Magic

Worldbuilding

Using Incantations in Your Magic System

The three Sanderson sisters from Hocus Pocus singing on stage

Classic fantasy spellcasting wouldn’t be the same without incantations, but they’re challenging to work into a magic system. First, you have to create incantations that sound mysterious rather than silly. Second, language is so variable that it’s difficult to pin down how a specific phrase … read more »

Q&A

How Do I Limit What Elemental Magic Can Do?

questions and answer talk bubbles

I’m having trouble creating a magic system that is balanced. I am attempting to make a system in which magic comes from energy within and is directed through will. It has an elements style theme (fire, water, earth, air, shadow, light, etc). However, I find … read more »

Analysis

Six Overpowered Characters and How to Fix Them

Characters are overpowered for all kinds of reasons, but the effect is always the same. Either the character overcomes challenges way too easily or the author has to insert a massive contrivance to keep the conflict going. Neither outcome is satisfying, so if you ever … read more »

Podcast

250 – Oppressed Mage Shenanigans

The Mythcreant Podcast

Mages are difficult to oppress, what with how they can teleport and shoot fire out of their hands, but that doesn’t stop authors from trying. Some stories manage to get past the practical barriers of oppressing mages before running into the socio-political ones, but we’re … read more »

Worldbuilding

Explaining the Urban Fantasy Masquerade

Evil Stiles and his minions from Teen Wolf

Speculative fiction storytellers will go a long way to make fantastical situations feel plausible. Sure, they will never be perfectly plausible because magic isn’t real, but it’s still no good if our audience is wondering why the hero won’t use teleportation during our tense climax. … read more »

Analysis

How the Oppressed Mages Trope Sabotages House of X

The ruined X-Mansion from an X-Men Comic

The term oppressed mages refers to any situation in which characters are systematically marginalized for their supernatural abilities, whether those powers come from spellbooks or mutant genes. When I first wrote about this trope, I mostly stuck to general points rather than going after specific … read more »

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