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Friday, 10 October 2014

Creating a Believable System of Magic for Fiction - #Guest post by Vanessa Finaughty


Thank you for having me on your blog today, Pippa.

In order to create a believable system of magic for fiction, I believe it’s vital to suspend the reader’s belief. This tends to work best when the line between fact and fiction is blurred to the point where the impossible seems possible. When creating a magic system, the first thing you need to consider is that mystery is the only thing that distinguishes magic from science – because magic in the real world is merely science that is not yet understood. At least, that’s a common belief in today’s world and one I hold too. So, while it is important to use logic when creating your magic systems, some mystery is equally vital in order to keep your magic magical and exciting.

By ‘logic’, I mean that you should set rules and stick to them. This doesn’t mean that every little aspect of how magic works needs to be explained in detail – unless you want to, of course; that’s also perfectly acceptable. Your rules can be mysterious and perhaps none of your characters know why something works a certain way, but, once you’ve implemented that rule, stick to it. For example, if, in your magic system, only one gender can use magic, you can’t portray the non-magical gender as a random side character using magic. You can, however, have an MC or other main character of the non-magical gender who can use magic. In fact, this has the potential to drive the plot – why can he/she use magic when no other of his/her gender can? How does it affect the character’s life, opinions and actions? You get the idea.

In real life, there are limitations to pretty much everything. Even the most fantastical story becomes believable if there are limitations to how magic can be used and by whom. If magic could easily solve every problem, there would be no room for conflict, rendering almost any story boring. Also consider whether or not there is a cost for using magic in your world. Is it physically or emotionally draining or, like Wizard of Ends MC Lashlor Leaflin believes, will overusing it result in an unpleasant afterlife – or other negative consequences?

Another important thing to decide is how many types of magic are present in your world. Describe each one and be sure to point out their differences and similarities, if there are any. When magic is used, also describe what it looks like – is it colourful or an invisible force, liquid, powder, gas or something entirely different?

Other things to consider are: can magic be countered or reversed, and how? Does magic ‘expire’ and, if so, how long does it last? Who can use magic in your world? Everyone, only a few, only holy people like high priests? If the latter, what makes the few different? If nothing, mention that in the story to add an air of mystery. Do magic users need special training or is it a natural ability, or perhaps a natural ability that one needs to be trained to control? Is magic outlawed or persecuted, or accepted, and why? Where does the magic in your world come from? Nature? A divine power? Is it a part of the user, the life force or a genetic difference? How is magic performed? Are spirits contacted, rituals performed, herbs and potions used, does it require a spell or is willpower the only thing required? If magic users in your world use any special ingredients or objects in order to perform magic, where do they obtain those things?



This article only scratches the surface of creating believable systems of magic in fiction, but I believe I’ve covered the most important aspects and hope you found the information helpful. Happy writing!














Blurb Book 1

A powerful sorceress wants the Queen of Ends dead, hoping her demise will render the king unable to defend his crown. Only the wizard Lashlor Leaflin is in a position to protect Queen Narraki Dragonsbane, but he avoids using magic – at almost any cost. With creatures of darkness hunting the queen, however, he may be left with little choice but to call on the power he holds within.


Author biography

Vanessa Finaughty is an author of many genres who now focuses on fantasy and science fiction. She’s published 15 books, of which 6 are fantasy. Vanessa grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, and still lives there with her husband of fifteen years, her baby daughter and plenty of furry, four-legged ‘children’.

Vanessa has always been passionate about books, and knew from a young age that she wanted to write them one day. She loves animals, coffee and the smell of wet grass, and hates liars, sweltering weather and long queues. Her interests include reading, photography, the supernatural, mythology, aliens and outer space, ancient history, life’s mysteries and martial arts, of which she has five years’ experience.

Book One is now available to buy and book two is available for pre-order:

Book 2: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/483464

Links


Publication dates

Wizard of Ends, Book 1: 9 October 2014

Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature: 23 October 2014 

Giveaways:


Wizard of Ends GIVEAWAY & DISCOUNT DATES
All coupons below offer a 100% discount.


11 – 13 October
Smashwords coupon code: ZU52B
Valid: 11 – 13 October

16 October
Sorcery & Subterfuge by Vanessa Finaughty
Smashwords coupon code: HA38K
Valid: 16 October

18 – 20 October
The Angel’s Voice, Books 1 & 2 by Michelle Louring
Smashwords coupon code for Book 1: FH27E
Smashwords coupon code for Book 2: EN84L
Valid: 18 – 20 October

21 October
Royal Wizard by Alianne Donnelly
Smashwords coupon code: XV26R 
Valid: 21 October

24 October
Legends of Origin, Books 1 – 3 by Vanessa Finaughty
Book 1 is permanently free.
Smashwords coupon code for Book 2: BP37Q
Smashwords coupon code for Book 3: YC54A
Valid: 24 October

27 October
The Accidental Wizard by Simon Ludgate
Smashwords coupon code: FM47Z

Valid: 27 October




Wizard of Ends Virtual Book Tour Itinerary
1 – 31 October 2014

Wednesday, 1 October – tour kick-off
What Inspired Wizard of Ends, hosted by Richard Foland
Author blog: Tour introduction

Thursday, 2 October
Guest post by MC Lashlor Leaflin: Abusing Magic, hosted by Lauren Scharhag
Author blog: Wizard of Ends, Book 1 – COVER REVEAL!

Friday, 3 October
Wizard of Ends showcase, hosted by Alex James
Author blog: An Official Introduction to the Wizard of Ends Fantasy Adventure Series

Saturday, 4 October
The Real World’s First School of Wizardry, hosted by Mathew Reuther
Author blog: Wizard of Ends, Book 2 – COVER REVEAL!

Sunday, 5 October
10 Cool Bookish Gifts, hosted by DJ’s Book Corner
Author blog: Wizard of Ends Book Trailer

Monday, 6 October
Interview with Vanessa Finaughty, hosted by TC Southwell
Author blog: Magic in Real Life

Tuesday, 7 October
5 Reasons I Prefer Self-Publishing, hosted by Michelle Louring
Author blog: 5 Things I Love About Wizard of Ends

Wednesday, 8 October
Wizard of Ends showcase, hosted by Tracy Falbe
5 Reasons to Love Lashlor Leaflin, hosted by Bookin’ It
Author blog: Wizard of Ends, Book 1, Chapter 1 – read the full first chapter!

Thursday, 9 October
Ancient Magic Books, hosted by Juli D. Revezzo
Author blog: Publication of Wizard of Ends, Book 1

Friday, 10 October
How to Create Believable Systems of Magic for Fiction, hosted by Pippa Jay
Author blog: Character Interview with Wizard of Ends MC, Lashlor Leaflin

Saturday, 11 October
How Long Should a Fiction Book Chapter Be? hosted by Potpourri Parlor
Author blog: Get Dragon Kin & other fantasy stories for FREE for the next 3 days only!

Sunday, 12 October
Wizard of Ends book trailer, hosted by Lauren Scharhag
Author blog: Wizard of Ends MC Lashlor Leaflin’s Biography

Monday, 13 October
Extract from Wizard of Ends, Book 1, hosted by Fireblade Publishers
Author blog: Last day to get Dragon Kin for free

Tuesday, 14 October
Interview with Vanessa Finaughty, hosted by Glynis Smy
Author blog: How to Make a Fantasy Castle Cake

Wednesday, 15 October
3 Ancient Irish Spells & Charms, hosted by Tracy Falbe
Author blog: Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature, Chapter 1 – read the full first chapter!

Thursday, 16 October
Interview with Vanessa Finaughty, hosted by Louise Blankenship
Author blog: Get Sorcery & Subterfuge for FREE for TODAY ONLY

Friday, 17 October
Magic Systems in Wizard of Ends, hosted by Daniel Marvello
Author blog: 6 Magical Ebook Covers

Saturday, 18 October
Interview with Vanessa Finaughty, hosted by DJ’s Book Corner
Author blog: Get Michelle Louring’s The Angel’s Voice, Books 1 & 2 for FREE for the next 3 days only!

Sunday, 19 October
Magic of the Ancient Egyptians, hosted by Alex James
Author blog: King Lanaran’s Biography

Monday, 20 October
Healing Magic in Today’s World – hosted by TC Southwell
Author blog: Should Children Be Exposed to Fantasy?

Tuesday, 21 October
Interview with Vanessa Finaughty, hosted by Writer’s Gambit
Author blog: Get Alianne Donnelly’s The Royal Wizard for FREE for today only!

Wednesday, 22 October
5 Tips for New Writers, hosted by Nicholas C. Rossis
Author blog: Extract from Wizard of Ends, Book 1

Thursday, 23 October
Modern Science & Ancient Magic, hosted by Katharina Gerlach
Reviews of Wizard of Ends, Books 1 & 2, extract and Wizard of Ends: Full Disclosure, hosted by Kelly Smith Reviews
Author blog: Publication of Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature – 99c for TODAY ONLY!

Friday, 24 October
Author blog: Legends of Origin, Books 2 & 3FREE for today only!

Saturday, 25 October
Character interview with Queen Narraki Dragonsbane, hosted by Louise Blankenship
Author blog: The Ancient Book of Thoth

Sunday, 26 October
Review of Wizard of Ends, Book 2, hosted by Alex James
Author blog: Extract from Wizard of Ends, Book 2

Monday, 27 October
5 Modern Real-World Attempts to Use Magic, hosted by Richard Foland
Author blog: Get Simon Ludgate’s The Accidental Wizard for FREE for today only!

Tuesday, 28 October
How to Create Original Fantasy Creatures, hosted by Independent Bookworm
Author blog: Lashlor Leaflin’s Bucket List

Wednesday, 29 October
Character interview with Lashlor Leaflin, hosted by Sandra Ulbrich Almazan
Author blog: Extract from Wizard of Ends, Book 2

Thursday, 30 October
How to Introduce and Write About Nameless Characters, hosted by Michelle Louring
Author blog: Ancient Magical Plants

Friday, 31 October
10 Facts About Vanessa Finaughty, hosted by Writer’s Gambit
Author blog: An End to the Tour, but not the Books





4 comments:

  1. Great post about building a magic system.
    Juneta at Writer's Gambit

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for hosting me today, Pippa. The post looks great on your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for reading, Juneta; I'm glad you found it useful.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Informative thoughts for both fantasy authors and readers. I don't think I ever delved that deeply into magic

    ReplyDelete

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