Sunday, January 25, 2015

Reasons for Requesting: Magic Systems

Been awhile since I've posted but I'm back! Yeah, this past month has been busy with the holidays and school starting back up. Fortunately I'm finally back into a normal routine. So let's start back up with a Reasons for Requesting post!

I'm a fantasy nut. Most people know this about me. And I especially like magic in my fantasy. Probably because magic can mean so many things. It can be whimsical and enchanting or dark and terrifying. It can be a blessing or a curse. It can corrupt or inspire. There are all sorts of ways writers can approach magic systems in their fantasy. It can also range from pure magic to magic in its most scientific form. A combination of the two is often a great way to construct a good magic system.

But there's the key word: system. Because magic, like anything, must have rules. Its such a vague term that if you don't define it, it quickly turns into a deus ex machina plot device. And readers quickly start questioning your plotting and world building when you explain everything in your story with: 'Because MAGIC'.

What really grabs my attention is a magic system with great possibilities but also extreme consequences. As one of my favorite shows once said 'Human kind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain something of equal value must be lost'. This is the first law of equivalent exchange in alchemy, the magic-science system of sorts from Fullmetal Alchemist, which is my favorite anime ever. Nerd pride.

But this truth holds true for a lot of different magic systems. No one wants to see limitless magic with no cost. That's not interesting. We want to see characters grapple with their abilities and, in some cases, suffer for them. And there are a lot of different directions you can go with the rules and limitations of your magic system. Does it drain the characters physically? Does it mentally unhinge them? Does it make them lose their humanity? Does it ostracize them from others? Does it gain them unwanted praise and attention? It is from these questions that conflict arises. And from conflict, we get a great story.

Want to get a request? Make a unique, well thought out magic system that will grab any fantasy lover's eye. Personal favorites of mine include Alchemy from Fullmetal Alchemist, Alkehestry from Mistborn, the super powered characters of Vicious, and contractors from Darker than Black. All of these are very different but very unique in their approach.

What are some of your favorite magic systems? Let me know in the comments!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Add your awesome here: