Questions to ask when designing a magic system, part 1

If you want to design a magic system for a fantasy novel, these questions might help you. Or they might not. Either way, they’re free.

The title of this post might indicate this is going to be a writing advice post. It’s not! I promise.

A better title might be “The questions I found that I (tried to) answer in the recently-discovered document that explains the magic system in my current WIP”, but that’s a bit of a mouthful.

I almost definitely stole at least some of these questions from someone else’s writing advice blog post, but I’m afraid I did it so long ago I have no idea where I stole them from.

If they’re yours, I offer recompense in chocolate fish.

I’m not saying you must answer all or even any of these questions if you’re designing a magic system for a fantasy world. But if they’re helpful to you, you’re welcome.

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Not a review of A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

Sebastian and Rain bicker about what they did and didn’t like in A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown, a fantasy novel by a black author that was inspired by West African folklore.

A week ago I shared a list of books by black authors that had jumped to the top of my TBR pile. Ten minutes ago I finished the first, A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown.

In a moment I’ll hand over to Sebastian and Rain to chat about it. In case you haven’t met them, Rain is my reader half and Sebastian is my writer half. I should warn you Sebastian is a bit of a prat, but I hope you don’t hold that against him.

The advantage of setting Sebastian and Rain loose rather than trying to write a review is that this way I don’t have to decide what I think about the book.

Genius, right?

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Interview with Kim M. Watt, author of funny books with cats and dragons

Prolific author and A+ human being Kim M. Watt shares her secrets on dragons, cats, writing, tea, and magic cake.

It turns out I have friends. (Yay, me!) And sometimes I interview them. This is one of those interviews.

Kim M. Watt used to be like me, i.e. unpublished. Now she has a magnificent tower of published books and, even better, they all have cats and/or dragons in them.

I can’t describe how hard I approve.

Here’s my interview with her, including all her own unedited words, and just a few extra paragraph breaks.

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Older women in fantasy novels

I’m planning a sequel to my current fantasy novel, and its going to have a more diverse cast. Older women will definitely feature. Here are some of the things I’m thinking and worrying about.

You might think from the title of this post that I’m about to take you on an intellectual exploration of the roles and representation of older women in the fantasy genre. Or you might know me and expect nothing of the sort.

I don’t study literature, but I read, look, and think, and occasionally I have enough thoughts about a topic that I want to share them.

Or I realise it’s 5:30pm and I’m supposed to write a blog post tonight, and I have no idea what I’m going to write about.

Let’s agree I have no good reason to write about this topic, but that I’m going to do it anyway.

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Dragons from Micah with love**

Micah Chaim Thomas (Writer. Artist. Difficult to explain.) honoured me with some dragon art loosely inspired by my fantasy novel in progress.

** Yes, I added the “love” part, but giving a person a dragon is a form of love, so I don’t apologise.

The talented and enigmatic Micah Chaim Thomas (@micah_chaim on Twitter) recently deemed me worthy of receiving dragons from him. I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to deserve this honour (since I don’t have a dog).

The first challenge was to explain the dragons in my book without having to share my first draft prose. (Yes, I know I’m on the tenth draft, but I rewrote so much that most of the scenes aren’t.)

Big, scaly, wings, claws. They’re not evil, but they’re not fond of humans. And they have oppressive minds. You meet a dragon and you want to worship it.

Somewhere in the middle of explaining I got an effusive “yes!”.

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