It’s All About the Right Words
For me, as a writer, spells can be daunting. My brain likes to skip straight to spells are poetry and poetry writing is not something that meshes well with my brain. Here’s the thing, though: spells are all about words, but they don’t have to rhyme.
Tip: if you really do want a spell in your story to rhyme—and poetry isn’t something you do on a regular basis—then you’ll be relieved to know that there is such a thing as a rhyming dictionary.
The most important thing to consider when working spells into your story and your magic systems is how much the spell relies on the actual words provided, or the actual intent behind them. Also keep in mind that if you’re writing fantasy, your spells don’t have to be in the language you’re writing in. Don’t use real languages randomly unless you are fluent or have access to someone with knowledge of the language. But do use this as an opportunity to play with fictional languages, especially if your story and world isn’t going to be heavy on language construction.
- How much do spells—spoken and/or written—play into your magic system? Is the language chosen for the spell important?
- What types of magic might require spells? Are they simple or complex spells?
- Do any spells require more than one person?
- How important is it for the words of a spell to be as precise as possible, or is it more about intent?
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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.
Spells vary for me depending on the character and the world. Deep rich fantasy will have poetry forms. Modern carries intent.