Monday, February 14, 2011


I've been working on my magic system and, though I've been doing well, I am beginning to wonder if I can really do this at all. I mean, magic is such a vast realm I don't think I would ever be able to explore every corner of it, even for just my world. I am thinking that I will plan the general rules of the magics that will appear in my books, and probably a bit further, but there will be much that I won't be able to touch on. Some will just have to be left to the imagination.

I mean, take Harry Potter for example. The magic in there is very ambiguous in my opinion. But it still works. The reader is given just enough rules and structure for this magic while leaving a vast majority of it to the imagination. Some fans who write fanfiction for Harry Potter have come up with detailed amounts of rules and structure to explain how and why the magic in their fanfic works the way it does or even how magic exist and all that. They give more depth, more possibilities, whole new realms to build on what are already in the books. And, well, lots of it are viable ways for magic to work, even in the Harry Potter books themselves.

And this is because J. K. Rowling left a lot to the readers imagination.

Maybe she does have detailed descriptions for exactly why and how her magic works in a journal of hers somewhere, but if she does I haven't heard anything about it and so it gives fans something to fill in with varying theories. And that's fun. That is something I would love to give to my readers, heck, even to myself.

I mean, if I were to give rules and structure to every little single thing there would be no flexibility, no ambiguity, and without those I believe the whole appeal of magic kinda goes away. Cause where's the magic in that? At that point, it would kinda be reduced to science, I think.

So I'm going to plan what needs to be planned, keep blank what can be left to the imagination and give space for there to be many theories and ideas abound to any reader who comes across my book.

What do you guys think about this? Do you think that some stuff about magic should be left to the imagination? How far is too far when it comes to planning magic, in your opinion?


Alia said...

I think you've got the right idea.
At leat I hope it's right, because I find I'm having to do the same thing! I could spend weeks figuring out how and why something works within my system - but that would mean I wouldn't get any other writing done and gods know I get little enough done as it is these days. :)

Claudie A. said...

I think what is really important to figure out before you start are the limits of your magic. Sometimes that limit is far off, but you should know what your characters can and cannot do, or what they need to accomplish the price to pay.

Your magic might be able to craft mountains or disintegrate entire cities, but if it gives the impression you can do EVERYTHING, then you have a problem.

Book Owl said...

Alia- I bet I could spend just about forever trying to unravel magic, but there would just be no point cause it's impossible ;) Glad I'm not the only one.

Claudie A.- Yes, that is very important, thanks :) Getting carried away with magic is far too easy, yet at the same time I hate limiting what my characters can do too severely, so I have to find some kind of medium.