Magic

Analysis

Five Useless Powers in Popular Stories

Bunny, Jack, and Santa in action poses from Rise of the Guardians.

Special powers are a cornerstone of speculative fiction. Whether they come from ancient magics or alien evolution, we love to see characters with abilities that humans cannot possess. Such powers provide excellent novelty and wish fulfillment. But sometimes storytellers don’t think about how their powers actually … read more »

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 »

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 »