Posted in Methods, Resources, Writing

Developing The Magic System – Part 1

There are a lot of how-to and tips on how to write a magic system for a story. It may be fantasy, it might not. In Part 1, I will focus on the questions I tend to ask myself when creating first. The questions about what magic can do, consequences, etc. will be addressed later.

To begin with, the first question you must ask yourself before anything else is:

Do you have magic in your world?

Assuming you are here because you do have magic in the world, then the next question you need to answer is:

Where does the magic come from?

Does it come from the earth? Mystical beings? Through study? What is the origin of magic?

Next, how do the people in your world access magic? Do they have to have special devices? Tombs? Spellbooks? Focus?

Once you’ve established this all of this. The next step is to think about who can use this magic. Can magic be used by anyone? Peasants? Nobility? How does this impact society? Are those with magic elevated in status or not?

Do people practice in the open, in school, or in hiding? These questions will impact how magic interacts with your world.

Some other questions that I like to ask myself when I create a magic system are: how widespread is magic? Are there specific regions that only have magic or the entire continent/ kingdom? Does every citizen in these regions accept magic or do they mistrust it?

How are magic users treated? This also has to deal with their social status and whether or not they have to hide their magic. If people do have to hide their magic, what caused this? Was there a specific event?

Do the magic users have their own government? Most importantly, who governs them? Is there a special task force that steps in when magic goes wrong? Does this government have their own power? Or are they overseen by a ‘non-magic’ user group?

What is allowed? Meaning, what can magic users do? Is there a specific rule that says, you cannot reanimate dead bodies? Or bring back the dead? Is this even possible at all?

These are a lot of questions and perhaps you might not have all the information and it can feel overwhelming. While these might not be all the questions available, I believe these are some questions just to get you started on exploring your magic system.

Lastly, I would like to add that these questions also help with world building. Society, trade, class systems, etc. are all affected by just one element. Every society, world, the regions of your story are different. There are endless possibilities but it’s up to you to make yours unique.

Thanks for reading. Part 2 will be up next Monday.

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Posted in NaNoWriMo, Writing

A Battle Between Ideas AKA Focusing AKA Balancing

As April comes winding down and Camp NaNoWriMo is on its last legs, I have begun thinking about my next writing project. Even as I work on Crimson Queen, my mind refuses to focus on it. Instead, it wants to write something else. It’s a battle between ideas and I don’t like it.

I want to stay ‘true’ to Crimson Queen because Camp NaNoWriMo is almost finished. May 1st is only three days away. I know this. My brain knows this and yet it refuses to even wait. It is between two writing projects. Both are fantasy ideas. Both have a plot to them and a world built. All that is left is to iron out minor details and to write them. However, let’s not forget all the other ideas I have in my drawer for a rainy day.

To make matters worse – maybe – I’m sending out query letters and starting ‘school’ again. This time it will be for a teaching certification which I’m really excited about.

A lot is going on right now. Perhaps it’s best to also include balancing somewhere in herr. With life happening e.g. moving to a different place, taking classes, and work, there’s not a lot of time left to write. It sometimes gets so overwhelming, my brain refuses to work.

While this doesn’t happen often to me, it has happened before.

Posted in NaNoWriMo, Writing

Dealing with Boredom

Earlier this week I sat down to write the daily 1,667 words needed to complete Camp NaNoWriMo and I didn’t want to. Just the thought of writing filled me with dread. I couldn’t really pinpoint the feeling.

It was then that I asked myself a question. Why didn’t I want to write? I was doing so well before. After a few moments of thinking to myself, I knew the answer. The story was boring. I was bored because the story felt boring to me. The characters were at a stand still. They were looking for clues but weren’t getting anywhere. I wasn’t getting anywhere.

I knew that I didn’t want to stop writing Crimson Queen. I’d told myself that I wanted to complete most of the story this month. If not most, then all. I didn’t want to change my goal completely.

Coming to terms with this, I looked back at all my plot and character notes. While some of it had changed, the intention and direction was still there. I still so much content left to write.

So, I finished the scene I started the day before. After doing this, I forced myself to move on to the next scene. I needed to move forward. And so I did. Saying this, I wasn’t always capable of skipping a scene and moving on to the next one. It took baby steps like summarising, leaving comments for myself to go back to, and even writing a different version of the scene all together. It was enough to get me to this point.

Once I had a ‘fresh’ start, I wasn’t bored anymore. I was excited. Writing the daily goal for that day didn’t take very long. My fingers ached by the end of it but I was done. Goal complete.

Looking back at it, I’ve come to realize how far I have come since starting out. Being able to skip scene is huge for me. I was the type of writer who had to get every word perfect. The scene had to be perfect. I could not and would not move on until it was. I remembered getting so fustrated and stressed out because the words weren’t coming out like they were suppose to. It got to a point where I stopped writing the story altogether for weeks on end and focused on something else.

I am very grateful that I am not that writer anymore. I have the strength to move forward and focus on the scenes I want to write. Sure, I still have to remind myself that I can always come back to something but that doesn’t always happen. Then I start asking myself, ‘would I regret not finishing this story?’ and the answer is ‘yes’ all the time. It’s the small things that keep me going and I know that I am not alone. I just can’t let my struggles stop me.

Posted in NaNoWriMo, Writing

Evolving Goals – For NaNoWriMo

I haven’t quite caught up with the word goal to finish Camp NaNoWriMo in time. I’m not exactly worried either. As I’m writing, my goal of what I want to accomplish this month has gradually changed. While I still want to finish writing Crimson Queen as a complete story, it might not be possible even with 50k words and I’m okay with that.

As it stands right now, I want to get as close as possible to finishing Crimson Queen as I can. The plot has changed from what it was at the beginning, but I think the new direction it’s going will work well.

In other news, Scrivener only works if you download it on an actual computer. My USB idea was a bust but at least I know. I haven’t bought it just yet and I will. For right now though, I have the 30 day free trial. After the trial is done, I’ll buy it.

I haven’t exactly used the program yet simply because I’m still going through the tutorial. For the most part, it has been relatively easy to understand. There’s just so much to know about the program. Some of it has been lost to me but through trial and error, I can figure it out. Plus, I can always go through the tutorial again on the parts that I don’t understand. It’s something I’m willing to invest time to learn.

Lastly, the site is going to go through some changes. The layout might change but I still haven’t decided. Hopefully, by next week, the finish look will be available.

Posted in NaNoWriMo, Writing

And . . . Go!

Camp NaNoWriMo isn’t going as I expected. Due to Easter, I’m behind about a thousand words. I’ve been catching up gradually but I haven’t exactly caught up. I’m not worried about not being on target. I believe I can still catch up and finish on time.

The story is progressing as expected. A few changes have been made some conversations because they simply didn’t make sense. It’s also probably because I didn’t know what I wanted to reveal in those conversations and they didn’t have a point. They didn’t do anything for the world or story. I needed to change that. I tend to only keep conversations that move the story forward in some shape or form.

Another thing I encountered while writing was the lack of characterization of one of my major characters. While he is a warrior and a devoted knight to the Church, I don’t think I was portraying him that way. He seemed bland or maybe it was just me. Either way, I needed change him.

Lastly, there’s one ‘issue’ I’ve been mulling over. While Crimson Queen is third person, I have the opportunity to change POV once in a while. There’s information I want to include that the main character wouldn’t know but I don’t know if it’s needed or not. I don’t want the reader to feel that I’m just dropping information on them all of a sudden. I think I’ll just add the information and see how that works for the story.

Decisions, decisions.