Magic in the Air
If your world doesn’t have some sort of magic in it, it wouldn’t be fantasy, even if it’s subtle and almost invisible. Calling a work ‘fantasy’ means that something unexplainable is different from how things happen in our real world, regardless of whether your setting is a completely made-up world, an alternate reality, the historical past, or the speculated future.
The presence of magic affects the tone of your story, and the atmosphere of the world you’ve created (even if that creation is just tweaking our own world a bit). How you want your world and story to feel, and the emotions you want to convey to the reader are vital parts of creating your magic system.
- Whether you have one type of magic in your fantasy world or several, take a few minutes and write down in one sentence how each type of magic would appear to an outside observer.
- Figure out 2-3 obvious ways each type of magic influences the world through its existence, and then what would happen if that magic suddenly ceased to exist.
- Why is the use of magic desirable or detrimental? Is it affected by the magic user, or by the type of magic? What other actions or influences might change someone’s experience with the use of magic?
View 2019 A-Z Participant list here.
Rebekah Loper began creating epic worlds and stories as a child and never stopped. She is the author of The A-Zs of Worldbuilding series, and has a fantasy novella published in Beatitudes and Woes: A Speculative Fiction Anthology.
She lives in Tulsa, OK with her husband, dog, two formerly feral cats, a small flock of feathered dragons (…ok, ok, they’re chickens), and an extensive tea collection. When she is not writing, she can be found battling the elements in an effort to create a productive, permaculture urban homestead.
okay, seems the last one I posted on was last years, glad to be in the right place, nicely done. Looking forward to the rest.
Haha, no problem! Glad everything will be helpful for you!
I dabbled in writing fantasy a few years ago. I found that the more magic I added to the story, the more fantastical it seemed. When I focused more on the events and less on the magic, it really lost something.
There’s definitely a balance that has to be found, and sometimes it completely depends on the story itself.
This is a tricky one, actually. I’ve often been said in my fantasy stories there’s too little magic to be considered fantasy. But because there is magic anyway, they can’t be considered historicals.
The woo of labelling…
Maybe paranormal vs fantasy would fit better for your work? It still falls under the ‘speculative’ umbrella, but isn’t quite as in-your-face with the aspects of magic. Or maybe even historical fantasy, where ‘fantasy’ is the sub-genre.
I have indeed started calling it historical fantasy… which is surprisingly quite a new definition. I don’t recall having ever heard of it earlier than a couple of years ago.
Very good exercises! I also agree that the way magic is constructed and presented will affect the atmosphere of the book a lot.
Thank you, I’m glad you found the exercises helpful!
Oh man, I am looking forward to the rest of your challenge! I’m not an established writer but I love reading, especially fantasy stuff. Good luck, I’m excited!
Sorry, I don’t have a handy link as I’m on my ipad tonight doing some visits. But you can copy and paste this into your browser:
Thanks, Duncan! I hope you enjoy the series! I’ll make sure to stop by your blog today.
I like the exercises you include. I hope to win your world building e-book. World building is something I need to get better at. Happy A to Z! Asking for Help to Avoid Burnout
Thanks, good luck to you as well, both with the giveaway and your A-Z challenge!