All this should be established as you’re building your magic system. A lot of this can go toward limiting your magic users and your main character as well. So don’t skip over this step.

I did use Google to aid me in my research. I found three places that provided me with the most insight and useful information: Brandon Sanderson's Laws of Magic (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), WikiHow (don't laugh, it had good stuff!), and The Four Part Land (he has six parts, but they're all linked at the top of this one).

So I read (ahem, maybe I skimmed a little. Some of the posts are long!) up on magic systems. I thought about what *I* liked in a magic system. I thought about the fantasy novels I'd read (because I don't read high-high fantasy like Sanderson or many of the authors/titles they talk about in these posts). I thought about Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, the TV show Merlin, movies like The Prestige, and other -- in my opinion -- accessible references. (Basically I'm saying I was too lazy to take the time to read those high fantasy novels. I reflected on what I was familiar with. And that's a tip I always give when I'm teaching: Use what you know to draw conclusions and create learning for what you don't.)


Natalie Aguirre said...

Just went back to read the posts I missed. They're awesome and I'll probably come back to them again when I get back into my manuscript. Want to read the links you've included too.

Genissa said...

I love these posts you are doing on building magic in the story's world. I'm in the process of writing a first draft of a fantasy novel and all the information you're giving will help me flesh out my world's magic!

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