Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How Does Magic Work?

The fine folks over at io9 have posted a little article advising all of us would-be fantasy authors to ask ourselves these 12 questions when it comes to how the magic systems work in our worlds.

http://io9.com/5936277/12-questions-to-ask-yourself-about-the-system-of-magic-in-your-fantasy-novel

I've been struggling with this in my fantasy book for a while. My magic kinda sucks. I've been trying to work on it and I just happened to see this today.

I wish they'd elaborated on it a bit more though.

Happy Day

15 comments:

PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

Why does magic need systems? It's magic! I say let it do whatever the plot calls for.

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

ooooh! good list.
and pt, i think the point is to add drama and (this sounds weird) believability to the ms. it's easy for magic to become a cheat in a story to escape all interesting plot twists... which can weaken both plot and characters...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Magic does need rules or it's not believable.
With the complexity though, I might just stick with science fiction.

Andrew Leon said...

Well, I agree that magic does need rules, but I didn't like their list. It's too D&Dish.

Jay Noel said...

Hmmm...the one I like is "How much does magic cost?"

I do think the idea that magic can just be conjured up without a cost to the magician is a little one-dimensional.

I don't have a lot of magic per se in my books, but there is a little tiny weenie bit. When my character uses his "power," he is extremely tired and hungry afterwards. Very hungry.

Brinda said...

I like, "12. Why haven't people with this power taken over the world?" This sounds like a huge game of D & D to answer these questions.

M Pax said...

So far I've written fantasy without magic ... I guess that's cheating.

The Golden Eagle said...

There are some good questions there. Thanks for the link!

rightteachings said...

I thought you might be interested in this blog post that discusses "The Economics of Magic" (and why the Harry Potter series sucks at it).
Enjoy!
http://jimmyakin.typepad.com/defensor_fidei/2007/07/the-economics-o.html

Tony Laplume said...

Despite the other comment referencing the series, I think Harry Potter handled magic brilliantly. You either come up with an intricate system, or you do what George Lucas did, and come up with very specific abilities (or as they're called in comics, super powers). I think Tolkien sort of bluffed his way along (as clearly reflected in Jackson's movies), so I wouldn't recommend him as a reference.

Nicole said...

Really interesting list!

Cindy said...

Magic is more complicated than it seems on the surface. If I was going to write a fantasy with magic, I would use the magic sparingly. It would be very rare and difficult to come by.

But I agree..fantasy is not easier than science fiction because of magic.

Jo said...

I agree, magic shouldn't have rules although many authors include them.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

Those are great questions to ask.

Donna Hole said...

Thanks for the list. I'm struggling with magic i my fantasy novels too. And I've enjoyed reading these comments too.

.......dhole