Monday, September 9, 2013

Uh-oh, it's Magic

Music for tonight's entry.  It's unrelated, but it's from the CD I have playing, and I'll be stunned if anyone reading this has heard this song before.

I've recently started listening to Writing Excuses, a podcast featuring two authors whose work I well and truly enjoy.  It's a series of fifteen-minute episodes about a different writing topic each time, easy to listen to and very helpful.  I saved some episodes several years ago and am only now getting around to listening to them, as the writing panels I attended at Dragon*Con were extremely helpful and I'm now seeking more advice from authors whose work I love.

One of those old episodes was all about creating workable and believable magic systems, and thanks to that, I'm now trying to figure out several magic systems at once.

I've written about writing magic with its own rules before, and since Brandon Sanderson is one of the authors on Writing Excuses, it's no surprise the episode discussed writing magic systems that work.  This made me realize I need to do some more work on the new magic system for Abraxas (the world of The Accidental Warlock), and that the book I'm currently plotting needs a magic system as well.

The book's heavy on interplanar travel and going to a dozen or so different worlds across the multiverse, so I'd planned on keeping magic simple - it was just going to be there, no big deal.  Tonight, I ditched that idea and hashed out three different possible magic systems.  Now I just have to figure out which one to use.

Each system would have distinct and dire effects on the characters and plot if I chose to use it.  Each one has disadvantages, such as "every member of a species could seem the same" and "the main characters will always run out of magic when they need it most", and I'm not yet sure how to work those out.  In other words, yes, I've created a brand new set of problems for myself.

The thing is, though, I'm good with this.  I'm looking forward to hashing this out and coming up with a system that really works.  I want to know how magic works for the six different species that encompass the main crew.  I want the reader to see why it's such a scary thing that the main antagonists don't follow the usual rules of magic.  I want all the worlds the crew visits to make sense because of how magic works on all of them.

This is a significant change for me; I'm more used to working with magic in my stories where it's easy to use and freely available and has few consequences for using it.  But I know this is going to lead to better stories.  It will also lead to a lot more trouble for Our Heroes, but that's a good thing too.

Because really, without that, what's the point?  ^_^


  1. Usually, things that make life rough for us writers make the story better for our readers. LOL Great post!

    I'm glad you signed up for Follow Fest. I'm trying to reach outside my usual circle of writer friends so we can meet new ones. Please! Bring friends! :)

    1. Better for the readers, yes, but not necessarily easier to write. I'm dealing with that now in TAW, but that's another blog entry all on its own. @_@

      And yes, I'm in for Follow Fest. The bit you said about most writers being introverts made it a lot easier - I'm a little nervous about this, but if it helps, it'll be worth it.