Some Thoughts on Magic Systems

Magic Circle by John William Waterhouse

Every magical ability has an effect on the world. This is a principle I’m working to follow as I rewrite Featherfolk. My main magic system consists of special powers granted by spirits. The availability and breadth of different powers alters the setting and plot, but that’s the way it should be.

The poster child for what I’m talking about is teleportation. If characters in a fantasy story can teleport magically from place to place, why would they rely on x for sending messages, and why didn’t they use teleportation when event y or z occurred? Why do social problems a, b, and c still exist? Even with limitations on when or where or which characters can teleport, it’s  hard to catch all these and keep things consistent.

I tend to shy away from teleportation, because it gives me a headache to pin down all the effects such a power would have on economics, politics, warfare, etc, but I still have to be careful with the powers I grant my characters.

Have any of you had to re-work a magic system to match a setting or vice versa?

Happy Yarning.

 

Advertisement

Ready to Rewrite

Andes Featherfolk

I spent a lot of yesterday playing around with maps. For research purposes of course.

Did you know you can walk around at ground level in Google Earth? It’s far easier to control than the flying simulator, and looks just as cool.

Anyway, lots of pieces have fallen into place for ways I want to rework the magic systems, setting, and pacing of Featherfolk. There will be more research to do as I go along, but I’m to a point where I can start. Today I tackle chapter one.

I’ll be doing my best to finish the second draft before November, so that I don’t have to take a break of indeterminate length in the middle of the draft while I figure out how to care for a newborn.

Now go play with Google Earth. I dare you.

Happy Yarning!

Book Report: Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

IMG_4081

A very enjoyable read about magic, home, and the empowerment of education. Quick, too–I read it in one sitting.

It was perhaps a tad heavy on the tongue-tied, lovestruck young girl side of things for my taste, but I really liked the magic system.

I would recommend Princess Academy for girls ages 10 and up, and I’m glad to have it on my shelf for the future, since we found out we’re having a girl!

Happy Yarning.

Which Project to Pursue?

 

Which manuscript copy

At the end of Camp NaNoWriMo, I had a conundrum. My Camp project was 50,000 words long, but several chapters shy of “The End.” Meanwhile, I had a mostly-finished fourth draft of another story to finish up, which I’d set aside for the month of April. And upon picking that up once more, I realized it was going to need more than a quick read-through to finalize the draft.

What to work on?

Raven’s story was begging to be finished so I could start querying agents and trying to get it published, yet if I were to put Lia’s story away, losing all my excitement and momentum, I knew I might not get back to it for a long, long time.

Working on both simultaneously also wasn’t looking good. I have to turn on super-editing-mode at this point with Raven, and getting the editor to shut up when I want to pump out a first draft was causing Lia’s story to stall out.

(Not to mention they take place in different universes, with different cultures and magic systems. Lia’s story alone contains three distinct magic systems and three different narrators.)

After whining about it to my writing buddy Whitney, I came to a decision. I’ll let Raven sit and stew a little longer. After all, it didn’t hurt him during April. I’m going to stop being lazy and sprint for the end of Lia’s story with NaNoWriMo-esque speed.

Happy Yarning! (<–my battle cry)

What creative conundrums have you faced and vanquished lately?