Fantasy maps, publishing, editing, and writing: an interview with Dewi Hargreaves

I interviewed Dewi Hargreaves about his freelance work making maps for fantasy books, working at an independent press, and much more.

I’m here today with Dewi Hargreaves–writer, artist, editor, and all-around fantastic human being.

Picture us sitting in front of a crackling log fire, in a room with dark wood panelling and a wall covered in bookshelves. On the rug before the fire sleeps a unicorn.

We’re actually doing this by email, but I think it’s more fun if you picture the room with the unicorn.

I asked Dewi to keep his responses PG rated, and he almost entirely succeeded. I only had to bleep out one word. Otherwise Dewi’s responses are entirely his own, except for a few additional paragraph breaks.

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Questions to ask when designing a magic system, part 2

If you’re designing a magic system for a fantasy novel, here are some more questions you might want to ask.

My last post gave five questions you might find useful to ask when designing a magic system for a fantasy novel. Here are five more questions that should have been in that post but weren’t because it was getting long.

What is the downside or cost of magic and how long do any negative side-effects last?

If magic is free, life will be too easy for your protagonist. They might love you for it, but your readers won’t.

So magic must come at a cost.

Maybe magic is forbidden, and if a user is discovered she risks being dunked in boiling butter.

Perhaps the cost of magic is lifespan–each spell cast shortens the practitioner’s life by a month.

Or each spell cast means someone close to the spellcaster will randomly die in a horrible accident.

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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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