Saturday, August 18, 2012

Creating Magic

I’m assuming everyone here has read a paranormal book of some kind (or sci-fi) before reading this entry, I know I have. There was a time when I was just a reader, not a writer, and I used to sit and wonder how authors could come up with the fantastic systems of magic or worlds of shapeshifters. The things that could come out of a person’s imagination always astounded me, but I never really thought I could be one of those people to come up with something on my own.

But of course, I started writing, and eventually it was my turn to come up with a system of magic all of my own. For me the characters are easier to write. Heck, even the romance, is easier to write. Maybe it’s because I grew up with sci-fi lovers, who loved to point out ever time Star Trek contradicted itself (I admit I still watch re-runs on Netflix and point out contradictions while I’m watching, I’m even watching Deep Space Nine as I write this). But, either way, I can’t shake the fear that I’m going to create something for book one, and then contradict myself in book two. Or worse, lock myself into a system that doesn’t work for the entire trilogy!

I’ve always been a fantastic note taker, you should have seen me in college, so I figured that’s what I would do. Make a ton of notes about my system of magic before I put it into practice. I have a notebook full of spells and rules. I sat down and thought about all the different spells that have to do with my elemental magic wielding sisters. One of the things I had not considered was how much information and back story I was going to have to create for myself, that wouldn’t even make it into the book! My readers will probably never know the very specific details of how magical children learn, after all it’s not a book about magical children. But I needed to know the information. What if one of the characters wants to mention a memory of the first time he used a spell, I would have to know the system in place to provide a memory for them.

As an editor I have talked to many authors who go over their systems and worlds with me, and they have told me how much they come up with that never makes it into the book. But I never realized the shear amount of it until it was time for me to do it myself. So, for those of you who are readers, if you ever wonder what kind of time and work goes into coming up with these wonderful words of fantasy, just know it’s a lot. And, hey, maybe even try it out for yourself one day, you never know how much fun you could have in the process. 


  1. I love creating new worlds and just go with the flow.

  2. I just jumped in and wrote a first draft. Then reading through Im taking out all the extra bits that would make it too complicated. Extra bits are good and patterns/spells/rituals that can be a model through a series.

    1. Whoops extra bits are a good start to create those rituals.

    2. I jumped in too for the first draft, but ended up needed to go back and work on the magical system for the world. The characters and story came really easy, but getting all the world building elements together to work just the right way took longer.

  3. I know what you mean. Have a sequal series not even started except for the names, descriptions, personalities, birthdates, bios, above-natural abilities and every other little detail about characters I am gathering. None of which will be in the books.