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3 Tips for Writing Magic in Fantasy

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One of the most interesting parts of any fantasy book is how magic works in the world the author has created. If you're a fantasy writer, check out these tips on creating magic when you're world-building.

Find more tips on the "Fantasy Genre Lounge" forum at nanowrimo.org: https://nanowrimo.org/forums/fantasy

1. Make your magic have consistent rules.

Magic in fantasy is a lot like science in sci-fi. It doesn’t need to make perfect sense, but it does need to make logical sense in the context of the world. You can make your magic systems as complex as you want, but however much or little detail you provide, magic should adhere to the rules. It can be strange to us, but it should be consistent.

2. Make your magic have limitations.

Even with supernatural or extremely powerful characters, it’s more interesting to read about them when they have some kind of limitation or obstacle that they have to overcome. For example, wizards in Harry Potter need to memorize spells and (usually) have their wands to channel their power. Fairies and gods are often bound by strict rules and need to work through humans. In some stories, magic users have to fuel their power with their own physical strength. Decide what the boundaries of your characters’ magical powers are.

3. Decide how much your characters know about magic in your world.

How do your characters describe, interact with, or respond to magic? Is magic common or rare? Are magic users respected, or do they have to keep their powers hidden? How does magic complement or conflict with other things that your readers might already be familiar with, like electricity or religious practices? What’s the history of magic in your world?

Music: "Yonder Hill and Dale" by Aaron Kenny via the YouTube Free Music Library.

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