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Saturday, November 18, 2023

Determine Out Your Story’s Magic System Utilizing Story Construction

From KMW: Should you’ve ever written a narrative that falls into the broad style of speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, and all their many many subgenres), then you could have confronted one of many important challenges of the style: making a magic system.

A magic system will be something from a totally elaborate excessive idea plot-driver resembling in Brandon Sanderson’s fantasy novels, or it may be only a easy tweak on actuality as in time-travel tales. Both means, the 2 most necessary tips for a well-executed magic system are:

  1. The principles should stay constant all through the story.
  2. The magic system should improve the plot somewhat than detract from it.

That’s why I’m happy to convey you a submit from C.R. Rowenson, writer of The Magic System Blueprint, during which he discusses key factors for integrating your present magic system together with your plot construction.


What’s up, storyteller? Are you prepared to speak about your story’s magic system? As a result of it’s time to speak about magic!

Crafting a high quality magic system that connects effectively together with your story is hard enterprise. On the one hand, very like writing generally, there’s no improper option to go about this. That additionally means there’s nobody proper means both. Some folks can begin with nothing, attain deep into the yawning cosmos of creativity, and craft an entire magic system proper from the beginning. You may not work that means. You may want to start out with characters or the setting or the plot itself.

So should you’ve been struggling together with your magic system, you may simply be wanting within the improper locations. Cease breaking open random proverbial stones in search of that one attractive geode. Let’s get dirty, and speak by way of how one can mine your define and your story’s construction for these magic-system gems you’ve been in search of.

The two Issues You Must Create Your Story’s Magic System

Earlier than you go tearing off together with your literary pickaxe, we have to be sure to’ve received what you must achieve success right here. Simply charging in, swinging wildly, is an efficient option to find yourself with a pile of rubble.

What do you want earlier than you can begin mining in your story’s magic system? It’s a fairly brief checklist. You actually simply want two issues:

1. An idea in your magic system.

2. A filled-in story construction.

1. The Magic System Idea

The idea in your magic system doesn’t have to be something loopy. You’re simply in search of that central nugget, that core concept round which the remainder of the system can kind. After I discuss magic methods, I often name this the Seed Crystal in your magic system. You can even consider it because the north star, the elevator pitch, or the central theme.

Ideas vary from easy concepts like “elemental magic on a spaceship” to advanced ones like “a crew of thieves utilizing metal-based magic to overthrow a god-emperor.” The precise wording doesn’t matter, you simply have to know what your magic goes to be about.

2. The Define/Story Construction

Structuring Your Novel IPPY Award 165

Structuring Your Novel (Amazon affiliate hyperlink)

You’re right here proper now, so I’m assuming you’re fairly conversant in outlines and story construction at this level. If not, it’s possible you’ll have to put this mining effort on pause whilst you learn by way of a number of the submit collection or books on this web site.

This doesn’t imply you want a full beat-by-beat define. You don’t even want issues deliberate to a chapter degree! So long as you realize what you need occurring at the main factors in your story, then this mining operation is open for enterprise… nearly.

4 Quick Ideas for Increasing Your Your Story’s Magic System

This course of helps you discover all these little gems and glossy bits you possibly can add into your magic system to make it extra attention-grabbing and superior. That may are available in quite a lot of types, relying on how far alongside you’re with the event of your magic system and your story.

When you’re working by way of this, attempt to do, or a minimum of enable for, the next:

1. Create New Issues

Add guidelines and limitations to your story’s magic system. Discover new magical results the magic can generate. Add characters and places to raised tackle what you’re constructing.

2. Strengthen What’s Already There

Amplify the emotion and stress within the story. Reinforce the core idea of the magic system. Hyperlink ideas and occasions along with logic and patterns.

3. Add Specifics

Flip generic plot factors into totally shaped occasions. Dive into the trivia of your magic limitations. Outline precisely how highly effective a magic impact will be. Notice precisely what a personality does with the magic and the way they use it in a selected scenario.

4. Enable for Conflicting Concepts

The quickest option to cease the move of concepts is to deal with discovering the “proper” concept. Let the concepts pour out. Don’t fear in the event that they make little sense and don’t match collectively proper now; you patch that along with later drafts. And keep in mind, you don’t (and possibly shouldn’t) use all of the concepts you give you right here.

Okay. Now that you’ve the core idea of your magic system and the bones of your story, it’s time for the enjoyable half. Now you’re able to mine!

Use Story Construction to Optimize Your Story’s Magic System

That is pretty easy. Study every of your story’s important structural beats and discover what we mentioned above. That is easy, however it might probably nonetheless be daunting. Happily, should you’re utilizing the story construction lined on this website, we’ve received a number of marks and milestones to test in on.

The Inciting Occasion

The Inciting Occasion pulls your important character into the plot. So how may your magic system kick issues off?

Let’s say your story begins with a homicide. Was magic used to kill the sufferer? Perhaps the sufferer truly used magic in an try at protection, leaving a delicate however damning, presumably literal curse on their assassin. Does the magic implicate your protagonist?

Or maybe your story begins with a personality trapped in a system of oppression. How does the magic allow the oppressors to take care of energy? Does the magic create, allow, or require one thing others can management? Might the magic merely enable the oppressors such immense energy that none can problem them? Is the magic being utilized in such a delicate means that most individuals don’t even know they’re being oppressed?

The Pinch Factors

Pinch Factors are moments when the strain on the protagonist will increase. The antagonist makes a show of energy. The stakes of dropping are restated, raised, or clarified. The protagonist is put in a lose-lose scenario and has to make a horrible determination. Take your Pinch Factors and search for methods your magic can create them or make them ten, no, a thousand instances worse!

Would you like the protagonist’s energy stripped away at an important second? In that case, construct limitations and weaknesses into the magic. Discover methods to nullify magical results. Discover how you can shut down a personality’s magic talents completely. Develop a brand new character whose magic instantly opposes the protagonist.

Want to point out your antagonist’s energy and rebuild the stakes? Blow one thing up! Present the staggering may or intensive management the antagonist has over their magic. Construct in new penalties or capabilities to make the unhealthy man’s plans much more terrifying.

The Plot Factors

These are moments of change in your story, during which your protagonist comes to grasp the true nature of the battle and shifts from being reactive to being extra proactive. At their lowest, darkest second, the protagonist turns issues round and begins clawing towards the ultimate battle. The place does the magic slot in? How does it help with these adjustments?

There are such a lot of methods you are able to do this. Give the protagonist new talents, or deepen these already in existence. Create nuances and countermeasures inside your magic system to make this the second when the characters uncover them. Enable characters to make use of their present instruments to their full impact for the primary time or in completely new methods.

The Climax

All of it comes right down to this—the large end and remaining conflict. Right here is the place everybody’s fates are determined and every part adjustments for good or ailing. The protagonist lastly achieves or fails on the objective we’ve been dangling for all the plot. How does your magic issue into this momentous occasion?

Make this second as cool, awe-inspiring, and unbelievable as it may be. What massive weapons have the characters been holding out? Are there quirks within the magic including issues mid-conflict? Does a portion of the magic require a private sacrifice? If not, possibly it ought to.

Make selections more durable, clashes extra intense, penalties extra extreme, explosions larger, and feelings deeper together with your magic system. Take that depth knob in your story, and use your magic system to crank it to eleven—after which hold going!

Beware the God from the Machine!

Deus ex machina is that second in a narrative when an individual or factor is launched all of a sudden and unexpectedly, such that it creates a man-made or contrived answer to an issue. Certain, this was a well-liked story-telling method within the fifth century, however right now’s readers need extra. We wish resolutions to our tales which can be satisfying and really feel earned.

How will we keep away from summoning the god at a vital second in our story? The reply is easy: Foreshadowing.

All our efforts to date have been a type of guided brainstorming and creation. Hopefully, this has helped you give you some unbelievable gems so as to add to your magic system and story. It’s now your accountability to be sure to foreshadow the place crucial and permit issues to resolve in a significant means.

So get again to work. You’ve received a narrative to inform. And no matter you do, just be sure you hold writing and keep superior!

Wordplayers, inform me your opinions! Have you ever ever written a narrative that required a magic system? Inform me within the feedback!

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