Quaraun Novel Update: Starting in 2014, in preparation for the 40th Anniversary of The Twighlight Manor Series (September 23, 1978/2018), all 2,000+ short stories are being compiled into chronological order, to be re-released as a series of 130 novels. All the original short stories are being republished both here on EelKat.com and on Amazon. In the novels, each short story now stands as a "chapter" in the novels. New scenes are being added to connect the short stories together into novel format.


Your World: Magic System | EelKat's Guide To Worldbuilding For Fantasy Authors - The Squidoo Series




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Your World: Magic System | EelKat's Guide To Worldbuilding For Fantasy Authors - The Squidoo Series

I think it depends on the story you are writing.

Personally my fantasy is usually of the non-magical or very limited magical kind, (Yes, I know, and I write wizards, go figure) so I do not personally put too much effort in a magic system. Reason: It is not important to my story and my story can move forward without any magic involvement at all.

When I do use magic, I use it on a very limited basis.

For example: in my Twighlight Manor series there are a few *magical* characters: sirens, born with the ability to control electrical currents and water; phookas, born with the ability to shape-shift and *throw* fire; and an alchemist who spent most of his life studying how to control the energy around us and use it in a typical wizard like manner. The sirens and phookas are born with their abilities, and thus technically are not *using magic*. The alchemist is the only one who really does any magic that could actually be called magic.

As you can see, for the purpose of that series, I have no need to create a system, other than to write up a few rules about what these characters can and cannot do. The whole system easily fits in one paragraph.

The series constantly hints to an older period when wizards roamed the world and magic was a thing, but it also tells of magic going bad, being used for evil, and the people rising up and destroying all spell books, killing the wizards, and completely erasing from history the names of the wizards in an attempt to force the world to forget magic ever existed. This leaves the series open for magic to come into play, should anyone ever take it upon themselves to seek to bring it back, at which point I will need to do something about writing up a more detailed magic system.

But, as I said it depends on your story. If your fantasy is set in a place where magic is a daily thing and is done by many beings, than you are going to want to write up a system of some sort. Why? Well, that's easy.

If you have your ice wizard saying he can only perform a snow making spell if he has the tooth of a rare snow dragon, in chapter one, than you better not have him cast a snow storm with a simple wave of the wand in chapter 10!

The purpose of writing a magic system is so that you know who can do what, when they can do it, and what they need to do it with, so that you keep your story consistent once you start writing.

So my answer to your question is this: match your level of magic system creation to the level of magic used in your story. If your story has no magic, than no system is needed. If it has minimal magic, you would only need a few lines typed up. If magic runs rampant in your story, than you may very well find yourself needing a details set of charts, graphs, and a full 50 page glossary of which spells do what.

There is no right or wrong answer here, because it all depends on your story and your prefered writing methods. You can build as much or as little, in regards to the rules your magic needs to follow.




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EelKat's Guide to
World Building For Fiction Writers
The Complete Article Index

The list below are the original pages written in 2003, and republished on Squidoo in 2007:



<<< Back To


Or Head To Another Article In This Series:



























































































For help in creating characters in genre fiction try:





Even more articles have been written for this series since then:

As there are now more then 100 articles for this series, it now has it's own index page on which to list them all, as there are just too many to keep adding them to this end of article list. You can find the complete listing of all the World Building articles here now:

More on Worldbuilding In Fantasy Novels:



Books I Use When Creating Fantasy Worlds:
















*UPDATE: ADDED November 7, 2013 - I suppose one thing I should point out at this point, before we go any farther, is my use of the word fantasy throughout this series. The bulk of this set of articles was written 7 years ago in April of 2006, parts of it appearing on EK's Star Log and other parts of it appearing on my personal Squidoo account. In the 7 years since writing this I've received hundreds of emails regarding it. A common question asked being: "Why do you talk of building a fantasy world if you don't write Fantasy?"

ANSWER: Fantasy with a capital "F" is the name of a type of fiction, in other words Fantasy is a genre. I do not write Fantasy fiction of the Fantasy genre, that is correct. I do however create fantasy realms for my Science Fiction and Horror works. I write Dark Fantasy, which is a sub-genre of Horror and Space Fantasy which is a sub-genre of Science Fiction.

Did you see it? No? Let me point it out: I write about fantasy worls as the exist in Horror and Sci-Fi but I do not write about fantasy world as they exist in Fantasy Fiction.

If it is not real it is fiction, if it exists only in fiction it it fantastical, if it is fantastical it is a fantasy item, because it is not a real item, however being fantastical does not make it part of the Fantasy genre, just as not everything in the Fantasy genre is always fantastical in nature.

The word "fantasy" with a lower case "f" is a word that means "not real" and has nothing to do with the Fantasy genre (capital "F") at all. And therefore when I say "fantasy realm" I mean a world that is NOT the Earth on which you and I live on in the real world, and am in no way, shape, or form referring to the Fantasy genre.

The methods I use to create my fantasy realms can be applied to ANY genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Romance, Western, etc.



2013 World-Building Series UPDATE:

Due to issues with content scraping, outright plagiarism, some of my articles appearing on OTHER Squidoo member accounts without my permission, and many of my "Squidoo articles" being stolen off Squidoo and posted without my permission on various  blogs and sites including Wikipedia and Helium; all of my articles are in the process of being removed from Squidoo.

This series of World Building articles in one that has been heavily plagiarized over the years and as of September 2013, it can only OFFICIALLY be found here on EelKat.com - if you find it posted elsewhere, know it was stolen and I am not receiving royalties for it.


2014 Update:

As you know, or not, Squidoo owners Bonnie and Kimberly-Dawn stole thousands of Squidoo articles from Squidoo members, and tried to pass them off as their own, resulting in the lawsuit against Squidoo owners for the theft of tens of thousands of articles.

More than 100 of my articles were transferred off my Squidoo account and moved to Bonnie's account,

while my authorship and writing articles, including this world-building series were deleted off my Squidoo account and transferred to Kimberly-Dawn's account!

!!!!!!!

I am shocked and flabbergasted at what these 2 women have done. That they thought they could get away with stealing so many articles from so many authors! Buying Squidoo from Seth Godin, did not give then the rights to our articles and these two horrible women had no right to delete them off of our member accounts and republish them on their own accounts, trying to pass them off as their own.

More then 100 Squidoo authors have gathered together in lawsuit against Squidoo owners, Bonnie and Kimberly-Dawn. The result of that is, Bonnie and Kimberly-Dawn, to avoid their asses being sued to hell and back, have now transferred the Squidoo lenses back to their original owners and deleted the entire Squidoo website.

Squidoo is officially gone. It exists no more. Squidoo is dead. Most Squidoo writers have opted to move to Hub Pages as HubPages has bought the remaining shambles of what is left of Seth Godin's Squidoo after Bonnie and Kimberly-Dawn massaquered it in their article stealing frenzy.

While I do have a HubPages account and my remaining Squidoo Lenses can be found there temporarily, they are being moved here and deleted off HubPages as I move them


April 2017 UPDATE:

As of now, all on my 600+ Squidoo pages are now moved here to EelKat.com and no more are remaining on HubPages.

It's hard to believe, Squidoo has been gone for 4 years now. It was such a big part of my life for a decade.